I’m no business expert – I’m definitely learning as I go. However, as I was preparing for 2019, I knew that I wanted a marketing plan in place for the new year. There are so many business ideas I have that I think would be cool and successful, but every year I find the time for them just passing me by. This year my goal is to plan them in advance, so I’m prepared and can actually do them! After doing some research, here are a few steps that I found to be important & helpful in creating a basic marketing plan!
Know Your Business
Some great things to think about here are what are your current business operations? What processes do you have in place to serve clients, and to stay organized? What’s your business structure? What products or services do you currently offer, and what would you like to offer in the future? Do you conduct business online, or through a physical space? Would you like to branch out into either of those places?
Within this section, you can think about what your strengths and weaknesses are as far as your organization goes. What processes can you better streamline, to save time and money? Where can you grow? Is there anything that’s hindering your progress, that you can fix, eliminate, or hire out?
For this step, I wrote down streamlined processes for all the things I do regularly – such as my workflow with clients, editing, planning photoshoots, and marketing. I also wrote down ways I want to branch out in my business this year, such as building an email list and offering specialized services.
Know Your Market
This is one of the most important elements in figuring out a marketing plan. In order to offer services that people will love and buy, you need to know and understand them. In this step, list out everything you know about your ideal client. This includes gender, age, where they live, what they do for work, etc. Ask yourself, why do these people buy from you? How are your services or products making their lives easier and better? How do they spend their free time, and where do they turn to find information? This will help you understand where you can best reach them – such as if you should advertise more in storefronts or on social media.
Know Your Competitors
This step can be hard and intimidating 😅 Especially when you’re just starting out, and your competitors are really successful! What helped me is focusing on learning from them, and not focusing on comparing myself with them. You can start by describing in detail the product and/or service you offer to customers. Include all the details you can think of that are important – how it helps them, shipping time/delivery time, what’s included, etc. After this, write down what your competitors are offering. What are the differences, and what are the similarities? What makes you different and sets you apart? Focus on adding value for your ideal client.
This is the fun part! When you finish all your planning and research, determine what objectives would you like to accomplish. What targets would you like to hit? These goals can be as big or bite sized as you want them to be – like doubling sales, or increasing social media followers, or writing consistently on a blog. Make them big enough to stretch and motivate you, but not so difficult that they are discouraging. Don’t focus on the logistics just yet – just write down the goals you would like to achieve.
Make a Plan
After all this is done, it’s time to write down the nitty gritty in getting your goals done! It’s helpful to take this one goal at a time, and underneath each goal write down what you need to do in order to achieve it. From there, you can plan specific time frames and budgets to create a plan. Make sure to do research so you know how much you’ll be spending on each step, so you aren’t surprised with large marketing bills in the middle of the year. Keep track of your expenses and make sure their within budget!
Now it’s time to get started! It helps me to have my plans written down in bite sized steps daily, weekly, and monthly. This keeps me on track and helps me know what I need to do every day to reach those goals. I love this process because it turns something that feels huge and unachievable, into something that you can handle. Working just a little bit consistently every day gets you far!
I hope these tips helped you! Did you find it valuable to create a marketing plan for your business? Let me know if you have any questions here!