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A marketing plan outlines your marketing strategy for the coming year. It should be revisited every quarter to make sure you’re on track and that what you are doing is working. If it’s not working, stop doing it!

Here are several key elements to consider when creating a marketing plan.

Set goals and objectives

These should be realistic, measurable, and be based on your overall business plan.

Create a budget

Know the costs of the marketing and promotion efforts you plan to implement so you can use your money effectively. Working with a marketing firm can help you. They will do all the work that you don’t know how to do or don’t have the time to do and give you the costs upfront so you can budget for them.

Know your audience

Get a clear picture of who you’re talking to and how and where to connect with them. Are they on LinkedIn or Facebook? You need to be posting to the social media channels that your target audience is on.

Build a timeline

Scheduling promotions properly will help you reach your audience at the optimum times throughout the year.

Identify marketing strategies

Be certain to consider online, print, and social media distribution channels depending on your audience’s media habits. If your audience is older (seniors), they may not be on social media or even online. You’ll want to use print and mail to reach them. Younger audiences will not respond to print or mail marketing efforts, so it’s best to reach them through social media and your website.

Maintaining the momentum

Once you’ve created your marketing plan, there are additional steps you’ll need to take to maintain success.

Know your competition

Identify what strategies your competitors use so you can adjust your plans and tactics when necessary. Be inspired by what your competitors are doing…don’t copy them. If they’re doing something wrong, avoid doing that.

Check your competitor’s social media to see what types of posts get a lot of engagement. Since you share the same target audience, those are the types of posts you should be sharing too.

Keep it simple

Make it easy for consumers to gather and understand information—resist the tendency to overcomplicate your message. Content on your website should be a quick, easy read. Use bullet points.

A text-filled page talking about your business will turn off most website visitors.

Stay current

Update your plan quarterly based on changing circumstances, new opportunities, and the competitive landscape.

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