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Without a solid marketing plan, your products and services will never reach your customers. But how do you design a marketing plan that will expand your reach? How can you ensure that your financial and professional investment will pay off? How can you as a start-up or small company build a marketing plan that will allow you to compete with larger, established companies? In this post, we’ll talk about the essential components of a great marketing plan, so that you can start promoting your business and building your client base!

Take an Inventory

It’s a good idea to consider your budget – and this should apply not only to money, but human resources, media and communications skills among your team, and any existing platform or audience. A successful marketing strategy operates on multiple levels, incorporating media in multiple formats. Particularly for start-ups, it’s important to approach your marketing strategy with as much creativity and flexibility as possible.

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Establish Your Objective

In order to move forward, you need to know where you’re headed, right? In order to design effective marketing materials, you need to know what you want to achieve. Do you want to convert more leads? Do you want to spread the word about a new product or special promotion? Are you trying to deepen your connection with existing customers? Do you want to latch onto their referral network? Are you trying to reposition your company to attract a new demographic?

Find Your Target

To send the right message, know your audience. Describe your existing customers, and think about how you would describe the customers you want to reach. What demographics do your products and services resonate with? What are their needs? What are their concerns? Finding clarity on all of these questions is a great head start on a marketing campaign. Your answers will also have a significant impact on your media strategy – for example, if you’re interested in reaching retirees, you may not want to prioritize Snapchat.

Consider Your Strengths

Marketing relates to an expansive skillset – videography, writing, copyediting, graphic and web design – and many entrepreneurs outsource these skills to professionals (more on that below). However, many people have skills and interests they may not be aware of – and technology makes it relatively easy to develop and refine those skills. For example, if you’re a photographer, consider branching out onto an image-focused platform like Instagram. If you’ve produced copy for print marketing materials, start a blog. If you enjoy presenting at conferences, consider publishing video and PowerPoint presentations on your website.

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Acknowledge Your Weaknesses

When you interview job applicants, you look for skill, interest, and motivation, right? If there are marketing tasks you don’t enjoy or feel confident doing, then you probably won’t produce your best work. Delegate these jobs to your team, or consider hiring a professional. Professional marketing services may feel like an unnecessary expense, but tend to pay off in added lead conversions. You’ll also save time. If you’re operating on a tight budget, remember that most marketing firms offer customized service menus, so you can hire specialized services as needed.

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Always Be Yourself

Confidence, expertise, diligence, and professionalism are all an important part of your brand – and your marketing materials should allow your personality to shine through. When you’re crafting a newsletter, a blog post, or a video update, you should feel free to speak as yourself. In most industries, clients will be reassured by personal contact. A personal touch is especially important online, when anonymity can make it difficult for leads to zoom in on a single representative.

Consistency Rules

Depending on your approach, you might get a lot of mileage out of team marketing participation – answering questions on your blog, for example, crafting segmented or targeted marketing emails, shooting or starring in informational videos, or even managing Twitter accounts. To ensure that your employees and associates are sending messages and posting updates that fit within your brand, consider creating a “stylebook” that includes formatting and style information they can use to craft marketing materials that will help you succeed.

Looking for more advice on writing shareworthy blog posts? Read our guide to the perfect blog post!

Automate Whenever Possible

Successful marketing is an iterative process – drip emails, regular posts, daily or hourly social media updates – and it’s a lot to keep track of. Luckily, there’s more than one app for that! Use a program like MailChimp, Hootsuite, Zoho, or Buffer to schedule and streamline nearly all of your digital media content – many programs will help you zero in on the best times for updates across platforms, and even allow you to automate and organize many of your media communications. If you’re on a tight budget, one of these programs will save you an enormous amount of time and energy – and you’ll never have to worry about dropping a lead.

Marketing takes some strategy and dedication – just like every other part of your business. But with these tips in mind, you should have no trouble designing a marketing plan that will consolidate your brand and increase your reach.

Are you interested in learning more about strategic digital marketing? At Square 1 Group, we make it our business to create multilayered technology and marketing solutions for our clients, tailoring our approach to your resources and needs. Contact us for a consultation today!