Effective marketing requires planning and budgeting, both of which can seem like daunting tasks, but the reward is tremendous when done properly. In this post, we’ll walk you through some basic steps to help you create your own marketing plan templates that align with your specific business goals and budgets.
Step 1: Marketing Budget
The first thing you want to figure out is how much you can spend. What are you currently spending on your marketing? If you don’t know, then you’re not unique. Many businesses take a “fly by the seat of their pants” approach, with little forethought.
Unfortunately, this approach is not cost effective. You could be blowing your marketing budget on inefficient objectives, or spending too little and not getting a valuable return on ad spend (ROAS) for your business.
Setting an initial baseline budget forces you to prioritize expenses. So, how do you set a marketing budget? Easy, we’ve got a formula for that:
Minimum Allowable Budget =
(5% Gross Sales x Average Markup) – Annual Rent
Maximum Allowable Budget =
(10% Gross Sales x Average Markup) – Annual Rent
Note: Markup is not margin. Most businesses can tell you their margins off the top of their heads, but markup is a little different. Markup is the amount by which the cost price is increased to determine the selling price. Margin refers to sales minus the cost of goods sold.
This is also a good time to check on that rent cost. When you create a marketing budget, it’s wise to take out your rent cost so you can monitor that expenditure as well. If you find your marketing budget is too low, take a look at your rent cost. Don’t let all of your marketing budget go towards rent!
After you’ve set your baseline budget, you can begin working on your marketing plan. You need a well thought out and planned out strategy – including both objectives and key performance indicators.
Don’t throw money at programs because they’re what you’re supposed to do, or because it’s what everyone else does. You want to allocate your dollars strategically, where they’ll work best for your business and your needs.
Step 2: Marketing Plan
2 Initial Key Points of Strategy:
- Who Is Your Ideal Client
- What Are Your Marketing Objectives
First, let’s focus on the ideal candidate. If your perfect client is an international bolt supplier, printing flyers to post at college hangouts is probably not your best choice.
Ideal Client/Customer Questionnaire:
- Is your ideal customer/client a person or a business/entity?
- What are their goals and values?
- What are the demographics of your ideal customer?
- What are your target markets?
- What are their challenges and pain points?
- What objections could they have to buying your product or service?
- Where does your ideal customer get their information?
- What would make your client search for information as it relates to what you offer?
- Are you introducing something new to the client?
- Are you introducing a better alternative to the client?
Now that we have your budget, and your ideal clients, let’s work on your objectives. What are your marketing goals? Make sure that your marketing efforts are focused on those marketing campaigns that help you achieve your objectives.
Typical Marketing Objectives & KPI’s:
- Increase Lead Generation
- Grow Brand Awareness
- Increase Sales
- Decrease Customer Turnover
- Grow Digital Presence
You will typically have multiple marketing objectives, so it helps to rank them in order of importance.
While it is good practice to incorporate all of these objectives into your marketing strategy, it stands to reason that the most effective marketing plan is the one that grows your business, not the one that outspends what it brings in. If you don’t have the budget for all of these objectives, don’t worry, prioritization is your friend!
Marketing is progressive; you can start in one place and progress on a trajectory to reach different goals. It doesn’t have to happen at once.
Always remember to “Never Stop Testing!” Times change, people change, search habits change, needs change, wants change … everything changes constantly. To successfully market your business, your strategy and plans need to evolve.
One of the biggest things we hear from companies is, “We used to get results from our ads, but now they just aren’t working anymore.” The number one reason is because they’re still running the SAME ads.
This is also the number one reason why businesses should consider retaining professional help when it comes to their marketing and advertising. It’s not a “set it and forget it” gig. You can, but you’ll be doing yourself and your business a disservice.
If you choose to hire professional marketers, and they don’t ask about your budget and objectives, and they don’t talk about qualifying KPIs, #thankyounext ‘em.
The way to monitor and test your initiatives is through what we call KPIs. KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator. Establishing KPIs allow you to adequately measure the performance of your advertising campaigns.
These variables constantly change. They are extremely important to consider when developing your marketing plan, so know what you’re looking for and what to focus on.
Your objective is broad, but your KPIs are specific and tangible, and they’re the central feature of a marketing plan to accurately evaluate the performance of your strategies.
Example KPIs Based On Objectives:
- Increase Lead Generation:
- Number of Leads Gained
- Percentage Increase in Leads
- Cost Per Lead
- Conversion Rate of Leads
- Marketing Qualified Leads
- Sales Qualified Leads (because marketing and sales rarely agree on things!)
- Number of New Prospect Calls
- Number of Closing Calls
- Contracts Sent
- New Contracts Signed Conversions
- Grow Brand Awareness
- Website Sessions
- Website Unique Visitors
- Web Page Views per Visit
- Website Bounce Rate
- Website Time on Site
- Market Share
- Increase in Social Media Fans/Followers
- Increase in Social Media Engagement (Likes, Comments, Shares, etc.)
- Number of opt-ins from Social Media Campaigns and Posts
- Referral Traffic Percentage
- Increase Sales:
- Number of New Customers
- Percentage Increase in New Customers
- Cost Per New Customer
- Lead-to-Customer Ratio
- Lifetime Customer Spend
- Decrease Customer Turnover:
- Number of Repeat Customers
- Customer Retention Rate
- Reputation Rating (Online Reviews)
- Grow Digital Presence:
- Alexa Rank
- Total Organic Traffic
- Total Number of Keywords Website Ranks for
- Number of Keywords in Top 3 Positions
- Number of Leads from Organic Search
- Organic Conversion Rate
Step 3: Setup Marketing Programs
There are many different programs to help you keep track of your KPIs and your deliverables. Based on your priorities, we can help you set up a program to keep you up-to-date with all the happenings on your campaigns.
Once you know your budget, who to target, the results you want to see, and the metrics to qualify your success, you’ll have the foundation to build the perfect marketing program for your business and manage your annual marketing expenses.
Step 4: Contact Us
Whether you’re a small business or multinational conglomerate, when you need help, we’re just a phone call or email away, and we’d love to discuss how can help optimize your business’s marketing strategy.