Marketing without a plan is a huge mistake! A marketing plan is essential to help your business or nonprofit stay focused and achieve your goals. Without a set plan, it can be a huge challenge to track your progress.
Need a template? You just need to fill in each of these sections:
- Your goals
- Your audience
- A SWOT analysis
- Tactics and platforms
If you need a little more guidance on what you should include in each of those sections, here is a quick reference guide.
Your goals are the single most crucial part of your marketing plan. They can be broad as long as you have SMART milestones. Remember, there’s always room for improvement! One area we see a lot of room for improvement in is brand awareness. Making sure more people know about your organization is a common goal.
And while focusing is important, don’t be afraid to have up to five or so goals. Please don’t get too carried away, as too many goals can mean you don’t have the resources to accomplish any of them.
Just like the saying goes, you can’t please everyone. It’s also impossible to market to everyone, plus it would be a waste of money.
Each organization should define its target audience, who your tactics and campaigns will be aimed toward. And you may have multiple target audiences! For example, a nonprofit organization may the people they serve, potential volunteers, potential board members, potential donors, and even potential staff.
Determine who your target audience is and research how to reach them. Look for information about their age, wages, geography, and more. Once you have a well-defined target audience, you’ll be better equipped to pick your marketing tactics and increase your chances of achieving your goals.
SWOT Analysis is a time-tested framework for uncovering how well your organization and its current marketing is positioned. SWOT stands for:
For your marketing plan, these should be for the organization as a whole and specific to the marketing that already exists.
This section is all about analyzing what you’ve already done, where it’s been successful, your past, present, and future, what you can do to improve, and more.
Tactics and platforms
Now you’ve made it to tactics. If your background is not in marketing and you don’t keep up to date on marketing platforms and tactics, this one will take a lot of research. Everything you’ve built before this in your plan will inform which tactics and platforms you choose.
While there are no hard and fast rules, I will say that most organizations can benefit from being on at least a few social media platforms and from using search engine optimization (SEO) on their website and elsewhere.
Finally, it’s time to determine what you actually have the resources to dive into and in what order. Remember, the investments are not just money, but time, human resources, and whatever else you have available.
You might consider dividing your investments into phases so you don’t try to bite off everything at once. Include the most urgent and most easily achievable in the first phase, then move on from there. Most marketing plans should include three phases, though that can differ depending on the organization’s goals, size, and other factors.
While you can dive into marketing without a plan, having a plan means you’re more likely to succeed. If your organization needs help with a marketing plan, we would be happy to talk with you and see if we can help!