Every scalable online business has a sound marketing strategy behind it.
By keeping track of all your strategies, objectives, and expenditures, planning enables you to get the most out of your marketing budget. Without one, even the finest marketing strategies become ineffective spaghetti hurled at a wall.
Knowing where to begin is the most difficult aspect of planning, and that's where we come in. To assist you with carefully thinking through and outlining your marketing strategy, we've created a free marketing plan template.
As you get ready for another year of imaginative campaigns and innovative ideas, use this template to stay on track and under your budget.
A guide to using our marketing plan template
A marketing plan template won't propel you into the marketing campaign hall of fame on its own. What you write within is what matters.
To accomplish your goals, utilize the marketing plan template as shown below:
- Company name. the name under which your firm is officially registered.
- Year founded. the year your firm first opened.
- Location. Where is your main office? If your business has many locations, put them here.
- Mission statement. a one-sentence statement outlining the purpose of your company. One company that uses this mission statement is Starbucks, which states that its goal is “to inspire and nourish the human spirit—one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.”
- Company goals. What goals do you have for the upcoming year? Most frequently, financial forecasts or overarching ambitions, like starting a new product line or building a physical store, are included in company goals.
- Marketing goals. How will your marketing approach help the organization reach those objectives? This might mean anything from “Improve customer return rate” to “Increase brand exposure via a social media approach.”
- Marketing team. Include stakeholders in the list of names, positions held, and areas of responsibility for your marketing team. By doing so, the marketing plan will be operational and the team will be held accountable.
Budget and projections
Next, determine how much money you have to work with to carry out your plan. The marketing plan template may be used to outline your annual budget in detail.
List the channel you want to employ, your spending strategy, and a SMART objective for tracking for each quarter. Your budget may be $1,500 every quarter if you're utilizing Google Ads, for instance, to advertise brand-new items. “Drive new clients to the website at a CPA of less than $25” might be the SMART objective.
You need a thorough grasp of potential clients' characteristics, interests, and online habits to promote them effectively. There are several methods for conducting market research, including polling past clients, evaluating analytics, and looking via social media. In this area of your marketing plan template, we'll discuss them.
The demographic of customers most likely to buy your items is known as your target market. With the help of the following parts, create your buyer persona and develop future marketing messaging:
- Age. Which group buys your products most frequently?
- Education level. Are they 2.0 students? Do they have a college degree? Your message may be improved by considering the degree of education of your target audience.
- Job title. Merchandising Manager, for example, would be someone who would buy your things if you were selling to a company.
- Annual income. How much money does your ideal client make annually? People who have a lot of extra money on hand are more inclined to buy expensive products.
- Hobbies and interests. What pastimes does your ideal client enjoy? A product link with your inventory might continue if you attach your product to those activities.
- Pain points. What issues does your solution address? Joe Markham, the founder of KONG, struggled to come up with a substitute for the pebbles and sticks his dog used when it was teething.
- Goals and motivations. What goals does your intended audience have for their lives? Ideally, your product will aid them in achieving it.
- Sales objections. What issues must your consumer base resolve before making a purchase? Price, a lack of trust, or a lack of urgency are common objections. In this section of your marketing plan template, consider strategies for overcoming them.
There are more options than ever for customers. By including the following details in your marketing plan template, you may gain insight into your customers' buying behavior and the factors that might influence them to buy your items.
For your business/product and up to three rivals, repeat this competition study.
- Unique selling proposition (USP). What is it about your product that sets it apart from all other alternatives that a consumer has? For instance, Pipcorn sells popcorn to those who are concerned about their health.
- Tagline. a succinct, evocative phrase that customers relate to your items by—for example, Nike's “Just Do It.” If you're still unsure of your phrase, use Shopify's free slogan generator.
- Product price. What is the price of your products? Compare its USP and pricing to those of its rivals. If you can convince clients that a more pricey product is worthwhile, it will still sell.
- Sales channels. Where do rival companies market their products? List them in this area if you sell them at trade exhibitions, online through Facebook Shops, or through marketplaces.
- Marketing channels. Which media do your rivals employ for their marketing campaigns? This section lists the channels you should take into account in your marketing strategy, from social media to SEO.
- Audience size. Note the number of followers a rival has on each marketing channel they employ. You may include the same social media channel into your own marketing strategy if a rival is succeeding on Instagram.
- Messaging. How does each rival market its product? For instance, Magic Spoon employs witty content to appeal to health-conscious adult clients. It describes its product as “high protein” and similar to a customer's “favorite cereal from childhood.”
Got a product for heroes? one that sells off the shelf the quickest of all? Give this competitive analysis procedure additional time. A quicker—and more lucrative—path to sales is frequently revealed by thorough product research.
Conduct a SWOT analysis
After researching your competitors, perform a SWOT analysis to determine your:
- Strengths. Where does your business or product excel? This may include everything from a broad list of suppliers to privately held intellectual property.
- Weaknesses. Which business aspects do you find challenging? This may be due to a tiny consumer base or a lack of exposure outside of your nation for small customers.
- Opportunities. What outside elements could benefit your business? These are frequently beyond your control, including raising customer awareness of the issue you address or a rival losing market share.
- Threats. What outside elements may be harmful to your business? Once more, issues are frequently beyond your control. Examples include a shrinking market or a change in legislation.
Take inspiration from this Bplans marketing plan example to finish this section:
The approach you'll employ to reach your target market is described in this area of your marketing plan template, which also takes competitor analysis and positioning into consideration.
- Format. In what formats does your content marketing strategy take place? This may include everything from consumer feedback to Instagram Stories.
- Stage of the marketing funnel. Each channel has a certain stage of the marketing funnel it is intended to address. In contrast to email marketing campaigns, which convert people at the bottom of the funnel, social media posts often target those at the top of the funnel.
- Budget. What financial commitment are you making to each channel? Make each channel more specific so you can track the precise use of your entire marketing expenditure.
- Software and equipment required. Which applications are required for each channel? Include ancillary expenses in your budget. You will want a top-notch webcam and microphone if you plan to host Facebook livestreams, for instance.
- SMART goal. What are your objectives for each marketing channel? Make sure it is clear, quantifiable, doable, pertinent, and time-bound—for example, “Increase Twitter reach by 50% in Q1.”
For each channel you employ, such as search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing, and social media marketing, duplicate this part.
We often forget that we made plans, which causes them to fail. Set a reminder to check in and report on marketing activities rather than allowing your new marketing template to gather dust in your computer folder. The best method to ensure that next year's digital marketing campaigns outperform this year is to do this.
After the quarter, track key performance indicators (KPIs) for each channel and objective to see whether your approach is succeeding in achieving your aim. If it says, “Increase search traffic using SEO,” for instance, note the daily average of organic visitors to your site.
The examination of your performance is arguably the most significant component of your marketing plan template.
If your marketing goal was met, explain how you think it happened. You might add, “We fulfilled our objective of boosting organic traffic by 10% each quarter,” using the SEO example from earlier. Internal linking, product page optimization, and blog content creation were investments that paid off. In 2022, we want to keep doing this.
For strategies that didn’t go to plan, explain:
- The reason you fell behind
- How you’ll rectify it next time
Your study can read something like: “We didn't fulfill our goals of decreasing the cost per lead via a Facebook ad by 20%. For example, if you failed to lower the cost per lead (CPL) of Facebook ads. We believe that this is the result of consumers being overexposed to ads in the run-up to Black Friday. By reusing the most successful ads from this year, we'll address this in 2022. If funds permit, we'll also rely on the knowledge of a marketing agency.
Stay on track (and under budget) with your marketing plan template
Planning is essential for achieving healthy, long-term development in any ecommerce business, whether you're just starting started or growing an established one. When you create a marketing machine that achieves all of your goals, a small time investment now can pay off in the long term (and more).