Have you been thinking you need to get together a marketing plan but just don’t seem to find the time or haven’t a clue where to start?

Here’s our short guide to the essential elements you need to think about…

Your marketing goals

Are you looking for new customers, to increase repeat business, increase awareness or something elae? It’s also important to set deadlines for achieving them.

Your marketing goals should be SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. Don’t forget to revisit these goals regularly to assess if your objectives are being met. You’ll probably have to keep fine-tuning your marketing plan as you find out what works and what doesn’t.

Your market

You need to be very clear about who your target customers are, what they want, what your competition offers and what makes you special.

Who are your customers?

Think about and describe your current customers main characteristics. Things to include are their age, their lifestyle, their earnings, their location and interests. If you are selling business to business think about their job title and responsibilities. Then you need to think about what motivates them to buy from you. What you need to do to market to them will depend on the profile you create so find out as much information as you can about your customers. Consider the kind of messages they might respond to. Once you have a better picture of your customers it should be possible to segment them so you can target them with specific messages and offers.

How do your customers behave?

You should have at least some information on the way your customers behave. What do they buy from you, how often and in what quantity? What channels do they use to communicate with your business? By gathering this kind of information you should be able to identify where you have the greatest potential for growth. This is where you should target your marketing activity. Rank the possibilities from high to low potential for sales. Those customers that already know and like your business will respond to more personal approaches such as customer events, loyalty schemes and direct email or mail.

Who are your competitors?

Work out who your competitors are and make a list. Have a think about why your customers or potential customers might choose their product or service over yours.

What’s special about you?

Think about why customers would choose your product or service. You should have at least one, if not more, unique selling point (USP) and then rank them. What is your main selling point? It could be value for money, quality, service or convenience. Work out your brand values – why are you doing what you do?

A SWOT analysis

A SWOT analysis’s still valid to work out your strengths and weaknesses and the main opportunities and threats for your business.

Your strengths

How do you stand out from your competitors. Your strengths can be used to create strong marketing messages. This could include anything from the products you offer and how wide your range is, your high quality customer service or the location of your business.

What could you improve on?

You’ll need to sort out any weaknesses before you begin a marketing campaign.
Could your product/service be improved? Have you had any bad feedback? Other internal weaknesses could include a lack of time, money, resources or expertise.

What opportunities are there?

Are there trends in the marketplace that could give you new business opportunities? Are there any gaps in the market you could fill? Could your product/service be put to new uses? Are there new markets opening up or new areas that you could try?

What threats are there?

Think about anything that might be holding you back. External threats can include changing behaviour or new entrants into your market.

The marketing channels you could use

Some possibilities are email, online, social media, content marketing, PR, events, ads, direct mail, literature, posters, signage and ambient. Give some thought to which ones would be most useful tomboy and how you would use them.

An action plan

Create a detailed schedule with the marketing activities you will implement, dates, a budget and the results you expect.

Or, alternatively, if you simply haven’t got the time (or inclination!) to get round to all this give us a call to have a chat with us about how we could help you to get more sales.