Tips for Creating a Marketing Plan for Startups
Creating a marketing plan is the first step to build and scale any business. It is the strategy for reaching customers and leading them down the sales funnel. These tips will help startups and small businesses achieve business growth and increase customer engagement.
Creating a marketing plan helps you connect with your target market by following a well-laid track. However, laying down the foundations for that track can be tricky.
It is not enough to know the steps that lead to startup marketing plans. You also need to consider many factors that can affect the effectiveness of your strategies. Here are some tips to help you achieve success when creating a marketing plan.
Best practices for creating a marketing plan
You probably have the marketing basics down pat, and that is great. However, you might not be focusing on some things as much as you should. The following are best practices for creating a marketing plan.
1. Preparation is key for startup marketing plans
Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are planning to fail.” Many people get so excited when they have a bright idea that they just plunge right into the fray. The problem is that failing to look at all aspects of their marketing idea will most likely doom them from the start.
It is understandable. Few people like to do the research, but it really is the key to effective marketing. You need to identify your target market as well as find out about your competitors. A solid understanding of your market is the basis for a marketing plan that will actually work.
2. Be realistic about setting goals
Most people are familiar with SMART goals but often skimp on the Realistic part. Setting lofty goals is undoubtedly an excellent way to inspire you to work harder. However, that can be disastrous when setting goals for your marketing plan. You could end up spending way too much time and money on a strategy to reach something unreachable. It can be very discouraging as well as expensive.
It would be best if you keep your marketing goals grounded in the reality of your situation. For example, you are a startup launching bamboo-based bathroom products to market. It would not be realistic to expect to sell a million units in the first month. A realistic goal would be to introduce it to the market through social media. Commit to that in the first month, and you might just see a million sales soon after.
If you have a good understanding of your product’s demand, you can set realistic goals. When you have those, you will be able to plan future strategies better. You will also make the most of your resources.
3. Customer first in creating a marketing plan
It might sound like a cliché, but the whole point of your marketing plan is to advocate for your customers. You want to respond to their needs and issues, so you need to focus on those over anything else.
When doing customer research, you focus on the target markets you chose. That is fine. However, it is not enough to know where they go or what they buy. You need to figure out why your target market should buy your solutions. Are you addressing their core needs?
Take the example of bamboo-based bathroom products. Is your target market concerned about the environment? Can you deliver the products to them when they need them? What would compel them to switch to your product? What is their price point?
These are all customer first questions you need to ask. It will guide the way you communicate with them and your marketing strategies. If you have all the right answers, they will come.
4. Watch that funnel
The sales funnel represents your customer’s journey from awareness (top of the funnel or ToFu) to action (bottom of the funnel or BoFu). However, it is not an actual funnel in that it is not solid. Many holes between ToFu and BoFu exist that can leak leads.
Most marketers concentrate on getting people to ToFu and BoFu, which is understandable. The conversion rate of a website on average is 2.35%. That means only two out of 100 visitors convert.
That is just the point. You were able to make 100 people aware of your business, but only two converted. The problem is in the middle parts, which are interest and decision. Your marketing plan should also focus on plugging those holes in the middle of the funnel as well. You could automate follow-up emails or messages, for example.
The sales funnel is a helpful tool for tracking your customer’s journey to the bottom part. However, you should focus on all parts of the funnel when creating your marketing plan to make sure they convert.
5. Bake authenticity into your message
Your message drives your brand. Marketing channels will distribute that message and create awareness. However, you need to ensure first that your target market agrees with your message.
You need to create a message that is unique to your brand and relevant to your audience. It will not matter if your marketing strategies are brilliant if no one likes what you are saying.
Focus on differentiating yourself from your competitors by baking authenticity into your brand message. Once you have a well-developed message, use content and other inbound marketing strategies to spread the word and excite attention. It might take much trial and error to find your voice, but it will be well worth the effort.
6. Use internal feedback for creating a marketing plan
Many resources are available on how to create a marketing plan for any business. However, you might just be missing one of the most valuable: your employees.
Most people know how important feedback is but often only focus on external sources such as customers. At most, much of what drives a marketing plan comes from input at the executive level. However, the best insights will come from those on the ground, mainly your marketing and customer service team.
You could also ask your product development people what they think. Remember that your employees are also potential customers. Listen to your employees and use their feedback to improve your marketing strategy. Find out if they respond to your branding and messaging in the way you want and make changes accordingly.
7. Be flexible in creating a marketing plan
In his poem “To a Mouse,” Robert Burns said, “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley.” This line refers to the fact that something can still go wrong in even the most carefully planned project. You can make every effort to create a great marketing plan but still expect the unexpected.
Try to think about any potential issues you might encounter along the way. Think hardest when your marketing plan involves committing considerable resources, such as purchasing expensive software. You want to factor in the entry of a new competitor, changing market demands, or more affordable software.
The best marketing plan is one with contingencies. Make sure you build in flexibility to your marketing plans. That way, you can pivot whenever you have to with as little cost as possible.
Creating a marketing plan is easier with Full Scale
Marketing strategies often rely on tools such as mobile apps and project management software. Full Scale can help you build your IT team quickly and affordably to develop, integrate, and manage marketing activities. You can also hire marketing professionals and content writers from our talent pool to kick-start your marketing efforts.
Get in touch, and let’s talk about how to create a marketing plan.