Posted: 22.01.2017


What do you want to achieve this year?

If you’re not already using a marketing strategy to achieve your business goals, then it’s time to seriously start thinking about making one. Having a document outlining your marketing ideas will make a real difference to your start-up or small business. We do understand that approaching a marketing strategy for the first time can be hard, so we’ve done the hard work for you and compiled a template that will help you understand what you need to do.

1. Goals / Objectives

Start the document by articulating your Vision Statement, or future plan for the business. If you can, break it down by specific objectives for the end of 2018 – for example, XX increase in sales or XX new customer sign ups.

2. Target Customers

Next, identify who you will be targeting with your marketing strategy. Who is your target customer? Think about their demographic profile- age, gender – as well as more detail such as the kind of person they are, their interests and needs. Finally, identify their needs in relation to your business. For example, a restaurant chain may identify their target audience as people who are looking for a local restaurant offering value for money with a healthy menu.

3. Identify your business

Next, sum up what your business is all about. What is you unique selling point – USP? To use the restaurant example again, their USP could be that it is the only restaurant in the local area with healthy kid’s meals, or that the menu has been designed by a public figure.

4. Price/ Positioning

Use this section to expand upon identifying your business in relation to competitors. Are you a premium business, or offering a more budget option than similar competitors? Establishing this can give you a steer on where you should concentrate marketing efforts.

5. SWOT Analysis

The SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats – is an essential part of the marketing plan to help you understand where you fit into the competitive landscape. Strengths and weaknesses are the internal element of the business, while opportunities and threats relate to the wider industry picture. This will help you identify marketing opportunities.

6. Marketing Channel Strategy

This is where you work out which marketing channels are appropriate for your business. Some are essential to every business, while others may not work for you. Use this list to decide which would be viable options to use as marketing channels for your business:

⎫ Email

⎫ Online marketing (SEO, pay per click etc)

⎫ Social Media

⎫ Content marketing (Writing blogs, how to guides etc to help build your reputation)

⎫ PR

⎫ Exhibitions

⎫ Advertising

⎫ Direct Mail

⎫ Sponsorship

Look at your target market – which of these media channels are most used by them? This will help you identify which channels will be most effective for your business.

Promotions Strategy

Identify the promotions that you think will work for your business. Free trials, money back guarantees, referral benefits and discounts are all common examples that can work well. Think about how this will fit in with your marketing channel strategy.

Evaluation

How are you going to measure the success of your marketing plan? Here, you need to identify the results you are hoping for from each marketing activity – so once the activity has been completed, you can assess whether it worked. When evaluating, look back at the goals you identified at the beginning. Have you achieved these? Has your marketing activity been a key driver in reaching these goals – and if not, what do you need to change?

And that’s it! Good luck to everyone and we wish you a successful marketing strategy plan!