Setting up a marketing plan usually seems like a daunting task for inexperienced business owners. What, at first glance, seems like a simple issue soon turns into a complicated, multi-layered project. With things like SEO management, customer retention, lead generation, social media management and content creation it is hardly a surprise that most business owners simply choose to outsource their marketing. Well, we are here to tell you that modern marketing doesn't have to be as complicated or as arduous as marketing companies would like you to believe. So, in this article, we will outline how to set up a marketing plan with little-to-no knowledge of marketing.
Basic marketing plan
The first thing to understand about marketing is that there is no one-for-all solution. Every company has a different business plan, customer base and marketing budget. Therefore, every company needs to devise its own marketing plan to fit its needs and create enough online traffic. To make this possible, there are a couple of things that you need to do.
Research your industry
Thinking up a marketing plan from scratch is not something you can do without ample marketing experience. So, the best course of action for a rookie is to first research what the current marketing trends are. But in general marketing, and in their industry. By doing so, they will get a good idea of what their marketing should entail and what they ought to focus on.
The best course of action is to find companies that are similar to yours, both in size and in the business plan. By doing so, you can then see what their marketing plan is like, and what you can copy for it. For starters, you can outline their entire marketing plan and see how it suits your business. This includes:
- What platforms do they use?
- Which content they rely on.
- Whether they work with professional designers.
- How often do they post content on their platforms?
- How they design their websites.
- What is their customer journey?
Without experience, you'll have a hard time figuring out what is necessary and what isn't. And you will especially have a difficult time putting yourself in your audience shoes as seeing which aspects of marketing convince them to become customers. So, for starters, copy what works for your competitors.
Understand your customer base
No matter what your marketing plan will be like, you will always address a certain target audience. Long gone are the days where you could simply market your company for everyone to see. Nowadays, you need to outline what your target audience is and slowly turn them into your customer base. Age, gender, location, culture, personal preferences... All these are important factors that outline what your target audience is like. So, try to keep them in mind when doing your research.
A thing to keep in mind is that companies seldom find their target audience in one go. Instead, they outline their marketing and try to see whether it resonates with a certain demographic. If and when it does, they can then realign their marketing to better suit that demographic.
Understand your brand
All of your marketing content, be it written, animated or recorded, needs to revolve around your brand. Companies that take marketing seriously understand well how important proper branding is. This is why they spend ample time designing their brand and don't settle on one until they are 100% satisfied.
While there will be many aspects to your brand, there are two you should concern yourself with. Your logo, and your core idea. The core idea of your brand is usually a single sentence that describes what your company is all about. For instance, the core idea for Nike is "To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world." For Ford, it was "To create a motor car for the great multitude." If you take a look at their marketing, you'll see that their core idea seeps through every piece of content they put out. And their best marketing material always revolves around their core idea. So, the better you outline your core idea, the easier it will be to incorporate it in your marketing.
Your logo is the visual representation of your brand. It can also be a visual representation of your core idea, or it can work in tandem with it. If you plan to rely on visual marketing, it will be just as important as your core idea. So, whatever you opt for, have a professional design for you. While logo design seems simple, it is far from so.
Set up your budget
If you've done everything we've outlined so far, you should have a decent idea of what your marketing plan will be like. Now comes the difficult task of determining your marketing budget. Whatever figure you come up with, we suggest that you add at least 30%.
Before long, you will likely have to make alterations, fix design issues and perhaps every pay for content placement. In any case, there is no such thing as having too big of a marketing budget. So, if you can spare some extra money for marketing, don't shy away from doing so.
Final thoughts on how to set up a marketing plan
If you understood what we've outlined, you know the basics of how to set up a marketing plan. All that remains is for you to continue learning and researching. As we mentioned, don't expect that you will get everything right on the first try. Instead, leave some room to experiment and see what resonates with your target audience.
DIY marketing vs working with a professional
While DIY marketing is possible, it is not always the best option. If you need fast results with your marketing, you might be better off hiring a professional to tackle it for you. All the aspects we've outlined will take time, especially if you also create your own marketing content. This is why, if you don't have the energy nor the time to tackle it properly, it is better to leave the marketing to experienced professionals.