Are you struggling to keep up with your marketing strategy?
Is it becoming harder to create a template that works for your startup?
Does all this talk of strategies and templates just sound like gibberish to you?
A marketing strategy template is a roadmap that explains your marketing plan to the stakeholders in your entity. You will need this guide to explain to other stakeholders how they can support your marketing vision.
Start with a marketing strategy template for any size marketing team. Your marketing efforts won’t go far without a solid strategy and plan.
With a proper template and infographics, your marketing activities will have a solid roadmap for execution. This marketing plan and strategy template is easy to make but many people lack the know-how.
We'll show you how to do it! Let’s get started.
What is a Marketing Strategy?
A marketing strategy refers to the entire game plan to convert your target audience into customers.
Creating a meaningful marketing strategy requires a proper template. A template should center your focus on that strategy.
Keep in mind that a marketing strategy differs from a marketing plan.
How is a Marketing Strategy Different from a Marketing Plan?
A marketing strategy is the blueprint that marketing teams use to create and execute their marketing plans.
Marketing plans, on the other hand, consist of actionable marketing activities like content marketing and social marketing efforts, among a slew of specific initiatives including marketing campaigns, blog posts, big-rock content releases, influencer marketing, and a vast array of other marketing tactics.
Without a solid marketing strategy in place, it’s hard to avoid creating bad content — and that’s the last thing any of us need.
Why Do You Need Both a Marketing Strategy and a Marketing Plan?
Businesses need a documented marketing strategy and a measurable marketing plan in order to be able to create a marketing roadmap, set smart goals, and follow them through to the finish line.
Every company has unique needs, goals, and personnel, but there’s two things we know for sure: each campaign is time-bound, and when it comes right down to it, metrics and KPIs — they matter.
But how do you decide which performance indicators to prioritize, and how to appropriately pivot if the analytics say you should?
That’s all part of your marketing strategy and the marketing plan that goes with it.
Building a Marketing Plan Template
When you’re creating a marketing plan template, you want it to be useful in multiple circumstances for different projects and campaigns. The best way to do this is to include key, high-level sections that your marketing team will follow when they plan out their marketing strategies, tactics, and tasks.
Any effective marketing plan template will include the following:
- Executive summary
- Business information
- Marketing goals
- Target customers
- SWOT Analysis
- Competitive analyses
- Branding or brand identity
- Marketing funnels
- Marketing channels
Let’s get into the details of each section of your template.
An executive summary is a good thing to include in any marketing plan to make sure everyone’s on the same page, from marketing team members to other departments and various stakeholders inside your organization and beyond.
The executive summary may include some or all of the following:
- Business name
- Company mission statement
- Company history
- Advisors and team members
- Pricing breakdown
- Marketing plan description
That last one’s especially important. Be sure your summary includes a brief explanation of your marketing plan, even if it’s just a couple of sentences long.
Include any relevant business information early in your marketing plan template. This encompasses a mission statement, headquarters, and marketing team.
Before spending valuable time, money, and other resources on marketing, you need to know your goals.
What is it exactly that you want to get out of your marketing efforts?
Some of the most common marketing goals (and business goals) include:
- Drive more visits or web traffic
- Increase sales
- Generate more leads
- Boost brand awareness
- Strengthen brand affinity
- Retain customer base
Remember that it’s important to get specific here. Your goal shouldn’t be just to “get more leads” — it should be to get more leads that are actually interested in your offer. And when it comes to sales, you specifically want the kind that don’t get returned and that are ideally from people who will buy again, or repeat buyers.
Along the way, make sure the goals you’re setting are SMART goals: marketing goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-framed.
That way, whatever happens, it’ll be easier to stay on track.
Your marketing needs to be relevant to your target customer.
And to be relevant you have to have a clear understanding of who that person is.
Specifying demographic information like age, gender, and income along with other data points like location and occupation should come first.
But it’s even more important to understand the motivation people have to buy from your business in particular.
User research is the best way to gather real-life insights. Consider conducting interviews, focus groups, data analysis, and other tactics to collect customer feedback. Questions to answer include:
- What are the problems your customers are trying to solve?
- What are their pain points?
- Are they even aware that a problem exists?
Once you’ve gathered enough information, your marketing team will be primed to determine the best kind of marketing activities to start with.
Based on your target market research, you can then create a selection of buyer personas that represent your ideal customer.
These should embody target users, company decision-makers, managers, and more depending on your business offer.
No one makes decisions in a void.
In today’s market landscape, you can be sure potential buyers are looking at you and your competition, every time.
When laying out your marketing strategy, take note of the strongest players in your space — as well as start-ups and up-and-coming companies. Set up a side-by-side comparison.
How are you similar? How are you different? And how do you measure up with the market leaders?
When running a competitive analysis, you need to answer these questions:
- What is their product or offer?
- How is it different from yours?
- What is their brand’s positioning and messaging?
- Who is their target market?
- What differentiates them?
A competitor analysis can also give you insights into what marketing efforts and channels are worth trying out. For example, if your competition advertises and sees success on Instagram, then you know to develop a presence on the platform, too.
After having understood your competitors, you need to distill how you’re different and better. You need a unique selling proposition (USP), which can be uncovered by a deep dive into your business.
We recommend following a SWOT analysis to guide your efforts and further marketing plans:
- S- Strengths. What do your customers love most about your business?
- W- Weaknesses. What are your company’s weak points?
- O- Opportunities. What new opportunities can you explore?
- T- Threats. Are there issues that are jeopardizing your future success?
Basically, you need to be able to answer why people should buy from your business instead of the competition that’s always just a click away.
Talking to your existing customers is a great idea.
Ask them what other competitors they considered before eventually deciding to do business with your company.
And if you don’t have direct contact with your customers, set up a meeting with your sales people or support staff to discuss.
When possible, always read through any and all comments and reviews of your product or offer as well.
How are you currently communicating the solution you provide to your customer’s pain points? You can’t be the best option for everyone; instead, use your marketing efforts to clearly communicate exactly who should be interested and buying from you.
A solid marketing strategy starts with a clear understanding of how much time and money you have to invest in marketing activities.
When you try to do everything at once and own every channel out there, it’s likely that no one element will actually excel in the end. And quality is what your marketing team should really be after.
Marketing efforts like SEO, content initiatives, social posts, and newsletters are technically free, but they require serious time commitments.
It’s important to calculate how many hours per week you can realistically spend on social media marketing, say, versus writing blog posts, ebooks, or white papers.
Decide when each deliverable is due, and whether they’re going to be rolled out simultaneously or over a set period of time.
When it comes to your marketing budget, get specific. Work out how much spend can be allocated to online tools, freelancers, and digital advertising, and how much you need to invest in each marketing channel to truly make it work for you and your marketing goals.
Welcome’s marketing orchestration software makes setting and tracking budgets and resources easier than ever, for streamlined planning and monitoring across the board.
Branding Voice, Tone, and Identity
A consistent look and feel to your branding will help streamline and direct all your future efforts.
Creating a unique brand voice and visual language depends on the user research, competitive analysis, executive summary, and the overall strategy developed at the onset of your marketing efforts.
Ultimately, your tone and design aesthetic needs to cater to your target demographic in order to convince them to engage with your brand and convert.
Once decided, documented style guidelines and editorial suggestions are good to have on hand to ensure consistency and so that every stakeholder and team member can work from the same jumping off point.
Such guides may include everything from a brand’s go-to color palette to its character traits and specific dos and don’ts that pertain to things like typography, word usage, visual direction, and more.
A refresher on marketing funnels will help your marketers build a more suitable strategy. The funnel begins when a customer identifies a need and ends with the transaction to buy the product that addresses their needs.
The stages of a funnel are:
- TOFU, the top of the funnel, or when your target market gains awareness of different products on the market.
- MOFU, the middle of the funnel, where they begin to research the products available.
- BOFU, the bottom of the funnel, is when they decide to buy the product. It could be from you or your competitor.
Understanding the funnels allows you to pick the right messaging that addresses the buyer’s concerns and needs at every stage. Some funnels may have more than three stages above but nothing more than seven.
Even after they make that transaction, target messaging can foster brand loyalty.
The Best Marketing Channel
Selecting the most relevant marketing channels for your specific efforts is a vital part of the process.
This choice will largely depend on the user research you conducted when first creating your marketing strategy.
Remember to also pay attention to what has worked for your competitors, and not try to do everything at once.
Your template should naturally include marketing channel recommendations since this will inform many of the decisions you make regarding marketing efforts.
Even using a template, there are so many marketing channels that it gets complicated choosing the right one for your business. Placing the right messages at the right place and at the right time can make or break any marketing plan.
Here is a breakdown of some of the most important places you can connect with your customers, in case you’re at a loss for what this section of the template might outline:
- Website and blog. Create a place where customers can buy and interact with your products.
- Social media marketing. Make use of organic and paid social media content marketing to drive traffic and eventually convert that traffic into sales.
- Email marketing. If you have a collection of emails, utilize them to drive up your ROI. Email marketing drives up the ROI with a range of 3,800% to 4440%.
- SEO. With 3.5 Billion searches on the internet daily, consider a way to drive commercial traffic to your website with optimization.
- YouTube is the second-largest search engine. Use it to grow your business with sponsored ads.
- PPC. Pay per click is more likely to convert with over 50% success.
Successful marketing relies on your audience seeing the right messaging at the right time — meaning when they’re at a specific phase of the sales funnel.
That cycle consists of:
To be truly effective, you need to produce relevant marketing messaging for every step of the cycle (as well as the moments in between!), ideally spreading across owned, earned, and paid media channels. These include the aforementioned website, blog, social media platforms, and email marketing.
But don’t forget about press coverage, user-generated content, reviews, and testimonials, digital ads, out-of-home advertising, third-party partners, influencer marketing, and more.
When you settle on what makes sense for you to pursue, figure out how much of a test budget and time commitment you need to assess whether the channel works for your goals and merits further investing.
Using Your Marketing Plan Template for Any Size Marketing Team
Now that your template is built and ready for action, it’s time to apply it to your marketing efforts. You’ll find that marketing gets easier when you have set guidelines for every project.
You may be used to starting every project from scratch, and that’s okay. We’ve included some key steps, tips, and tricks so that you can use your template to the greatest advantage.
Select Metrics and KPIs
Developing a measurement framework is a necessary step for proving the value of your marketing program.
This framework provides not only a clear road map toward measuring program ROI, but also helps define every step of that road map through key performance indicators (KPIs).
To accurately judge the success of your marketing efforts, you have to define your most important key performance indicators, or metrics.
If conversion for your business happens online, it’s not so helpful to rely on metrics like “number of page views” or “ranking on Google,” since they don’t directly help your business.
Instead, use metrics that are directly tied to revenue or leads generated, like online sales, number of phone calls received, or how many forms were filled out by qualified leads.
If your marketing goals are focused on boosting brand awareness, another KPI might be type-in traffic — how many people enter your website into their browser or arrive via a branded search on Google.
Keep in mind that it’s best to have no more than three KPIs for each business goal, and that further tools and marketing strategy templates are just a few clicks away — like this template for a content marketing ROI measurement framework.
Organize Your Marketing Calendar
When you have a marketing strategy, use a calendar to track deadlines and progress. It can be especially helpful to track every task through its life span, so you can easily spot bottlenecks at each step.
A marketing project management software can do that for you to eliminate all the hustle of getting everything onto the schedule.
Develop Processes to Execute Your Marketing Strategy
There are tons of established processes and tools out there to help execute your marketing strategy. While using your template, consider what processes, practices, and tools you might use at each stage in your marketing plan.
When you have repeat strategies and workflows in the plan, you can build a consistent schedule. If you find that your marketing team utilizes these processes frequently, you might consider updating your template to include it.
Relax While Your Marketing Strategy Template Does the Work
Whether you build your own template or use one from a marketing software company like Welcome, creating the perfect plan is easy when you have a reliable marketing strategy template.
Ready to try this out? Reach out to us today and receive our free marketing strategy template.