Five Key Points to Preparing a Successful Marketing Plan

A successful marketing plan requires frequent re-visits and research and we’re lucky that we now live in the technology era with access to online tools. Having prepared your initial marketing plan, it becomes a working document, reactive to changes and influences.

1. Research

All plans should stem from a foundation of independent research. Constantly be aware of your competitors and what they are doing. For starters, follow them on social media and analyse their website content for keywords.

A SWOT analysis will help you to analyse your own company’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. In turn, this will help you to define your objectives for the Marketing Plan.

Next, you need to determine your ‘ideal customer’ and develop a strategy to reach them.

2. Marketing Plan & Strategy

  • What are your SMART business goals?
  • What is your company’s unique selling point (USP)?
  • And is your USP sustainable?

With a solid set of data, you can turn your focus to branding your company’s products and services. A strong brand will help to establish your business within your target market.

Brand awareness and your USP become the short message that will hook potential customers wanting to know more. Your website content should be informative and accurate – sufficient for potential customers to contact you but without all the answers that will make it unnecessary for them to do so. Less is more!

3. Investment in Online Marketing

  • Website content
  • SEO/PPC/social media

Imagine that you are the potential client. What do you want to know and how easy is it to find on the website? Many people overlook simplicity in their attempts to have an impressive all-singing, all-dancing feature-rich website.

Ensure that the written content is easy to read for busy people, delivering your main message with links to further detail. Ensure that the copy contains keywords that potential customers will use as search terms. This is important for your website to be indexed well on search engines, such as Google.

If you are updating an existing website, consider whether your competitors’ content is highlighting any gaps that you need to fill. Do not add information that will dilute your core business, just because your competitors have. Keep focussed!

As with Marketing, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) means different things to different people. SEO can be a reference on page content and off-site popularity (e.g. quality links to your website). Our suggestion is to not over-think this; review your website statistics in three to six months.

Depending on your product and your budget, you may wish to kick-start your campaign with PPC (Pay Per Click). There are many major companies willing to promote your products or services for money, notably Google, Facebook, Bing, Twitter, et al. Whilst this may seem good value at, say, 50p per click to bring a visitor to your website, it needs to be carefully analysed on a weekly basis.

Social Media is currently free to use. In addition to the social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Linked-In, YouTube, etc.) it usually includes blogs, as these can be hosted externally, not just on your website. Blog posts are a way to increase brand awareness and have other benefits. Include news, tips, announcements plus video demos and webinars to attract potential customers.

This strategy will require careful planning and investment in experienced third party services, enabling you to focus on your core business.

4. Other Marketing Platforms

With your core strategy in place, you may consider whether other marketing channels would be worth investment.

Does your target audience prefer leaflets, letters, newspaper ads, bill-boards or other traditional media? Can they be reached via TV or radio?

The rules relating to email marketing are soon to be updated but are already quite clear. The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations allow ‘cold’ emails to be sent to corporations as long as an easy opt out is offered. However, it is unlawful to send a direct marketing email to a person who has not specifically granted permission via an opt-in agreement, unless there is a previous relationship between the parties.

Apart from that, most of your potential customers will be put off by being ‘spammed’, won’t they?

5. Tracking & Analysis

For online marketing, there are tracking cookies available with some website hosting packages and there is Google Analytics. If you use PPC, there should also be associated tracking. If enabled, this will provide visitor statistics and other marketing activity data to help you work out what worked, what didn’t, and how much it cost.

Your Marketing Plan should be reviewed regularly – in most cases, monthly, but also seasonally and year-on-year. A good marketing plan is vital to your business development and helps to keep you focused on the business goals.

If you require advice or assistance, contact Nauzar (details below).