What’s Your Marketing Plan And Strategy For This Year?
I always get a good feeling of having the possibility to “start fresh” at the beginning of a new year.
It feels kind of MAGIC!
I think about what habits I should get rid of, what habits I should improve or develop…. (and that I should eat less candy and exercise more…. and all those things)!
Business wise, it’s really useful to take a couple of hours or a weekend and reflect on what worked for you the last year and what didn’t. And then write down a Marketing Plan.
It will help you figure out what you need to do, how to do it and when to do it.
A Marketing Plan sounds like a lot of work, but you only need to do what’s necessary for your unique business.
Basically, most important is to define your positioning, values and USP, describe your product’s benefits and what problems it solves, describe your perfect customer, set marketing goals and outline specific actions you plan to take to market your product or service to potential customers, so that you’ll reach your goals.
Treat your Marketing Plan as a “living document”. It’s a plan, and it needs to be reviewed against the set goals. If your marketing efforts don’t generate the results you want, you must be willing to enhance or redirect your plan.
If you want to elaborate, here is an overview on topics that are often included in a Marketing Plan:
First of all, before writing a Marketing Plan, you must begin with thorough market research.
It includes researching the market that is currently buying the products or services you sell; the demographics, needs/ problems, buying decisions etc. You must also research what products are out there now, what’s the competition offering. And what is the current sales in the industry? Market trends? Depending on your business, it may also include researching suppliers you will need to rely on.
Here is an example of what a solid Marketing Plan includes:
- Summary and Introduction: an overview of the main points of the plan, also reflect on what you’ve done the last year and your mission and vision for the upcoming year (you write this when you’ve completed the Marketing Plan)
- Products and Services: describe your products and/ or services, what problem does your product/ service solve, what are the benefits, what does the market currently use, what do they need above and beyond current use?
- Competition: describe your competitors, what makes you stand apart from them, what’s your unique selling proposition?
- Target Markets: define your target market(s) and avatar(s), demographics, behavior etc, so that you know where to commit resources and what kinds of promotional methods and messages to use
- Pricing, Positioning and Branding: establish strategies for determining the price of your products, where your product will be positioned in the market and how you will achieve brand awareness
- Market Analysis: a situation analysis and a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) of internal and external factors, the products, the market, trends, your competitors, legislation etc.
- Budget: what’s your budget for marketing campaigns, marketing collateral, events etc.
- Marketing Goals: establish quantifiable marketing goals, divide them into weekly, monthly, quarterly and for the whole year. Your goals may be measured by number or new customers, sales and profits (you can also set goals for brand awareness, customer satisfaction, increased market share etc.) The goals you set will help you understand if your plan and marketing efforts are working or not.
- Market Strategies: the marketing and promotion strategies you want to use or consider using, to reach your marketing goals. E.g. networking, direct marketing (sales letters, brochures and flyers), advertising (online and offline), personal selling, press releases, training programs, trade shows, events, web site, blogging and social media
- Marketing Calender: marketing activities and events month-by-month, including a budget
- Tracking and Evaluation: plans and procedures for tracking each type of marketing activity you are using. You can e.g. track sales, leads and visitors to your website, percent of sales to impressions, you can track ads’ performance, survey customers etc.
References used for Marketing Plan: Laura Lake, visit marketing.about.com
and Michael Fleishner, visit www.businessknowhow.com/marketing/marketing-plan.htm
When it comes to a Home Business, here are some strategic questions you should consider:
- How does the “bigger picture” of your market look today, any major changes during the last year, new innovations, trends, competitors, way of distribution, price situation? What threats and possibilities do you see?
- Do you have a good marketing strategy in place or should you tweak it or try something new?
- Is your position in the market aka your branding where you want it to be?
- Your target audience – do you need to make any changes?
- Lead generation – do you have a good strategy and system in place for lead generation, or will you set up a new lead generation system?
- Your choice of traffic source for online lead generation – will you continue using the same one(-s) as last year or change to another one or add another one?
- What are your goals (quarterly and for the year) in i.a. leads, customers and sales
- What are your objectives (weekly and monthly) in i.a. leads, customers and sales
If you think this over at the beginning of the year, and you outline a PLAN to follow, you’ll know where you’re going and what goals you want to reach.
This will help you to stay focused and to work SMARTER!
It will also help you to avoid getting caught up in new “shiny objects”. There are so many distractions out there!
You should also set up a Marketing Calender (a Marketing Campaign Overview) for the year. This will help you to plan your marketing and work better. Also make a budget for your campaigns.
And finally, make sure you have an Action Plan.
This will help you immensely to get the right things done each and every day without feeling overwhelmed or stressed!
If you want some more tips on how to work smarter with your home business, click here:
If you’ve found this article valuable, I’d appreciate it if you Like and SHARE it with your Home Biz friends! And if YOU have a tip with regards to writing a Marketing Plan, please share it in the comments section!
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