How to Create a Meaningful Marketing Plan for Your Business

Do your day to day marketing activities contribute to business goals? Use this Marketing Planning Worksheet to figure out your marketing mix and focus.

I’m sure you know what you want to achieve—but do you know what to focus on to get you there? Daily marketing tasks are some of the most important parts of your business when it comes to getting new customers. But you might be spending your time and money on the wrong marketing mix.

The biggest mistake you can make is focusing on marketing tasks you believe matter but really don’t.

I’m guilty of doing this in the past year by giving more attention than I should have to certain marketing tasks—and subsequently neglecting the marketing activities that deeply matter to my success. I can’t begin to tell you the hours I’ve spent on meaningless marketing campaigns I thought were the “magic bullet” when it came to bringing in more clients, raising awareness and building client relationships.

Truth is there are certain tasks that you absolutely must prioritize when it comes to your marketing. Ignore these indispensable marketing activities and you might as well ignore your business.

What is indispensable to your business might be entirely different than someone else’s. And that makes figuring out your most essential tasks a bit tricky. But don’t worry—it’s actually pretty easy to figure out your marketing focus and marketing mix if you’re aligning it with your business goals.

Today I want to share with you how you can work back from your business goals to find those indispensable marketing tasks.

And we’re talking about money because, at the end of the day, your business needs to make an income or it’s just a really expensive hobby! (But yes, you can totally apply this to other kinds of business goals too.)

Identify Daily Marketing Activities with the Biggest Financial Impact

There are three variables that go into sales revenue that matter when you’re writing your marketing plan for your small business. Usually we talk about these in ecommerce businesses selling products online—but they apply to all online businesses:

  1. Number of Website Visitors
  2. Average Spend Per Customer
  3. Conversion Rate

Visitors Conversion Rate Average Spend Amount = Revenue

Change one of these and your revenue changes, for better or worse. To figure out which marketing tasks are going to change these numbers and increase your revenue, you need to follow a four step process. You can grab the worksheet to start working on your own marketing plan below.

Step One: Pick One Revenue Variable to Work On

Marketing your business online is infinity easier when you can target one particular revenue variable to change, rather than splitting your attention three ways.

  • Do you want to reach more new people?
  • Increase the amount your customers are spending with you?
  • Better convert your existing traffic into customers?

Picking one of these ways to increase your revenue is the easiest way to ensure you have highly targeted, efficient marketing. If you’re chasing too many things, you’re definitely going to spread yourself too thin—and focus on the things that don’t actually matter to your business success.

Take a look at your mission for your business and think about bottlenecks in your ability to serve customers. Based on that, you can pretty easily figure out which one of these variables of revenue to work on.

Step Two: Work Backwards From Your Financial Goal to Set Your Marketing Goals

Now that you’ve figured out which part of your revenue equation to focus on, it’s time to figure out hard numbers for your goals and turn it into day to day marketing activities.Working it backwards can help you figure out your marketing goals and give you clarity when it comes to how you should be spending your time.

At the end of the day your success comes down to how many people come to your website and how many of those people take action that results in money in your pocket.

You need to do a little bit of algebra and solve for your X with the following formula: Visitors Conversion Rate Average Spend Amount = Revenue

(Don’t know what your conversion rate is? Or what it should be? To be honest, conversion rates are all over the map and there’s no great benchmark to use across the board. The only way to find out your conversion rate is to look at your stats from last year of your visitors, marketing funnel subscribers, and sales. Ecommerce generally sits at around 2% so is a good estimate to start.)

Step Three: Find Your Marketing Focus and Marketing Mix

Now that you know you need to make your goal happen, it’s time to make a plan. Here’s what I recommend to do for each goal (remember, you’re only doing one of these):

  1. Reach new people: find out which marketing channels give you the most reach
  2. Increase customer spending: find out which marketing channels your current customers love the most
  3. Improve conversion rate: find out which marketing channels have the best conversion rates

You can do this by looking at your analytics from all of your marketing channels you use now, not just Google Analytics. This is where your individual business’ strengths and unique audience metrics come into play—so there’s no hard and fast rules about which marketing channels you should pursue here. However, I’ve included some general guidelines in the worksheet you can use to help you find your marketing focus.

Step Four: Look At How You Spend Your Marketing Resources

Are you spending your time primarily on those things that have the most potential for your business? I’m betting probably not. In fact, I’m willing to bet you’ve never used this approach to figure out your marketing plan before.

The reality is everything in your business that isn’t indispensable is probably dispensable.

If you’re like every other business owner I know, you’re busy. So ask yourself one important question when you’re looking at how you spend your time. You need to make sure that you stick to your plan with your marketing execution and check in periodically to stay on task. It so easy to get sucked into the latest marketing fab, go down the social media rabbit hole, or just not do the indispensable marketing tasks you now know you need to achieve your goals.

What’s going to work better, not just more?

If you’ve completed the steps above, you know what that means for your day to day marketing activities. Now it’s time to spend your time on these marketing tasks, not the others that are just more rather than better.

You’re ready to conquer and build your business with a strategic marketing plan!

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