How to Create a SIMPLE Marketing Plan For Your Business

We know that marketing can get overwhelming when you don’t know where to start. However, it’s not something you can skip out on. Connecting and communicating your message to your market is one of the fundamental roles of a business. Without marketing, businesses will fail.

Marketing requires investing time, money, and effort. It’s not something you do on a whim or on impulse. You need to know where you’re going in order to succeed. That’s the purpose of a marketing plan, to guide you to your goal and deliver results.

The words “marketing plan” are intimidating for many business owners. There’s usually the assumption that a marketing plan is too technical. Trust us, it isn’t as hard as it seems. You can create a simple marketing plan to help you plan for success by asking yourself a couple of questions.

Start with these 5 questions:

  1. What am I selling?
  2. What is my goal?
  3. Who am I selling to?
  4. Where can I get their attention?
  5. How can I get their attention?

As your growth partners, we want to see you on top of your marketing game. So we’ve created a SIMPLE guide to creating your own marketing plan. To start, let’s discuss what a marketing plan is, and the importance of having one.

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is a report that acts as your guide or outline for your marketing strategy for the next year, quarter, or month. They can become very technical and detailed, but they don’t have to be. Having a simple marketing plan in place that keeps you on the right track is 100% better than having no plan at all!

Why is a marketing plan important?

how to create a simple marketing plan for your business

In sports, you can’t just jump into a game without a plan and expect to win. It’s the same with marketing. In order to succeed, you need to have a framework to guide your steps. Otherwise you’re marketing aimlessly, and that’s the best way to waste your time and money.

Your marketing plan will keep you in check. It ensures you don’t stray from your goals.

Should you choose to acquire the services of a marketing consultant, like us, a marketing plan will also give that consultant valuable insights into your marketplace, the business you’re offering, and positioning. It enables us to give better advice and come up with better strategies.

A short exercise for a simple marketing plan

Before answering the 5 questions, let’s start with a short exercise.

NOTE: This is difficult if you aren’t already operating your business, but you can do some research on your industry to complete this exercise.

Step 1

The first step is to go back to the past. Take a look at the past 6-12 months of your business.

Pull up a list of whoever has done business with you within the last 6 or 12 months. These are the people who have bought a product or acquired your services.

Note where these customers came from. What are the top 3 things that brought you clients in the last 6 to 12 months? Was it…

  • Referrals from partners
  • Referrals from clients
  • Word of mouth
  • Trade shows
  • Google Ads
  • SEO
  • Website
  • Social media

There’s no need to do a bunch of extra work trying to figure out which marketing channels you should focus on. Once you know where you already get clients from, the only thing you have to do is find a way to repeat it.

Step 2

Look at your list again. Figure out what products they bought first, second, and third. Figure out your top 3 selling products or services.

Another thing to note is the amount each client paid you in total. Oftentimes businesses will only account for the first product or service, when that customer came back later on and bought again. Find out the total that each customer paid you within 6 months or a year, and then average it out to discover your customer value. Knowing your customer value tells you how much you can spend to get a lead, and it gives you an idea of what’s working for you.

Once you have your list with your top threes it’s time to start answering the 5 questions.

Questions to ask yourself

5 questions for a simple marketing plan
What am I selling?

We’re talking about your best selling products or services. If you did the short exercise, then you can easily tell which ones are selling the most.

Your job now is to figure out how to sell more of what already sells.

Most businesses have a list of 10-20 different services, and probably more products, but chances are the Pareto principle – the 80/20 rule – applies here.

“The Pareto principle states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.”
Joseph M. Juran

Many businesses get 80% of their revenue from 20% of their products/services.

Figure out what you’re selling currently and get super clear on it with your messaging. Push the things that are working instead of wasting effort on what’s not.

What is my goal?

What’s your sales target? How many clients do you want? How many leads do you need?

Hint: your answer shouldn’t be “more.” You need to know exactly what you’re going for, otherwise you’ll never reach a goal. You could just tack on 10-20% to last year’s revenue, or come up with a new number. Whatever the case may be, you have to be clear on your target. You can read more about using metrics to get results here.

The reason I use a sales target is because a lot of the time, marketers focus on the wrong things, such as Instagram followers, reach, impressions, or building your brand, and those are just lame excuses for not knowing how to get results.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and place for thinking about your reach and building your brand. But when you’re creating a marketing plan, especially if you’re a smaller/medium sized business with employees counting on you, you need to focus on making more sales. You’re in charge of bringing in revenue, and you have to bring in the revenue to help your business grow.

Another note about your revenue target: Make sure you allocate 10-20% of that revenue towards marketing. You can learn more about determining your marketing budget here.

Who am I selling to?

Who are you selling to? Who is your audience? Who’s your best customer for this particular product or service?

Go back to your customer list and pick out your top favourite customers that stand out, or you can pick out the people who spent the most money with you and try to deconstruct their life.

Figure out what’s important to them. Who are they? Where do they live? Try to get to know them the best you can and write that down.

You can make your own customer avatar graphic, or use this template we’ve made for you:

customer avatar to create a simple marketing plan

Your goal is to really get to know your audience so that you can decide the best way to find them and speak to them.

Where can I get their attention?

Where did you acquire those existing customers? What are those acquisition channels? Look at your customer list again to find out where you got your previous customers.

If you want some clarity on all the acquisition channels out there, you can download this free guide.

Once you have a good idea of how you got your previous customers, you can find a way to improve those acquisition channels. Start by trying out 3 channels that you master. If you’re like a lot of businesses, you’re relying on a lot of referrals and word of mouth. How do you create intentional and good word of mouth? How do you improve your partner relationships so they send you referrals? Do you have a system for requesting referrals when a customer buys from you?

For us, we know that our referral partners get us clients, so how do we create a system that builds a relationship with them? We proactively reach out to our referral partners.

We also know SEO brings us good clients, so we consistently publish new content. We make sure to have the proper SEO on our website to be able to bring us good clients. We also know we get clients from Google Ads, so we try to continually advertise on Google so that we can always get clients.

All of these details are a part of your marketing plan. Pick the things that are working, and do more of that.

Once that’s established, you can start thinking about exploring new channels, but you have to focus on what’s working first.

You don’t want to go and start a TikTok account and think that that’s going to bring you a bunch of leads and sales. If you’re launching a new ad campaign without testing it, you don’t want to put all of your energy and attention there while you have an entire operation going on that you have to take care of.

Double down on what’s working, then layer on the new things, such as a new acquisition channel, a new partnership, etc.

You can learn more by reading our book, The Client Acquisition Blueprint, here.

How can I get their attention?

We are now talking about your messaging. Your message and how you deliver your message is a big deal in marketing. It’s what grabs attention. This is your ad copy, your content, your visuals, etc. Another way to grab their attention is through promos. These are your discounts, coupons, special sales and your lead magnets.

For us, we make sure to have our contact page optimized. We also have individual service pages on our website where people can go and learn about those services and fill out a form, or call. We also have free content that people can download, such as the acquisition channel linked above.

We offer something that businesses want, and we give it to them for free in exchange for contact information. Then they get future videos and content from us, and maybe they’ll buy 6-12 months down the road, or maybe they’ll buy next week.

Those are our different offers that get us attention. It will be different for your business.

Conclusion

Once you have these 5 questions answered, you’ll have the majority of your marketing plan finished. Now it’s just figuring out the details.

Bonus tip: create daily/weekly action items to build momentum. You can do this daily or weekly to keep moving forward.

For us, this means spending an hour on content, on SEO, and an hour creating videos, and that is a big part of our marketing activities. Make sure you budget out your time and money to actually start implementing these things.

To Recap – How to Create a Simple Marketing Plan

Start with the short exercise. Create a customer list and take note of the top 3 of each category: the products they bought, and where they came from.

Then proceed to answer the 5 questions:

  1. What am I selling?
  2. What is my goal?
  3. Who am I selling to?
  4. Where can I get their attention?
  5. How can I get their attention?

There are more tactics and strategies, but if you answer these 5 questions, you’re going to have the basics down. You’ll have enough clarity to filter out all of the noise and figure out what will drive results for your business.

If you feel like you need extra help, we’re here for you. Leave us a message down below, or contact us here.