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How to Create an Effective Marketing Plan

Does your business have a marketing plan—and if so—how well is it working out for you? One of the main areas of marketing that some businesses tend to struggle with is putting together a solid marketing plan that produces results. This especially holds true for small to medium-sized companies. If your business or organization is looking to increase leads and sales throughout the remainder of 2019 and well into 2020, you’re going to need to have a comprehensive marketing plan that works. We’re going to look at what a marketing plan is, what you should include in it, and how you can get started.

What is a Marketing Plan? 

Technically speaking, a marketing plan is what you make it. If you just advertise in the Pennysaver or other local print coupon circular, that is a form of a marketing plan—just not a very strong one. A traditional marketing plan is a document that describes your marketing goals and details the necessary actions you’ll take to achieve those goals. It’s also intended to help keep your marketing efforts on track as the months go by. Without one, you’re just throwing money into a hole and praying that the customers will come. A good marketing plan should contain the following elements:
  • Goals
  • Performance metrics
  • Tactics
  • Strategy for each marketing campaign
It should also help guide your actions and decisions that pertain to a product, service, development, distribution, pricing, and promotion. In short, a good marketing plan outlines the way you plan on marketing your business and products.

Why Do You Need a Marketing Plan?

Alexandria and Arlington businesses require a marketing plan so that they can target the right people at the right point in time. The same people who value your products and services and will turn into long-term repeat customers or clients. Many companies have more than one person that handles their marketing. Each team member should be aware of the marketing plan and understand the target audience and the messages they’re trying to promote. This helps establish continuity in your brand and trust with prospective buyers.

What’s Inside an Effective Marketing Plan?

While things may vary from company to company, the following elements are usually present in an average marketing plan:
  • Pricing Plan.
  • Distribution Plan.
  • Promotional strategy.
  • Brand positioning and the reasons for it.
  • A buyer persona (to define who your ideal client or customer is).
  • Competitive analysis.
  • Product plan.
  • Product portfolio analysis.
It can take several days to several weeks to thoroughly and intelligently come up with answers and responses to the above elements. As time goes by, you may need to revise your marketing plan due to a new product, service, or buyer persona you’re trying to attract. This is why many businesses consider their marketing plan to be a living document. Something that grows and evolves as their business does. If you don’t have the time to sit down and think out everything, you can always hire a marketing agency, such as AlphaGraphics of Alexandria and Arlington, to help guide and create one for you.

How to Get Started?

Creating a marketing plan from scratch can seem like a complicated and involved process—and sometimes it is. There are many businesses out there whose marketing plans are hundreds, or even thousands of pages long. There are also smaller businesses whose marketing plan is no longer than 500 words. Regardless of length, the important takeaway is that your marketing plan should provide a clear path from start to finish. To keep your spirits up, you can set easily achievable, minor milestones along the way, such as “make 15 Facebook posts in one month” or “reach out to 50 potential prospects in two weeks.” Ultimately, the best way to get started is to sit down in front of your computer, clear your head, and start writing. It’s ok if you do more thinking than writing. As long as you get something—anything---written down, it’s a step in the right direction. It may take you a few weeks before you’re able to intelligently compose your thoughts—and this is perfectly normal. Eventually, you’ll wind up with something that will help keep your marketing efforts on track, reduce unnecessary advertising spend, and provide an evergreen way of landing new leads, clients, or business.

Marketing Help in Alexandria and Arlington

If you need help with your marketing plan, or you’d like to learn more about the various marketing elements that we just wrote about, give us a call at (703) 549-2432 or contact us on our website. We’ve helped countless Alexandria and Arlington businesses over the years create a viable marketing plan that helps drive new leads and sales. We’re experts in both signage and marketing and can provide invaluable advice that will help your business achieve its marketing goals.  

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