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How to write a marketing plan

One of the most important tools that you will need as a business owner is a marketing plan. Your marketing plan will be the roadmap that guides you in developing and growing your company. The marketing plan that you design for your business can be a part of your business plan or it can be a separate document. However, many new business owners are especially overwhelmed at the thought of writing a marketing plan. The good news is that there is plenty of tips to help you. Here is what you need to know about how to write a marketing plan-

- Find your target market-The first step to putting together a marketing plan is to determine who your target market is. A common mistake for new business owners is to assume that everyone will want to buy their product or service. This is an overstatement at best. Not everyone will be interested in your product or service but there will be a segment of the population who will be more interested in it then others. These are the people that you need to find. You will have to be able to define your customer and why they would want to purchase your product or service. Then you will need to figure out how to use your marketing to show them how your business can meet their need or want. There are a number of ways that you can find your target market. Social media and other online methods can help as well as customer interviews. Keep in mind that you should take plenty of time to complete this step as it will in large part determine how you will market.
- Decide what your marketing message will be-Once you know who you will be marketing to and how to find them the next step is to determine your marketing message. You can begin deciding on this by asking yourself some very important questions. These questions can include: What are your business goals? What do you want your customers to think about when it comes to your business? How can your customers identify your business from the competition? When you can answer these questions you will begin to see what your marketing message needs to be. Finally, keep in mind that whatever marketing message you decide on you need to make sure that it is easy to understand and identifies with your business so that your potential customers think of your business right away.
- Offer value to your customers-It is important to understand that your marketing message needs to be far more then just a push for sales. If you are only marketing to your customers for their money they will soon pick up on this and move onto another business that they feel actually care about them. You will need to design your marketing plan to include value for your customers. If you can portray value through your marketing message your customers will come to view your business with credibility and trust. You should always be asking yourself what you can offer to your customers. As you send out your newsletters, post your blog, and anything else that you do with your marketing you want to be educating your customers why you are the solution instead of just trying to sell them your product or service.
- Make your business visible-The final step in putting together your marketing plan will be determining how you will make your business visible. Do not make the mistake of assuming that you don't have competition. Every business has competition and you will need to craft a marketing plan that makes your business stand out from the crowd. When you can do this you will be able to design and put together a marketing plan that will help your business grow and succeed.

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