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Effective Business Marketing Plan: Is Making One Difficult?

Anyone who owns or runs a business should understand the importance of having a carefully-crafted and clearly-defined business marketing plan. Now more than ever, ensuring your marketing efforts are top-notch is essential – you need to stand out from a lot of other noise, particularly online. Therefore, your organization needs a marketing plan that is a separate entity to your overall business plan. Here are the steps you need to take to put yours together.

1. What’s Your Demographic?

Before you’re able to start putting your marketing plan together, you need to ensure that you have a deep understanding of exactly who it is you’re targeting. Knowing this will mean that you’ll have a clearer picture of the types of content and branding that is likely to engage your audience, as well as which channels you can use to reach them.

Look at factors such as gender, age, lifestyle, income, and location to build your buyer profiles. If you’re in the B2B sector, it should be details such as industry, turnover, location, age of the business and pain points.

2. Why Do They Need Your Product?

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In order to establish exactly how you can engage your potential customers effectively, you need to determine the reason(s) they’d have for buying your product or service. What problem does it solve? Does it make their life easier? Help them save time or money for their business? Is it an aspirational product that will earn them the respect of their peers? Once you’re able to answer this question, you can start tailoring your marketing messages to communicate how your product solves the particular issue at hand.

3. Who Are Your Competitors?

Researching your competitors is another important part of writing your marketing plan. Establishing who your business rivals are is obviously very useful, but going deeper and gathering information about them will give you a much bigger edge over them.

Look at the tactics your competitors are using to engage their audience, the demographic(s) they’re targeting, and their strengths and weaknesses. You can then use these to your advantage, by focusing on a particular feature that they don’t offer, for example, or emphasizing that your product is at a better price point.

4. Why Should Customers Choose You?

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By now you should be in a better position to establish why your target audience might choose to buy from you over your competitors. This should be a specific and clearly-defined reason, that you can state in a simple sentence. For example, are you offering better value? a superior product? does your business have a better reputation, or bigger share of the market? Once you’ve established exactly what your business represents for prospects, you can use it to target them more successfully.

5. Which Marketing Methods Will You Use?

Once you have all of the above elements sorted, it’s time to decide on the approach you’ll use to target your audience. A multi-channel strategy will usually be the best way forward, so here are some tips for getting the most out of the main marketing methods being used today.

SEO

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SEO is a very effective marketing tool, as it helps bring potential customers who are already looking for what you’re selling directly to your website. There are some factors to bear in mind, though, in order to make this technique as fruitful as possible.

Keyword Research

You should always carry out keyword research before writing content for your site. You can use free tools such as the Google Keyword Tool to find the words and phrases that your target audience are most likely to search for in order to find products or services like yours. As well as keywords mentioning your product or service, you should also include those that relate to the issue that it helps solve.

Meta Titles and Descriptions

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While they may not be as valuable as they once were, it is still important to utilise meta titles and descriptions for your website content. Give every single one of your posts and pages unique titles and descriptions to give your site a better chance of being found through search engines.

Good Quality Content

Filling your website with high-quality content is one of the most important factors in bringing in potential customers. Look at the topics that are trending in your niche, as well as those that perform well regardless of when they’re posted. Then get to work on adding your own take on these, improving on the posts already out there.

Having great content on your website not only helps you rank higher in search engines, but will also keep potential buyers coming back to your site and helps build your brand reputation.

Email

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Email is still an incredibly powerful tool when it comes to marketing. It’s direct, quick, and versatile; you can send out all types of content from infographics and videos, to newsletters and coupons. As long as you’re using intriguing subject lines and engaging content, you can see great results from email campaigns.

Nowadays it is also easier than ever before to find the contacts you need before a campaign; where once you’d have to rely on building an email list organically (still a very time-consuming approach for most small businesses), you now have all the information at hand. For example, if you’re looking to expand into Mexico, you can use this tool as specific as a directory of Mexican companies to kickstart your campaign.

Social Media

The rise of social media means that it should now be a vital part of any business’ marketing plan. Indeed, those that don’t have an active presence on social media run the risk of being seen as subpar and old fashioned, losing potential customers to competitors.

While it’s a good idea to use multiple channels in your marketing plan, you don’t want to spread your resources too thinly; establish which ones are being used the most by your target audience and focus on these. When it comes to posting, avoid giving your followers the hard sell constantly, and instead provide interesting, valuable content that is more likely to be shared.

Writing a business marketing plan may seem like an unnecessary waste of time, but in reality, it is incredibly important. It helps to set goals for your marketing team and provides a guide that anyone on the team can look back at to ensure everything is running smoothly. If you want to have a greater chance at winning customers over your business rivals, a marketing plan is a very good way to gain that vital edge.


Peter is a freelance writer with more than eight years of experience covering topics in politics. He was one of the guys that were here when the foreignpolicyi.org started.

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