Marketing Plan Templates with Guide

Once you’ve established who you are targeting, you need to create a plan for how you will reach them and ultimately convert them into a customer. Ask yourself how you will get in front of your target audience to bring awareness to your product, and how you will convince them […]

Once you’ve established who you are targeting, you need to create a plan for how you will reach them and ultimately convert them into a customer. Ask yourself how you will get in front of your target audience to bring awareness to your product, and how you will convince them to purchase from you. Read below for effective concepts you can use to develop your strategy.

Identify your buyer’s buying cycle. 

Now that you’ve pinpointed your target buyer, the next step is to develop a content strategy to encourage the buyer through each stage of the customer’s journey. Understanding how your customers make purchase decisions will allow you to align your content strategy accordingly. The stages of the customer’s buying cycle include the following:

  1. Awareness: Prospective buyers have a problem and begin searching for solutions. This is the stage where a business invests its resources to make potential customers aware of the products and services it offers.
  2. Consideration: Prospective buyers are considering the various solutions available to solve their problem, and need to be convinced that they need to make a purchase in order to solve it. This is the stage where a business conveys in great detail the benefits the customer will receive after using the product, and how it is better than what the competition is offering. 
  3. Intent: Prospective buyers are convinced that they need to make a purchase to solve their problem, and begin to compare alternatives. This is the stage where a business reassures the customer that the product offered makes the most sense out of all the alternatives from an emotional, financial, or lifestyle perspective. 
  4. Purchase: Prospective buyers have made their decision on which company they will purchase the product from. Even if the buyer chooses your product, the process does not end here. The goal of your business is to develop a relationship with the customer to increase brand loyalty, and to find upsell opportunities based on purchase history.
  5. Repurchase: Buyers need to renew a perishable product (e.g. a supply of contact lenses) or a product subscription. The goal of your business is to foster the relationship with the customer by offering incentives to repurchase and to increase brand evangelism. An effective way to use content to retain customers is through email marketing campaigns. Find email workflow tips, examples and free templates to get started on developing your strategy.

Before creating content for each stage of the buying cycle, you must first establish your content goals for each stage, strategies to implement to meet those objectives, and the key metrics to measure results. 

Develop your content strategy for each phase of the cycle and choose from a wide variety of free content marketing templates. 

Determine the 4Ps of your marketing mix.

In order to effectively guide potential customers through each phase of the buyer’s lifecycle, you need to create a strategy to get your brand in front of them, and then motivate them to purchase your product. As you develop your strategy, refer to the following 4Ps of your marketing mix:

  • Product: This refers to the tangible good (or intangible service) that you are offering as a solution to meet the needs of the customer. Emphasizing the UVP and differentiating your product in the market are the first steps to setting yourself apart and positioning your brand.
  • Price: This refers to the price your customer is expected to pay for the product. Understanding the perceived value (e.g. high quality versus low quality) of your product in the eyes of the customer is imperative before you can effectively set a price. Researching the price competitors are offering for similar products or alternatives is a great place to start. 
  • Promotion: This refers to the communication aspect of your marketing strategy. Getting the word out about your product is the best way to raise awareness about your brand, with methods including press releases, trade shows, event marketing, and advertising.
  • Place: This refers to the place where customers can purchase your product. Will you sell exclusively online? Will customers need to come to a physical location? The marketing channels you will use to get the product from producer to customer (e.g. direct selling, mail order, online) are a part of your distribution strategy.

According to Justin Mares and Gabriel Weinberg, authors of the book Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth, some key marketing channels to use to raise awareness about your brand include the following:

  • Relevant blogs
  • Publicity
  • Unconventional PR
  • SEM/SEO
  • Paid Ads/Remarketing
  • Offline Ads
  • Content Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Trade Shows
  • Speaking Engagements
  • Marketing Events
  • Community Events

Create your budget.

Setting a budget will give you parameters to work within as you are implementing your plan. It also enables you to prioritize your needs before your wants so you can dictate resources (e.g. talent acquired) toward high priority goals first. Here are some helpful tips you can use to create your marketing budget:

  • Build your budget plan based on last year’s numbers, or build from scratch according to priority.
  • Make a list of action items, and then come up with an estimated budget for each item based on marketing, distribution, and promotional expenses.
  • Prioritize your needs before your wants. Whatever is leftover after your needs are fulfilled, funnel those funds toward your wants.
  • Invest in areas with higher return on investment (ROI) (e.g., content marketing, email marketing) to increase your buying power. 

Find a wide range of free marketing budget templates to start planning your budget. 

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