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Top 4 Tips for Creating a Solid Marketing Strategy

An effective marketing strategy is essential to include in every business plan, but business owners should also create a separate marketing plan and update it from time to time. These four tips ensure a valuable and operational plan.

Define Vision and Mission

All marketing plans should start with your vision and mission. These shouldn’t be hard to write if you know the difference between them. A vision is the “what” about your company and the mission is the “how you will accomplish” the vision.

A great example of an effective vision and mission statement comes from the Yellow Pages United page. (For other examples, try visiting a variety of company FAQ and About pages. )

  • Vision: “To be the leading multi-platform directory search and advertising solutions provider.”
  • Mission: “Helping buyers make purchase decisions and execute the purchase transaction anywhere, anytime.”

From the above example it’s easy to see the “what” and the “how.”

Define Your Customers

It’s important to know who your customers are and that’s easily accomplished with a little research. Visit websites like CityData where you can find demographics for your area like age, gender, median income, education levels and the number of married and single households within your target market reach.

Once you compile demographics, dig deeper into your target market by asking relevant questions such as:

  • Does your service or product solve a problem?
  • Why does your target market need the product?
  • Will the product make their life better? If so, how?
  • What is different from your products compared to competitors?
  • Is your product and service pricing at optimal levels based on competitors?

Make each of the above bullet points a separate item and write down your answers in short essay-like paragraphs.

Create an Advertising Strategy

To create an effective and affordable advertising plan, define:

  • How and where will you advertise your products and services?
  • What amount of money can you allocate to advertising?

On your list of how and where to advertise, you should write down all media outlets available to you and speak to ad reps about various packages and benefits. Be sure to ask each source about their audience reach, number of subscribers and how they plan to ensure your ads will reach your target customers.

The SBA offers great advice on implementing an advertising plan and creating a budget. All businesses wish for larger ad budgets but it’s important to work with ad reps and set a percentage of your gross revenue and dedicate that amount to advertising.  You might start with a small percentage like one or two percent and once you see which ads are reeling customers in, spend more on the campaigns that work. Above all, don’t choose just one venue to advertise—use a blend and do create social media pages and interact with customers.

Gauge Ad Success with a Customer Service SWOT Analysis

With a set ad campaign and budget in place how do business owners find out if their ads are working? A hot trend is developing a customer service SWOT analysis for each ad campaign. By determining the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) of each of your campaigns, it’s possible to increase target market sales. Capitalize on what’s working based on consumer likes and dislikes.

Whether you’re writing a marketing plan for the first time or need to rewrite a plan, these four tips will help immensely and aid in defining your business, customers, and correct ad strategy.
Guest Contributor Amanda Brown is a freelance writer whom enjoys playing and coaching volleyball. She loves her friends and family including her dog, Charlie; as well as traveling all around the world.

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