How to Develop Your Sales and Marketing Plan

There’s a well-known internet marketer whose favorite quote is ‘Hope is not a marketing plan’. You can’t just pick a marketing strategy and ‘hope’ that it will work. Instead, you need to put together a detailed marketing plan where you lay out your arsenal of strategies for meeting your business goals. This isn’t a comprehensive list of daily tasks. It’s a breakdown of each tactic you want to use and the process you’ll put in place for its implementation.

Start With Your Business Model

Not all marketing strategies work with every business model. You’ll hear all sorts of wild ideas and ‘proven’ tactics, but that doesn’t mean they’re the ones for you. Look at your own business model first and outline some of the characteristics of that model and your market, including:

A description of the key features of your target customers

Where customers will come from, such as organic search, paid search, joint ventures, offline sources, affiliates, etc.
What are prospects’ buying triggers? In other words, where or when do they usually make a purchase decision? For example, it could be from a product review, a personal recommendation from an expert they trust, through surfing content sites, through email suggestions, etc.

What Are The Most Popular Marketing Strategies?

Now, look again at your business model and the most popular marketing tactics used by your competitors. How do they convert from prospect to customer? For example,

  • Individual sales pages that lead to freebies that put prospects into an email series
  • Regular free teleseminars that include a special offer at the end
  • Straight SEO and traffic generation, such as might be used for AdSense sites
  • Multiple joint ventures and recruiting of affiliates

Which marketing strategies will you focus on?

If you try to do several marketing campaigns at once, you may just fail at all of them. You’ll need to focus on one to start with. Test it out, see if it’s working, and then add more strategies. There are endless methods to pick from.

Try selecting the easiest marketing strategy so you can put it in place and get moving straight away. You should always have at least one easy tactic you can use that doesn’t require a lot of thought and planning. For example, you can create an autoresponder series that starts every time a person signs up for that list. It’s a passive form of marketing that requires almost no attention. Then you can start planning out more campaigns.

Start at the end and work backwards

In order to put your marketing plan down on paper (or computer), start by looking at all the steps involved. What are the activities you need to complete in order to implement and maintain each strategy?

Now put those steps into a priority order and process you can follow. Which steps are dependent on others? Which ones need to be completed first? You can even use a mindmap to lay out a visual of the process, which makes it easy to move things around. Freemind is a great, free tool for creating mindmaps on PCs. ‘Thoughts HD’ is another one that works really well on iPads. You can export any of the mindmaps to a pdf so that you can print them and post them by your computer.

Make sure you set deadlines for achieving each step in your marketing plan. The success of some strategies is dependent on a specific timeframe, such as the length of time between emails or follow-ups. Put it on your calendar and set those dates in stone.

Your marketing plan dictates what actual tasks you’ll need to do from day to day. For example, if you know that your emails need to be set up in daily intervals, then you’ll need to put the outlining and writing of those emails down on your to-do list every day. Just don’t make the mistake that many impatient, ambitious marketers make by trying to do everything at once. Focus on one strategy at a time, set deadlines, and implement it to success.

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