How to Create a Solid Marketing Plan

One of the most important pieces of your businessplanning is the marketing plan – how will you make sure customers know about what youhave to offer and want to buy it? The first step to creating a marketing planis to do some market research – you need to know who your ideal customer is and everythingthere is to know about what he or she needs, wants, does, spends, feels, acts like andwhere and when you can reach them.

You also need to know what your competitors are doingin the space so that you can effectively position yourself against them.

Next, you need to know your value proposition- you know who your customer is and what your competitors are offering them, so what valuedo you provide that they can't get anywhere else.

This is the key to your marketing, sodon't half-ass your value proposition.

And if you can't come up with one then you needto rethink your business or business model so that you're offering something of valueto potential customers.

Once you know who you're talking to and whatyou want to say to them, you have to figure out how to get the word out.

What channelsyou choose to market your business will depend on your industry, your target customer, andyour budget.

There a gazillion channels from traditional print media to TV to radio toonline ads to social media to guerilla marketing and many many more.

Take some time to sitdown, think about all of that market research you did before, and choose the avenue or avenuesthat will be most effective for reaching your ideal customer and will also fit within yourmarketing budget.

Next, you need to dig a little deeper andget specific about your marketing efforts.

Firstly, you need to set clear goals for yourself:a target number of sign-ups or purchases or dollar amount for revenues – generated directlyfrom your marketing efforts.

Then you need to plan your marketing strategy around gettingyou to those goals and you need to be specific.

For example, let's say you chose online bannerads and social media as your two channels for marketing your business.

You need to createan in-depth plan for each.

Saying you will use banner ads is not enough – what size ads,where will they be posted, what will the cost of customer acquisition be based on click-throughand conversion rates, etc – you have to get specific and make sure that the marketingbudget you set is in line with the revenue predictions you're making.

If you'll use socialmedia – what networks, what will you post, how often will you post, how will you drivecustomers from social media to the point of sale, etc.

Finally, remember to set in place a way oftracking your marketing campaigns' success.

What metrics will you track – and how often- to tell if your efforts are working.

How will you calculate ROI for more nebulous effortslike social media? If you don't design systems to track metrics and measure success, you'llnever have anything to compare to the goals you set at the beginning and will have noidea if your marketing efforts are succeeding or are just a huge money and time trap.

Creating a solid marketing plan is one ofthe most important aspects of a new company's business planning.

Relying on your productbeing so cool everyone will want it is not going to lead to success, so give the marketingplan the time and attention it deserves because without customers, you don't have a business.

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