The Essential Ingredients of a Marketing Plan



    Many businesses do lots of marketing but still aren't clear about what goes into a marketing plan. It's unlikely that you'll see great results without a well-conceived overall strategy behind your marketing campaigns. What exactly do you need to put together such a strategy? Let's look at the essential ingredients of a marketing plan


    Create a Marketing Budget

    Your marketing budget sets the parameters for your actions. Some marketing tasks require a substantial budget, while others are quite economical. Your budget also determines whether you handle tasks yourself, hire staff, or use a marketing agency. If you decide that a certain marketing strategy is essential for growing your business, the best course might be to seek additional funding for this purpose.

    Some businesses prefer to keep costs down and invest profits in marketing. Keep in mind that what really counts is your ROI. Saving money by holding back on advertising or trying to do everything yourself saves money in the short-term but may limit your results in the long run. 


    Identify Your Target Audience

    In order to create a marketing plan, you need a target audience. For some businesses, this is extremely focused. If you sell a variety of goods and services, you'll have segmented audiences for different products. In either case, it's essential to identify a target audience for each marketing campaign. This is clearly illustrated if you advertise on platforms such as Google AdWords or Facebook Ads, where you create a distinct ad campaign with certain keywords. The same approach, however, is also necessary for content marketing, SEO, and any other marketing tactics.


    Define Your Goals

    What do you want to achieve with your marketing? It's not enough to identify a general goal such as "more sales." Decide what you'd like to accomplish in the next six months or year, such as a 25% increase in sales, 5,000 subscribers to your mailing list, or 200% more engagement on your Facebook page. Make your goals realistic based on your current results and budget.


    Choose Your Tactics

    Your marketing plan consists of specific techniques. Your goals, budget, and target audience must all be considered when you make this decision. It's important to do plenty of research to find out the most effective ways to reach your target market. B2B marketers, for example, will find LinkedIn a good source for leads. If your audience is young, mobile marketing, Snapchat and Instagram are worth considering. 


    Map Out Your Customer's Journey

    The customer's journey consists of the various stages in the sales process. One ingredient of your marketing plan is to list these stages and find the best techniques to move people from one point to the next. Customers may start their journey by seeing an ad, blog post, video, or social media post. Your job is to get them to take the next step and avoid losing them along the way.

    You need a different approach for each stage in the journey. Once someone visits your website, the next step might be remarketing ads. Email subscribers will receive different emails based on their actions. If your business sells products in different price ranges, you might upsell customers from cheaper products to costlier ones. 


    Test Your Results

    Until you test your marketing strategies, you're working on theory, even if it's based on solid research. Testing every action lets you know whether to continue along that path or make changes. You might find, for example, that certain social media sites aren't worth pursuing. Different headlines, emails, keywords, or subjects will perform better than others. The results of your tracking will probably cause you to rethink and adjust your marketing plan, which is a natural part of the process.


    To learn more about how to increase executing a great marketing strategy, give us a call or send us a note today at Small Dog Creative 661-702-1310! 

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