How To Write A Basic Marketing Plan

How To Write A Basic Marketing Plan

The new financial year is only three weeks away!  If you haven’t written your marketing plan yet, here are some pointers to get you started. To quickly recap, in my last article, I covered steps one and two, which were:

  1. Evaluate your end of financial year results for FY16/17.
  2. Evaluate your marketing channels for FY16/17.

Now it’s time to put that analysis to good use. It’s time to plan how you’re going to achieve your goals next financial year.

Step 3: Do The Maths & Calculate Your Targets

Let’s assume you have the same financial goal as last year, to generate $1 Million in sales, which equates to 100 x $10,000 jobs. Based on your analysis of last year’s results, you feel confident you can convert 30 percent of quotes into paying jobs.  So your broad marketing objective is how do I generate 25 quotes per month? Now it’s time to work backwards.  It’s unlikely (and unwise) to think you can generate all your leads from one source.  Use Google Analytics to see which marketing channels customers use to find your business.  Look at the volume of traffic and the conversion rate on important actions, such as request a quote.  Using the example above, the business needs enough marketing activity to generate 25 quotes per month. Their goals might look something like this:

Marketing Channel Visitors/Activity/Mth Conversion Rate Number of Quotes/Mth
Paid 142 3.5% 5
Organic 125 4.0% 5
Social Media 1000 0.1% 1
Email 100 8.0% 8
Direct 120 2.5% 3
Referral 42 2.4% 1
Outbound Sales Calls 67 3.0% 2
TOTAL 3.4% 25

Step 4: Write The Plan & Budget

On paper, it’s relatively straight forward.  Having completed Step 3, you know how many visitors and outbound sales calls you need to make to generate the number of quotes you need.  But in practise, you need to evaluate how much activity you can do with the resources you have. These resources include:

  • Marketing content like ads, videos, photography, blog posts.
  • People power to do the marketing and sales work.
  • Money to pay upfront to generate leads.

With a big budget, you can generate plenty of marketing activity.  For example, you can outbid your competitors on keywords in a Google Adwords campaign and win the lion’s share of clicks. But if you keep increasing your cost per click, at some point you could end up spending more in advertising than you are generating in sales!  The challenge is to create leads that will convert without overspending your budget. Once you have your plan in place, put a budget next to the activity, then evaluate each channel on its merits.

Using the example below, you can see it will cost nearly $100,000 a year to generate $1,000,000 in sales.  If you’ve got a healthy gross margin, that marketing budget might be okay but if you’re working on slim margins, it would be too expensive. So you also want to look for efficiency.  In this example, the cost of using a telemarketer for outbound sales calls is higher than the cost per click for Google Ads, and the Google Ads generate more quotes. To spread risk, it’s wise to avoid spending your entire marketing budget into a single channel. However, in this case more money on Google Ads would generate more quotes and cost less than telemarketing.  And, there is a good spread of other channels.  So, it might be worth cutting the telemarketing out of the plan and saving the money, or redirecting some (or all) of it to more Google Ads because the pay-off is there. Use this table to set your marketing goals and metrics for the FY17/18 financial year.

Marketing Channel Visitors/Activity/Mth Conversion Rate Number of Quotes/Mth Monthly Budget
Paid 125 4.0% 5  $1,250
Organic 111 4.5% 5  $1,000
Social Media 1000 0.1% 1  $500
Email 89 9.0% 8  $500
Direct 100 3.0% 3  $-
Referral 42 2.4% 1  $-
Outbound Sales Calls 67 3.0% 2  $5,000
TOTAL 25  $8,250

Step 5: Implement the Plan

The final and most important part of your marketing plan is implementation.  You can have the best plan but if you don’t act on it, nothing will happen. Staring at a big hairy financial target can be intimidating so I recommend you break down your monthly targets into weekly and daily actions. Take the table you created in Step 4. and write a weekly action plan for each marketing channel.  Put a name and deadline next to each action. Every week, hold a marketing work in progress meeting and make sure you’ve implemented the plan.  Check your numbers too.  Are you on track to achieve your goals? This is also the time to deal with the things that don’t go according to plan.

Does It Always Work?

No.  You can have the best plan in place but business, as with life, doesn’t always go according to plan. Things happen like:

  • A new competitor enters your market goes after the same keywords you use to rank organically, so your organic traffic drops.
  • Google changes its search algorithm and you lose your page one spot on search engine results.
  • A new event is launched, which will be well-attended by your target customers.  You are invited to sponsor the event.

Planning is great.  Without it, you rely on a hope and a prayer.  But remember to be agile. Scan your industry and market place for changes. Re-evaluate your plan monthly, if not weekly, to take advantage of new opportunities or defend your territory against competitors.

#Shameless plug.  If you don’t have the in-house resources to run your marketing plan, talk to us  about how we can help.

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