Create Your Marketing Plan

Adapted from content excerpted from the AMERICAN EXPRESS® OPEN SMALL BUSINESS NETWORK

Your marketing plan should be a clear, concise, and well thought out document that guides you through your marketing program. Using a marketing plan template will help you focus on the objective of your marketing and how you intend to accomplish that objective. Whether your company provides products or services, your marketing plan is essential to your success.

The six major elements to creating a successful marketing plan are listed below. Creating a marketing plan template from these points can help you stay on track. You may only need only a sentence or two per section… or you might want to break each down into a few succinct bullet points.

  1. The Purpose
  2. Your Target Customer
  3. The Benefits of Your Product or Service
  4. Your Positioning
  5. Your Marketing Tactics
  6. Your Marketing Budget

As you go through each section, keep the following tips and hints in mind:

Keep your marketing plan simple.

Many small business owners get so involved in details that they lose sight of their goals. By keeping your plan simple, you will create a clear roadmap that focuses on what you need to accomplish.

Write your marketing plan down (as opposed to thinking about it and keeping it in your head).

It is important to have a document that will remind you what you are trying to accomplish. A marketing plan template is an excellent place to start.

Be direct and be clear.

If you’re not sure, ask a friend, relative, colleague or employee to read your plan. They should immediately grasp your goals.

Don’t build in too much flexibility.

You may be tempted to plan for various market contingencies. If your market changes that quickly, then you should incorporate that into your plan. But create a strategy you can keep to – that’s the purpose of having a plan in the first place.

Review your marketing plan often – quarterly or even monthly.

That doesn’t mean you have to revise it every month. But take some time to evaluate it and make sure you’re on track.

Finally….never stop marketing!

Once you have your plan in place, you need to take action. Commit yourself to your marketing program. Don’t let yourself stagnate. Keep at it, and you’ll be giving your business the opportunity to flourish.

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