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How to write a marketing plan

One of the most important tasks that any business owner will take on is writing a marketing plan. Many business owners feel overwhelmed with the idea of writing a marketing plan due to a lack of experience and a lack of budget. However, the good news is that there are guidelines that can help you with this task. Having a marketing plan is crucial since it allows you to plan all of the different aspects of your business marketing including but not limited to: how you will get your marketing message out to your target market and how you will educate them about what your business offers. Here is what you need to know about how to write a marketing plan-

- Get the information you need before you start writing-A effective marketing plan will be based on current and substantial market research. You will have to find out some important information before you just sit down and start writing a marketing plan. There are some important questions that need to be answered with your market research. Some of these questions are-
1. Who is the target market that you will be marketing to?
2. Why are the people who make up this target market looking for your product or service?
3. What will be the best way to reach your target market?
There are many different ways that you can begin to do market research. One of the most effective and highly popular ways is using social media networking sites. If you find the social media networking sites that your customers are using you can find out several key pieces of information that will help you answer the questions listed above. You should try to get involved with the forums on these sites so that you can talk to your target market about what your business can offer them. This is also a good way to check out what the public perception is of your business and what you sell.
- Take a careful look at your products-Savvy business owners know that part of writing an effective marketing plan is looking closely at what they have to offer. You want to have a clear understanding of exactly why your target market will want to buy what you are offering. Ask yourself-What does your product fulfill for your potential customer? You want to tap into the need or want of your customer and use your product as the solution. In addition, this is the time to look closely at your competition. You want to make sure that you have a clear understanding of what is going on in your industry. Knowing what your competition is doing can help you to figure out how to market your own products or services. Finally, you want to look closely at the pricing of your products. Price is an integral part of the marketing strategy. Make sure that you price your products at a point that your customers can still afford them without deflating their value with a low price.
- Decide what you can afford-At this point in the formation of your marketing plan you will need to start deciding how much you can spend on marketing and where you will spend it. Many business owners who have limited resources often give up on their marketing because they figure that they don't have the money to compete in marketing with their larger competition. However, the reality is not how much money you spend on marketing but where you spend it. If you focus on getting the best return possible on every marketing dollar that you spend, you won't need to outspend your competition and your marketing will be far more effective.

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