July 12th, 2021
Your strategic marketing plan is one of your most important business tools. It's essential for growing businesses of all sizes, but it's especially important when you're running a small business. However, what is a strategic marketing plan, and how do you design one for your brand?
Here's what you need to know to use this powerful marketing tool to put you on the right track.
What is a Strategic Marketing Plan?
First and foremost, you need to understand what it means to have a marketing plan that will allow you to target your business goals.
A strategic marketing plan is a plan that lets you position your brand in the marketing place, optimize your sales leads, and make the most of the value in the exchange process. These three components - positioning, potential sales, and exchange of goods- are needed for all successful marketing strategies.
Your plan provides your business a map that lets you find the best direction for your brand. It allows you to plan out your campaign efforts and make sure the small components lay the foundation for your larger goals.
The best time to design a strategic marketing plan is before your brand even enters the marketplace. The next best time is right now. If you haven't created a strategy yet, now is the time to do so.
It's important to note once you've created a marketing strategy, your work is not complete. You'll need to review and update your plan, preferably before you make any financial investment in a marketing campaign. It's best to consider your strategic marketing plan an ever-evolving document with a strong foundation in place.
How to Create a Plan for Your Small Business
Now that you know what a strategic marketing plan is, it's time to plan one for your company. Start by going back to the three main components of every plan and figuring out how they apply each marketing objective to your business.
During the Positioning Stage, You'll Need to:
· Define your USP or unique selling proposition. In this step, you answer the question, "why is your brand better than any other brand offering the same products or services, especially if they are doing so at a lower price?" Your marketing tactics must communicate what makes your brand unique and what will give you a competitive advantage.
· Define your target audience. In the second step, you get clear on who needs your products or services. A lot of business owners give a quick not-well-thought-out answer to this question. They might drill down a little bit more than an initial answer but still not get to the heart of things.
Ideally, you want to create a buyer persona that includes everything aspects of your ideal client. It includes age, likes and dislikes, goals in life, family structure, entertainment preferences, how they spend their money and their free time, and more.
The best client profiles are long descriptions that help you get a feel for who your target audience is. You want to understand their needs, desires, and behaviors and then use that information to guide your marketing efforts.
· Craft your message and figure out where you'll put it. Now that you know your target audience, you can design an effective marketing message.
Once you have that message, you'll need to determine which media, marketing channel, or marketing mix you'll use to share it with your target audience. You'll already know where your ideal customer is hanging out because of step two, but now you need to invest the time and effort into brings everything together.
During the Sales Funnel Stage You'll Need to:
· Capture leads and then pull them into your sales funnel. The goal here is to motivate your audience to consider and act on the next step. In these steps, you acknowledge that brand awareness isn't enough. You need to capture people and establish an action toward the next step. It may mean creating marketing initiatives.
· Nurture the leads and create a positive experience for potential buyers. Make the information-gathering process and the sales transaction as pleasant as possible for a potential customer. It should be quick and painless from beginning to end. It should never be difficult for someone who wants to give you their business to do so.
Create a conversion strategy. In the best scenario, the conversion from prospect to client happens organically. The transaction will wrap up automatically. However, this isn't always the case. You need to have a strategy ready to go if things don't just "fall into place" during this stage.
During the Goods Exchange Stage, You'll Need to:
· Create value-added options for the potential customer. It's not enough to make the basic sale and move on. You need to create more value for the customer and figure out how to make your service the best option without increasing the price.
Go above and beyond their expectations. It doesn't mean selling them more (that comes next). It's about ensuring your products or services are the best options customers must buy, even after they've committed.
· Upsell your customers. In addition to what the customer thinks they want, there may be additional services or products to enhance their experience. If a client is committed to a transaction, it's a great chance to see if you can upsell their purchase with additional options.
· Get referrals. These are an important part of growing your business. Business owners must find a way to motivate their clients to refer them to other people, naturally expanding their customer base.
Collect data that you can use moving forward. You should be collecting data at each step of the process. You also need to know how things are growing and what's working and what isn't. Once you have the data, you must find how to use it to improve your process in the future.
Data collection and organization is one of the best tools you have for improving your strategic marketing plan and making sure it evolves in the best possible way to grow your brand.