Q: Do I really need a marketing plan?
A: Yes Yes YES! One thousand times yes.
(But it doesn’t need to be complicated). We understand that you’re busy, we really do. Most small business owners have a to-do list that’s longer than their arm. But, no matter how much you’ve got on your plate, a clearly defined marketing plan makes sense. This is why…
1. It’ll help you define your vision
What do you want to achieve in your business? What inspires and motivates you? Writing a marketing plan gives you a good opportunity to step back from your business and look at the bigger picture. With a clear vision, you’ll find it easier to concentrate on the things that matter and avoid wasting time on anything that doesn’t. Once you’re clear on your vision, you can work backwards to set objectives for your marketing. Otherwise, you risk just being another voice that’s adding to the noise.
2. It’ll remind you to include your key messages
What do you do? Who do you help? Why do you help them? Without a marketing plan, it’s easy to get side-tracked when you’re creating content. If you spend any time on social media, you’ll know how overwhelming it can be to see and hear what everyone else is doing. Most of us find ourselves comparing and being led astray. With a structured, easy-to-follow marketing plan, you’ll have the guidelines to help you to stay in your own lane.
3. It’ll keep you focused on your target audience
Marketing is about knowing who your people are and how you can help them. Work through the process of creating a marketing plan and you’ll identify:
- Who your target audience is
- What challenges they’re facing
- Where they spend their time
- What likes and interests they have
- What content they read/watch/listen to
- Where you can reach them
With all that knowledge, you’ll find it much easier to create and place content (and/or ads) that work. If you’re creating marketing materials without a clearly defined target audience in mind, you’re wasting time and money.
4. It’ll help you identify your USP
What makes you different from your competitors? Identifying a USP (unique selling point) is marketing 101. It’s one of the most important things you’ll do when you’re creating a marketing plan. A strong USP considers:
- The needs of the target audience
- Competitors and how they meet those needs
- The strengths of the business owner
- The qualities of the product or service
With a considered USP, you’ll be well on your way to building a brand, as well as a business.
5. It’ll give you a sense of direction
Remember the overhwlem we talked about in point 2? As well as sending us off in the wrong direction, it can also leave us feeling stuck in the mud. Ever get so confused about what you’re doing that you don’t end up doing anything at all? We’ve all been there. One of the best ways to pull yourself out of a situation like that is to revise your marketing plan. When you remind yourself what your vision is, what your goals are, and who you’re doing this for, you’ll get your mojo back. And with all of that information in one handy document, it’ll be easier than ever.
6. It’ll be your road map
A marketing plan can act as a road map that helps you determine how you want to grow your business. How many times have you had an exciting marketing or business development idea that hasn’t made it any further than your head? (Or the pages of your notebook?) Maybe you have several ideas in the pipeline, but you’re not sure which to focus on or how best to action them. With a written plan, you’ll start to develop a process for bringing your ideas to fruition. Once you master it, you’ll be it able to repeat it over and over again to make things happen.
7. It’ll get you into the habit of tracking progress
One of the biggest advantages of digital marketing is that it gives us so many opportunities to analyse what we’re doing. It’s a shame, then, that so many of us fail to check in regularly with our stats and analytics. Are you guilty of neglecting your data? Without a marketing plan, analytics can be scary. What do all those numbers even mean?! The truth is, when you’re a small business with limited time and not much of a budget, you don’t need to know it all. You do, however, need to learn to pick out and understand the bits that are important to you. And how do you figure out what’s important to you? By setting goals and developing a marketing plan. Often, marketing is all about trial and error. If you want to cut down on the amount of errors and get really good at what works for you, it’s time to get obsessed with your analytics.
8. It’s the best way to get clear on your budget and ROI
Urgh. Money. We know, we’re not a fan either. (Until it comes to spending it, that is). All jokes aside, it’s important to take the numbers seriously. If you include a budget and a sales forecast in your marketing plan, you’ll start to get a better understanding of the impact your marketing is having on your bottom line. And that’s what it’s all about, right?
You’re not alone
Whether you’re looking for a “Done-for-you” or “Done-with-you” service, The Assistant Quarters has you covered. With a team of 6 social media specialists, each a qualified ‘Digital Mum’, we’ll pair you with your very own Master of Marketing. Call us on 0208 064 1969 or book in for a discovery call to chat about your options.