Writing a Marketing Plan

Writing a marketing plan is usually the most fun portion of developing a new business and writing a complete business plan. One of the nice things about writing a marketing plan is that it is not overly technical in nature given that you’re discussing the ways in which will target your potential customers. Foremost, it is imperative that the entrepreneur develop a expansive demographic profile that showcases the exact customers – whether business or individuals – it will be targeted via the company’s marketing campaigns. As it relates to individuals that are targeted, common characteristics including median household income, median family income, age range, gender, profession, and psychographics are included in this analysis. It is very important that the marketing plan provide a laser focus on the individuals that will be targeted given that marketing is a very expensive proposition and it is imperative that a new business has a clear sight of who they want as their initial customer base. Of course, if individuals are targeted outside of that demographic base that is great however it is very important that the marketing budget is properly allocated towards specific demographic profiles. If the company is a business to business provider then expensive demographics need to be provided regarding the types of companies will be targeted for the company’s products and services. This includes an overview of the anticipated annual revenues, annual profits, industries operate within, and how much these businesses will spend with the company any given year. These demographics at times can be extremely broad, but it is again important to focus specifically on the customers that are most likely to enroll or purchase the company’s products and services.

Given the number of channels in which marketing and advertising can be carried out these days – it is important to develop a number of different sections of the marketing plan to focus not only in traditional marketing, print marketing, as well as online marketing. Online marketing is of the special importance these days as most people now find product and service providers via the Internet on their desktops and mobile devices. One of the ways that many new businesses will often develop a customer base is by establishing a large social media presence. This includes maintaining profiles on networks such as FaceBook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and third-party platforms such as Yelp.com and Reddit.com.

Given that these are low-cost ways to reach an audience, many new entrepreneurs have found that this can provide a expansive return on investment as it relates to each marketing dollar spent. Of course, these platforms are highly competitive for an individual’s attention. As such, many firms will make the decision to hire a social media consultant or similar marketing firm that can assist in guiding them with how to properly carry out a social media marketing campaign. It should be noted that the cost of advertising on social media is increasing given the ability to highly target companies and individuals on these platforms. As such, a cohesive marketing plan that focuses specifically on social marketing should be one of the major components of the overall marketing plan.

Other ways that businesses advertise via the Internet is through the use of pay per click (“PPC”) marketing. This allows individuals to have their websites showcased immediately on the first page of search results given that they are sponsor advertisements. This can be an extremely expensive form of marketing given that a fee anywhere from ten cents all the way to $20 can be charged each time a person goes to a website. Given this high expense, a very specific focus needs to be implemented so that only the most proper demographics are targeted when engaging in a PPC advertising campaign. It should be noted that there are a number of different firms out there that can assist with developing the keywords and target audience specific to the company. These companies typically charge a monthly fee ranging anywhere from $200 all the way to $2,000 depending on the scope and scale of the pay per click marketing campaign. However, usage of this type of marketing on Google, Bing, and Yahoo is generally pretty straightforward. As such, the few hours work – most entrepreneurs are able to develop their initial paper click marketing campaigns on her own. These search engines also have a number of experts on staff that can work closely with the entrepreneur in order to get this operation up and running.

Beyond pay-per-click marketing, many firms will seek to use search engine optimization so that the pages can be found in natural search results over time. This is an expensive proposition and the results can take upwards of eight months to a year before the business sees a return on this type of marketing investment. Search engine optimization is generally considered to be a long-term marketing strategy for most new businesses. There are a number of companies out there that can render the service to a company, but they are expensive and again they do take a significant amount of time for the results to take hold. Generally, a search engine optimization firm will charge a fee ranging anywhere from $100 all the way to $20,000 a month depending on what needs to be done in order to have a website found organically through search engine results. This is usually one of the last types of marketing that a new business carries out given that they want to generate him immediately through the use of pay-per-click advertising and social media campaigns.

Print advertising and television advertising is also extremely popular still. Although the rates of these types of advertisements have declined, they can still be an outstanding source of marketing for any new business. Print advertising and television advertising usually carries more weight for consumers as people put a greater level of trust in a televised advertisement rather than an online advertisement. One of the nice things about developing a television advertisement is that it can be concurrently run on other platforms such as YouTube, Vimeo.com, and other platforms that allow for the sharing of online videos. As such, many television commercials that can be run cost-effectively on cable TV networks can concurrently produce a significant amount of interest the online channels as well. The cost of developing a small commercial advertisement that is appropriate for cable television or online marketing typically is about $2000 to $5000 depending on the videography company used. Extremely high quality videos typically run anywhere from $10,000 all the way to $50,000 depending on the production value of the commercial.

Print advertising is usually one of the ways that most local businesses promote their companies to the general public. The use of flyers, advertisements in local newspapers, advertisements in local circulars, and related print advertising activities typically are low-cost form of marketing that can potentially rates reach tens of thousand households on a monthly basis. However, the return on investment for print advertising is typically in the lower end of things given that the very large amount of mail is sent out to a broad base of demographics. These types of advertisements remain popular with service-based businesses including contractors, restaurants, and highly local retailers. Print advertising is going by the way when someone as more and more newspapers go online and as less mailers are sent out on a yearly basis.

In closing, having a well-defined marketing plan can be a make or break for most businesses given that there can be no customers if people are unaware of the business and what it provides. As such, it is important that the entrepreneur take a significant amount of time when developing the marketing campaign so that they have a complete understanding of who their customers, how they will reach them, and the cost of acquiring each new customer.

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