Know your audience

First and foremost, it is essential to identify and understand your target market. It seems obvious, but too many businesses make assumptions about their target market without actually doing any research. And simply identifying your customers is not enough—you have to truly understand them and how they make decisions. Every choice you make regarding your marketing strategy should revolve around your client, their needs and wants, and their habits.

Know your competition

A great way to get some ideas for your marketing plan is to look at your competitors. You can learn from their mistakes, take tips from their successes, and improve upon what they do. If your competitors are doing something that you aren’t, your business is probably missing opportunities.

Get customer feedback

If you plan to make changes, make sure they will address problems that already exist. A great way to find out what to improve upon is to ask your customers. Focus groups, feedback from customer service requests, and other resources may be used as starting points for making changes.

Evaluate your resources

When deciding on what sort of tactics to implement, evaluate your team members and the multitude of strengths that they likely bring to the table. Utilize the skillset you are provided with to your advantage, and your marketing plan will be unique, strong, and likely successful.

Keep it focused and simple

The main focus of any marketing strategy should be to build brand awareness. Make sure that is at the forefront of your plan as a priority. From here, focus on what works for your individual company. Tailor your plan to your target market and how you can build their awareness specifically, not just population awareness.

However, before you go adding all kinds of shiny new aspects to your marketing plan, make sure your current strategies are doing well, or if they’re not working out, ditch them. Complicating an already failing plan will not improve it.

Set SMART goals

The only way to tell if your marketing plan is successful is by setting goals, measuring your progress, and making changes. Your goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-based. You want to improve your social media. Increase your reach. Those are great goals to have, but even better would be… You want to gain 200 Instagram followers in 2 weeks. Of course, that is just an example of a SMART goal a company may set. 200 followers might be realistic for your company. Maybe it’s more like 50, or 1,000 followers. Or maybe Instagram isn’t the right platform for your company to be using—maybe you should focus on getting more likes on Facebook, or increasing traffic on your website.

Track your progress

After setting those goals, it’s important to follow up. Track the progress of your goals and the impact that your marketing plan is having on sales. Calculating the return on investment (ROI) is an essential part of any business plan.

But remember, ROI isn’t everything. It’s very possible that not all of the marketing you do is to gain more clients or profit. Maybe it’s simply to raise awareness, to strengthen relationships, or do good in the community.

Be flexible

Odds are you are going to have to edit, revise and adapt your marketing strategy repeatedly. The process is entirely dynamic, technology is ever changing, and your company is likely growing. It’s important to recognize this in order to establish a need to revisit your marketing plan frequently.

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