How to Create a Marketing Plan

how to develop a marketing plan

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

As you know, marketing is a great way to help build brand awareness, increase sales, and keep you one step ahead of the competition. This Balboa Capital blog entry explains how to create a marketing plan for your small business.

Before developing a marketing plan or revising your existing plan, it is essential to evaluate what you have been doing to see what is working and what is not. Then, take a close look at how effective your current marketing strategies are. A good rule of thumb is to invest more time and resources into the strategies that are helping your business succeed.

Evaluate your current marketing plan.

In addition, make sure you are pursuing the best market and channel opportunities for your business’s product or service. Many small business owners are amazed to learn that under-performing marketing efforts result from poor media placement, both offline and online.

Create a business strategy.

Start by looking at your products or services and determine how they meet your intended audience’s needs. Also, look at your business’s strengths, weaknesses, and areas of opportunity to help formulate a position for your brand. In addition, a competitive analysis is a critical component of a marketing plan, so write down what your main competitors are doing in terms of marketing, pricing, and service offering.

Determine your goals.

Your campaign will be a key driver behind your small business’s success, so you need to set realistic goals for what you want to achieve. Of course, every small business has its unique situation. Still, some common goals are increased brand awareness, sales and revenue improvements, more significant profits, and a greater return on investment.

Establish a budget.

This is perhaps the most challenging part of marketing. With big goals and small budgets, business owners often have difficulty determining which offline and online advertising strategies are the best to include in their marketing plan. For example, print advertisements are expensive and have a limited run, whereas flyers, postcards, and e-mail campaigns are more targeted and cost less. Then there is social media marketing, which is fast becoming one of the most widely used forms of online communications by large and small businesses.

Look at your budget and allocate the funds you think will best help you achieve your marketing and sales goals. Consider a small business loan if you need funding for your marketing campaign. Lastly, consider seasonality, as you would not want to run an advertising campaign during slow months for your small business. Consult with a local marketing professional or advertising company to get professional recommendations, if needed.

Complete your plan.

The final step is to put pen to paper and complete your marketing plan. Then, summarize it into an easy-to-read document, including a summary, situation analysis, market opportunities, sales goals, advertising strategies, and a monthly budget.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.