Creating a marketing plan is an essential step of starting your business. Not only is it a great booster to your business plan, but it is the perfect road map to help your business succeed and grow. If you’re just getting started with marketing, we recommend you read up on What is Marketing? first. Today we are going to be covering how you can create the ideal plan to focus on your product and help you achieve your goals.
- Executive Summary
The first step is writing your business statement or executive summary. What is this? It’s just a short summary that explains what your company does. Who are you? What are you selling? Summarize that into a couple sentences and you’ve got an executive summary. This may seem daunting, but start by creating a bullet list of things your business does including socially positive things, but remember to focus on your product. Then narrow this list down to a couple top favorites that you think best represent your company and try to construct them into a couple sentences.
- Price and Place
Once you’ve got your business summary, you’ve got to identify your price. Based on the research you have done into your competition, and your own internal calculations and research to ensure you are producing the best product at the lowest cost, you have to establish a price for your product that is competitive but profitable. When you’re first starting a business, especially if you’re opening up a store front, it will take time until your business over all makes a profit because of the upfront cost to selling your product. There are ways to avoid these upfront costs, to a certain extent, through online options and third party retailers, but these require more work and may not be suitable for all products. In addition, there may exist laws, permits and taxes that hinder the profitability of your product.
Ultimately, you have to think about how much money you have to invest into your business upfront so that you can keep your business running until it starts turning a profit. Not only do you have to think about the upfront costs of a place to sell your product, but you also to have to think of the cost of production of your product. You need to research online the best ways to sell your product, and the best suppliers of what you need to sell your product, but if you haven’t had much success on your own, you can pay someone to do this market research for you. Doing targeted market research can be crucial for a business when they are starting, and can help cut costs largely.
- Branding and Promotion
Every business is a brand, but most businesses don’t work on it and remain largely unrecognized. Creating a strong brand is the best way for your business to gain popularity and customers. Based on the product you sell, you need to create an identity for your business that your target customer will identify with, and make promotional campaigns that stay on brand with this business identity, as well as logos, packaging and company values that are aligned with that identity. To help maintain this business identity it can help to get a spokes person or a mascot. Personifying what your company stands for, and the product you are selling has always been a humorous and family friendly way to brand your business into becoming a social icon.
Based on the research that you have done into your product and your target customer, you should be able to identify the media that this customer consumes and start advertising on it. In today’s internet age, it is always easy to start with social media. Identify which social media channels your target customer tends to use and create your own account. Start creating consistent content and engaging with others in your field. You need to create a consistent content calendar of your social media posts, with an average of 2-3 posts per day. Once your accounts are up an running, check your viewership activity and see what hours of the day they are typically on, then tailor your posts to those times to increase readership. When engaging with your audience, be authentic. Respond meaningfully to questions posed by industry leaders, comment intelligently or humorously on a popular post of an industry icon. Build a following that appreciates what you have to say, and make what you have to say count.
- Goals and Metrics
Creating tangible but challenging goals and metrics is important. These goals can vary widely from increasing sales, to more followers on social media, to selling at more retailers or opening more stores, or creating additional products.
Start by thinking about all of the things you want to accomplish, then divide them into three or four categories each increasing in difficulty of the task. This way you can make sure that you schedule enough time for you to accomplish your goals, and create metrics to follow along the way and see how you are doing.
Remember that these plans are meant to be flexible. If you notice you are getting more engagement on a specific social media site, spend more time on it, perhaps invest in a couple ads on the site. On the other hand, if your viewership on another site is particularly lacking behind, you might consider calling it quits and either spending more time with the platforms that are working for you or exploring a new one. This plan is primarily meant to help you succeed, so don’t be scared to be messy with it and change it as your business grows and moves forward.