Marketing is a key part of your business. It gets your brand in front of the right people and engages with them so that they want to find out more. You can’t sell your product or service until you’ve made your potential customers aware of it – so having a marketing plan that supports your business strategy is an important part of developing a successful business. Online marketing and social media are key elements of your overall marketing plan, and we’ve put together a quick guide to help you out.

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is the strategic side of your marketing, setting out the ways you are going to manage your marketing over a period of time. This usually includes an activity plan that you and any team members can work towards. It can cover your whole business, or a single product or service line, where those may need to be separated out.

It helps you and your support team to understand exactly what your marketing process is, including the channels you use, the messages you share and the results you measure. Whether you have an internal team or are using an external resource for your online and social media marketing, your plan will help you to avoid a ‘scattergun’ approach and should drive better results.

Key components of a marketing plan  

Whether you are designing a plan for your whole business or for a particular product or service, there are some key components to include:

Purpose – what is the purpose of your marketing plan? Is it to launch a product, raise your profile, recruit more people? Starting with a clear purpose helps you to stay focused and measure results.

Success – what does success look like for this plan? Is it a certain number of qualified leads? Is it engagement on social media? Is it downloads of brochures or other content?

Audience – a marketing plan is most useful when you have a clearly targeted audience. This means defining your audience in detail – who are they, where do they hang out, how do they search for products and services, what will attract them to your brand – these are all questions that help to put together your key customer personas, making it easier to reach the right people.

Channels – which of your channels are most suited to your target audience? What combination of channels do you need to use in order to capture good quality leads? Are these channels free, paid or a combination of both?

Budget – you will need to know the costs of your plan. This includes creative input from designers, developers, writers and advertising specialists. It also includes any other outsourcing, such as social media marketing assistance. Knowing your costs will help you to calculate an accurate return on investment.

Timescale – what period of time does your plan cover? Is there a launch date to work towards? Have you planned out your activity to make sure you hit your deadlines?

Measurement – what and how often will you measure against your plan? What measures will you use and do you have the right systems to gather all the data you need?

Competition – knowing your competition and assessing their marketing will help you to plan your marketing approach. You can task a virtual resource such as a social media marketing assistant to carry out competitor research so you know exactly what you’re up against.

Task management – who is responsible for what? Which members of your team need to work together to deliver your plan? So perhaps you have an internal resource that is putting together your content, but you want to outsource the actual scheduling and posting – so you’ll need to find the best virtual assistant company for your particular requirements.

Developing a plan – whether for general or online and social media marketing – will help you to manage your marketing in an organised, strategic and measurable way. Too often, businesses don’t spend time or energy on a good marketing plan, and end up spending too much time and money on an unstructured approach. If you need support with creating and managing a marketing plan, why not call us on 0800 994 9016 or use our contact form in the menu above to find out more?


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