How to Create a Marketing Plan – The Easy Guide (2020)

How to Create a Marketing Plan

The topic for today is Marketing plan and it is quite vague, exciting, fun, and everlasting at the same time in the business markets.

Marketing is a dominant term that has been in the business era for quite a long time with lots of history in its pocket. It’s a pinnacle for a brand’s success in the modern era.

The popular queries around the online market about current marketing tactics;

  • What do you mean by marketing planning?
  • Is it necessary to have an executive summary or distribution channel for content marketing strategy?
  • How can we create a marketing channel to fit the target market?
  • How to create business plans according to a marketing plan?
  • What is involved in the marketing plan?

Without proper marketing efforts, it’s quite not possible to promote your business in the current markets.

But is there any alternative management tool for it?

Is it a myth that a brand can only succeed if it’s doing marketing?

Is it compulsory? 

So, let’s discuss how to create a marketing plan to promote your business  using easy to follow marketing strategies.

Table of Content

The first thing to know is that, without digitizing your business, it’s tough to succeed in the marketing field.

Today, we live in a content-first world. People look for information before they buy any product or service.

It would help if you put yourself in the buyer’s shoes first and then build your marketing strategy accordingly.

So, try to focus more on digital marketing rather than physical marketing.

Digital Marketing
Physical Marketing

But, how exactly do we need to start to create a digital marketing strategy?

Let’s dive in for more details to answer these questions.

What exactly is marketing? How to understand it and target customer?

Marketing is selling your products or services by shouting how valuable or exceptional your product is and why people should buy it compared to others in the markets.

Some people do it digitally and some physically.

Marketing is usually a blueprint or promotional plan for mapping out how to achieve a business goal planned for your customer base.

It is essential to understand that marketing is not a one-off project which will bring success if we spend money on it.

To be consistent and effective in the marketing field, you need an actionable marketing plan that is well-structured and pre-planned according to your business operations.

To Clear the Repeating Doubt; A marketing plan is not only necessary for new businesses as it is equally crucial for existing brands in the markets.

To put this discussion in a practical environment, let’s start with the necessity of a marketing plan;

  • A marketing plan helps you to specify a vision for your business plans. You can measure your progress, establish priorities, create a band authenticity, and set your business goals.
  • You can specify what your business offers to your audiences, how you do it, and what you do.
  • You can target and find your ideal audiences to offer your service or product. You can exhibit the product value you offer and why they should work with you.
  • You can promote your business to stand out from the rest in the current business markets.
  • Your marketing plan eliminates irregular activities that create chaotic results. It helps you to define each marketing project in detail and assign marketing resources accordingly.

In today’s technological world, a marketing plan can help businesses to actively observe their products and track results, whether it’s digitally or physically.

Importance of Marketing

If you are in business to be successful, then you need to see marketing as an investment rather than expenses.

While creating a marketing strategy, most brands make mistakes to take the easy route often to imitate their competitors, which is not a wise business decision. So, avoid it.

Importance of Marketing

So, what are the importance of actionable marketing plans?

Let’s dive in;

  • It helps you to inform your audience about your product or service, whether it’s 4 am or 11 pm.
  • You must have heard the most significant marketing quote: “Marketing is like a food than Medicine.” So, if you do the marketing mix right, it will help you to maintain a healthy and stable business relationship with your audience.
  • It helps to keep a conversation going even your audience has walked out of your office or virtual room.
  • Marketing’s primary and most engaging importance is that it helps you to sell your service or product to your target audiences. Marketing gives that edge to convert your leads into business sales.
  • It’s a less expensive method of investment for selling your products. So, you can assume, marketing is a much more finance friendly business strategy.

The world gets louder each day in the field of digital marketing.

Before it’s too late, you need to plan your marketing strategy to define your target.

Getting noticed for your service or product out of the door is the first step to a successful marketing plan.

Know your Business

Do we even need to state this sentence? Without knowing your business in and out, it’s flat out impossible to sell your product or service in the business markets.

The biggest blunder happened in the 1970s. The biggest war happened in home video formats between Betamax and VHS.

Home Video Formats - Betamax and VHS

Sony made a huge mistake by underestimating its competition. Even though they were selling Betamax format, they ignored to monitor the VHS format.

Soon after, Betamax format was overtaken by its competitors who released VHS machines, which were a massive success in the market.

So, you need to realize and understand your business in and out. You don’t want to let the ideal business suggestions and projects to slip out of your hand.

Set a Marketing Budget

Your current marketing plan should incorporate a section to allocate the necessary marketing budget for each anticipated marketing campaign activity for your fiscal year.

Marketing teams (It doesn’t matter if you are the only one in the group) in charge of your marketing goals and should know about the allocated budget.

You need to be accurately familiar with your financial side of your business.

Set Marketing Budget

Do not make a mistake to spend your budget on your marketing without pre-planning your fiscal year’s marketing budget.

Outline your Unique Selling Proposition

You may have outlined your marketing tactics, but it’s time for you to reach that accomplishment.

You need to group and plan marketing strategies according to your business plans. Make sure that you have some varieties for every single marketing campaign to boost your marketing sales.

For your ease, companies are providing a free marketing plan template and content marketing strategy template. And why are they doing it?

You must be aware that there is nothing like a free lunch in the business markets.

They are doing it to create a unique selling proposition for their affiliated products or services.

Outline Unique Selling Proposition

You need to have that unique selling proposition according to your user personas to compete in the markets.

People love to see something unique and different. As a business, it’s your responsibility to provide them if you want to excel in your business field.

Determine your Target Audiences

There are some questions you need to get clarifications before you create your marketing campaigns.

  1. Who is your ideal audience?
  2. What are their requirements?
  3. How can your business solve their problems?
  4. How to create brand awareness?

The biggest obstacle for businesses is to stand out in the crowd as there is already high competition in the business markets.

Here are some useful tips to get an overview of your audience personas.

  • Interview your audiences.
  • Develop marketing channels to get surveys from your audiences. 
  • Set a clear business goal and distribution plan.
  • Know your competitor’s weakness.
  • Conduct giveaways and a glimpse of your product (free trial works great).
  • Know the demographics (age, geographic location, job, income, and other factors ).
  • Monitor your marketing metrics results.

A lot of knowledge and research go into account while you determine your targeted audiences.

So, it’s a wise decision to hire a professional or someone fit for this job.

Analyze your Competitors

Analyzing your competitors is vital to make your marketing plan a better one while establishing your target.

I understand that it’s hard to pinpoint, who is your biggest competitors accurately.

There is a probability that you don’t like analyzing your competitors and want to go through your own way to establish your business strategy and public relations.

The way some of you think like this way is entirely OK. I respect this decision.

But there is a catch.

You must have heard this sentence; Something is Better than Nothing.

This phrase is absolutely accurate in terms of the business environment.

Analyze the Competitors

For Example;

Let’s leave the technical and vast strategies out of the box, and let’s focus on a simple, practical assessment.

When you search for a company by its full name on Google and other search engines, you can see where and how many times that company gets featured.

You can spot their ranking positions on search engine lists.

Some of them might be on Facebook, some on LinkedIn, some on business directories, and the list is vast.

From that finding, you can at least check out the sites where they are listed.

And if they are on authoritative or related sites that your business also can rank for, then you got yourself a free executive summary of a marketing report. And to top that, a backlink for your business.

You at least need to research your competitors’ online and physical presence so that you get an approximate idea to stand out from them.

  1. Identify your competitor’s competition to get that extra advantage. 
  2. Compare your business plans to that of your competitors to develop a unique authenticity to your business.
  3. Try to outsmart your competitors by using the Skyscraper Technique. The skyscraper technique works flawlessly for almost every business project.
  4. Understanding SWOT Analysis of your competitor is the most beneficial overall strategy.
  5. Understand how your competitors are putting their brands in the markets.

To run a successful business, you should continuously analyze and upgrade your brand strategy.

You need to ensure you are operating your execution plans as efficiently as possible.

Use the Correct Content Marketing Strategy

You can utilize many content marketing strategies to create an actionable marketing plan in 2020 that can get you more traffic to your business.

But where do you even start?

And which content marketing strategy works best for you and your business?

For this broad topic, let’s focus on 7 key content marketing strategies that will produce the best results for your business.

1) SEO Focused Blogs

The idea of blogging can work well if you have an existing and loyal audience. But for most of us, the outcomes can be different.

You need to intentionally target problems that your target audiences want a solution for while blogging.

Contrary to the previous blog writing styles, bloggers now need skills to write blogs due to high competition in the market.

The blogging process gets simplified by using a technique called keyword research.

Let me show you a clear cut example of how keyword research works.

SEO Focused Blogs

Let’s say you sell digital products like Domain Registration and WordPress Hosting.

What do you think your custom audiences might be searching for in the search engines?

Probable questions would be like;

  • How much does WordPress Hosting cost?
  • What are the benefits of WordPress Hosting?
  • How does Domain Registration work?
  • Cheapest domain registration available in the market.

These are all genuine problems, and people are looking for solutions.

Keywords explorer and other SEO tools tell us that these exact search queries get tens of thousands of searches each month. 

WordPress Hosting Cost
Cheap Domain Registration

Some of the most beneficial keyword explorer tools with SEO suite features;

  • Google Search Console
  • Ahrefs
  • SEMRush
  • Moz
  • Woorank
  • Majestic
  • KWFinder

After you examine detailed analysis, you need to make sure that you help people solve these problems while integrating those products to your storefront or affiliation.

You need to mix your blog post strategically with SEO in mind to get free marketing distribution channel in the form of search engines.

The best thing is that once you rank for your content, you’ll be getting free, consistent, and passive traffic from search engines.

And if done right, blogs can help you build a brand for your business.

2) Social Media Advertising

You should know that social networks are an enormous money attracting management tool in today’s digital marketing world. You need to grow your social media engagement with your targeted audiences.

Try to focus on just one social media channel at first.

When you’re just starting, it takes time to build a following.

What you want for your business is loyal followers rather than numbered audiences targeted through ads.

Social Media Advertising

So, it would help if you choose a related social media marketing channel that your audiences prefer to communicate.

Don’t forget to create effective social media posts to target your ideal customers.

You need to know that there is no such thing called outstanding marketing ideas. You exactly never know which marketing campaign clicks to your target audiences.

So, don’t fall for these kinds of over the top social media marketing tactics from the companies.

3) Invest in Youtube Marketing

Let’s move on to Youtube Marketing. YouTube is the second most visited search engine in existence.

The video formats aren’t just the future.

It is also the present goldmine for helping potential audiences to work with videos. When people use video search engines like YouTube, they’re looking to find answers to their questions.

Invest in Youtube Marketing

Let’s say you bought the so-called new Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ on Amazon or eBay.

You might search for Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ unboxing or camera features or Samsung VS iPhone differences on youtube.

And according to the keyword explorer tools, more than a thousand searches around the parent topic happen every month globally on YouTube alone.

People are explicitly looking for Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ headphone jack, phone cases, and ideas for more information and details.

Youtube is an excellent source for your topic ideas that people are searching for in your business niche.

For best results with this strategy, make sure your videos are valuable and helpful for your audiences while avoiding being overly promotional.

4) Podcasts and Interviews

Podcasts and Interviews are great for brand awareness. You can create your business podcast or get interviewed or featured in other’s podcasts.

But there is one main obstacle for business owners.

If you’re just starting your business venture, it can take quite a bit of time to get any adhesion or find people to interview you on their podcasts.

Don’t worry! If you don’t have experience in the marketing world, your personal skills and expertise could play a significant role in positioning you on the market in the long term. Believe in yourself.

Podcast and Interviews

If you don’t know which podcast you should approach, the easy way to find opportunities is To Google it.

Podcasts and interviews can give your brand the exposure you desired with backlinks to your sites, which is a smart marketing strategy.

Never loose hope on yourself while establishing your business.

Always aim for $1000, so at least, when you earn $100, you get some satisfaction. But if you aim for $100 and make $10, you know that $10 won’t give you the same happiness and joy of $100.

5) Email Marketing

If you have done a lot of digging on email marketing, you probably have heard people talking about email as the number 1 source.

But let’s break the biggest myth. It isn’t.

Now, don’t straight away conclude, hear me out.

Email marketing is great, but first, you need subscribers to get that consistent traffic and consistent traffic to get subscribers. Isn’t it?

That means, it requires some work to get a hold of your user personas and turn your visitors into a subscriber.

In my opinion, email is a great weapon to build an emotional connection with your target audiences but only when you get your business on the front foot.

Email Marketing

So, you should focus on building your email list with some planning, but for that, you need to have a professional or someone fit for the position.

It’s essential to give your best to convert your lead magnets into regular business sales.

You need to be vigilant while sending emails because one bad user experience can lead to numerous bad business reviews.

Always be realistic and authentic when you’re sending emails to your customer base while reaching your marketing goal.

And as you are gradually building your audience, put more time into your email list and be consistent with your email delivery to your customer base.

Utilize the help of Email Marketing Service providers to have a better chance of converting your business lead magnets into sales.

These providers are solely focused on delivering your emails in your audiences’ inbox with needed resources.

6) Online Community Groups and Forums

The next marketing strategy is to utilize online community groups and forum platforms to get to know more about your audience.

Some of the featured online community groups and forums;

  1. Reddit
  2. Quora
  3. Facebook
  4. Twitter
  5. LinkedIn
  6. ProductHunt 
  7. Voat

But before you start posting links to your product pages or affiliation, you need to understand that there are unwritten rules of spamming.

Forums and Community Boards

First, do not straightaway promote your products or affiliation pages within these groups. Users on these platforms intend to learn something or have their problems sorted out.

They don’t want to see irrelevant ads or marketing tactics, shoved in their face directly.

Take this opportunity to show your expertise and try to build an audience by helping them out with their problems.

Second, use the links to your content in a smart way. If you regularly post links to your affiliation page or blog post, then you are over justifying your promotional plan.

Links can be useful for your audiences if it relates to the topic that they are discussing.

For Example;

Let’s say you’re a car insurance agent, and you joined a car insurance buyer group on Linkedin.

If one of the group members asked, I’m looking to buy my first car and wonder which insurance scheme suits my vehicle.

What if every agent on that group posts links to their website?

You can understand how spammy that looks.

Instead, it would make sense to post a link to an article that clarifies how much the owner has to pay a monthly insurance fee for his new car.

The point is to help the people in the first place without any affiliation greed, which in return will help you to grow your business reputation and your image itself.

7) Paid Advertising

When it involves paid advertising, please do not throw your money blindly into an Ad Network just because you read it on articles or blogs.

What works for one business won’t necessarily work for the next business operations. 

Firstly, you need to engage on social networks for your target audiences and pitch your unique selling proposition to sell your products.

Paid Advertisements

Bloomberg reported that Google and Facebook own a combined 58% of the 111 Billion Dollar Advertising Market.

So, the second option is to look for keywords and marketing phrases that have a lower cost per click.

That means it is cheaper and more competitive than other commercial keywords. You can use it in Google and Facebook Ads for your marketing campaigns.

You can use the keyword explorer service provider, which I mentioned above, to use the data and services from them.

The third thing you can do is experiment with less popular Ad Platforms where your target audience might be. A simple Google search and you can find many of them.

And for the physical marketing; pamphlets and banners work fine.

Finally, you need to be aware that no one comes into buying mode without market research or through a targeted medium.

So, you need to find different and unique ways to monetize your product from the rest of the markets, to grow your business.

Mistakes to Avoid while Writing a Marketing Plan

Don’t make the major mistake of pretending that you don’t care about your audiences. Your audiences should be at the gist of every bit of your marketing efforts.

It will help if you find the related channels your audiences prefer and find it easy to navigate and communicate.

Create Successful and Actionable Marketing Plan

After all, without audiences, there won’t be anyone that you can sell your products or services to.

Mistakes to avoid;

  1. Lack of Market Research – A thorough market research is mandatory to create an effective marketing plan to target your audiences. You need to define your target market.
  2. Focusing on Board Audiences – Do not make the mistake of targeting broad audiences. Stick with the relevant audiences and organize a detailed marketing plan.
  3. Not Retargeting Audiences – Do not forget to re-target audiences. It is crucial to speak directly to a defined audience in a continuous manner to convert your leads into business sales.
  4. Not Setting Realistic Goals – Always be specific about your service or product. Do not set a marketing goal out of the air. If you only sell mobile phones, do not market your business as a full electronic store. You get the point.
  5. Making Mistakes while Writing Plans – Make sure you guarantee the accuracy, you write or market about your product or service. It would help if you double-checked your market campaign to make sure they are 100% accurate.

To maintain your marketing integrity, use real data and facts to create your brand awareness.

Our Simplisitic Recommendation

It’s a good idea to pre-plan marketing campaigns in advance.

But the most suitable time to pre-plan would be a minimum of 3 months for small businesses and 1 year for big brands.

Business owners should allow themselves time to write functional business plans, even if it’s only a few pages long to create an effective marketing strategy.

Your business will not sustain for a long time in today’s market if you don’t plan your strategies well in advance. Whether it’s for your marketing or brand building, you need to pre-plan in advance.

You can find lots of marketing plan template on the internet.

But you need to be aware that templates won’t work for all kinds of businesses.

Don’t get me wrong. You can get lots of ideas through these marketing plan templates.

Still, these templates are made around fixed marketing mix criteria that work for certain businesses that have budgets.

Do you think a marketing plan template created by US companies will work for a business operating in Asia? You do the maths.

A thorough SWOT Analysis is compulsory to create an effective marketing plan for your business.

So, you need to very specific and plan your marketing strategies accordingly.

CONCLUSION

Your marketing plan should address the short term as well as long term vision for your business and your clients.

If you are doing business, you must invest. It doesn’t matter if you spend a significant amount or a small amount as little as $10.

Without investment, it’s tough to build and promote your business.

You don’t need an “advanced” marketing strategy or anything that is out of the box.

The “basic” marketing plan also works very well. Commitment and hard work is the key.

Don’t forget, your marketing plan acts as a vital element to your business success. It also helps to build a brand for your business.

What are your thoughts regarding the marketing plan?

Which strategy do you think works better?

Do you want to add or implement an additional marketing strategy?

Let me know your thoughts through the comments down below.

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Rosan Baral
Rosan Baral

Rosan Baral is the Founder of Vigorous IT Solution. He helps brands to extend their business presence in the current markets using strategic business planning and digital technologies.

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