Whatever stage your business is at, whether you are just starting up or have been established for years, having a marketing plan is essential. Trying to market your business without a plan in place can just lead to frustration, and wasted time and effort. If you are not a marketing guru, you might find the idea of creating a marketing plan overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. There are a number of different elements to creating a successful marketing plan, which are listed below.
Identify your target audience
Your entire marketing strategy should be based around appealing to a narrow subset of potential customers known as your target audience. The more clearly you can identify your target audience and learn about their needs, the more successfully you can refine your marketing strategy to appeal to them. Trying to appeal to a broad range of customers generally does not work, due to the number of businesses competing for attention. Your potential customers are likely to ignore your message unless it is specifically targeted towards them.
Determine your point of difference
What is special about your business? Why should customers choose you over the competition? It is important to identify and define what makes your business stand out from the crowd, as this will form the basis of the message you send to your target audience. Having a strong point of difference can help you increase your conversion rate and attract more customers.
Research current and potential customers
Research is an essential part of any marketing plan and it is something that many businesses do not do enough of. Whether you are starting out or have an established client base, researching your target audience and what they are looking for can provide you with useful insight into the best way to reach them and improve your products or services.
Customer research can also be helpful if you want to determine your point of difference or find out what your strengths and weaknesses are. Demonstrating that you are interested in what your customers have to say, and that you take negative feedback seriously, can also help you build your reputation.
If you want your marketing to succeed, it is best to approach it in a strategic manner. Creating a marketing plan can help you determine the right strategy and keep your marketing on track. It can also save you time and money spent on fruitless marketing tactics, or poorly targeted marketing materials.
Jo Macdermott is the Chief Marketing Consultant at Next Marketing in Melbourne. She has 15 years of marketing experience, is a Certified Practising Marketer, and is a sought after marketing media commentator. Her team at marketing agency Next Marketing can help you devise a marketing strategy, implement a social media plan, and her highly talented graphic designers work alongside her marketing pros to build a solid marketing plan that will help you attract more customers, expand your business, and build momentum for many months to come.