Every business begins with success in mind; few put it in writing. A well-prepared marketing plan can be a roadmap to guide you (and your staff or volunteers) through your businesses’ short- and long-term goals and challenges.

The marketing plan is a valuable tool that, when used correctly, will actually make your marketing life easier!

What’s in a marketing plan?

A good marketing plan is made up of goals, objectives, strategies, tactics, tools, and evaluation. Let’s look at what each of those contains.

  • Goal: What you hope to achieve. What are the goals you have for each of your marketing efforts?
  • Objective: Measurable success. How will you decide what “success” looks like? Can you measure the success of your selected goal? Your objective is “what will that goal accomplish?”
  • Strategy: Why you’re going to do it. What makes this strategy the right one at the right time? How are we going to make it happen?
  • Tactic: Our plan to accomplish it. What channels (print/broadcast/social/web) do we need to convey our chosen message, with our selected call to action, to our target audience?
  • Tool: What we use to make it happen. Marketing tools facilitate the delivery of your message and may be traditional print/broadcast media, or social and digital (web) media.
  • Budget: What’s it going to cost to implement. Think people, time, apps, hosting, graphic design.
  • Evaluation: How we interpret the results. Are you hoping for ROI (return on investment)? What was your cost per click? How many “Engagement” results did your campaign achieve?

Let’s look at examples of each step and how to include it in YOUR marketing plan. We’ll use a children’s services nonprofit in our example.

Kids Advocacy Services (KAS)

Goal(s):

  • Reach out to the public to increase awareness and referrals to their programs
  • Enhance donations from the community

Objectives:

  • To persuade 50 thought leaders from six selected organizations to attend a weekend retreat on leadership
  • To inform the community of KAS’s services and create interest in the retreat
  • To create a social media event for the KAS retreat and double the number of FB Page followers

Strategy:

  • Invite other non-profit organizations to attend and bring others to the weekend retreat to network and build future leaders
  • Become involved and present on all forms of social media to gain followers, local and national support and seek out potential donors

Tactics:

  • Invite 50 individuals from six similar non-for profit organizations to attend KAS’s retreat
  • Develop FB page
  • Develop FB Event
  • Write and send news release

Tools:

  • KAS will promote this event via social media outlets and event sites
  • KAS will send a news release to regional media outlets
  • KAS will develop a relationship funnel and email program to reach new contacts

Evaluation:

  • Facebook Analytics will measure and evaluate:
    • Reach
    • Engagement
    • Likes
  • Google Analytics will measure and evaluate:
    • Web traffic
    • Bounce rate
    • Audience behavior
    • Keywords
    • Time spent on page
  • Surveys / Questionnaires
    • Pre-event to prepare targeted content
    • Post event to measure event success and generate leads

So you see, marketing is a process…a system. And if one of the parts of the process is missing, you can’t have a successful marketing campaign. In fact, if there are parts missing in your current marketing plan (or lack thereof), you could be doing more harm than good.

What could happen if I don’t market my business using a marketing plan (we call this btsotp or by the seat of the pants and a LOT of people do this)?

Let’s see:

  1. Unclear direction for affiliates and staff working under your brand
  2. Missing channels from your optimum performance level
  3. No measurable outcomes
  4. Unnecessary ad spends on poor performing content
  5. Failed marketing campaign
  6. And MORE can result from disjointed and uncharted activities. So do yourself a favor and write a marketing plan!

Before you spend a ton of money on the newest “marketing gadgets” or “EZ marketing” tools, stop and take a look at your own goals and objectives. Begin with the end in mind. What will it look like—at the end of this marketing campaign—if we do everything right? Ask yourself that question, then go do it.

For help with marketing plans, click the Contact Us button on the website or look me up on LinkedIn (Cheri Bales).