Marketing plans are tricky. Before you start, ask yourself these five questions.
One area where many SMEs struggle is marketing. The reality is that consumers are bombarded with marketing messages and only the truly original, or the truly well-funded, campaigns break through all the noise.
Before you start your marketing plan, you should ask yourself these five simple questions. They may seem obvious but until you can picture the answers, it’s probably best not to start your detailed marketing strategy.
1: Who will buy from me?
You must be honest and focus on your greatest potential market. Picture your ideal customer, the person most likely to buy from you. Everything you do in your marketing plan should focus on this person.
2: Why would this person buy from me?
People don’t hand over money for no reason. You must define your buy trigger. Once you know why people will buy from you, the reason can start appearing in your marketing material (reliable, high-quality, local, 24/7, instant).
3: Who else would influence someone to buy from you?
Most people don’t buy alone. People buy because they get a recommendation, or they are told something by their friends, or they have a family of small children.
Who else could influence your ideal customer to buy from you, and where do they spend time? Are they offline or online? Are they on social media or do they listen to the radio?
Paying attention to the influencers of your customer will also help you plan your marketing.
4: Where will your customer find out about you?
Will it be on social media? Will it be through direct mail? What about in-store advertising? What if you don’t have big budgets, what about some clever content marketing?
5: How long will it take to convert a customer
If you are selling cars or insurance, it could take a few weeks. If you are selling food in a local café, it will take a lot less time. Knowing how long you have to convert a customer will inform your marketing plan.
Advertising a café before meal times like lunch and dinner in a localised way makes sense, there’s just a short window of time to find and convert customers. The opposite is true of much larger, more committed purchases like cars that can be advertised over more sustained periods in wider geographical areas.
Key takeaway and download
Your marketing plan should be a living, breathing thing that evolves as your business evolves. Here’s the ThinkBusiness.ie marketing plan template to get you started.