How to Develop a Marketing Plan: 5 Steps You Need to Take

How do you figure out how to develop a marketing plan that will pay dividends as your grow your business?  What do you need to do  and how should you go about doing it? That’s a question we’re going to look at in this post, so keep reading to learn more.

The information you find here on how to develop a marketing plan will help you build a strong foundation on which you can hit the ground running.

Laying Out a Winning Strategy

In a previous post, I pointed out a few important financial resolutions that you should be making.

Underneath those resolutions, there should be a plan of action in place that outlines how you plan on marketing your company and shaping the kind of image that you want your customers to see.

As your company grows, it becomes increasingly important to have that framework to follow. With that in mind, here are a few things you can do to ensure you are on the right track as you begin the New Year.

  • Know What Sets You Apart – This is a golden rule of marketing a product and something that you should think about before most other aspects of your offering.Since there will be competition regardless of what you provide, you need to make a point of showing what makes you unique. Whether you serve a particular niche or offer a unique spin that no one else has thought of, it’s a point that you want to make early and often as you develop your brand.Your customers have all sorts of options as to where they can spend their money, so your marketing strategy needs to show them why your company is the one that deserves it.
  • Know Your Avenues of Advertising – It’s easy enough to develop a few fliers to hand out, but getting the attention you want will require creativity.When thinking about how to develop a marketing plan, you want to make sure you’re taking full advantage of the tools that are out there so your name can get in front of many eyes as possible.In many ways, this means turning to the online world.  This may seem like a simple thing, but you’d be surprised how many businesses have underdeveloped websites; if they have sites at all. On top of that, customers are increasingly turning to things like social media and mobile applications, so you should look into taking advantage of those things as well.Revamp your site, connect and engage with clients in as many ways as possible, and watch how much easier it will be to build a relationship that will help you retain customers through the year.
  • Examine the Last Year’s Practices – This carries over from the post about financial resolutions because it’s just as relevant to your current marketing efforts.When you’re learning about how to develop a marketing plan for the current year, take what worked in the prior year and keep doing it. Those tactics, in conjunction with the new practices you adopt, will work together to increase your chances at successfully marketing your business.
  • Accept That Mistakes Happen – No one, not even the leader of your industry, is perfect. Whether a new product delivers below expectations or a mistake is made that leaves a black mark against your reputation, you want to learn from mistakes, not dwell on them.It was Henry Ford who said “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”  I believe that is something every entrepreneur should live by when figuring out how to develop a marketing plan.I guarantee that no matter how smoothly business goes for you, you’ll have some kind of curve ball thrown at you at some point. In order to make it as a competent business leader, you need to learn how to work around those instances and adjust your plans accordingly.
  • Explore and Experiment – Since your company is small, there’s no reason to rest on your laurels. When figuring out how to develop a marketing plan, move forward with the mindset that 2013 should be a year of bold moves.Should you try offering your services to a new audience? Could you establish a partnership with another business, thus having access to a wider client base? Is it time to start giving some thought to revamping your internal process so that customers are better served?  These are just a few questions you should be asking yourself and the answers you come up with can greatly influence your marketing.

Remember, running a business successfully does not need to be complicated.  Keep it simple!

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