When I thought about writing this blog post my intention was to provide and remind all small and medium sized businesses of the marketing tools that allows you to work more intentional and consistently in your marketing programs. This all started with my previous blog post about 6 key elements for creating your marketing strategy where I highlighted the benefits and the MUST have elements you should include when building one. Now, I want to share with you the 8 elements that you need for developing and completing your marketing plan.
- Define and be specific with your goals.
Always start by defining where do you want to go. Whether your goals are for awareness, acquisition, engagement or retention, I strongly recommend using the SMART methodology to assure they are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and within a timeframe.
- What audience do you want to target?
Your ideal client is not everyone who can see your ad or communication. You need to be specific about age, gender, position, income, location, but most importantly about hobbies, feelings and pain points. Avoid making the general definition, instead you want to go deeper. For that, you need to do research, research, research. Once you define you overall audience you can go even more specific for your content strategy, product development and every campaign or tactic.
- What is the message you want to spread?
Every campaign and tactic should be intentional and aligned with the goals you set before. Be consistent with your brand, content strategy, and your value proposition. Every piece of ad or communication requires a clear call to action, and be tied to your audiences pain points. For instance, you can craft all the message ideas classifying them into your brand pillars so you make sure you are keeping that consistency and getting the right message to the right audience.
- Which marketing tactics are you going to use?
When selecting or brainstorming the tactics or activities you aim to carry on, always think how the funnel is going to look like for your customers depending on the goal you want to achieve. Every activity you develop requires to have a clear outcome for your prospects, and what is going to happen once they complete the action you want to be completed.
- Where and how you want to communicate your tactics and campaigns?
We have +19 marketing channels that we can use to communicate our tactics, products and services to help scale our businesses. I really want to recommend reading “Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth” from Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares, where they briefly explain the purpose of every marketing channel and unfold a very interesting approach on how to use them all to reach explosive growth.
- Estimate how much are you going to spend on every tactic or campaign?
Two facts about marketing budget; there is never enough and it will always be reduced during the year. For small and medium business where the majority struggles with marketing investments it is key to set aside a marketing budget, so when you create your marketing plan you have realistic expectations on what you can or can’t achieve.
- When are you going to implement your tactics?
This will vary depending on your business and industry. However, for every case you need to do research about the seasonal and holiday’s calendar and what kind of strategies can your competitors developed around those days so you can plan ahead what is the best approach in each situation.
Also, I recommend to schedule all month by month to have a general picture of you upcoming tactics, and week by week for every campaign so you start to go deeper into all the activities involved for the execution and don’t get caught by surprise.
- How do you know if your marketing activities are having results? or how can you predict the results you may have?
Metrics and ROI (Return on investment) measurement are essential to assess the performance of every marketing strategy or tactic. Metrics selection depends on the goal media channel you’ll use. All the metrics need to be chosen before you implement anything cause you will need to capture the data related to them in order to review the results. Not everything needs to be measured, select those that really estimate the performance of your activities.
Regarding the ROI it is healthy to forecast the ROI before and afterwards of every tactic or campaign to make your decisions with enough information on how much revenue you will generate from every effort.
Lastly, as bonus information, I recommend with every single tactic to ask yourself how are you delivering an exceptional experience, and how are you increasing the lifetime value of your customers. Don’t forget to involve all areas in your company, cause no matter how small or big your company is, all your staff needs to be informed and know how to react in case they get in touch with a client.