So you have started a new business, great. It feels awesome to be a founder of a startup. It feels great to be your own boss.
But does creating a business is enough? Is it all you need?
This is just the beginning.
Setting up your new business doesn’t mean it will generate sales. You need to actively market your new business to make sure it breakeven and starts generating revenue as soon as possible.
In a survey, 65% marketers reported that generating traffic and leads is their top challenge. Generating high quality leads should be your business’s top priority.
In order to generate leads and sales, you need to develop a digital marketing plan. Here is how to do it.
- Set marketing objectives
The first step is defining your marketing objective and goals. What actually you want to achieve.
Do you wish to increase sales?
Do you need to establish your brand as an authority?
Do you need to break-even in a year?
Do you plan to increase sell one million products in the first year?
There are certain rules for setting marketing objectives. The best practice is to use SMART objectives. Your objectives should be:
Here is a good example of a SMART objective:
Generate $50,000 revenue in the first six months of starting the business.
The above objective is specific, can be measured easily, is achievable, relevant to the marketing and industry, and has a specific time frame attached to it.
The marketing objective and goals should be clearly communicated to the entire marketing team and to every single employee.
- Define your target audience
Who are your primary customers?
Define your target audience. Find their problems. What are their basic needs? What they do? What is the average income of your potential buyer?
Understand the problems of your target market. This will become easy if you know what specific customer problem your product and/or business solves. For instance, if you are selling shoes, ask yourself how your shoes are different from the other shoes being sold in the market?
The next step is creating buyer personas.
A buyer persona is a fictional representation of an ideal buyer. It represents the behavioral characteristics of a buyer. It includes all the information about your potential buyers such as age, income, interests, hobbies, gender, education, challenges, biggest problems, things that make them happy or sad, etc.
You have to create multiple buyer personas for each type of buyers. For instance, there could be multiple buyers of your shoes such as sportsmen, college students, and teens.
You have to create three different buyer personas for each of them.
HubSpot has a free template for creating buyer personas. You can get started instantly.
In order to fully understand your target audience and to create buyer personas that are the true representative of your audience, you must collect data from multiple sources and must invest in market research.
Buyer-specific information such as hobbies, interests, the biggest challenge in life, etc. is the type of information that has to be collected from the potential buyers via surveys and interviews. Instead of making assumptions, you should go ahead and conduct surveys and interviews.
Guesswork at this stage will not help much.
- Select marketing tactics and channels
This is the meat of your digital marketing plan.
You need to do two things:
- Select appropriate marketing channels (SEO, PPC ads, social media marketing, content marketing, etc.)
- Create a complete marketing action plan with steps and monthly goals.
The selection of marketing channels depends on the buyer personas and marketing objectives.
Let me give you an example.
If your marketing objective is to earn $50K revenue in 6 months, you have to choose marketing techniques that yield results instantly. SEO, in this case, will be a bad marketing channel because an SEO campaign need at least 3 to 6 months to show results. Running a PPC campaign seems to be a better marketing strategy.
Next, you have to look at your target audience. If most of your target audience hangs out on Facebook, running an ad campaign on Facebook seems to be a better idea as compared to running an AdWords campaign.
Marketing tactic is the plan of action – the actual steps to achieving the marketing objective.
The marketing objective has to be divided into weekly and monthly goals. Then create a systematic plan of action to achieve those goals.
Here is how to create marketing tactic plan to achieve the objective of generating $50K revenue in 6 months by running PPC ad campaigns.
- Aim for generating $9K revenue each month for the next 6 months.
- Create a marketing team who will be responsible for running, managing, and monitoring the campaign.
- Create weekly goals and action plans for the marketing team. What has to be done on weekly basis to ensure monthly targets are met?
- Where to run ads, how to tweak ads, how many ads to run, which type of ads to run, etc.
- Set budget
The marketing budget is allocated on the basis of the plan of action.
Generally, 10.4% of revenue is spent on marketing by small businesses. This will give you a nice idea of how to allocate marketing budget.
If your marketing budget is too low, consider tweaking marketing channel and/or marketing tactics. You have to tweak marketing action plan several times to ensure everything is covered within the marketing budget.
- Monitor performance
Once the digital marketing campaign kicks off, you have to constantly monitor and tweak the plan of action. There should be at least one person in the marketing team who should monitor the progress regularly and must report any deviations from the actual plan and/or goals.
If things are not moving in the right direction and you are not seeing any results, change marketing channels and/or tactics. Do not change the marketing objectives or target audience.
It is not possible to create a perfect error-free digital marketing plan for your business. It has to be tweaked multiple times throughout the campaign.
Whatever you have agreed to achieve for your business, stick to it.
Changing your marketing plan too early is really a bad idea. Let it run for a few good months even if it doesn’t work. Instead of changing it, analyze why it isn’t working in the first place. Try fixing it.
Rebecca write for TRC Solutions about SAP products and how they can help small and medium sized businesses.