What Goes Into a Successful Marketing Plan?

Forward planning is essential to get the most from your marketing.

If you’re considering online marketing for the first time, it could be helpful to put together an online marketing plan. This will help your focus your efforts and resources, by setting out what you want to achieve and how you’re going to do it.

Your business environment

This part should include the following:

  • details of the market you operate in and any industry trends
  • an overview of your competitors
  • profiles of your customers, including any customer segmentation

You should also include an analysis of your business’ strengths and weaknesses. For example, you might have poor financial resources, but a loyal existing customer base.

Marketing objectives and tactics

Once you’ve analysed your business environment and how you fit into it, look at your online marketing objectives. What do you want to achieve by investing in online marketing?

Typical objectives could include improving sales, increasing brand awareness, providing better customer service or saving money on marketing overall.

Your marketing tactics addresses how you’re going to achieve these objectives. Think about which online marketing channels would be the most effective for you.

Taking the example from above of the business with few financial resources but a loyal customer base, they could benefit from building a social media presence where those customers could spread word-of-mouth recommendations.

You should also plan out how you’re going to measure results – how will you know if your efforts have been successful?

Budget and resources

In this final section you should plan how much you want to spend on online marketing, and the resources you have in terms of people and time.

Some methods will cost money upfront – such as having a website custom-built by a web design consultant – whereas others are cheap but take more of an investment of time, for example social networking.

How does my online marketing relate to other marketing efforts?

It’s important to remember that your online marketing plan needs to support and be consistent with your general marketing goals and business objectives.

For example, if your business aim is “to grow sales by 25 per cent in 12 months”, it would be helpful to concentrate your online marketing efforts on this. Raising brand awareness – unless this directly helps to drive sales – would be a lesser priority.