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The best plans are flexible, letting you make adjustments as you gain experience, data and insight into what works.Before you can sit down to write, you'll need to do some market research.Look at recent financial reports, current and past sales numbers and your product and services list.
These are the employees who engage with your customers on a daily basis, and their feedback will give you valuable insights about your customers and prospects.
Fill any gaps by talking with your employees and researching publications from trade and professional associations specific to your industry. Are any recent major developments affecting your distribution channels? Once you have the specifics down, consider what you can do to reduce the impact of these threats.
You want to address how you'll implement your strategies and achieve your objectives by breaking things down into action steps or smaller goals.
You already did a bit of this when you considered the implementation methods you would use for each marketing strategy.
Once you've gathered market research, it's time to prepare your Market Overview section. What strategies are they using and how are they positioning themselves in the market? What kind of an impact do they have on your business? Now that you've described your current market situation and analyzed how various aspects of it affect your business, it's time to set your marketing objectives. Think of your marketing objectives as answering the crucial questions: What is my plan going to accomplish? Some examples of common marketing objectives include: It's a good idea to make each objective conform to the SMART goal criteria.
Begin this section with a description of your market as it currently stands. Include details about sales, prices and gross margins. SMART = Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. To align both you need clear, measurable objectives.Maybe it's a certain number of new leads, a defined increase in revenue, walk-in customers, or social engagement (more likes, re-tweets, pins, etc.). In the Marketing Strategy section you'll answer the question "How".This section is all about execution, evaluation and correcting course.Define your market and discuss your customers' needs and any other market factors that might affect your customers' purchasing patterns. If you have more than one target market, describe the product lines associated with each one. Specific objectives are more effective because you can define the steps you need to complete to win.What are the characteristics of your target market? This section should also include information about: Products/Services. To make objectives specific, start with knowing what success means for you. This will help you better evaluate the strategies and tactics you implement.Without one, you are operating by "seeing what sticks"—not the optimal way to market your business.A marketing plan is much more than just another boring business document, it's your map to revenue, growth, and longevity.Some common promotion strategies include: Now is a good time to get creative!At the same time, make sure you watch costs and check that the strategies you embrace are measurable.The marketing plan is a powerful tool that belongs in your small business arsenal.If you've been making do without a plan so far, or using a "play it by ear" approach, you're missing out on boosted revenue. A plan focuses your best efforts on activities that move your business forward.