How to Write a Marketing Plan

How to Write a Marketing Plan

Preparation is key.

Your marketing department might encompass digital marketing, print advertisement, ppc management, website optimization, visual identity/branding, event marketing, etc. As a digital marketing agency, this marketing plan discussion will focus mostly on the digital marketing aspect, but the strategies and concepts in this post can be expanded to encompass your entire marketing department. For today’s marketers, creating an integrated marketing plan that includes social media marketing, content marketing, email marketing and SEO — all tenets of a strong digital marketing, or inbound marketing strategy — is necessary in order to attract and convert buyers in a digital age.

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Maybe you work for a large corporation and have been tasked with developing next year’s marketing plan, or perhaps you are launching a new start-up and need to craft a plan from scratch. Maybe it’s been 20 years since you graduated from business school or wrote your last marketing plan, and realize that times have changed a bit. Whatever the case, the steps you take today to create a functional and straight forward marketing plan will lay the foundation for your year ahead, helping you to get results that are measurable and quantifiable.

But before we dive in, let’s take a quick look at an overview of how the marketing plan should be structured.

List your Goals First
While developing goals may not be the first step you actually take when forming your marketing plan, listing them first on your final marketing plan document sets the stage for everything to come.

Explain Your Research
Research will be the foundation of your marketing plan and should include:
1.Competitive Analysis
2.SWOT Analysis – This is an analysis of your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, standard to any business or marketing plan.
3.Understanding Your Buyer Personas – This will include the demographics of the buyers you are targeting as well as include any personas you want to avoid.
4.Learning Your Buyers’ Buying Cycle – Understanding how, when, where and why your target market buys is key to converting leads.

Explain Your Strategy
Once you have a clear grip on the landscape and understand your buyers, it’s time to explain the strategy. This phase includes:
1.Defining Your Goals
2.Knowing Your USP (unique selling proposition)
3.Ensuring You Have a Strong Brand
4.Making Sure You Have an Optimized Website
5.Creating Kick-Ass Content
6.Defining Your Distribution Channels (email, social, etc.)
7.Having an SEO Strategy

Define KPIs and Measurement Methods
After all the heavy lifting is complete, your strategy is in place and you have begun pulling together and implementing your tactical plans, it’s time to measure. In fact, even before you have implemented your strategy you should be measuring to establish your baseline. What have you done in the past and what were the results? How can those strategies shift to improve ROI? Measurement should be done before, during and after — throughout the year, on a monthly or even weekly basis — to ensure your plans are showing positive results and to shift them if they’re not.

List Overarching Strategy and Tactical Plans
Having tactical plans and calendars gives life to your ideas and strategy. Try focusing on 4 or 5 main tactics for the year and create execution plans around these tactics. Keep in mind that your tactics may or may not be the same as your goals. If your goals are high-level, i.e. to increase traffic by 50%, then your tactic would drill down more on how to get that result — and be as the name implies, more tactical.

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