Writing the Perfect Marketing Plan
How many of you structure your marketing around a plan? We often hear from clients who love sharing content and have lots of ideas about how they want to share it, but their marketing ‘plan‘ has taken the form of scribbles in a notebook, a mind map tacked to the wall and an endless thread of emails. The content gets out there, but only when they can grab a moment in amongst everything else. We’re sure lots of you can relate.
Creating a solid plan for marketing communication is often put to the bottom of the to-do list. It can seem like an overwhelming task and if you’re not used to putting together documents of this nature, there’s not a whole load of help in the digital world on how you should structure it. But marketing plans can be so crucial in firming up your business direction and making sure your communication is consistently on-brand. We promise, they don’t have to be corporate-looking spreadsheets. They can be creative, visual and evolve as your business develops, and they’re going to look slightly different for everyone.
Take us for example. In 2018 our team grew and our social media content became a lot more collaborative as a result. So we needed to reassess our plan so that it fitted our new work dynamic. Each person in the studio works slightly differently, so we needed quite a specific plan that would cater to each of us. Personally when it comes to planning I’m a big fan of spreadsheets, data and my Filofax. But both Bekki and Sophia are much more visual - wall planners, mind maps and whiteboards work much better for Bekki, whilst Sophia plans ideas through creating moodboards and sketches. So it was important to us that our marketing plan would accommodate each of our unique ways of working.
We’ve never been into pushy marketing, it just doesn’t do anything for us, so it was important that our plan facilitated the sharing of beautiful, valuable content without compromising on quality or overloading you all!
When we’re putting together marketing plans for clients, we use a really handy framework. It’s referenced in a podcast episode from Photo Spark which we thought communicates it really well (click here to give it a listen). The process helps us to break down the sections of a marketing plan and think about how they would need to be communicated. If you’re not sure how to structure your plan, this should definitely help.
Think about what success looks like to you. This should be specific with numbers attached to it. Once you know what your annual goal is, break it down into smaller 90 day goals. These are easier to measure and help you keep on track throughout the year. For example, your annual goal might be to grow your website blog to engage with customers on a more human level. What quarterly goals do you need to put in place to achieve this? Perhaps your first 90 day goal could be to contact a photographer and arrange a shoot. This will leave you with a bank of beautiful images to start making your blog look really visually appealing.
Once you know what your goal is, start doing some research. Think about who your ideal client is, where they are, where they like to shop, and who they are as a person. If we use the example above, you’ll need to look at the kind of blogs, magazines and books that your clients reads. Who do they follow on Instagram? What kind of content do they engage with? Why? Once you’ve got this pinned down, start to look at your competitors. Who are they? What do you do differently?
Your messaging tells your clients why you can solve their problem and why they should choose you over someone else. Here you’ll need to look at your USP and how you communicate this to your customer. What language and tone of voice will you use? Do you want to have an informal, personal approach? Or do you maintain a level of distance and formality? Think about the kind of relationship you want to have with your clients and use language as a tool to facilitate this.
How are you marketing to your customers? You shouldn’t feel like you need to be everywhere. If certain platforms don’t work for you, don’t use them. This way, you get so much more out of what you’re doing. It’s here that you’ll need to look at the logistics of who is posting what and when. What do you need to publish the post? Do you need to take a styled photograph? Who is going to action this?
Firstly, you need to establish what you are going to measure. This should be in relation to your goal. Is your goal about increasing enquiries? If so, look at where they’ve come from and how the numbers compare to the previous 90 days. A handy way to do this is to set up a goal on Google Analytics. And remember, it’s also important to establish how often you’re going to check your metrics.
The crucial thing is that your marketing plan is not written in stone. As your business evolves, your marketing plan will too, and that’s okay. It can change whenever you want it to.
Of course, the finished plan is going to look completely different for everyone. For us, it takes a few different forms. We have our goals written prominently on one of our whiteboards in the studio with a space to write metrics at the end of each week, as well as at the top of a calendar we put together in Excel. We have our studio moodboard replicated in Pinterest and each have access to view and edit it, which has helped us to establish a common visual tone for our marketing. And for the nitty gritty stuff (who is posting what, when), our calendar spreadsheet with a daily, weekly and monthly breakdown tells us all what to do. It’s saved as a Google document so we all have access to edit the information, and it includes columns to write the content, platform, author, status, and metrics for each action.
Marketing plans don’t have to be scary. They can (and should) fit whatever your business needs, and help you to consistently stay on track. We’re feeling confident with our developed plan and excited to share some wonderful content with you all!
How’s your marketing plan looking for this year? We’d love to see how you organise everything for your business so do share with us on Instagram @steeleandstovell if you have nailed your plan or have any great ideas for getting everything mapped out.