Marketing Plans for Services: A Complete Guide
In the above example, the business's marketing plan is dedicated to introducing a new software product to the marketplace and driving signups to that product.
The business will execute on that plan with three marketing strategies : a new industry blog, a YouTube video series, and a Twitter account. Of course, the business might also consider these three things one giant marketing strategy, each with their own specific content strategies. How granular you want your marketing plan to get is up to you. Nonetheless, there are a certain set of steps every marketing plan goes through in its creation.
Learn what they are below. Your first step in writing a marketing plan is to state your mission.
Although this mission is specific to your marketing department, it should serve your business's main mission statement. Be specific, but not too specific. You have plenty of space left in this marketing plan to elaborate on how you'll acquire new customers and accomplish this mission.
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For example, if your business's mission is "to make booking travel a delightful experience," your marketing mission might be "to attract an audience of travelers, educate them on the tourism industry, and convert them into users of our bookings platform. Every good marketing plan describes how the department will track its mission's progress. To do so, you'll need to determine your key performance indicators, or "KPIs" for short.
KPIs are individual metrics that measure the various elements of a marketing campaign. These units help you establish short-term goals within your mission and communicate your progress to business leaders. Let's take our example marketing mission from the above step. If part of our mission is "to attract an audience of travelers," we might track websites visits using organic page views.
In this case, "organic page views" is one KPI, and we can see our number of page views grow over time. A buyer persona is a description of whom you want to attract. This can include age, sex, location, family size, job title, and more. Each buyer persona should be a direct reflection of your business's customers and potential customers. Therefore, it's critical that business leaders all agree on what your buyer personas are. You can develop buyer personas for free right here. Here's where you'll include the main points of your marketing and content strategy.
Because there are a laundry list of content types and channels available to you today, it's critical that you choose wisely and explain how you'll use your content and channels in this section of your marketing plan. A marketing plan explains what the marketing team is going to focus on.
However, it also explains what the marketing team is not going to focus on. If there are other aspects of your business that you aren't serving in this particular plan, include them in this section. These omissions help to justify your mission, buyer personas, KPIs, and content.
You can't please everyone in a single marketing campaign, and if your team isn't on the hook for something, you need to make it known. Your content strategy might leverage many free channels and platforms, but there are a number of hidden expenses to a marketing team that need to be accounted for. Whether it's freelance fees, sponsorships, or a new full-time marketing hire, use these costs to develop a marketing budget and outline each expense in this section of your marketing plan.
Part of marketing is knowing whom you're marketing against. Research the key players in your industry and consider profiling each one in this section.
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Keep in mind not every competitor will pose the same challenges to your business. For example, while one competitor might be ranking highly on search engines for keywords you want your website to rank for, another competitor might have a heavy footprint on a social network where you plan to launch an account.
With your marketing plan fully fleshed out, it's time to explain who's doing what. You don't have to delve too deeply into your employees' day-to-day projects, but it should be known which teams and team leaders are in charge of specific content types, channels, KPIs, and more. Ready to make your own marketing plan? A successful book launch is a prime example of data-driven content marketing.
Using data to optimize your content strategy spreads more awareness for your book, gets more people to subscribe to your content, converts more subscribers into buyers, and encourages more buyers to recommend your book to their friends. When Shane Snow started promoting his new book Dream Team, he knew he had to leverage a data-driven content strategy framework. So he chose his favorite one: the content strategy waterfall, which is defined by Economic Times as a model used to create a system with a linear and sequential approach.
To get a better idea of what this means, take a look at the diagram below:. Snow wrote a blog post about how the content strategy waterfall helped him successfully launch his new book. After reading it, you can use his tactics to inform your own marketing plan. More specifically, you'll learn how he:. You can use Snow's marketing plan to cultivate a better content strategy plan, know your audience better, and think outside the box when it comes to content promotion and distribution.
Writing a content plan is challenging, especially if you've never written one before. By sifting through countless content marketing strategy templates and testing the best, they crafted a content marketing plan template with instructions and examples for marketers who've never documented their content strategy. Buffer's template is an incredibly thorough step-by-step guide, with examples for each section.
The audience persona section, for example, has case studies of real potential audience personas like "Blogger Brian". If you're feeling overwhelmed by the process of creating a marketing guide, this can help ease you into it. Contently's content methodology works like a flywheel. Instead of applying an entirely new strategy to each new marketing campaign, they leverage the strategy of their previous marketing campaign to drive the next one.
Similar to a flywheel, their content methodology needs an initial push of energy to get the gears in motion.
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Contently fleshed out their entire content plan in a blog post to help marketers develop a self-sustaining marketing process. After reading it, you'll learn how to:.
By applying a flywheel-like strategy to your own marketing efforts, you essentially take away the burden of applying new strategies to each individual marketing campaign. In other words, that is what a company is best at doing. Focusing on core competencies can help a firm better align its resources and efforts and thus increase the value creation.
Marketing Plans for Service Businesses - 2nd Edition
A company should usually outsource all the non-core activities if economically feasible. What was the source of this hunch or inspiration? How do you establish that this need is something, which will have a sizable market? This is the section to mention all the effort you have put into market research. This section is used to present the methodology and findings of your market research. Appropriate emphasis should be given on this part as it basically sets the direction of the product development process as well as tone or theme of marketing communication a firm is sending out.
While preparing for a marketing plan, it is very important to study the external and internal business environment. This ensures that the management and execution team is aware of various factors which are going to determine the amount of resources and efforts in successfully executing the marketing plan. Not everyone and anyone is your potential customer. If you are going to target everyone, then your precious marketing dollar is going down the drains. Target market is defined as a group of customers that the business has decided to aim its marketing efforts and ultimately its merchandise towards.
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A startup should always concentrate on customers who are ready to adopt the product easily. Going for the total market will take a lot of resources and thereby is not advisable for the initial go-to-market strategy. Furthermore it is important to include the market segment which you are going to serve and in what fashion. Segmentation can be done along the following dimensions :. Now, you have to decide on which marketing strategy to use. This step is important as this has a big impact on marketing mix, which is covered thereafter. You need to pick one of the following marketing strategies :.
It helps to determine your offering. Each product has different level of benefits and a good product is designed on multiple levels. This section should mention the specification of physical characteristics as well as the benefits provided by the product. A small list is given below:. The following aspects need to be considered while deciding for the best place.
Here you should mention things like discounts and allowances on your products as well as your general pricing strategy e.
A good pricing strategy helps you in obtaining one or more of below objective:. A business has to decide on various issues like which media Video, audio, or pictures to use.
This section will also contain budgeting your promotion. This section usually contains the following subcomponents:. It is a mode stating the present state of a business and helps to formulate a way forward for the future, one that employs the existing strengths, redresses existing weaknesses, exploits opportunities and defends against threats.