Understanding where to begin when sitting down to create a marketing plan is one of the questions asked most often. Many small business owners who are doing their own marketing begin by buying marketing books, which then overwhelms them. I tell my DIY marketing and public relations clients that creating a plan does not have to be overwhelming, it just takes time and having an understanding of what you are trying to accomplish.
I recommend beginning your market planning by answering these three questions:
- What you want you’re marketing to achieve
- Whom you are targeting with your marketing
- What is my target audience’s problem and can we solve them
These in my mind are the three most important questions you should answer before you begin planning and definitely before you begin implementing.
What Do You Want Your Marketing To Achieve?
Here is the first big question and this should be answered in specifics.
- Not “increase sales,” but “increase sales by 15% in three months.”
- Add 10 new clients in four months.
- Increase website monthly visits to 5000 per month in six months.
You have to have a definite objective for your marketing plan before you can begin creating a marketing strategy and tactics.
You can begin with an overall goal:
- Increase client base
Once you know your overall marketing goal of increasing your client base, what is your marketing objective:
- Increasing client base from 75 to 125 within 12 months.
With this in mind then you can go about setting your strategy and tactics for achieving your objective.
Whom Are You Targeting with Your Marketing?
This is the second big question that you should answer in specifics.
- Not “mothers,” but “mothers with new babies under one-year-old.”
- Corporate Financial Officers working in the software industry.
- Little League Umpires
Once you know whom you are trying to reach, then you can go about finding out how to reach them. What industry publications do they read? What social networking sites do that participate in? What blogs do they read?
What are my Target Audiences Problems and can we Solve Them?
The third big question should also be answered in specifics. What are the problems that your target audiences face and do you have the solution?
- Our target audience worries about how to finance their children’s education. We specialize in college planning and can help them find ways to finance their children’s education through financial planning and financial resources available to students and parents.
- Our target audience is looking to decrease the amount of business taxes they pay and we specialize in helping businesses find ways to decrease their tax burden and run their businesses more efficiently.
Once you are able to answer these three big questions you are well on your way to developing a marketing plan that you can easily create, implement and measure.
Have you answered these three marketing questions?
I would love to hear from you.