How to make a marketing plan in 30 minutes
Sales & Marketing

How to make a marketing plan in 30 minutes

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Do you have a marketing plan? Most ecommerce stores don't, but the beauty of a marketing plan is that it helps focus your marketing efforts.

Here I'll give you a simple framework to create your marketing plan in under 30 minutes. It won't be perfect, but it will be better than nothing. Let's get started.

What is marketing?

First, what is marketing?

Marketing is a 3-step process:

  1. Attract your target customers (prospects)
  2. Make the sale (leads)
  3. Make them happy so they buy more & tell others (customers & referrals)

Anything and everything related to marketing is in those 3 steps above.

Marketing tactics are the individual things you do, marketing strategy is how it all comes together, and your marketing plan is how you execute your marketing strategy (e.g. how and when you do the marketing tactics).

A simple marketing framework

There are several marketing plan frameworks. The simple one below is a good one to start with that just adds 3 substeps to each of the 3 marketing steps above:

Attract your target customers (prospects)
  1. Define your target market: Who is your ideal customer?
  2. Define your message: Why should people buy from you?
  3. Define your channels: What are the most effective channels to reach your target audience?

For simplicity, we'll assume you use social media to reach your customers and email marketing to help convert them.

Make the sale (leads)
  1. How you capture leads: How do you capture email addresses from your channels?
  2. How you nurture leads: How do you get your email subscribers to know, like, and trust you?
  3. How you convert leads: How do you convert sales from your email list?
Make them happy so they buy more & tell others (customers & referrals)
  1. How you thrill customers: How do you exceed customer expectations?
  2. How customers buy more: Why would customers want to buy more from you?
  3. How customers tell others: Why will customers tell others? How?

There you go, a simple 9-step marketing plan framework.

Creating a marketing flywheel

Look at 3 marketing steps again:

  1. Attract your target customers (prospects)
  2. Make the sale (leads)
  3. Make them happy so they buy more & tell others (customers & referrals)

When just starting out, it's hard work to manually move customers through this funnel to purchase.

But as you exceed expectations and thrill customers with awesome products and experiences, they'll start to tell others and drive word of mouth.

The result? Each step in the process (especially early in the funnel) slowly gets easier, and sales happen with less effort. That's what it means to build a brand.

Test & iterate

This is just a framework, and every business is different. So, get in the habit of testing and iterating to learn what works.

When you find what works, you need to double and then triple down on it. Focus on what works. Then, when it stops working, start testing and iterating again to keep growing.

Ensure you have Google Analytics or similar tools properly set up and instrumented to measure what's working.

Want more detail?

If you want more details and examples of what we covered here, I also wrote a longer Shopify Marketing Plan Guide. It was written for Shopify merchants, but the lessons are broadly applicable.

Over to you!

This is probably the simplest marketing plan you've ever seen, but that's the point. Rather than spending days or weeks researching how to build the 'perfect' marketing plan, the important thing is to start.

Then, once you start, you'll continue learning, testing, and iterating to improve it. Because if you're new to this, chances are there's a lot you don't know. So, stay flexible, keep it light, and adapt as you learn!

About the author
Gabriel Mays, the Co-Founder and CEO of POPSMASH
Gabriel A. Mays
Gabriel Mays' Website
Co-Founder & CEO at POPSMASH
Before POPSMASH, Gabe was a Director at GoDaddy and founded two startups. He was also a Marine Corps Captain, serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. He lives with his wife and two kids on Cape Cod, MA.

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