5 Steps to Creating a Strategic Marketing Plan

- ByThe Social Agency

With so many businesses pivoting to online this year, we felt it was timely to share the following five steps to help businesses map out a successful marketing strategy.

One of the most effective and impactful services we offer is strategic planning. Heads up: This process does indeed require some time and energy. So be prepared to do some contemplation, analysis and research if you want to end up with a marketing plan that’s a home run.  Let’s get started.

Step One: Our starting question to you: Is your branding working? Do your logo, fonts, colours appeal to your target audience and represent what it is you offer? One of the simplest ways to determine how effective your brand is is to do a survey to your audience, or to a sampling of your audience. To do this, you can create a Google Form, and ask your customers three questions, along the lines of: What do they see when they see your logo? What does your brand mean to them? Be sure to include a specific question as well.

Step Two: Define your target audience. Your ideal target audience may be different from your current customers, especially if you’re in the process of pivoting. As you define your ideal target audience, take some time to consider your niche, and get as specific as possible. The more niche you can be, the more you’ll be able to tailor your messaging to people who care. Here are three examples of websites that do this really well.  One way to do this is to create a client persona or a Customer Avatar, to really hone in on who you’re going to be communicating with, and how to effectively speak their language and address their needs. After all, you may not be your own target audience- in fact, you’re probably not, so it’s extra important to understand your prospective customer’s perspective if you’re going to successfully invite them to use your products or services.

Step Three: Define your offer. Whether you’re selling products or services or programs, it’s fundamental to create a clear offer statement that immediately resonates with your target audience. Start with a statement about what your business is, then move into a statement about each of your core offers, or product categories. For most entrepreneurs this is a process of refining your offer, to make it as succinct, vibrant, and compelling as possible. This may mean you bring a personal story into your offer statement. Below, I’ve pasted 2 excellent examples, showing you how to get really clear in your IG bio. Note: You’ll need to have both a shorter and longer version of each of your offers, to match and fit with the platform you’re using.

Step Four: Create a promotional strategy. Decide which tools you’ll use to promote your business (website, social channels, PR, partnerships, newsletter, etc.) and brainstorm how you can most effectively use each. This is the deep dive. In this section, you should not only audit your current activities, but analyze industry trends and competitors, to explore tactics that you can employ across all your marketing vehicles. You don’t have to ‘do it all’; through analysis, you’ll get a sense of how much time and energy will be required to use each platform effectively, and then you can work backwards to decide how to maximize your time and resources. For example, you may decide to only choose 1 or 2 social platforms and really put your energy into being effective on those particular platforms. You could brainstorm a list of ideal partners to work with to help each other’s marketing efforts. When considering advertising, consider the return on social ads vs. paid partnerships vs. media advertising.

Step Five: Define success. Once you’ve done the deeper dive required in step four, take a look at each platform and define how you’ll measure marketing success. For example:

  • Website: Growth in traffic 5% each month, and sales by 10% each month.
  • Instagram: Growth in Instagram followers by 500 each month, growth in engagement by 10% each month. Check out our guide to writing great copy for social media.
  • Pinterest: 10,000 website clicks monthly and 50 new followers each month.
  • Newsletter: Grow subscribers to 4000 by the end of the year, with a goal of approx 350 new subscribers each month.
  • Partnerships: Create one brand partnership each month. This could be a PSA or giveaway-based collaboration.

While the above is definitely a condensed breakdown of our strategic planning process, it’s a great place to start. After you’ve defined success, you can go back to step four and re-visit how exactly your goals will be accomplished. And if this all sounds like way too much work, we’d be happy to create a custom strategic plan for your biz! Send us a note.