What is a Marketing Plan and How to Create One in 2021 [Free Template]
Marketing, as well as a marketing plan, in general, is like having a purse to keep your coins in.
It sure ain’t necessary, but you would be lost without it.
But, much like buying a purse, marketing requires research, techniques, trials, errors… Or simply a marketing plan that will help you get through with all of that in a no-muss, no-fuss kind of way.
Which is the point where most brands fail, really.
Creating a marketing plan is not an easy process since there are quite a few marketing plan tactics out there. But I’m here to give you the full picture.
So, let’s cut to the chase and see exactly how you can go from a simple social media marketing plan to a full-blown and beautiful marketing plan template and strategy.
What Is a Marketing Plan?
It wouldn’t be prudent of me to begin describing what something as complex as a marketing plan is, without giving a definition first.
And you know how much I like making things easier for you.
Marketing Plan: A Definition
The best way to define a marketing plan is the following:
A marketing plan is a representation of your overall marketing strategy through the marketing actions you’re ready and willing to take.
This pretty much means that a marketing plan can span anywhere from reporting a year’s worth of actions to a month’s worth of actions.
Now, this may sound like a fairly easy task, but it’s everything but that.
A marketing plan will require for you to sit down and do some next-level thinking, as you’ll need to clearly define a thing or two:
- You’ll need to pinpoint your target audience and your potential customers.
- Make sure to have a clear-as-day view of your place in your niche.
- Now set specific KPIs that you’ll have to be tracking.
- Be relevant and timely when it comes to completing your marketing plan’s business goals.
Not too difficult, right? Not something you haven’t already done when attending a meeting and pinpointing your marketing efforts.
Well… This is neither here nor there, really. Your marketing plan is meant to get you to your goal in a way that is as obstacle-free as possible but only in theory.
In practice, things tend to get a little more complicated. You see, what worked two years ago will definitely not work now.
For example, a social media marketing plan would consist of fancy videos and influencer posts a couple of years ago.
Now, you’ll need to add landing pages, you’ll need specific typography that will entice specific people, AI, the works!
It may sound very complicated, but it really is not. However, why is this marketing plan so needed, in order to penetrate your target market?
Marketing Plan: Why You Need It
A marketing plan is pretty much the only option you have if you want to make sure that your marketing budget will be used wisely and that you won’t waste money on anything other than your goals.
This can really go a long way, seeing as you can really establish yourself as an authority in your target market just by using it to reach your goals.
What is more, a marketing plan will ensure that you will manage to tackle any and all problems that may arise, by remaining focused on a very specific, very clear goal.
Of course, in order to achieve focusing on your marketing strategy, you need, as I mentioned above, to be clear on a thing or two. One of those is your competitive advantage.
In other words, what you bring to the table when it comes to your target market and how what you bring to the table can boost and be boosted by your own advantage.
Of course, for a marketing plan to actually work, you’ll need to have everyone on the same page. Which is one of the added benefits of a marketing strategy like that one.
If everyone shares the same vision as you and if everyone agrees on the various aspects of the marketing plan, then you make sure that you can move forward with a clear, focused goal and cooperation between teams and individuals.
Mission vs Vision
How are you going to create a marketing plan template and align your marketing efforts, your social media marketing, your marketing goals, and everything else, without having a clear mission first?
More importantly, how are you going to take advantage of your market share and entice your target audience with your beautiful business plan, if there is no vision in your actions?
Let me get things clear for you, then.
What Is a Mission Statement?
Your mission statement and, by extension, your mission itself, is the solution your business is there to provide to your target market.
We’re an email marketing and marketing automation platform. Our mission is to help you take your marketing game to the next level. And this can happen by providing any type of automation you’ll ever need.
This type of innovative thinking is our solution to the market’s problem and the benefit we’ll provide to our customer base. A small business can benefit just as much as a larger one and can see a huge return on investment with our platform.
So, our mission statement is:
Are we good on that one? Great, now let’s move on to our vision.
What Is Your Vision?
The vision of your business is pretty much what you’re planning on doing in the future, in order to enhance your marketing objectives and reach your goals. In other words, taking your features and functions to a whole other level-a better one of course.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you need to be vague, not in a billion years! Explain where you see yourself in say one year or five years or even six months.
But the key here is to really get into it. The clearer your vision, the clearer your goals. The clearer your goals, the easier it will be for you and your team to come up with actions. The more specific the actions, the better for you.
And remember, if your mission and vision somehow fail, try again. Test and repeat as many times as possible, in order to come up with new marketing activities and marketing strategies and, in the end, perfect your marketing plan as a whole.
How to Create a Marketing Plan
So… How are you going to create your marketing plan and portray your marketing strategy, marketing goals and KPIswithout confusing everyone or, even worse, making everyone super bored?
If you can’t entice the people you’ve got common ground and goals with, don’t expect to entice new customers. This really is the point in time where you should get creative.
How SMART Are You?
Before I get too in depth when it comes to creating a marketing plan, I want you to know one very specific, very important thing. How to be SMART.
Actions are taken in order for you to reach specific goals. So, you need to be specific.
Have all the details that will enable you to go through the actions you need to go through. More importantly, the details will help you foresee specific problems or grab an opportunity right at the time it presents itself.
You need your goals to be measurable, i.e. to be portrayed by a metric. For example, you need to measure your ROI but your Instagram impressions don’t really matter at this stage.
Your goals need to be actionable, attainable. You can use up all your data and information to actually improve all the pain points that need to be improved. If you can’t act upon your goal because, say, there’s too much human factor in it, then you don’t need it.
You’ll need to be as relevant as possible. Your product or service needs to be able to solve an actual problem in your niche.
And finally, make sure for everything to be time-bound. A specific objective should be created in a way that will allow you and/or your team to complete it at a specific time-frame.
That way, your marketing plan will work like a Swiss watch!
Marketing Plan Summary
The first thing you need. The most important component, the one that will be able to showcase your goals, strengths, weaknesses, marketing materials you’ve used, your content strategy, your digital marketing efforts, your…
Okay, okay, I’m overreacting, this is not exactly it, but let me be more thorough and specific.
You’ll need a great, creative marketing plan summary to begin with. I was pretty darn honest when talking about showcasing your goals through the summary. This is what its primary function is, after all.
Begin with the introduction. Set the scene, update everyone on who you are. Then show them what you ought to do from this point onward as a team.
Is search engine marketing your primary marketing goal? State it.
Is a better marketing program your secondary goal? Here’s your time to shine.
What is the current situation? Describe it.
You’ll need to include your marketing goals, KPIs, future goals you’ll need to reach, your mission statement, your vision… And more. But in a way that will be brief and, most importantly, concise and comprehensive.
You need enough information to make the reader and/or listener feel like they need to know more. Not because they’ve got questions they need to answer though.
Oh and another thing, while we’re still on the topic of your marketing plan’s summary: This is the proper moment for you to set the tone of your marketing plan but also your brand as a whole.
Again, you’ll have to check your target market and think about what your prospects would love to hear, in conjunction, of course, with your own product and the solutions it provides.
So, are you a jokester that likes to have fun? Are you serious and professional? Are you a creative forward thinker?
Whatever it is, your answer should be portrayed here.
Set the Goals
So, is your marketing plan summary well in place? Is it great and showcases your exact marketing strategy, goals and even helps you sort out your marketing campaign.
Now Goals. Marketing goals are the second step you’ll need to take when it comes to creating the perfect marketing plan. So… What are your goals?
Do you need Google to notice you? Do you need to target customers with offline guerilla tactics?
Are you not sure about what your buyers need? Then, create buyer personas and, after that, go and take a deep dive into your data.
Maybe your buyer personas are not the “types” to love guerilla marketing tactics or maybe your data shows that your actual consumers won’t bother so much with Google search (highly unlikely but hey, you just never know).
This is why you need to check your data first, before doing anything else. This is crucial, in order for you to be able to create your marketing plan and achieve your marketing goals.
Be specific. Doing some market research will also prove to be your friend.
What you need to remember is that you’ll need to implement an AI tool to help you out with everything. Then, make sure to combine the results and take your time.
Using data is no easy task of course. It takes a lot of time and effort to make sure that you’re looking where you’re supposed to look. However, this is what will help you ultimately set your goals and then take it from there.
Just be clear and specific with your needs. This will be the only way for you to reach your marketing goals in the long run.
And when I say clear, I mean crystal clear with actual specific numbers you’d like to see and all. So, avoid things like:
- Create a better social media strategy
- Create a content marketing strategy that will make posts go viral
- Increase website traffic
- Increase customer satisfaction
Those goals don’t speak with numbers and don’t tell you exactly what you need to know. Instead, opt for something more like the following:
- Increase website traffic by 20% by November 2020
- Create content that boosts engagement by 30% by May 2021
And so on and so forth, until you’ve created a goal and found the KPIs that go with each one and the marketing channel each goal dictates that you should utilize.
Talk Money to Them
Numbers are cool and all, of course. Everyone wants to see their key metrics go up, up, uppity. On the other hand, what does that even mean?
Next in order of business, we’ve got the how and why your efforts and KPIs (need to) translate to pure unadulterated revenue.
Up first goes the fact that you need to have a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) into place, in order to be set apart from everyone else.
This is what will set you apart from the competition.
Your USP is practically something that your product or service does, something that nobody else can do. Check this out:
This is something you’ve heard before, correct? Well, the fact is that M&M’s slogan and USP has been around since the ‘40s, so… This is what you need to portray.
Essentially, your USP is what you’ll be known for, but in ten words or less.
Now, you may very well wonder why the heck would someone buy just because of a fancy USP. The best marketing team in the world might’ve thought of that, this doesn’t mean it’s convincing.
Well, you need another component for that one, called special offers.
Special offers are there to entice and convince new customers as well as old ones.
And of course, they can be anything. From a free trial to a loyalty program or a package for your favorite recurring peeps, make sure that your marketing plan covers it all.
Including the way, you’re planning to distribute the goodies, whatever those may be.
Your distribution plan needs to cover the way your customers are going to buy. So, will it be through online purchase or through a brick-and-mortar store?
Your data will help you here as well, seeing as you’ll need to check the way your potential customers typically go about their purchases.
Of course, this is not all it, as you need to somehow sustain that traffic and use all materials in your marketing mix in order to keep that revenue coming. Correct?
This is where partnerships come in. You’ll need to come up with a plan that will allow you to join forces with other businesses. Preferably those that would provide a product similar or complementary to yours.
Potential customers always look for a good deal or combo that could give them more for less.
Is your brand an accessories brand? Then partner up with a brand that strictly sells clothes. promote your project to those prospects that will find it beneficial.
Make a huge announcement through your email marketing campaign, as well as your social media campaigns, and offer discounts to those that would purchase even more products. That way, you’ll get them to invest in your product more easily.
Not to mention that partnerships are a fantastic way to convert your partner’s customers into yours-thus acquiring new customers-and keep your old ones happy at the same time!
And that’s on how a partnership can bring forth retention, along with other techniques. Email newsletters, the loyalty program I mentioned before, and even special discounts on products that will be replenished are on the table.
Competition, Personas, and All That Jazz
Now, how are you going to talk money, work your SEO magic and bring forth a marketing plan example (not the finalized marketing plan, not even close to that), if you haven’t done the most important thing: Some competition research and marketing analysis.
But first of all, have you even decided who your competitors are? Because you know… Sometimes the real devil is not where you’d expect him to be. Kind of like…
So, nothing’s stopping you from researching every nook and cranny you can find, checking what other business owners and competitors in and out of your niche do and coming up with the solution they haven’t yet thought of.
In the above example, what Netflix needs is content so compelling and engaging, one won’t ever stop watching. No wonder Netflix is what binge-watching dreams are made of!
So, well-thought-of research is what will lead you to the next step. Don’t be curious, you’ll see what that one is, later!
What will you need now? Surveys, social media posts that will be asking for feedback, checking out customer reviews-both yours and the competitors’-are just some of the things you’ll need to do.
Be proactive. Your competitors’ marketing emails and social media profiles are right there where you can see them.
Analyze every bit of information you can find. Check the tone of their posts. Is it imperative, friendly, or just too darn professional?
More importantly, what is every post trying to achieve?
Check out things like their marketing strategy, as portrayed on their social media and blog posts, their growth rate-annual, monthly, whatever suits you-, their SEO efforts as portrayed on their website and blog, their content and social media marketing strategy, the number of different types of customers each post would appeal to…
Once you’ve got that type of info in your hands, dive deep into your own data-yes again!-and cross-check anything you can.
Allow your AI to take over, let it trace the invisible patterns, and stop only when you’ve managed to create a buyer persona that will be so darn close to the original buyer that will make creating content feel like a one-on-one conversation with them.
Have you gotten the hang of that now? Great, so what is it that you’ve taken notes on when trying to outline your buyer persona and identifying your ideal customer?
- What is it that they’re after?
- What is their income level?
- Are they single, married?
- What are their occupation and educational background?
- What are their activities?
- Most importantly, is your product going to make them feel like they’re a better version of themselves?
Those questions will show the exact type of personality your ideal customer has. This is what will lead them to find use in your product.
Don’t look for just one customer persona though. You need more than a couple. More than a couple of customers, all with different needs, are going to look into your product.
And, of course, they’ll be the reason for some pretty thorough segmentation of your marketing campaigns, including, and most especially, your email marketing ones.
The Metrics You’ll Need to Check
And here we are on a topic that is bitter for some, fantastic and straightforward for others: metrics. What you need to keep in mind and what is pure vanity and, therefore, not needed.
The reason why it’s a little bit of a bitter subject is the fact that you can never be sure unless you’ve set up specific goals as I mentioned before. So, don’t beat around the bush for that one.
An increase in social media engagement and a great social media marketing plan will be measured by the number of comments and social shares, whereas your virality as a whole will be shared by the quality and quantity of website visitors-not just one or the other.
But there are metrics you’ll need to check, in order to make sure that you can actually reach the goals you’ve set and make great use of your KPIs.
One of those is your Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC). You need to calculate that, to make sure you actually have a tight grip on your perception of expenses. This metric will also allow you to see exactly how effective your marketing strategy is.
Moving on to your Net Promoter Score (NPS). This number is essentially what will make or break your fame, your word-of-mouth marketing efforts, the hows, and whys through which one would decide to become your brand’s ambassador by suggesting you to a friend.
Bounce rate, conversion rate and time spent on website are some other metrics to take into account, as those will allow you to see two things, the first one being how well-executed your SEO really is when it comes to your website, and the second one is how helpful and sales-oriented your website really is.
By combining those three metrics with a heat-map, you’ll have way more insight into the actions you’ll need to perform. And the things you’ll need to change.
Of course, I could never forget your Return On Investment (ROI). This is one of the biggest ones and an absolute must-have when it comes to tracking metrics.
Your ROI can show you exactly how much money each one of your investments makes and will ultimately pinpoint where and how your marketing budget should be allocated, as well as the actions that bring back revenue while being cost-effective.
For example, email marketing’s ROI is 400%, making email marketing one of the best investments when it comes to your overall marketing strategy.
And for now, I think we’re good on that topic. Moving on to…
What Does Your Marketing Plan Template Say About You?
As you know, looks may be deceiving but a proper executive summary and an even more proper marketing plan template can say a whole bunch of things about the brand in question.
So… What do you need to include in your marketing plan template in order to make it irresistible?
Sounds fancy, doesn’t it? SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
In other words, a SWOT analysis is a way to take a look at your brand and your actions as a whole, rather than just what you need to do.
So, you’ve got the Strengths of your product or service over your competitors’ product. What are those? How can you build a whole marketing campaign based on them? Find a way to improve those strengths and another way to play on your competitors’ weaknesses.
Next up on our acronym are your own Weaknesses. So, let’s see… How can you improve your product? Or maybe you need to improve your entire approach? Maybe the Big Boss Bowser is none of the obvious competitors but a secondary one?
By looking into your weaknesses, you can improve your product but also, you can constantly update your competitors’ list, making it more comprehensive and leaving zero room for error.
As for the Opportunities… This could be anything that enables you to move forward and penetrate your target market and stay there.
From providing your target market with a previously unheard of solution, to creating a feature that will be better than what your competitors have, every little “hole” in the market is an opportunity. One for you to shine.
And finally, we’ve got the Threats. This is the section to analyze all of the bosses as well as the Bowser to your own brand’s Super Mario.
So, what do we need to do here? Well, you’ll need to take the following things into consideration: the marketing trends-those that seem to arise as well-, the socio-economic parameters that may or may not be able to influence the well-being of your product, brand, and, of course, your own target market, the economy itself, as this will help you set your prices…
Oh, of course, you need to know all about the laws and regulations of each and every country, the target market of which you’re planning to penetrate.
Are they ready, in terms of product, to buy from you? Is it ethical to buy from you? All these are considered threats and could potentially harm you if you don’t take them into account.
Now, your SWOT analysis is there to help you sort out those key components and create clear, actionable objectives that can both benefit you and actually work while taking all of the parameters you need into account.
What is more, your SWOT analysis will help you sort out your USP, especially if you’re strict and insightful when it comes to analyzing your strengths and weaknesses.
For example, if you combine your core strengths with your core threats, you can come up with a tagline as fantastic as the M&M’s one I mentioned above.
Of course, your SWOT analysis isn’t there to just help you sort out the key components of your strategy.
It’s also there to serve as an eye-opener. By pinpointing things for your business that are as crucial as what can elevate you and what can drag you down, you can understand exactly how you’re different from the competition, the exact pain points of your target market, and your exact position in it.
Word of warning, though: Your SWOT analysis can and probably will get too extensive. Try to keep it simple for the better part, without being vague though.
Oh and a pro tip here: Do yourself and your marketing team a favor and try doing a SWOT analysis for the different components of your overall marketing plan.
Yes, I will babble a little longer about how well you need to know your competitors, but hear me out on that one.
Analyzing your competitors’ moves can be super rewarding for your business and it can save you a lot of time and effort in the future, as plenty of brands have similar marketing strategies.
Just don’t pick just about any competitor, you’ll need to play with the big boys first. Unless using their knowledge and insights makes zero sense for your business, in which case, look for the competitor whose strategy does make sense.
If you do it properly, your competitor’s analysis can give you data to back up your claims-or come up with a new plan, you never know-, actually lead you to your Aha! moment, where your USP will actually be the most obvious thing in the world, even help you better your product in a way you didn’t expect or develop it far beyond what you had imagined.
Competitive analysis can also help you with promoting your product’s core characteristics, putting all of your focus to those aspects your target audience actually values, even set the ideal KPIs by following your competitor’s lead.
The only issue here is that a lot of all of that is on a trial-and-error basis
Oh, and there is another thing. Competitor analysis may be useful but sometimes and for some brands, it ends up being the be-all-end-all of their marketing game.
I would very much like to stress out that your competitor analysis should be nothing of the sort.
Building a product and keeping up with what others are developing is one thing. But evolving just to trump competitors is nowhere near right when it comes to actual growth.
Also, let me tell you a thing or two about direct and indirect competitors now. Direct competitors are the ones that provide the same thingie as you to the same people like you for the same reason as you.
However, there can be differences when it comes to the problem you’re solving, the customers you’re talking to or the solution you’re proposing.
Now, as for your indirect competitors… These can be tricky and go under the radar fairly easily. Your indirect competitors are those whose products may not be serving the same purpose as yours and whose target market may not even be the same as yours.
However, indirect competitors can have the type of influence that will allow them to expand and take over your own niche as well.
Look at Uber for example. It took over the food delivery industry with UberEats, competing against services like DoorDash and GrubHub, the function of which was niche-specific.
Make sure to always be thorough when conducting something as serious as competitor analysis and expect the unexpected.
Target Market Analysis
Again, study your prospects and study hard. Your potential customers are those that will actually help you understand who it is that you’re selling to.
So, who’s your prospect? How old are they? What are their interests? Does their educational level matter? What is their occupation and how much spare time do they have during the day?
Once you’ve got all the answers to that, move on to the next question:
What do they like? What would they buy, but most importantly, when would they buy it? Would they find replenishing the product useful? What about a loyalty program, would it be beneficial? Could your product be considered a one-off?
Oh and what about your marketing materials? What would they like to see? How are you going to promote your product and how is it going to work for you? Are they most interested in something more guerilla? Will social media work better in the end?
And finally, why would they ever bother to buy your product instead of someone else’s and where would they buy it from? Do you need an online store, would that help them better?
In order to answer those questions, a questionnaire should be in order, as well as some social media posts that would give great insight.
And of course, let’s never forget about your data, which is what will give you unique insights into this aspect.
A questionnaire can be ignored and a social media post could get lost because of the algorithm but AI never lies, remember that.
The perfect calendar is not the one you’re creating on Google Calendar or using Excel sheets.
Rather, it’s the one that’s well-thought-out and has great content ideas that are timely and relevant, much like everything else needs to be when it comes to a proper marketing plan.
Let’s Talk Content Calendar
In our case, your marketing calendar is something that will make or break your content and marketing efforts as a whole. So, the best thing to do is to start with a pretty good cycle. And here’s what I mean.
Start with your keyword research and create your own ideas to match those keywords. Remember, content is nothing in this case if it doesn’t follow some SEO principles.
So, done with your keywords? Great. Break up your content ideas into small, actionable bits and pieces to put into your marketing calendar. One social media post here. One blog post after a couple of days and so on and so forth.
Make sure to use up the small bits of content there, whether they’re social media posts or a simple and plain small newsletter or announcement.
That way, you’ll be able to actually see the keywords that perform better in your niche, gather all of the data you’ll need to gather and create your larger piece of content to put in your calendar or modify it accordingly.
In order to create a marketing calendar that will actually work, you’ll need to, again, know your audience, your keywords, and study your data. If, for example, your audience loves shampoos and you’re selling cosmetic products in general, starting off on that would be a food idea.
And you don’t need to go big on the first try just to impress people. A survey on which shampoo scent people love needs to precede the influencer video on the shampoo scent they love to use (and you’d love for your audience to buy)
Sharing small digestible bits of content will keep your audience on their toes and will give you valuable insight by showing you the ways people are able to actually react to stimuli content-wise.
But… I bet you’re still feeling lost on what to actually include in your marketing calendar.
Let me tell you, then.
Make sure to answer every possible question your target audience may have about you and your niche. This is what will shape, along with your keywords, your content as a whole. Do they have a question on how soap can be made and not damage the skin? Well, here’s a blog post for ya!
Those answers will shape your marketing calendar and evergreen content, which is very important as it can be broken down into bits and reused.
Let’s Talk Social Media Calendar
In this case, things may get a wee bit more complicated.
Yes, content is content and all and we’ve covered that aspect, but your social media calendar needs a little more planning than that. So… You may know what to write but what else do you need?
First of all, always always think seasonal. Is it Valentine’s day? Use your social media to promote a couples activity, for example.
Is it close to summer? Where’s your summer profile picture and summer content?
Okay, let’s get a little more specific though.
Have you set a goal? If so, what is it? Do you need more engagement? Well, go seasonal (like I described above)
Do you need to raise awareness about an event you’re hosting? Create a banner for that little bugger and use it as your cover photo.
Are you celebrating a milestone? Mark that on your calendar then and make sure to create content that will portray that.
Are you just starting? Well, mark every itty bitty thingie on your calendar then!
And make sure to not go overboard when it comes to posting. This is what a calendar is here for, after all, to help you mark the whens and wheres and help you not look spammy or too demanding of attention.
Same goes for the ads you’re going to run on social media of course. You’ll need to mark those as well on a calendar and act accordingly. Kind of like that:
You can see how there is a clear method in setting the goals and the way your digital communication works and there is clear prioritization as far as the hows, whys, and wheres of your social media posts.
Oh, and don’t forget the tools on the right!
Since I mentioned tools, I can’t just sit silent as far as the budget is concerned. And while I’ll get a little more specific in a little bit, let me just tell you that with all of his planning and execution going on, one would think that your marketing budget would be blown way out of proportion.
So, I’d advise that you just start small and free and build yourself up.
Email Marketing Calendar
What, you thought that content and social media are just… It? That we wouldn’t talk about email marketing?
Again, content aside, you need to pick and choose your actions in a way that will make sense calendar-wise at least. So, let’s see…
Do you need to generate more leads with your email campaigns? Fantastic, check your content calendar, see what can be aligned with your effort and create your subscription forms, CTAs and everything and anything you may need.
Make a mark on your calendar to create a landing page or two and make sure to give them a little touch of gamification-if you’ve studied landing page trends carefully, you’ll know.. This will be more than enough, not to mention more than interesting, in order to generate more leads.
Another action to keep in mind would be your users’ engagement. Again, gamification on that one can go a real long way, especially if this engagement is upping your click-through rate as well.
A gamified email that will lead onto the website and a little challenge here and there will also increase time spent on your website. Which is exactly what you need.
If your goal is lead nurturing, make a note on your calendar to create newsletters with a hidden Easter egg-an offer, up- or cross-sell or a recommendation would be perfect in that case-and be clear that one can unsubscribe at any time.
Just set your automated campaigns according to the “nurturing” you’d like to do and you’re good to go.
Of course, each and every thingie mentioned above is time-sensitive. If you’re planning to send out a newsletter, make sure to make it a good and, most importantly, a timely one!
Create posts, emails and content that will be leading up to a great announcement, if that’s what the next step in your marketing plan is.
And make sure to always segment based on geo-location. This will prove to be great in the long run. After all, nobody likes landing in a full inbox and being all the way down at the bottom.
But let’s move a little bit to something that can be a pain all on its own…
Overall Marketing Budget
This is something that will be directly derived from your marketing plan as a whole.
Since the goals your marketing plan includes are both quantitative and strategic, you need to have both strategies and rock-solid numbers down in order to make everything come together nicely.
What do I mean by that? Well, you need to know exactly how much profit you want to make, how many new customers you want to acquire, how many repeaters you need in order to get recurring revenue, and how many channels you need to utilize.
So, let’s say that you’ve got a small budget and want to build your way upwards… There are many free tools that can ease your worries, like the following:
- Buffer: For impeccably organized social media posts
- Google Analytics: Everyone’s favorite traffic tool
- WordPress: For fantastic blog posts
The list goes on and on, but you get the gist. So, make sure to cut down on your expenses by using free tools where you can and getting the paid tools if you can afford it and find it useful.
Now, another thing you need to pinpoint when it comes to your overall marketing budget would be your top projects.
You see, not every project in your marketing plan will be of the same importance. Therefore, you’ll need to prioritize.
The ones that will get you places need to be the ones that will have the lion’s share when it comes to spending your budget.
If you need to go viral through engagement on social media, this is exactly where you’re going to put your money.
But, of course, it’s not really that simple, this is why you’ll need all hands on deck for that one. All of your teams will need to contribute and, most of all in that case, your sales team, seeing as your bottom line is what is going to ultimately increase your marketing budget next time.
You’ll need to calculate your marketing metrics carefully for that one but also, you’ll need to enhance your sales techniques.
Which is why I would like to close that chapter off by referring to one of my most beloved marketing techniques that can actually help your marketing budget grow.
Like Jack’s beanstalk.
Provided they’re used correctly.
Yes I know, the suspense is killing you, of course I’m talking about the AIDA model. AIDA stands for:
The posts will grab a user’s attention. The content will spike their interests. A great USP will drive desire. And your prices will spark action.
But in order for the AIDA model to happen and be effective, you need a squeaky clean and sparkly marketing plan and your marketing budget to be right on point.
In other words, a dull and ill-timed post will be left unseen at best.
Content that is not SEO optimized and doesn’t answer user questions will be just… Well, content. Nothing more, nothing less.
A USP that doesn’t appear to cover a gap in your niche market won’t create desire.
And, in the end, if you believe in the wrong project, one that wouldn’t, at this point, be a part of the SMART model, you won’t get your money’s worth. At all.
But we’re not done here… Not yet at least. Because there are a couple more things you need to know about the perfect marketing plan template.
The Importance of Visuals and Copywriting
What, you thought visuals were important only in your marketing campaigns and that copy was good only for content marketing and social media posts?
Please do not say yes…
The fact that humans are visual types is something that has been proven time and time again, seeing as vision is the sense that is most prominent, and visual content can keep one’s attention for longer.
The Importance of Visuals
A beautiful visual or one that is very close to your brand’s tone can benefit your teams greatly, as it’s easier to engage with and easier to remember.
Let me give you a “for instance”:
This is an example from our very own, very fantastic “The Ultimate Buyer Personas Guide To Skyrocket Your Revenue” article.
So, when I first began reading about buyer personas, it wasn’t too easy for me to put a face to the name (or name to the face? Not sure what would be more fitting in that case). But this image above made it pretty clear for me.
And triggered my reaction, seeing as I wanted to name those people and give them jobs and educational backgrounds and study their personas.
So, visuals make people take action. Also, visuals make people remember, imagine, and create.
In other words, engage with them. Images tell stories and at this stage, your marketing plan’s visuals need to be telling the story of how you grew and achieved greatness.
Come up with a visual story that will be showcasing exactly how you’re planning to achieve marketing greatness through your marketing plan.
Your marketing plan template needs to be visually appealing and stimulating. Meaning that it needs to be telling a story to your teams.
Pie charts and all types of charts are your friends in that case. They’ll help your teams digest all the information they’ll need to digest and actually remember their own goals and tasks.
Of course, if your visuals are important, then your copy is important-er. Or maybe I am the one biased here.
The Importance of Copywriting
No great story ever started with someone saying “Guys our marketing goals for this year are XYZ”.
No way, you need to engage your teams the way you’d engage your target audience and that’s an undoubted fact.
Copywriting is everything when it comes to creating your executive summary, your punchlines, your USP, coming up with your targets, and actually putting your thoughts into words.
A marketing plan is no place to babble, but it is a place to tell a story through strategically placed copy, scattered among the visuals.
Tell the story of how your brand can answer the customers’ prayers. Use words as per the AIDA model, to entice your marketing team first, before doing this to anyone else.
More importantly, manage to portray your numbers and charts in a way that will make sense, using words that will be crafting a story.
Because at this stage, it’s not just that you’ve got a crowd to please. You’ve got your own team and you need to plant the vision of growth into their head.
Marketing Plan Strategy: The 7 P’s Formula
Last but not least, I’ve got to tell you a thing or two about your marketing mix.
In other words, the 7 P’s formula will help you evaluate, redesign, and, eventually, go forth with all of the marketing actions your marketing plan dictates.
What are those 7 P’s though? Let me tell you and give a brief explanation for each one.
So, you’ve got those little fellows you need to take into consideration since those P’s interact with one another:
You may know all about it, but at this stage, you need to think as someone who has no idea what your product is and what problems it can solve.
Take a step back and ask yourself, is your product useful? Is it better than what your competitors offer? Can it be better than what they offer?
Now that you’ve answered the questions above, think of how much money you’d charge for your product. How rare is it?
Check it again and again and make sure that its value will actually be portrayed in the price.
Maybe you’re overcharging or maybe you’re giving away all the good stuff for free.
Maybe you need to come up with payment plans. If you see that people are hesitant to buy, then revisit the first P. Maye it’s your price or maybe it’s your market.
It may not be ready for you yet.
What if the problem is neither your product, nor your pricing?
Then check the third P. Marketers think of promotions constantly.
It’s only logical, especially since changing one little bit of how you promote can change the whole way your target market perceives you.
Where is your product? Where can I purchase it if I need it? Is that place costing your brand any money?
The location where your product is sold is of crucial importance. Imagine selling online when your target audience mainly consists of middle-aged people who don’t really buy online.
Imagine relying on telephone sales when your customer base won’t bother answering your phone calls.
Changing the place where one can find your product can actually make or break your revenue.
So, is changing the place going to help you? Maybe it can help you decrease your price and create a more lucrative deal.
It’s all about the visual aspect sometimes, and that P is no exception.
Check out what the packaging looks like.
Then, check out how much it costs.
Is the cost worth it? Are people going to be impressed enough to buy it? Is your packaging portraying the message you need it to portray?
Most importantly: Would you be able to tell the story of your brand through packaging alone?
Does your target audience love you? Does it hate you? What do they think about you and your brand?
This is positioning. Essentially, positioning can show you where you stand in your niche and the amount of authority you may or may not have.
If you love lasting impressions, think about what your target audience would say about you when you leave the room.
This will pinpoint the changes you need to make both in terms of product and when it comes to your marketing strategy as a whole
The last one of the P’s refers to your own essential peeps.
The people that will carry out the marketing actions that are required.
So, do you have all the right people in all the right places? Is your team all set and ready to drive growth?
Have you assigned, recruited, and trained all of the right people? Think about it. Maybe the answer is what keeps you away from growth.
Which Leads Us To…
A conclusion. Without clear goals, you can’t have a plan. Without a plan, you can’t have action.
And without the proper marketing plan template, you can get nowhere.
This is why our content upgrade is bound to get you somewhere and if that’s not enough the web is full of digital marketing tips that will help you grow your business!
But apart from checking it out, make sure that you comprehend more than just your target market and your marketing and business goals.
Make sure that you actually understand your product, your business, and your team, more than anything else.
After all, there is absolutely no reason to even try and take the world by storm if you don’t have something rock solid into place, that will, hopefully, help you grow and won’t make you waste your marketing budget entirely.