components of marketing plan

research is the backbone of the marketing plan. your local library is a great place to start, offering reports like standard & poors or ibisworld. identify consumer buying habits in the industry, market size, market growth or decline, and any current trends. a well-designed target market description identifies your most likely buyers. a language tutoring business might target both students and foreign-born employees who want to improve their english. what is the perception of your brand in the marketplace? the difference in how the target market sees you is your positioning. you need to know who your competitors are and how your products and services are different.

what is the price point at which your competitors are selling, and what segment of the market are they aiming to reach? your marketing strategy is your path to sales goals. ask yourself “how will i find and attract my most likely buyers?” this is the core of what the strategy should explain. develop a month-by-month schedule of what you plan to spend on marketing. for each activity, establish a metric that tells you to stop if it’s not generating sufficient return on investment (roi). track your marketing success with google analytics for website conversions and a simple excel sheet to compare your budget against the actual roi. test programs over the course of a 30- to 60-day period, and evaluate the results. a sound plan will help you get started.

think of this as checking in on the “why?” of your business so you can better inform the “what” and the “how” of your current marketing strategy. from here, you can start forming the short- and long-term goals of your marketing strategy – whether that’s to play up your strengths or bolster your weaknesses. it’s possible that your marketing goals may have nothing to do with seo, but this general hierarchy of objectives can serve as a planning template as you set out creating a marketing plan. draw a straight line between business objectives and the short-term goals that need to be achieved before you can lock down those bigger wins. a b2c brand might want to drive up site traffic so that it can get more potential buyers in front of its product pages. this is a tell-tale indicator of two possible problems: now you have your short-term goal.

maybe you’re a burgeoning b2c e-commerce brand and you don’t have a lot of traffic to your product pages. this approach to a content marketing campaign is scientific, analytical and deliberate. some of your options include: choosing the right channels on which to create or pay for content depends partly on your short- and long-term goals and partly on what you can afford. but you can also promote your content on social media and through email marketing. and deciding which channels to use for content creation, distribution and promotion (based on your goals) is a whole lot easier when you have a bit of help from a digital marketing expert. a content marketing consultant is well versed in the industry and understands what it takes to stand out from the competition and generate leads using everything from white papers to infographics. if you don’t see it come through, check your spam folder and mark the email as “not spam.”

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