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Top-Shelf Tip No. 235:

"The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself."

Peter Drucker

10 Tips To Enhance Your Marketing Plan, Part 1

When you hear the term "marketing plan," do you think of a hefty document that sits on the bookshelf and collects dust? Hopefully, the answer is "no." A well-devised, fluid marketing plan is imperative to the growth of your business. It can serve as a roadmap, directing you to drive more sales. It also serves as a guardrail, helping to prioritize your time, talent and resources.

Think about it. If you're interested in learning how to use a new technology, you'll likely start with researching. Maybe you'll watch some YouTube videos or take out a book from the library. Perhaps, you'll purchase the innovation itself and tinker with it. But over time, as technology continues to progress, and this innovation becomes outdated, you'll need to learn about its replacement, and so on. Developing a marketing plan is similar, in that a single, static plan will not prove sufficient indefinitely, but a plan that is constantly adapting to the needs of the company will

Today and tomorrow, Promotional Consultant Today shares these 10 key elements for an effective marketing plan from Kajabi, a knowledge-sharing platform.

1. List your goals. Although goals don't typically appear at the beginning of a marketing plan, they're a great place to start because they'll inform every other document you prepare for the plan. Goals will help drive your business forward. They light the path toward your ultimate destination and help keep your marketing efforts in check.

When writing your goals, begin with the end piece—the return on investment. Use a revenue-to-cost ratio to set your goal and track it as you market to customers. The revenue-to-marketing-cost ratio represents how much money is generated for every dollar spent on marketing. A good ROI goal, for instance, is $5 in sales for every $1 spent in marketing, or a five-to-one ratio of revenue to cost.

Next, consider brand awareness by setting goals based on specific social media platforms. For example, you might decide that you want to increase your Instagram following by 50 percent in six months. Again, make it specific and achievable. Adding a deadline allows you to stay focused on your goals. Other marketing goals my include: increasing market share by X percent; launching or revamping three new products in a 12-month period; and creating new targets in a new market.

Write your goals in a separate document. Under each goal, explain how you plan to achieve it.

For instance, if you want to reach more e-mail subscribers, you could state that you plan to put opt-in forms on every page on your website and to advertise your list on social media. Now you not only have a goal, but also a plan for reaching it. Do this for each goal you write down.

2. Do your research. Research is absolutely necessary if you want to beat your competition and reach as many customers as possible. Your marketing research should center around your target audience and demographics, buyer personas, competition and internal obstacles. All of these data points can help guide your marketing strategy.

3. Conduct a competitive analysis. Who are your competitors? What goals are they trying to reach? What percentage of the market share do they command? How do their products differ from yours? If your customers don't buy from you, who will get their money? These are your competitors. Then prepare a SWOT analysis—strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats related to your market strategy.

The final step in your research section is creating your buyer personas and their key stages of the buying or decision-making process. Research your target audience by polling potential and existing customers, sending out surveys and studying the buying patterns for your online business. If you have multiple buyer personas, you can market to each segment in a different way. You'll hit on their specific pain points and present a solution that's attractive to them.

4. Define KPIs and measurement methods. The next step is to define your key performance indicators (KPIs) and the ways in which you'll measure them. Every marketing strategy needs KPIs, which should reflect the goals you created in step one. You know what you want to achieve, so translate those goals into measurable metrics.

For example, let's revisit the goal of increasing your social media followers by 50 percent in six months. This is a KPI. You'll measure progress by keeping tabs on your total social media followers over the next six months. To keep yourself on track, you'll promote your content, follow influencers and improve the quality of the content you post.

5. Have a unique selling proposition (USP). Your USP is what makes your product special. You've already conducted an extensive competitor analysis, so now you'll need to return to that spreadsheet and look for common denominators. What do you offer that your competitors don't? That's your USP, if it remains appealing to the buyer personas you established. Your USP is what you want to highlight or resonate in your marketing campaigns, whether it's a unique product design, flexible pricing structure availability or another key benefit.

We are half-way through a successful marketing plan. Want to know more? Read PCT again tomorrow and learn five more key elements of a successful marketing plant.

Source: Kajabi is a knowledge commerce platform for people to share insight and find success. The platform empowers thousands of users every day to build life-changing businesses and create an online presence that reflects them. Content featured in this article first appeared on the Kajabi blog.

Compiled by Cassandra Johnson

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