A marketing plan enables you to draw an outline of the techniques to be employed in order to achieve the goals of your online business. Without a plan, the business will have no direction.
So why is it necessary to develop a marketing strategy?
To have a roadmap: The plan is a guide to realizing both your short-term and long-term visions for your business. You will be able to develop the right techniques for reaching out to your target market. The plan gives your business a sense of direction.
For branding: The marketing plan helps you in planning out the best methods of building the brand of your business. If for example your target market is college students, then the plan should be focused on branding your business as an entity for college students.
Cost-effectiveness: Developing a strategic plan for managing the resources of your online business can significantly reduce the operating costs. The plan makes the activities of your business more organized and efficient. You will be able to reap more for less.
Stability: The plan makes you business more stable in an unpredictable marketing environment. The online business environment is dynamic and new trends in marketing emerge every day. A well developed plan enables you to integrate the new trends and take advantage of them. You will be able to avoid reactionary marketing strategies which are usually ineffective in face of stiff competition.
Most online start-ups fail within the first year of their operation due to failure to create an effective marketing strategy. A great plan can enable a small start-up to be on the same level with already established online businesses.
Let’s take it a step further and discuss the essentials in developing a reliable marketing plan:
Determine your target market: You should identify your target market. Conduct a market research for establishing the right customers for the product or services offered by your online business. This will enable you to determine the best way to reach out to potential clients.
Branding: You should be consistent in creating brand recognition for your business. Marketing online should be centered on creating a unique business personality that can resonate to potential customers. All marketing efforts should be focused on creating a recognizable identity for your online business.
Goals and objectives: Set short-term and long-term goals for promoting your online business. The marketing plan should be drawn from the goals of your business. Goals also help in defining the budgetary allocation to your marketing campaign.
Budget: Work out the budget for your business. Map out your monthly and annual budgetary needs. Determine the costs of running a marketing campaign which should be in line with both your short-term and long-term goals.
And, don’t forget about the 4 P’s of Marketing: Product, Place, Price and Promotion — the graphic below has key
It is important that you satisfy all of these when creating a marketing strategy.
Embracing a good marketing strategy guarantees you of a ready market for your products and services. It also makes your enterprise successful and on a competitive edge by addressing the market forces of demand and supply. Once you have formulated the perfect marketing strategy and have the right product being offered at the best price, at the most convenient location and using the best promotional tactics, you get an edge over your competitors. All you need to stay at the top is adapt to the changing environment.
Creating a marketing strategy can take about an hour to do — and it can be the BEST hour you’ve spent on your business yet! Get in there, set your goals, create a marketing plan and stick to it!