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What Makes for a Good Marketing Plan?

What Makes for a Good Marketing Plan?

Marketing is one of the most important things that can be done for a business.  Marketing gets your business name to the people who need your services, tells them what you can provide, and is often the first thing a client sees before contacting you.  A good marketing plan can make or break your business, so it is important to follow the steps for creating a successful marketing plan. 
How to construct a solid Marketing Plan

1. Know your business
It may sound obvious, but before you can start to create marketing plans, you must be able to identify key concepts about your business and what it is you do.  Identify your client base, whether they are businesses, individuals, or families.  You will also need to identify what these clients are looking for in your company.  Why do they need your services? What services are more popular than others?  Only by knowing and understanding your own business and client base can you start to work on a successful marketing plan. 

2. Evaluate your budget
All marketing plans require some form of capital in order to be implemented. You will need to evaluate how much you can afford and what your return on investment will be for certain types of marketing.  You will need to determine what types of marketing will be needed and how much you should expect to pay for them.  More expensive marketing plans are not always more successful than less expensive ones, so do not be turned away if you think your budget cannot support a marketing plan.  

3. Brainstorm marketing ideas
One great way of coming up with marketing plans is by writing as many ideas as come to mind.  Try to gather the thoughts of other employees, family, and friends for what could go into your marketing plan.  Often, an outside perspective can give you new ideas or spark ideas of your own.  The experiences of others can often lead to creative ideas that can go into your marketing plan.  

4. Put your marketing plan into effect
Once you have gathered all of the information about your clients, your budget requirements, and ideas on how to reach your clients, you need to put it all together into a workable plan.  Write out your plan is as much detail as possible, with specific forms of advertisements and target dates for your marketing plan to be implemented.  At the same time, ensure that your marketing plan can be modified as you find what types of marketing work and which do not.  

How to adapt your Marketing Plan to changes
Often, your marketing plan will need to be changed and adapted in order to keep your marketing fresh and helpful.  One great way is to ask for feedback from your clients.  Ask them about what brought them to your business and whether they have been exposed to your marketing.  If need be, you may need to hire a marketing professional in order to keep your marketing sustainable while allowing you time to run your business.