Having a business plan is essential however, most marketers and entrepreneurs overlook the fact that having a marketing plan is just as important. A marketing plan focuses on tactics, numbers, statistical data, and emphasizes winning by keeping customers.
A solid marketing plan lays out all the tools, strategies, and tactics you want to utilize to reach or even exceed your sales goals. Basically, it should show what you want to sell, how you'll sell it, who you're selling it to, who would want to buy it, and how you are going to reach out to people to get them to buy what you are selling. Your marketing plan does not need to be long or “professionally written” you can go straight to the point.
To find out what your company's strengths are, look at the products or services you offer and see how they perform strongly compared to what your competition offers and what gives you the competitive advantage. Your weaknesses could be things like your target market being highly saturated, or majority of your staff are inexperienced.
Areas of opportunities are things that you can work as well as capitalize on. Some examples would be developing your current product or service to make it more suited to your expanded target market or improving your customer service support. The things that pose threats to your business would be just about anything that could hinder your success.
Build a profile of your prospective clients and put it in writing. Nothing fancy, as long as you make sure you include all the demographic details like age, gender, income bracket, family composition, civil status, geographic location etc… Be sure to define your target market because it will serve as a guide when you create and implement your public relations as well as media campaigns.
Make a list of your goals. Be reasonable and make sure they are measurable so you can track your progress. You can choose to do a weekly, monthly, annual or semi-annual time span for your goals. Create short term and mid-term targets to help you reach your long term goals.
Make the framework for your primary marketing strategies then proceed to develop tactics that you will use to implement your marketing campaigns. For example, you might want to use a combination of billboards, flyers, phone calls, emails, or even online exposure to get in touch with your prospects.
Whether you are using your own money or took out a loan, set a reasonable amount of money and resources that will be used when starting your business. There is a need to allocate resources into marketing because it is integral to the success of your business. If you find you are almost exceeding your budget, adjust your plan until you get a combination that works for you. Remember there are solutions to fit almost every budget.