I have a strong belief as to why many entrepreneurs fail at marketing, and it rests on two things:
- They don’t know marketing fundamentals, and
- They don’t have a marketing plan
You may be surprised to see a marketing plan listed here. But it’s the truth. Running your business without a marketing plan is a big – even HUGE – marketing mistake.
(And it’s something you can easily correct!)
The importance of having a marketing plan
Why is it important to have a marketing plan? An analogy I love to use is to imagine you are embarking on a road trip to a city you’ve never been to. Would you just jump in the car and start driving? Of course not. Most likely, you would program your GPS, or plan your route on your phone, or consult a road atlas. You would have a plan to help you reach your destination.
That’s exactly what a marketing plan is – your roadmap for your marketing journey. Just as you wouldn’t get in your car and start driving, you shouldn’t start marketing without a plan. Your marketing plan will help you reach your destination – whether it’s more clients, higher profit or less wasted resources.
What goes in your marketing plan?
Here’s the beauty about marketing plans – you can make them work for you. Many entrepreneurs are paralyzed by the format and flow of the marketing plan. Rest assured; it doesn’t matter what your marketing plan looks like – as long as it functions as your marketing roadmap.
The big thing is to just start writing your marketing plan. You can adjust the format as you go.
If you’re like me, though, you need a starting point, so here are some suggested sections for your marketing plan:
- Target audience
- Competitive analysis
- Current assessment of your marketing
- Tactics with goals
(Again, these are suggested sections! Please only include the sections that make the most sense for your business.)
Use your marketing plan to guide future marketing plans
After you create your first marketing plan, use it as a guide for your second one. Evaluate which tactics worked well at meeting your objectives. Consider if you need to adjust who your target audience is and the messages you want to share with them. The information you gather with each marketing plan will help you perfect your marketing efforts.
Can you see why having a marketing plan is crucial to your business? Please don’t make the mistake of not having one. A marketing plan will help you organize your marketing efforts, identify your target audience, write out messages and measure the effectiveness of your tactics. When you have a marketing plan, you won’t wonder “how should I be marketing my business?” because you will already know. That’s the beauty of writing your marketing plan.