If you’re a business owner, you know how essential it is to get your name out there, but do you have a strategic marketing plan to do so? Knowing that you need a marketing plan is the easy part. Actually putting one together is a different story.
Still, having a well-thought-out marketing plan is essential for success. So, let’s break down 10 questions you need to ask yourself in order to build one.
#1. What want or need does your product or service fill?
Every product or service fills a need or want in some way and helps to solve a problem. Understanding the pain points of your customers is key to building a good marketing plan because it tells you which benefits to highlight.
#2. Who is your target market?
Who are the people most likely to be interested in your products or services? How old and what gender are they? Where do they live? What kind of lives do they typically lead? Do they rent or own their home? What do they like to do for fun? Where do they spend their time online?
Knowing these things is vital to a strong marketing plan. This is especially true these days, when both Google advertising and Facebook advertising allow for more targeted campaigns than ever before.
#3. Who are your competitors?
In order to truly know who your competitors are and what they have to offer, your best bet is to try it yourself! When you try their product or service, ask yourself what makes your product or service different and why people would want to choose you over the competition.
If you don’t have direct competitors, what are other solutions out there that try to fill the wants/needs of your customers? What makes you the best option?
You also need to know how your competitors market themselves, including what their website looks like, what kind of voice they have on social media, how active they are on YouTube, what kind of reviews they get, etc.
#4. What are the goals of your marketing plan?
Before you can start putting an effective plan in place, you need to know what the goals of your marketing plan are, both short-term and long-term.
How many sales or leads do you want to get from it? What is your target cost per acquisition goal? What is your starting budget, and what percent of sales do you plan to invest back into marketing as you grow? When do you expect to achieve those metrics?
Once you’ve determined what your goals are, reverse engineer them to build realistic projections that ramp into your goals over time. Marketing does not work overnight. Having achievable short-term goals that you can reach as you ramp up will help you stay focused while working towards your bigger, more long-term goals.
#5. What is your strategy for organic search and social media?
Search and social are where people are spending the majority of their time these days. They’re either searching for something online or on social media. It’s important to figure out how you’re going to be there.
What keywords do you want to rank for and run ads for on Google? What keywords do you want to rank high for on maps? What social channels do you want to build a presence on? What kind of content do you want to post, and what kind of content excites your target audience? What kind of ads do you want to run? What kind of ads are most effective for those in your target demographic?
These days, a business’ ability to dominate search and social is its key to success.
#6. What is your strategy for building a strong online reputation?
Eighty-six percent of consumers will read reviews and research a business’ online reputation before even considering making a purchase or scheduling an appointment. If you don’t have a good online reputation, you’re missing out on a huge amount of sales.
When developing your strategy for building a strong online reputation, you need to know what review sites potential customers might look for you on. It’s important that your business is listed on every review site that’s relevant.
Once your business is listed on relevant review sites, figure out what you need to do to generate reviews on those sites. Will you ask for them in person or through a follow-up email? Will you encourage reviews through automated reminders?
Your online reputation is, ultimately, what separates your business from your competitors online, and it’s important to get it right.
#7. What is your sales process once you generate a lead or sale?
If you’re a service provider, what do you need to do to turn a lead into a sale? And, if you’re an ecommerce store, what do you need to do to increase the average value of your online orders?
An effective marketing plan will drive traffic to your website, but getting your customers in the door is just the first step. Think about what the process looks like for maximizing each sale, or closing each deal. What collateral — emails, infographics, videos, etc. — do you need to create to assist your sales team in order to do so?
#8. How do you nurture your leads and customers?
Not everyone who visits your website or finds your brand on social media is going to be ready to make a purchase or fill out a contact form right away. You need a way to stay top of mind for those people, so that when they are ready to make a purchase, your product or service is the first thing they think of, and that’s accomplished through retargeting ads.
It’s important to think about what your retargeting campaigns might look like. What kind of message do you want to send to customers who visited your website three days ago, five days ago, or seven days ago? What kind of message do you send in 30 days or six months?
Not only can you nurture leads who have come to your site, but you can also nurture existing customers, which helps to increase the average lifetime value of each customer. This is done through email marketing. If you provided a repair or a new installation, what can you do to help them maintain it? If they’ve purchased a product, what other products do you offer that they might be interested in?
#9. What do your sales funnels look like?
There are many different paths you could guide consumers through to making a sale. Maybe your sales funnel involves following a link on YouTube to a landing page, followed up with an automated email.
Whatever you want your sales funnels to look like for your business, you need to figure out what content you need to support it and move customers through it.
#10. Who is in charge of managing your marketing and held accountable to the plan?
Having a marketing plan in place is a great start, but the only way to know if it works or not is to actually execute it, which means that you need to figure out who is responsible for doing that. Who will be optimizing the campaigns, monitoring the results, etc? How often will you review the results and make adjustments to your marketing strategy?
Oftentimes, the difference between a business’ success or failure isn’t marketing; it’s the marketing strategy. I hope you found these tips helpful.