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Why Having a Marketing Plan Will Increase Your Sales

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It’s a brand new year, and I’m sure most businesses out there want to achieve lots over the next twelve months. Whatever your key objectives are, if growth is on the agenda, then you need to make sure you’ve got a marketing plan in place. Don’t believe me? Here are my top 5 reasons why having a plan is so important.

1. Focus

If we strip it back to the most basic element, then, if nothing else, having a plan will focus your mind. Sometimes just visualising what you want to achieve can make a huge difference. It suddenly becomes real and you’ve started to ask yourself important questions.

2. Goal Setting

If you don’t know what you want to achieve, then you’ll never be able to achieve it. Having a goal in itself is vital for business growth. Just saying you want more often means you don’t get it. The first step is to actually pinpoint what your objective is, and then the plan needs to work backwards to determine how you’re going to achieve it.

You can also set KPIs as part of your plan. Plotting the milestones of what you expect to happen and when can help to ensure you stay on track to achieving your goals. You instantly move to a business fully in control, with great visibility of your actions. That is always going to increase your chances of success.

3. Who and How

A marketing plan should have different elements to it, with the first ones being who you’re going to target and how. Even if you could sell to everyone, casting your net wide means you become too generic and it’s harder to speak to anyone then.

Put aside this idea of an ideal customer, and instead make a list of everyone who you could sell to. Look at the wider picture. Then segment it down to who you want to talk to in this part of your plan. You could say you’re going to spend six months targeting these couple of segments, and another six months targeting two more segments.

Suddenly you’re focusing on four different customer types over a 12 month period, but it’s all planned out and in your control.

Then you need to decide how you’re going to target them. What are the key messages that will resonate? Which product or service is going to attract the most attention? You don’t need to tell your whole story from the outset. The simpler you can make things, the better the results often are.

4. Positioning

One of the biggest mistakes that people make in marketing is chopping and changing. It makes it very hard for your audience to buy into you if you keep saying different things. Having a consistent approach will provide a stronger foundation for you to build upon, and that is what any growing business needs.

As part of your plan, you need to decide what your position is and what messaging you want to send out, and then you need to stick to it for the long term. It’s far better to have a slightly poorer message that you keep repeating over and over, than having a strong message that changes every month. And that is because we need to keep seeing something before we really take notice.

Without a plan, you will never be able to take control of what the messaging will be and how you convey it. Without a plan, your work will end up ad hoc and you’ve instantly lost control.

5. Joined Up Thinking

One of the strongest elements of any plan is that it will allow you to have a joined up approach to your tactics. By doing all the thinking up front and having that holistic viewpoint, you can bring all of your activity together so it seems more cohesive and well thought through. And it’s far easier to trust something that seems more polished.

From your social media, to your PR, your email marketing and through to your website, if everything looks the same and is saying the same thing, and it all flows really easily, you’re automatically increasing the chance of converting your prospects into clients. It all just fits.

By not having a plan, you again lose that control, and you could end up with a mismatch of marketing. From and outsider’s perspective, that could look a little chaotic, and that doesn’t render trust.

Getting Started

This sounds all very well when you read it, and I’m sure most people would agree with all of this in theory. But actually sitting down and writing that plan can be harder than it seems. You also need to think creatively as well as strategically to bring the actions to life.

If you don’t currently have a marketing plan, yet you have ambitions for growth, then I’d highly recommend you remedy that. Even the simplest of plans could push you in a more favourable direction. We work with businesses of all sizes to create plans that work to their resources. And we have options that suit all budgets. If you want to start this new year off with a bang, let’s have a chat.

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