10 Questions You Need To Ask Yourself To Create the Perfect Marketing Plan

You’re a smart business owner. You know that having a marketing plan is key to success and growth of your business, but how do you do it?

Ask yourself these 10 questions to create your perfect marketing plan:

Question #1: What want or need does your product or service fill?

Understanding the pain point of your customers is key when it comes to marketing. If you can alleviate their pain, you’ll have customers, clients, patients and members lining up with open wallets for you to solve it.

Think through what need or want your product or service fulfills that no one else can offer.

Question #2: Who is your target market?

Think about the who, what, when, where, and why of your customers. Who are they? What state are they in? (and that doesn’t necessarily mean state as in DC, MD or VA . . . it can also mean what are they bothered with now, what state of mind are they in?) Why are they in that state? Where are they? Is there a physical location or an online location where they hang out? Do they spend most of their time on YouTube or Facebook or Instagram or searching on Google? You need to go deep and truly understand the demographic of your perfect customer, client, patient or member from age to gender to interest to the colors that they like. The things they do, the lifestyle that they live. Understanding these things is key to success.

Question #3: Who are your competitors?

Spend the time doing the research on your competitors. Understand what they're doing. What are they doing for marketing? What's their presence look like? What does their website look like? What are their price points? Even try calling them or buying their product and actually experiencing it. Go through that. When you have all this information, the key that you're trying to figure out here is what makes you different. You need differentiation in the marketplace. Understanding your competitors allows you to understand what you do differently. Even though you're selling the same thing or maybe providing the same service, you probably are doing it in a different way. And there's a reason you do it in a different way. It's because you think that way is better. Understanding that allows you to articulate that in your market.

Question #4: What are the goals of your marketing campaign, both short-term and long-term?

Start with the long-term. How many sales do you want to receive or how many leads do you want to receive in six months or a year or two years? What does that look like and what's your marketing budget to achieve that? What's your ultimate cost per acquisition goal? Try to understand all these end goal metrics so that you can reverse engineer them back into bite size pieces in realistic expectations so that you can ramp up. Because marketing doesn't work overnight! You don't want to expect those returns initially right away, but you do want to expect them in the long-term. How do you get there? Reverse engineer it and build achievable goals in the early months. It will give you that sense of confidence and the overall view long-term that you need to drive success.

Questions #5: What is your strategy on search and social?

This is where people spend all their time today. They're either on search looking for something or they're on social media doing stuff, and so how are you going to be there? What type of keywords on search do you need a rank for? That's inbound marketing search. That's when people are at the hottest state of wanting to take action. How do you rank high there so that you have that visibility? And then how do you get in front of front of people on social media? What social channels do your customers spend their time on? What type of content excites them? What will catch their eye? What type of campaigns do you think would be engaging at that point to help them understand who your brand is and build that awareness? Really think through that strategy because dominating search and social these days, when it comes to marketing, that's key to success.

Question #6: What is your strategy to building a strong online reputation?

Reviews are huge today for inbound marketing. This is where people look to for insight into what others think about your products and services. They will take – or not take - action based on what they’re seeing about you online. 86% of people check reviews and ratings before they make a buying decision. So if you don't have a good online reputation, you're losing a huge amount of sales. What's your strategy to do that? What review sites do you need to be on because it's ideal to be on multiple review sites. Which ones are relevant to your business? And then how do you get reviews on those sites? What is your process for asking your customers and clients for reviews, whether it's a personalized email or an automated system.

Question #7: What is your strategy to convert your leads into sales?

What is your sales strategy? What's your process there? Because if you have a great marketing campaign and you're creating all this activity, you're creating all this lead flow, maybe all these online purchases, what are you doing to take full advantage of that, to turn those into additional sales or even turn them into sales at all? Think about that process and then think about what sales collateral does your sales team need to do these things?

What emails do you need to design, what infographics need to be created to visually demonstrate these things? What videos should you create to assist your team during the sales process, whether it's new sales or upsells to help them achieve those goals and increase your ultimate return on investment?

Question #8: How are you going to leverage automation to generate more sales?

What’s going to happen is you're going to have people take a look at your website or see your brand on social media. There are things you can do that are basically automated to stay in front of those people. And that's called retargeting. You can retarget those people, stay in front of them. What does those campaigns look like? What do you retarget? What kind of messaging do you give them the first seven days after they see your brand or go to your website, what do you show them 30 days after that, or six months after that? What are those campaigns? What do they look like? What are those designs? What are those call to actions? What landing pages are those going to for inbound marketing? And then on the email side, what kind of messaging can you send people on an automated basis to generate more sales and to educate them further along in the process so that they go from a lead to a customer faster.

Questions #9: What content do you need to build?

What content do you need on your website? What landing pages need to do you need to have? What emails and other communications need to go out? Ultimately, what funnels do you need to build? What content do you need that will “deliver the right message to the right person at the right time?” Start to write all that down, get it organized, start writing the content for it and start designing all the assets.

Question #10: Who's responsible to manage all of your marketing and hold people accountable to achieving these goals?

Who is going to be the one that's making sure that marketing is getting done every day, monitoring that it's working and making educated decisions and optimizations based on the data? What does that look like? How often are you checking in? Are you checking every week, every day, every 30 days before you really decide to make major decisions based on changes? Looking at the results, who's responsible ultimately for making sure all of this is done so that you can execute the game plan? You need to put somebody in charge, whether it's you or somebody in your organization or hiring a company like GiD Marketing to do these things, you need to ultimately have somebody that's an expert. Your marketing plan is an investment and you want to ensure it becomes reality at the end of the day and drives you the return that you're looking for.

These are the 10 questions you need to ask yourself that will help you build the perfect marketing plan to grow your business. What are you going to put into ACTION? Leave a comment below.

About the Author Stacey Riska

Stacey Riska is a serial entrepreneur who eats, breathes and lives marketing. She's on a mission to help businesses stop chasing shiny objects and instead focus on building the foundations of a solid marketing strategy. She's the author of "Small Business Marketing Made EZ" and "Cups to Gallons". When she's not busy helping businesses get their marketing into ACTION, she loves spending time with her husband, a great bottle of red, and chocolate (who wouldn't!)