By Mike Abelson

Starting a business needs a solid marketing strategy, but not a lot of entrepreneurs believe they need it. They don’t realize just how essential a marketing plan is for business financing and winning customers. A killer marketing plan helps you set clear, realistic goals and spells out the tactics you will need to accomplish them.

Without a plan of action, starting a business is going to be a lot harder. A marketing plan outlines what you will sell, who are likely to buy it, and the strategies you will use to get the sales goals. It doesn’t have to be overly complicated unless you are creating a plan designed to gain funding. When developing your marketing plan, being right to the point and using bulleted points are favored.

To help you build a solid framework for a marketing strategy that is ideal for entrepreneurs, below are some tips you may want to consider.

1. Analyze Your Situation

Begin your marketing plan by defining your company, as well as its products or services. Also, show what benefits or features make you stand apart from the competition. Given that target audiences are now more segmented and specialized, a complete understanding of your niche is necessary so you can position your product or services competitively.

With that, make sure that your situation analysis in the marketing plan is a brief but concise overview of all your business’s characteristics (strengths and weaknesses) and outside factors (opportunities and threats) that may affect it. This information is essential in positioning your product or service, as it will help to distinguish your product from competitors. 

2. Determine Your Target Audience

In the next part, define who your target audience is. Write a succinct profile of your potential customers. You can describe them in demographics such as age, sex, geographic location, and so on. When writing their profile, think about what kind of customers they are, whether modern or traditional, leaders or followers, etc. It’s a little different if you’re a B2B marketer, but the idea is to get a good idea of your target audience is to guide your campaigns.

3. Define Your Marketing Goals

What is it that you want to achieve? Ponder on this and create a shortlist of marketing goals as measurable as possible. Remember to write SMART goals – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. If you wrote you want to raise capital, your goal isn’t precise enough. If you say you want to raise $100, 000 by August 1, then your goal is both specific and timely.

Whether it is realistic and attainable depends on the capability of your business. As for being measurable, you must outline in your plan how you plan to measure if your strategies are successful or not. Besides writing SMART goals, it helps to be optimistic as well. It doesn’t feel inspiring when you say you want to earn to pay your bills, but to achieve financial security is a good motivation.

4. Detail Your Marketing Tactics

When you are done outlining what you want to accomplish and who your prospects are, the next part is about how you accomplish and reach them. In detailing your marketing tactics, make sure that you target the different prospects throughout the entire sales cycle. You will find that some marketing strategies work well on specific candidates, whether it is cold prospect, warm prospect or hot prospects.

Write in the tactics section your main marketing strategies, as well as those you will use for different types of prospects. Today, most businesses utilize multichannel marketing, given that their audience is likely spread through various channels. It doesn’t always fit, which is why it’s critical to understand your audience. What’s most important is that you reach your audience in the way they will be most receptive.

5. Set Your Budget

Part of your projected gross sales you will have to commit to your yearly marketing budget. You must keep in mind that marketing is necessary if you want your business to succeed. Therefore, it is also a requirement that you set aside a budget for it, which will likely be a burden for a start-up. You probably will have to set up a way to get business financing for this.

Fortunately, you have so many kinds of marketing tactics to try and employ to reach out to your audience. There is digital marketing, which is mostly a good fit if your budget is tight. Of course, this depends on your niche or industry, your audience, your goals, and a lot of factors. You must be sure the marketing tactics you choose suit what you want to achieve and that they won’t exceed your funds.

Gather the estimated costs of the marketing tactics you have detailed in the previous section. Compare this to your overall budget, and if you exceed, adjust accordingly. Don’t go over your budget and stay affordable. Even if you feel like an overly costly technique will help your business, don’t concern yourself with it until you have the funds for them or else you will have more debt than revenue.

Featured photo credit: Depositphotos