Whether you’re a startup or an established company, your small business needs a marketing plan for how you’re going to generate sales.

Quick Guide to Marketing Planning
Identify Your Ideal Target Markets

Creating a profile of your ideal customer is the first step in a profitable business. If you’re an established business, you can pull your sales from the last few years and look for your most profitable clients. This isn’t always the same clients that generate the most revenue. Often profitable clients require little to no advertising, use off-the-shelf products and have disposable income. Duh, right? Get more specific so you really know triggers and behaviors or an ideal customer.

If you’re a start-up without the luxury of past sales, you start by imagining your ideal customer, whom your product or service is 100% perfect at serving. Be honest because the answer is never, “everyone”. Even Apple’s ideal customer isn’t “everyone”.

Identify where are they? What type of business do they run? What is their age? How much access to capital do they need to have? Start with a narrow profile, and test your product or service with that profile before refining.

Create a Unique Value Prop

What is the single (one) biggest reason someone should buy from you and not the “other guy”? That’s your value proposition. Specifically:

  1. Who is your target market?
  2. What pain are you solving?
  3. What are you selling?
  4. What does it do to solve that pain?
  5. How is it different than the competition?

This can be done in one sentence.

For office workers aged 25 – 42 in downtown Toronto who are dissatisfied with wasting their lunch break waiting in line for lunch, Lunch.me is a mobile app for ordering and paying for lunch from any downtown restaurant, and getting it delivered anywhere in the area, even a park, unlike other food-ordering apps that require onsite payment or do not offer out-of-office delivery.

Set Marketing Objectives

Your business will dictate what you’re trying to achieve with marketing. The fictional, Lunch.me app above needs customers to try their app so their marketing plan will focus on customer acquisition and app downloads. However, if you’re launching a whole new category of product or service, your plan will be heavy on the PR with share of voice or number of stories in tier one publications as your metric. Set clear objectives with measurable goals.

Set a Realistic Marketing Budget

You know your ideal customer, you know what you’re trying to achieve, now you need to determine what you can afford to spend to achieve your stated goals. You can go to various media outlets to a pull their media kit for guidelines on advertising rates. And you can set your own budget for PR and things like PPC and remarketing.

Sales are more than a wish and a prayer; they’re the result of research, planning, and preparation. To learn more in-depth strategies on creating a marketing plan that will drive more sales, register for our free webinar on 16th March 2017, Marketing Your Business with a Strategic One Page Marketing Plan.

Image: Photospin