This month I have been creating a marketing plan for Red Kite Services. As usual, I was doing a lot of scribbling and taking loads of time doing it. Then I talked to Rebecca Craven at RC Marketing and she shared her advice on how to create a marketing plan in an hour. It was so good, that I asked her to share some tips in this blog.
Marketing Plan or Marketing Strategy
Every business needs marketing. It’s the crucial activity which helps us to understand what the customer wants, how to reach customers and how to get them to buy from you again. Small business owners have different approaches to how they tackle this area, but many struggle with time, budget and confidence. I believe one hour spent on a marketing plan is time well spent, but it needs to be a quality 60 minutes: no phone calls, checking the inbox, or anything else.
A marketing strategy is different to a marketing plan. The strategy is where you outline what you are going to do and the marketing plan explains how you are going to do it.
The marketing strategy is the longer-term document and the marketing plan is going to be your to-do list and how you’re going to make it happen.
Create a Marketing Plan in an Hour
- Have you written (or thought about) your marketing strategy? Do you already know the objectives which your marketing activity needs to support? For example ‘to increase sales of our personalised mugs’. Have you identified what your strengths and USPs are and who your target audience is?
- Set yourself some goals. If you wish to sell more personalised mugs, what are you targets for this? You’ll need to allocate them to specific pieces of activity in your marketing plan, so that you’ll be able to measure your success.
- Establish what channels you can use for your marketing. Based on how well you know your business and how well you understand your different types of customer, which types of marketing might work best? Are you going to do lots of online marketing, Facebook, a blog on your website? Are you going to attend events and exhibitions? Are you going to use email campaigns, or encourage word of mouth?
- Understand your own skills and strengths. What areas of marketing do you find easiest and where do you struggle? How important is this to your proposed plan of activity? Do you need to learn or develop your skills, or can you outsource some of this?
- Budget. What money could you allocate to marketing? This could be used for Facebook advertising, paying for a website, printing business cards, training, or outsourcing your blog. Think carefully about any spend (I know you will!) and make sure you’ve set some targets so you can check whether it was money well spent.
- Timescales. What are your priorities? What do you need to achieve by when? How long do you think each piece of marketing activity is going to take? For example, implementing social media might take a few months if you are going to go on a training course, write a social media plan and then start building up followers on a new Twitter account.
These are the main components of a marketing plan. How you choose to put these into a document is up to you. Some kind of table usually works best and one where you can record progress and tick off what’s completed. An electronic version in Word or Excel means you can keep updating it and it can be a living document. You may also be a more visual or creative person, who finds it useful to have a big version printed out on the wall, which you can scribble on, or add to.
Good luck with your marketing plan: we’d love to hear what you use to create yours. If you would like to meet one of us for a coffee, we can help you get started contact Sam on 0758 4127644 or Rebecca on 07752 059872.
Links: RC Marketing