The key to the success of any business sits largely with the effectiveness of its marketing plan. If nobody knows about your product or how to find your product then the reality is that you’re not going to build up a customer base. Technology has progresses in such a way that there are now many, many methods used for marketing and variations across different industries. However, most of the general principles apply for any business marketing plan.

If you download any type of template for a marketing plan, you will usually find it segmented into the following categories:

  • Situation Analysis
  • Target Audience
  • Marketing Goals
  • Marketing Strategies
  • Budget

If you spend time to develop each of these areas then you will have a better understanding of how you will shape your marketing approach. Your situation analysis should look at your competitors and how they are set up in terms of their marketing plans. From a bit of quick research you’ll be able to see whether they have a website, what sort of content they have on their website, which social media accounts they have set up etc.

This analysis will give you a good idea of what is currently working and what areas you should invest time in. It may even inspire you to be really creative and develop a unique piece of marketing that none of your competitors have even thought about. As long as you get the basics in place, there is a huge canvas to work on when it comes to your marketing strategy.

So in terms of the types of channels to use, again there are many to choose from. The following channels are some of the most used:

Website – You need an online shop window if people are going to find you. Invest time in your website as it portrays your brand, if it looks unprofessional then people won’t come to you for your services or products. Through creation of quality content like blogs you can also build up your customer base.

Email Marketing – This is a valuable channel for any business and is fairly low cost. By developing attractive campaigns you will be able to target specific groups. Look into personalization and segmentation methods, as these are very effective ways of building email campaigns.

Social Media – Use social media to connect with people and drive people to your website to find out more about your services. Facebook and LinkedIn are great platforms for connecting with people and are completely free to set up. If you create engaging content that people find useful then they will follow you for your expertise and when they need a service that you provide, you will be their first port of call. If you get your content spot on, people will start to share it with friends, doing extra marketing for you.

Developing a great marketing plan takes time and dedication but it is so critical in the overall success of your business. Get it right and it all of the time you have put in with be very worthwhile.