How to Create a Simple Marketing Plan

We get it, marketing can be confusing. It's doesn't have to be that way though. One of the key foundational elements to marketing success is having a marketing plan you can follow. Many people overcomplicate marketing plans. In this episode of the Rialto Marketing Podcast, we've got a simple 6 step process you can follow. Check it out.

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Podcast Transcription

How to Create a SImple Marketing Plan


How can you create a marketing plan that is simple and easy for your business to follow? I have a six step process that I'm going to walk you through right now.


Hi, I am Tim Fitzpatrick with Rialto Marketing. Thanks so much for taking the time to tune in. We're going to talk about marketing plans because they are a fundamental element to successful marketing. If you do not have a plan, you have no idea what you need to do to get from where you currently are to where you want to be. I've got a simple, six step process that I'm going to walk you through right now to create a marketing plan.


First step is you have to understand who you're trying to reach. Who is your target market? Most businesses will typically have between one to three ideal client profiles or buyer personas. You can dig as deep as you want in this. You can dig super deep, get really detailed, or this can be, if you're just starting out, it can just be a paragraph, a summary of the ideal clients that you're trying to reach, but you have to understand who your business wants to do business with. If you try and reach everyone, you reach no one. In this first step, all we're doing is outlining who we are trying to reach, who our target market is.


Now, once we understand who our target market is, now we can get into step two, which is what are our marketing goals? I would recommend that you really focus on just one goal. I think if you have too many goals, it becomes really distracting and it dilutes your focus. We need to keep focused. Have one marketing goal. Typically, when we talk about goals, we talk about smart goals. They're specific, they're measurable, they're attainable, realistic and time bound.


Now one thing that's important to keep in mind is, with a smart goal, typically they're what we call outcome based goals and the downside to an outcome based goal is a lot of times there are elements to accomplishing that goal that we can't control ourselves. Anytime there are elements in a goal that we can't control, it significantly impacts our ability to actually reach that goal. I think it's important to have a goal for your marketing plan, just realize that an outcome based goal, you may not be able to attain. Something may happen beyond your control that impedes your ability to hit that goal. So don't focus too much on the goal, but it is important to have so that you have something to measure whether what you're doing is working. What I really like to focus on more are the actions that we can take that are going to help us get to that goal, so that is step two.


Step three, you've got to understand your marketing budget and the resources that you have. Why? Well, if it's just you and you have no money to invest, that's going to limit how much you can actually take on in your marketing plan. If it's you and two other staff people, or you're going to hire an outsourced marketing company to do the work, you can get a lot more done. It is what it is, whatever resources you have and whatever budget you have, it's totally okay, but you have to understand what that is first so that you can then determine how much time, how much resources you have to accomplish what you want to accomplish. If it's just you, you're not going to be able to do five different things at once, but if it's you and multiple people and you can outsource some things, then maybe you can do five things at once. That's why it's really important to understand your marketing budget and the resources that you have.


In step four, we need to look at our current marketing plan. Now I realize you may not even have a current marketing plan and that is okay. What you're going to do, what we look at are these fundamental channels. One, do you have a marketing strategy? To me, a marketing strategy is your target market, your messaging, which is going to create clarity and engagement to the people that you're trying to reach, and then your plan itself. If you don't have anything in here, that's okay, just not applicable. Then you've got your website content, content marketing, SEO or search engine optimization, your social media, email marketing, pay per click advertising or online advertising and then offline advertising. When we talk about offline advertising, I'm talking about networking events. You may be doing speaking, live speaking, you might have strategic partners, you may be doing direct mail. Those types of things are typically what I would consider offline marketing.


All you're going to do in this step is just enter the information for what you're doing in each of these channels right now. In order to get to where you want to be, you have to first understand where you're currently at and that's what step four is doing for you. It's helping you understand where you are in each of these fundamental channels.


Now in step five we're creating our marketing plan for the next 90 days. I personally think that marketing in your business is changing so fast that, to have a six month or a one year marketing plan, I think it's a waste of time. I like to do 90 day sprints. Create a marketing plan for 90 days, do the work and then, when you're done, look at your goals, look at the metrics that you tracked, what worked, what didn't and then wash, rinse and repeat. That's why we're going to focus on just a 90 day plan. It's much easier to understand and I think it's much easier to implement. It's not nearly as confusing. For your 90 day marketing plan, you're going to do the exact same thing that we did in step four. You're going to look at what you are going to do in each of these channels for the next 90 days?


In a lot of cases, you may not be doing anything in some of these channels. Again, it all depends on the budget and the resources you have. If you only have the resources to focus on your email marketing and some social media for the next 90 days, that's okay, but you've got it down on paper and you know exactly what you need to do for the next 90 days. And what you're going to put in each of these sections, what actions are you going to take? Are you going to set up a Facebook page and post on Facebook three times a week, or do a live video on Facebook once a week? Whatever it is you're going to do, that's what you're going to outline here so that you know exactly what you need to focus on for the next 90 days. What this does for you is it gives you focus and it helps you not get distracted by shiny objects. It is so easy to get distracted by the coolest marketing tactic and all these other things that are happening. Go back to your plan and it gives you focus. Really, really important.


Now step six is your metrics. What metrics are you going to track in each of the channels that you're going to focus on for the next 90 days? When you understand what metrics you're going to track, those metrics help give you an idea of whether what you're doing is actually working. Really important for you to be able to measure the effectiveness of your plan when you go at the end of the 90 days, when you look at what you did, did it work? You're going to look at your metrics and then you're going to look at your overall goal. Did what we focus on help us get to our overall goal? Sometimes yes, sometimes no and that's okay. What you're going to do at this point is just look at what worked, what didn't, make modifications and then create your marketing plan for the next 90 days. All you're going to do is just repeat this every 90 days. I guarantee it will help you get to where you want to be and help your business grow.


I hope you found that helpful. A marketing plan, like I said, is fundamental to the success of your marketing, so don't skip it. If you have questions, you need help, please don't hesitate to reach out. Happy to talk to you about it. Again, I am Tim Fitzpatrick with Rialto Marketing. Just remember, marketing your business shouldn't be a challenge, all you need is a plan. Thanks for tuning in. Take care.


About the Author Tim Fitzpatrick

Tim Fitzpatrick is the President of Rialto Marketing. At Rialto Marketing, we help small businesses & entrepreneurs eliminate the confusion of marketing by focusing on the fundamentals. As a marketing partner, we help clients put in place and manage a simple marketing plan so they can grow. Marketing your business shouldn't be a challenge. All you need is a plan.

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