5 steps to create your marketing plan on a page

Our last blog pointed out the main reasons why we think a marketing plan is essential for any business to make the most of their marketing efforts.  But a plan is only useful if you take action and implement it – otherwise it’s just another document that sits on the shelf.   

I’m a fan of simplicity and I think the key to putting any plan into action is to ensure it’s simple and focuses on what you are going to do and when. While the end product might be fairly simple, there is a fair bit of thinking you need to put into it to achieve that simplicity – but trust me it’s worth it!  You’ll also find that the first time you do this, it will take the longest – if you make this an annual (or dare I suggest 6 monthly) activity it will get easier each time.  

To me – the best marketing plan can fit onto one page and is an easy reference during your day to day running of the business.

So – here are my five steps to getting you a marketing plan on a page.

Step 1:  Who are you?

Your brand is the personality of your business.   It tells your customers what you stand for, how you like to operate and what is important to you.  Before you can really do any real marketing you need to have a clear vision of your brand and the unique value you provide. 

If you haven’t already been through the process of defining your brand and your values spend some time thinking about the attributes of your business and what you’d like your customers to experience when they deal with you.

This will help you to develop your key messages and where and how you will engage with your customers. 

Step 2:  Who are your customers?

This is almost more important than understanding your own brand.  At it’s heart, marketing is about connecting with your customers and showing them how you can solve their problem.  This is impossible if you don’t know who your customers are.

Sit down and have a look at who your customers are – and this should be a wider look than simple demographics (although they are important to).  Think about all the ways they engage with you – each and every touch point they have with your business.  How do they find out about you?  What happens when they get in touch?  How do they get in touch?  How many of them are repeat customers?  Do you know what makes them come back?  What problem are you solving for them?  

Map these touch points out and try to get a really good understanding of the journey your customers go on when they buy from you. This will help you to focus in on where and how to connect with your customers.

Step 3:  What are we trying to achieve?

Set yourself some goals – how will you know if this plan is effective?  What does success look like?  Have sales increased by 20%?  Are you getting more people through the door?  Are you getting more word of mouth referrals from your existing customers?

This step is really important as it will help you to determine the metrics and measurements you’ll use to gauge the effectiveness of your marketing plan.  Remember to keep your goals SMART (specific, measureable, attainable, relevant and timely).

Step 4:  What do we want to say?

Now you know your brand, who your customers are, what problems you are solving and your customer touch points – you can begin to craft some key messages for your marketing. 

A key message is the essence of what you want your marketing to communicate.  It articulates your brand’s values and attributes (this is how it creates that connection with your customers) and explains how you are solving their problem.   You might have different key messages for different customers and different products or services  – but try not to have too many – you’ll dilute their effectiveness.  Remember, you’re not trying to be everything to everyone – you’re just trying to reach your customers. 

Step 5:  Where and how do we say it?

OK – now we get to the good bit – what are we actually going to do?  Look back at your customer touch points and your goals – what is going to be the best way to get in touch with those customers at the point in time when they need to solve their problem.  Make sure you are linking these to the metrics that will track if you are achieving your goals – this will help you to focus your actions and activities on those that will provide the best return on investment.

Commit it to the page

So – now you’ve done all this thinking – it’s time to get your plan down on paper. I use a simple template that sets out:

  • The action
  • The channel / touch point
  • The key message
  • The frequency / timeframe
  • Resources - who will do this and be responsible for getting it done
  • The budget - how much will it cost and what are you willing to commit?
  • Metrics - what will be measured, when will you measure it and how will you report on it?
Try to keep it short and succinct.  Focus on what you will do (but don't get too hung up on sticking to one page!)  Just make sure you're realistic about your resources and the goals you've set.  

Good luck and happy planning! 


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