5 Steps to Create an Outstanding Marketing Plan [Free Templates]
Published: March 16, 2023
Free Marketing Plan Template
Outline your company's marketing strategy in one simple, coherent plan.
Thank you for downloading the offer.
Do you take a good, hard look at your team's marketing strategy every year?
You should. Without an annual marketing plan, things can get messy — and it's nearly impossible to put a number on the budget you'll need to secure for the projects, hiring, and outsourcing you'll encounter over the course of a year if you don't have a plan.
To make your plan's creation easier, we've put together a list of what to include in your plan and a few different planning templates where you can easily fill in the blanks.
To start, let's dive into how to create a marketing plan and then take a look at what a high-level marketing plan has inside.
In this article, we're going to discuss:
- What a High-Level Marketing Plan Includes
How to Create a Marketing Plan
- Marketing Plan Templates You Can Use
- Simplified Marketing Plan Template
- Plus — Social Media Plan Templates
- Pre-Sectioned Template
- Completely Customizable
- Example Prompts
- Professionally Designed
You're all set!
Click this link to access this resource at any time.
Fill out this form to access a free marketing plan template.
Marketing plan outline.
Download This Marketing Plan Outline for Free
The below marketing plan outline will help you create an effective plan that easily generates buy-in from stakeholders and effectively guides your marketing efforts.
Marketing plans can get quite granular to reflect the industry you're in, whether you're selling to consumers (B2C) or other businesses (B2B), and how big your digital presence is. Nonetheless, here are the elements every effective marketing plan includes:
1. Business Summary
In a marketing plan, your business summary is exactly what it sounds like: a summary of the organization. It’s essential to include this information so that all stakeholders, including your direct reports, learn about your company in detail before delving into the more strategic components of your plan. Even if you’re presenting this plan to people who’ve been in the company for a while, it doesn’t hurt to get everyone on the same page.
Most business summaries include:
The company name
Where it's headquartered
Its mission statement
Our marketing plan outline also includes information on marketing leadership, which is especially helpful for companies with large marketing teams.
2. SWOT Analysis
Your marketing plan's business summary also includes a SWOT analysis , which stands for the business's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It’s essential to include this information so you can create targeted strategies that help you capitalize on your strengths and improve upon your weaknesses.
However, be patient with your business' SWOT analysis; you'll write most of it as you conduct your market research and create your strategy. Feel free to come back to this section periodically, adjusting it as you discover more information about your own business and your competition.
3. Business Initiatives
The business initiatives element of a marketing plan helps you segment the various goals of your department. Be careful not to include big-picture company initiatives, which you'd normally find in a business plan. This section of your marketing plan should outline the projects that are specific to marketing. You'll also describe the goals of those projects and how those goals will be measured.
Every initiative should follow the SMART method for goal-making . They should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.
4. Customer Analysis
In this part of the marketing plan outline, you get plenty of space to share all the data you collected during your market research . If your company has already done a thorough market research study, this section of your marketing plan might be easier to put together. Either way, try to do your research before synthesizing it in a shareable document like this one.
Ultimately, this element of your marketing plan will help you describe the industry you're selling to and your buyer persona . A buyer persona is a semi-fictional description of your ideal customer, focusing on traits like:
5. Competitor Analysis
Our marketing plan template includes space to list out the specific products you compete with, as well as other facets of the other company’s strategy, such as their blogging efforts or customer service reputation. Keep this part of your plan simple — your full competitive analysis should be done separately. Here are a few competitive analysis templates to get started.
6. Market Strategy
Your market strategy uses the information included in the above sections to describe how your company should approach the market. What will your business offer your buyer
personas that your competitors aren't already offering them?
As you fill out the section, use the insights from your SWOT analysis, your competitive analysis, and your market research to create targeted, effective descriptions that will help you secure buy-in for your later tactics and strategies. For instance, if you found that one of your competitors employs stronger social media marketing strategies , you might add “We’ll post 3 times per week on our social media profiles” under “Promotion.”
In our full-length marketing plan outline, the market strategy section contains the "seven Ps of marketing" (or the “ extended marketing mix ”):
(You'll learn more about these seven sub-components inside our free marketing plan template, which you can download below.)
Don't mistake the marketing budget element of your plan with your product's price or other company financials. Your budget describes how much money the business has allotted the marketing team to pursue the initiatives and goals outlined in the elements above.
Depending on how many individual expenses you have, you should consider itemizing this budget by what specifically you'll spend your budget on. Example marketing expenses include:
Outsourcing costs to a marketing agency and/or other providers
Events (those you'll host and/or attend)
Knowing the budget and doing analysis on the marketing channels you want to invest in, you should be able to come up with a plan for how much budget to invest in which tactics based on expected ROI. From there, you'll be able to come up with financial projections for the year. These won't be 100% accurate but can help with executive planning.
Remember: Your marketing plan only includes a summary of the costs. We recommend keeping a separate document or Excel sheet to help you calculate your budget much more effectively. Here’s a marketing budget template to get started .
8. Marketing Channels
Your marketing plan should also include a list of your marketing channels. While your company might promote the product itself using certain ad space, your marketing channels are where you'll publish the content that educates your buyers, generates leads, and spreads awareness of your brand.
If you publish (or intend to publish) on social media, this is the place to talk about it. Use the Marketing Channels section of your marketing plan to map out which social networks you want to launch a business page on, what you'll use this social network for, and how you'll measure your success on this network. Part of this section's purpose is to prove to your superiors, both inside and outside the marketing department, that these channels will serve to grow the business.
Businesses with extensive social media presences might even consider elaborating on their social strategy in a separate social media plan template.
9. Marketing Technology
Last, but certainly not least, your marketing plan should include an overview of the tools you’ll include in your marketing technology (MarTech) stack . These are the tools that will help you achieve the goals you outlined in the previous sections. Since all types of marketing software usually need a generous investment from your company’s leadership, it’s essential to connect them to a potential ROI for your business.
For each tool, describe what exactly you’ll use it for, and be sure that it’s a strategy that you’ve mentioned elsewhere. For instance, we wouldn't recommend listing an advertising management tool if you didn’t list “ PPC Advertising ” under “Marketing Channels.”
- Conduct a situation analysis.
- Define your target audience.
- Write SMART goals.
- Analyze your tactics.
- Set your budget.
1. Conduct a situation analysis.
Before you can get started with your marketing plan, you have to know your current situation.
What are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats? Conducting a basic SWOT analysis is the first step to creating a marketing plan.
Additionally, you should also have an understanding of the current market. How do you compare to your competitors? Doing a competitor analysis should help you with this step.
Think about how other products are better than yours. Plus, consider the gaps in a competitor's approach. What are they missing? What can you offer that'll give you a competitive advantage? Think about what sets you apart.
Answering questions like this should help you figure out what your customer wants, which brings us to step number two.
2. Define your target audience.
Once you better understand the market and your company's situation, make sure you know who your target audience is.
If your company already has buyer personas , this step might just mean you have to refine your current personas.
If you don't have a buyer persona, you should create one. To do this, you might have to conduct market research.
Your buyer persona should include demographic information such as age, gender, and income. However, it will also include psychographic information such as pain points and goals. What drives your audience? What problems do they have that your product or service can fix?
Once you have this information written out, it'll help you define your goals, which brings us to step number three.
3. Write SMART goals.
My mother always used to tell me, "You can't go somewhere unless you have a road map." Now, for me, someone who's geographically challenged, that was literal advice.
However, it can also be applied metaphorically to marketing. You can't improve your ROI unless you know what your goals are.
After you've figured out your current situation and know your audience, you can begin to define your SMART goals .
SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. This means that all your goals should be specific and include a time frame for which you want to complete them.
For example, your goal could be to increase your Instagram followers by 15% in three months. Depending on your overall marketing goals, this should be relevant and attainable. Additionally, this goal is specific, measurable, and time-bound.
Before you start any tactic, you should write out your goals. Then, you can begin to analyze which tactics will help you achieve that goal. That brings us to step number four.
4. Analyze your tactics.
At this point, you've written down your goals based on your target audience and current situation.
Now, you have to figure out what tactics will help you achieve your goals. Plus, what are the right channels and action items to focus on?
For example, if your goal is to increase your Instagram followers by 15% in three months, your tactics might include hosting a giveaway, responding to every comment, and posting three times on Instagram per week.
Once you know your goals, brainstorming several tactics to achieve those goals should be easy.
However, while writing your tactics, you have to keep your budget in mind, which brings us to step number five.
5. Set your budget.
Before you can begin implementing any of the ideas that you've come up with in the steps above, you have to know your budget.
For example, your tactics might include social media advertising. However, if you don't have the budget for that, then you might not be able to achieve your goals.
While you're writing out your tactics, be sure to note an estimated budget. You can include the time it'll take to complete each tactic in addition to the assets you might need to purchase, such as ad space.
Now that you know how to create your marketing plan, let's dive into creating a marketing campaign outline that will help you reach the goals outlined plan.
Marketing Plan Timeline
Rolling out a new marketing plan is a big lift. To make sure things are running smoothly with all of your projects, you’ll want to create a timeline that maps out when each project is happening.
A marketing plan timeline allows your team to view all projects, campaigns, events, and other related tasks in one place — along with their deadlines. This ensures everyone on your team knows what’s due, when it’s due, and what’s up next in the pipeline. Typically these plans cover marketing efforts for the entire year, but some companies may operate on a bi-annual or quarterly basis.
Once you’ve completed your analysis, research, and set goals, it’s time to set deadlines for your assignments. From new blog posts and content initiatives to product launches, everything will need a deadline. Take into account any holidays or events taking place over the course of the year.
While setting deadlines for the entire year may seem daunting, start by estimating how long you think each task will take and set a deadline accordingly. Track the time it actually takes for you to complete similar types of projects. Once you’ve completed a few of them, you’ll have a better idea of how long each takes and will be able to set more accurate deadlines.
For each project, you’ll want to build in time for:
- Brainstorming : This is the first phase where your idea comes to life in a project outline. Decide what you want to achieve and which stakeholders need to be involved to meet your goal. Set a due date and set up any necessary meetings.
- Planning : This can include determining the project’s scope, figuring out how much budget will be allocated for it, finalizing deadlines and who is working on each task. Map out any campaigns needed for each project (social media, PR, sales promotions, landing pages, events, etc.).
- Execution : This third phase is all about your project launch. Decide on a date to launch and monitor the progress of the project. Set up a system for tracking metrics and KPIs.
- Analysis : In this final phase you will analyze all of your performance data to see whether or not your marketing efforts paid off. Did you meet your goals? Did you complete your projects on time and within budget?
All projects and their deadlines should be in a central location where your team can access them whether that’s a calendar like HubSpot's tool , shared document, or project management tool.
One-Page Marketing Plan Template
As demonstrated above, a marketing plan can be a long document. When you want to share information with stakeholders or simply want an overview of your plan for quick reference, having a shorter version on hand can be helpful. A one-page marketing plan can be the solution, and we’ll discuss its elements below.
Include your company name, list the names of individuals responsible for enacting the different stages of your plan, and a brief mission statement.
2. Business Initiatives
3. Target Market
Outline your target audience(s) that your efforts will reach. You can include a brief overview of your industry and buyer personas.
This is an overview of the money you’ll spend to help you meet your marketing goals. Create a good estimate of how much you'll spend on each facet of your marketing program.
5. Marketing Channels
List the channels you’ll use to achieve your marketing goals. Describe why you're using each channel and what you want to accomplish so everyone is on the same page.
Free Marketing Plan Template [Word]
Now that you know what to include in your marketing plan, it's time to grab your marketing plan template and see how best to organize the six elements explained above. The following marketing plan template opens directly in Microsoft Word, so you can edit each section as you see fit:
Download your marketing plan template here .
Marketing campaign template.
Your marketing plan is a high-level view of the different marketing strategies you’ll use to meet your business objectives. A marketing campaign template is a focused plan that will help achieve those marketing goals.
A marketing campaign template should include the following key components:
- Goals and KPIs: Identify the end goal for each of the individual campaigns you’ll run and the metrics you will use to measure the results of your campaign when it ends. For example, conversion rates, sales, sign-ups, etc.
- Channels: Identify the different channels you’ll use to enact your marketing campaign to reach your audience. Maybe you run a social media campaign on Twitter to raise brand awareness or a direct mail campaign to notify your audience of upcoming sales.
- Budget : Identify the budget you’ll need to run your campaign and how it will be distributed, like the amount you’ll spend on creating content or ad placements in different areas. Having these numbers also helps you later on when you quantify the success of your campaign, like ROI.
- Content: Identify the type of content you’ll create and distribute during your campaigns—for example, blog posts, video ads, email newsletters, etc.
- Teams and DRIs: Identify the teams and people that will be part of enacting your marketing plan from start to finish, like those responsible for creating your marketing assets, budgets, or analyzing metrics once campaigns are complete.
- Design: Identify what your marketing campaigns will look like and how you’ll use design elements to attract your audience. It’s important to note that your design should directly relate to the purpose of your campaign.
Digital Marketing Plan Template
A digital marketing plan is similar to a marketing campaign plan, but, as the name suggests, it’s tailored to the campaigns that you run online. Let’s go over the key components of a digital marketing plan template to help you stay on track to meet your goals.
- Objectives: The goals for your digital marketing and what you’re hoping to accomplish, like driving more traffic to your website. Maybe you want to drive more traffic to your website, or
- Budget : Identify how much it will cost to run your digital marketing campaign and how the money will be distributed. For example, ad placement on different social media sites costs money, and so does creating your assets.
- Target audience: Which segments of your audience are you hoping to reach with this campaign? It’s essential to identify the audiences you want to reach with your digital marketing, as different channels house different audience segments.
- Channels: Identifies the channels that are central to your digital marketing campaign.
- Timeline: Explains the length of time your digital campaigns will run, from how long it should take to create your assets to the final day of the campaign.
Many people use social media in their digital campaigns, and below we’ll discuss some ideas you can use for inspiration.
Social Media Marketing Plan Templates
As marketing departments grow, so will their presence on social media. And as their social media presence grows, so will their need to measure, plan, and re-plan what types of content they want to publish across each network.
If you're looking for a way to deepen your social media marketing strategy — even further than the marketing plan template above — the following collection of social media marketing plan templates is perfect for you:
Download 10 social media reporting templates here .
In the above collection of marketing plan templates, you'll get to fill in the following contents (and more) to suit your company:
- Annual social media budget tracking
- Weekly social media themes
- Required social media image dimension key
- Pie chart on social media traffic sorted by platform
- Social media post calendar and publish time
Below, let's review the social media reporting templates, and what you'll find in each one.
1. Social Media Questions
This template lists out questions to help you decide which social media management platform you should use.
Once you know what social media tactics you're going to implement in your marketing plan, it's time to figure out what channels are right for you. This template will help you do that.
2. Facebook Live Schedule
If Facebook Live is one of the marketing tactics in your plan, this template will help you design an editorial calendar. With this template, you can organize what Facebook live's you want to do and when.
Once you've decided on dates, you can color code your FB calendar and coordinate with your editorial calendar so everyone can see what lives are running in relation to other campaigns.
3. Instagram Post Log
Are you going to begin using Instagram regularly? Do you want to increase your following? With this template, you can organize your Instagram posts, so everyone on your team knows what posts are going live and when.
Additionally, you can organize your assets and campaigns on this doc. Use this doc to collaborate with your team on messaging, landing pages linked in your bio, and campaign rollout.
4. Paid Social Media Template
With this template, you can organize your annual and monthly budget for your paid social media calendar.
You'll want to use this in conjunction with your marketing plan budget to make sure you are not overspending and funds are allocated appropriately.
5. Social Media Audit
Conducting a social media audit? You can use this template to help you gather the right analytics. Tracking the results of your marketing efforts is key to determining ROI.
Use this template to track each of your campaigns to determine what worked and what didn't. From there, you can allocate funds for the strategies that deliver the results you want.
6. Social Media Editorial Calendar
With this template, you can organize your social media editorial calendar. For example, you can include social media posts for each platform, so your team knows what's going live on any given day.
7. Social Media Image Sizes
With this template, your team can have the latest social media image sizes handy. This template includes image sizes for all major social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Having a resource like this readily available for your team ensures that everyone is on the same page regarding image sizes and prevents delays.
8. Social Media Marketing Proposal
With this template, you can create an entire social media marketing proposal. This will outline the social media goals, the scope of the work, and the tactics that you plan to implement.
Think of this proposal as more of a deep dive into the marketing channel section of your marketing plan.
9. Social Media Reporting Template
With this template, you'll gain access to a slide deck that includes templates for social media reporting. If you plan to implement social media in your marketing plan, these reporting templates can help you track your progress.
If using the social media audit above, you can add all of your data here once it's been collected.
10. Hashtag Holidays
If you're going to lean into social media in your marketing plan, you can use hashtag holidays to generate ideas.
These holidays are a great way to fill out your social media publishing schedule. With this template, you'll get a list of all the hashtag holidays for the year.
Once you've come up with content ideas, you can add them to your social media calendar.
Simple Marketing Plan Template
Of course, this type of planning takes a lot of time and effort. So if you're strapped for time before the holidays, give our new Marketing Plan Generator a try.
This tool simplifies yearly planning by asking prompted questions to help guide your process. You’ll be asked to input information about:
Try our free Marketing Plan Generator here .
- Your annual marketing mission statement, which is what your marketing is focused on for the year.
- The strategy that you’ll take with your marketing throughout the year to accomplish your marketing goals.
- Three main marketing initiatives that you’ll focus on during the year (i.e., brand awareness or building a high-quality pipeline) metrics you’ll use to measure your success.
- Your target goals for those marketing initiatives like generating 100 leads per week.
- Marketing initiatives that are not aligned with your current strategy to stay focused on your goals and activities that will help you be successful.
Once you input all information, the tool will spit out a table (as shown in the image below) that you can use to guide your processes.
Pro Tip: If the tool doesn't work, clear your browser's cache or access it in incognito mode.
Start the Marketing Planning Process Today
The best way to set up your marketing plan for the year is to start with quick wins first, that way you can ramp up fast and set yourself (and your team) up to hit more challenging goals and take on more sophisticated projects by Q4. So, what do you say? Are you ready to give it a spin?
Editor's note: This post was originally published in December 2016 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Don't forget to share this post!
The Top 5 Marketing Challenges Expected Globally in 2024, And How to Overcome Them [Data + Expert Tips]
The Top Goals of Marketing Leaders in 2023 [New Data + Expert Insights from Uber, Dropbox, and ClickUp]
41 Types of Marketing Your Brand Should Invest In
8 Steps to Create a Complete Marketing Strategy in 2023
Marketing Techniques: What to Try in 2023
Lifecycle Marketing: The Complete Guide
What Are the 4 Ps of Marketing? The Marketing Mix Explained [Example]
The Scarcity Principle: How 7 Brands Created High Demand
How to Use Google Calendar: 21 Features That'll Make You More Productive
The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Strategies & How to Improve Your Digital Presence
- Credit cards
- View all credit cards
- Banking guide
- Loans guide
- Insurance guide
- Personal finance
- View all personal finance
- Small business
- View all small business
You’re our first priority. Every time.
We believe everyone should be able to make financial decisions with confidence. And while our site doesn’t feature every company or financial product available on the market, we’re proud that the guidance we offer, the information we provide and the tools we create are objective, independent, straightforward — and free.
So how do we make money? Our partners compensate us. This may influence which products we review and write about (and where those products appear on the site), but it in no way affects our recommendations or advice, which are grounded in thousands of hours of research. Our partners cannot pay us to guarantee favorable reviews of their products or services. Here is a list of our partners .
How to Write a Marketing Plan
Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .
A marketing plan outlines your marketing strategy, which includes how you’ll attract new customers, retain current customers and promote your products or services. Creating a marketing strategy is key to ensuring you’re making the most of your money while targeting the right people through the right channels so you can grow your business.
When you create your business plan, the marketing plan will be an important component. Within a business plan, the marketing plan helps to explain how your business fits into the market, who your competitors are and how you’ll stand out. Small-business marketing is all about how you will promote your products or services to increase sales through customer engagement.
The first step when learning how to write a marketing plan for your business plan is research. You want to look at your market as a whole , your competitors, their marketing strategies and past marketing strategies you’ve used — if any. Your research will inform who your target customer base is, how to price your products , what marketing channels will best serve your business, how you want to interact with customers and what your marketing budget will be.
While not all your research will be included in your marketing plan, it will help to inform your marketing strategy. The final product will be a much condensed and synthesized version of what you discover from your research.
2. Know your business
To create an effective marketing strategy, you need to understand the ins and outs of your own business. What makes your products or services unique? What’s your company’s mission? Why did you start this business in the first place? Reminding yourself what makes your business special will help you inform your marketing strategy and show potential customers why they should choose to work with you. Plus, looking at your business from the viewpoint of a potential customer may help you uncover some unique selling points you hadn’t previously considered.
» MORE: Can your small-business idea actually make money?
3. Understand your customer
Beyond your business and the products or services it offers, you also need to take your customer into consideration when writing your marketing plan.
Understand your customer: who they are, what they like, their pain points, how your product or service solves their problem, how and where they consume media and how to communicate with them. Much of the success of your marketing strategy depends upon knowing and communicating well with your customers.
Identify your target market and narrow your scope to a specific demographic — like athletes or parents, for instance — to help you pinpoint the best way to reach them. If you cast your net too wide, you may come off as insincere and struggle to attract any customers.
4. Highlight your unique selling proposition
Your business’s unique selling proposition, or USP, is the thing that makes you stand out. If you want your product or service to sell well, you need to make sure it offers something your competitors don’t. To do that, you need to find your USP.
You likely have a good idea already of what your USP is, but it’s time to synthesize all of the great ideas you gathered in the previous steps into an easily shareable description. Consider this your elevator pitch. You want to be able to tell someone why your product or service is best in less than 30 seconds. You may also find a catchy slogan comes out of this, as well.
5. Check out the competition
While you need to make decisions that are right for your business based on internal information, you also should have an understanding of what your competitors are doing and how it’s working for them.
Take a look at their products, pricing and marketing strategies. Check out their customer reviews to see what people like and dislike about their business. Then use this information to make your business — and marketing strategy — even better.
6. Know your numbers
A marketing strategy will cost money; however, it doesn’t have to be a lot. In fact, there are plenty of free marketing ideas you can try. However, you will likely need to spend some money if you want to make money in the long run. Understanding your business financials to come up with a realistic marketing budget is crucial before you can decide on your concrete marketing plan.
7. Show, don't tell
If you have any marketing collateral already created, such as logos, ads or social media posts, be sure to include them in your marketing strategy. This will show potential investors or lending partners that you’ve made concrete progress on your business’s marketing plan.
8. Test your strategy and talk to customers
The only way to truly know whether your marketing strategy will work is to show it to real people and get their opinions. While you don’t need to have your entire marketing plan created to get feedback, it’s a good idea to run some general ideas past a focus group to get their input. These can be potential customers or friends and family — just make sure you’re getting their honest feedback. Use the results to tweak your strategy to better suit your customers.
» MORE: Common startup mistakes and how to avoid them
What to include in a marketing plan
Now that you've done the research for your marketing strategy, you need to synthesize it into an easily digestible plan that shows yourself and potential investors that you know how to market your business. You can use the following components as a sort of marketing plan template to organize your research:
Product or service overview. If your business sells products, include specifics like sizes, types, colors, features and pricing. For services, detail what they are, what problems they solve, why they will be in demand and what they cost.
Target customer personas. Who are they? How old are they? Where do they live? How much do they make, on average? Are they married or single? Do they have kids and/or pets? What are their interests, wants, and needs?
USP. Through researching the market, your competition and customers, you know how your business stands out. Be sure you can explain what makes your business unique.
Marketing budget. Outline how much of your overall business budget you’re planning to allocate to marketing. Based on your research, you can also include projections for how this budget will grow your sales.
Marketing channels. For a fully comprehensive marketing plan, you’ll likely use a combination of several channels — email , social media, SMS , local , digital , etc. Detail which you'll focus on, the budget for each, expected returns and what numbers you'll track (views, clicks, subscribers, etc.).
Conversion and retention strategy. Outline a plan for converting leads into paying customers — and for retaining those customers and getting their repeat business. New customers are important, but so is customer retention. After all, it’s more expensive to find a new customer than it is to foster a relationship with an existing one.
Marketing collateral. In the interest of space, you may want to include just a couple of items within the marketing plan section itself, and you can include the rest in the business plan appendix.
» MORE: Best marketing tools for small businesses
A version of this article originally appeared on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.
On a similar note...
Marketing plan template: step-by-step guide plus examples
- Rebecca Strehlow
- Feb 21, 2021
- 12 min read
If you have a business you want to promote, there are so many directions you can go with your marketing efforts - creating a website , posting on social media, sending out email blasts and more. With a plethora of both free and paid options for promoting your business online, marketing has become easy and accessible for everyone.
Still, it’s no secret that marketing requires time and money. You’ll need to use your resources wisely if you want to scale efficiently and have a high return on investment. For that reason, it’s wise to avoid haphazard promotional efforts, and come up with a marketing plan: a cohesive operation that aligns all your marketing efforts and directly ties back to your business’s goals.
Here’s everything you need to know about how to create a marketing plan - including a template you can use to write your own. By outlining your objectives as a company, defining your KPIs , and then unifying your marketing strategies accordingly, this type of plan streamlines your promotional efforts and yields results.
Start building your online presence with Wix .
What is a marketing plan?
A marketing plan is a roadmap that helps you manage, implement and track your various marketing efforts. In other words, it’s a structured framework that links together all your marketing activities into a single, cohesive operation.
Typically, a marketing plan takes the form of a report that gives an overview of your marketing strategy for the upcoming year, quarter or month. The report defines your company’s goals over a given period of time, and clearly outlines the steps you’ll need to take to achieve them. It's an essential part of any SMBs marketing efforts.
Here’s just a taste of what a marketing plan includes:
An analysis of your competitors and your stance in the market
A description of your target audience and their needs
Your company’s unique selling proposition
An overview of your marketing and advertising goals
A timeline of the various tasks that need to be completed
The key performance indicators (KPIs) that you’ll be tracking to measure success
Creating a marketing plan is the most efficient way to generate demand for your product. Whether you’re running an online T-shirt store, working as a business consultant, or launching a blog for moms, mapping out your strategy in advance will help you drive people through the marketing funnel and get customers.
Types of marketing plans
Before we dive into the specific elements of a marketing plan template, let’s briefly touch on the different types of marketing plans, which can vary depending on your company. They include:
Annual, quarterly or monthly marketing plan: Marketing plans are typically annual, but they can be quarterly or monthly depending on your business’s goals. This type of plan will highlight all your promotional activities within the specified period of time.
New product launch marketing plan: This is a specific type of marketing plan that focuses on the strategies and tactics you’ll use to promote a particular product.
Social media marketing plan: This kind of marketing plan provides a comprehensive outline of your goals, channels, and tactics for promoting your business on social media.
Content marketing plan: Similarly, this type of plan provides a comprehensive outline of your various content marketing strategies and goals.
Media marketing plan: This focuses on building a strategy using all media types: owned media (your own website, app or email marketing tools), paid media (advertising campaigns), and earned media ( word of mouth marketing , organic traffic, viral content) to support an integrated marketing approach.
In this article, we’ll talk about the broadest type of marketing plan. This will outline all of your small business marketing efforts and help you map out a clear strategy.
Using this marketing plan as a guide, you can then create more specific plans - such as a content marketing or social media marketing plan - based on the areas you want to focus on.
How to create a marketing plan in 7 steps
Analyze your market and competition
Research your target audience
Set goals and KPIs
Write a unique selling proposition
Choose strategic marketing channels
Brief your team
Monitor your analytics
01. Analyze your market and competition
The first step in writing a marketing plan is to identify your competitors. This is important so that you know who you’ll be marketing against, and how you can outshine them with your promotional strategy.
Take into account that different competitors will be stronger in different areas. Your biggest competitor on social media, for instance, might be different from your competitor with the best SEO.
With that in mind, do a SWOT analysis of your competition. Using this acronym - which stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats - gives you a systematic way to identify your competitors’ performance in your field:
Strengths: What are the competitors’ advantages in the industry? What are they excelling in?
Weaknesses: What could this company be doing better? What processes of theirs could be improved?
Opportunities: Are there any new trends or upcoming events that are relevant to your industry? Identify them, and seize the marketing opportunity before your competition does.
Threats: Are there external factors such as new government regulations, declining customer interest, or industry shifts that are threats to your competitors’ success? If so, find a way to navigate these threats and avoid making the same mistakes as your competition.
Even if you’ve already done a SWOT analysis in the past, it’s important to reassess the playing field as you write your marketing plan. In particular, anticipate whether anything new is about to happen in the coming year or quarter, such as a change in government policy or the emergence of a new competitor in your market.
And, of course, keep an eye out for niches your competitors haven’t gotten to yet. For instance, if you’re selling products to new moms, a SWOT analysis might reveal that none of your competitors are creating products for new dads. In this case, that would be an opportunity for you to expand your audience, attract new customers, and grow your revenue.
As you create your SWOT analysis, use this free SWOT analysis template to guide you, and make it a part of your marketing plan:
02. Research your target audience
Just as you research your competitors, you’ll need to look into your target audience . This is the specific group of people at which your product or service is aimed - and, as such, they’re the primary audience of your marketing strategy.
If you’re unsure of who your target audience is, there are a few different ways to gather this information. First, think about which needs your product fulfills and which types of people it caters to. You can also use your SWOT analysis to point you in the right direction. Look at competitors’ websites, blogs and social media channels to determine the types of people they’re marketing to.
To hone in on your audience even further, analyze your existing customers to understand which kinds of people you’ve attracted in the past. Talk to your current and potential customers as much as you can. Get their feedback, use focus groups, and analyze the data to figure out their shared behaviors and characteristics:
Age: Does your product seek to address the needs of people of a certain age - for example, older adults or millennials?
Location: Are your target customers within a specific country or region? Where are they, and what languages do they speak?
Spending power: How much money are your target customers able to spend? Are they seeking out luxury, or could money be an issue when deciding whether to purchase?
Stage of life: Can you identify your target customers based on their stage of life, such as new parents, college students or retirees?
Hobbies and career: Can you group them based on certain hobbies, career paths, or other lifestyle interests?
Track this information in an orderly way by creating buyer personas , or detailed descriptions of specific types of customers. Each buyer persona should reflect both existing or potential customers, based on the factors above: demographics, location, job title and more.
Be sure to include this information at the beginning of your marketing plan, side-by-side your SWOT analysis, to provide a thorough assessment of the market in which your company is operating. Ultimately, these various audience types will represent customer segments - groups of people you can target with different marketing materials depending on their interests.
03. Set your goals and KPIs
Next, set your business’s goals. What do you want to achieve next quarter? How about by the end of this year? 5 years from now?
The more ambitious the goal, the more time, effort and money you should dedicate to it. Determine each goal, and break it down into small steps, either by month, quarter or year, depending on your time frame. Not only will this help you build a clear timeline, but it will also help you allocate your budget.
Once you divide up your big goals into small goals, consider how to measure them. In other words, how will you know whether you’re meeting your goals, or falling short?
This is where KPIs - key performance indicators - come into play. Essentially, KPIs are the specific metrics used to monitor your progress in achieving your goals.
For instance, if you want to create an active online forum for pop music creators, then your KPIs should be site visits, your number of active visitors, and your number of returning visitors. Your position in Google search results for niche keywords, such as “pop music creator” or “music production software,” would also be a relevant KPI.
Whichever KPIs you choose, include them in your marketing plan alongside your goals and write down the metrics you’ll use to measure your success. For example, if your KPI is to make more sales, you might want to track metrics like lead generation and conversion rate .
By checking your achievements every quarter compared to your KPIs, you’ll learn about the pace and abilities of your businesses. If you achieve your KPIs relatively easily, you can set more ambitious goals. On the other hand, if you’re falling short of your KPIs, you might consider recruiting more people to help you get there.
04. Write a unique selling proposition
If you were to give a 30-second marketing spiel to a potential customer, what would you say? Come up with a statement that would appeal to your target audience’s interests and increase demand for your business.
If you’re already a market leader that offers high-quality products, you can claim that you’re “the best solution for” a particular need. On the other hand, if you’re still a relatively small player in the market, you can position yourself as being innovative and groundbreaking - the brand that offers fresh, modern solutions. Many smaller businesses tend to find that creative, funny, or even unorthodox branding gives them the attention boost they need from their audience.
When targeting multiple audiences, you may find it challenging to create a single message that resonates with everyone. One tip for attracting many types of customers at the same time is to create slightly different messages for each buyer persona. Going back to the product lines for new moms and dads, you may find that you need to split your messaging between a few different customer types:
New moms: Target them with the message that they need high-quality products for their babies.
New moms who want their spouse to be involved in childcare: Target them with a new message that they’d have more time to relax if their spouse also used the product.
New dads: Target them with a different message that these products can help them become good fathers and supportive partners.
Be sure to record this messaging in your marketing plan so that you can use it throughout your various promotional efforts.
05. Choose strategic marketing channels
Once you come up with your core messages, decide which marketing strategies you’ll use to spread the word. There’s an abundance of options here, both paid and free. Some popular paid channels include:
Social media ads (Facebook, Instagram and more)
Online ads on other sites
Partnerships with other companies
Offline media such as magazine, billboard and radio ads
Facebook ads are a particularly effective option because they reach almost every type of audience and can be targeted based on demographics and interests. They’re fairly simple to make, especially if you already have a Facebook business page. And, depending on your website platform, you can even create Facebook ads directly through your site .
Paid channels are a reliable choice, but it’s also worthwhile to couple these efforts with free promotional options as well. These take a little more time to develop, but they’re also a valuable way to get more exposure and build a loyal audience. They include popular inbound marketing tactics such as:
Creating company social media pages
Being active in online forums and Facebook groups
When choosing what channels to use, it’s important to think about which ones will actually reach your target audience. If you’re marketing to elderly folks, for instance, then Instagram ads may not be the way to go.
Similarly, build a strategy for the timeline of your campaigns. Take into account any holidays and other special events, such as elections or the Super Bowl, that you can use to your advantage when crafting marketing content.
And remember - not all your campaigns will be planned in advance. You’ll need to set aside budget for on-the-fly campaigns, also known as real-time marketing (RTM). This involves taking advantage of precious opportunities like global events and new internet trends. For instance, the January 2021 Bernie Sanders meme was a great chance for companies to get easy attention, earn free media coverage, and go viral. Ikea even used the meme to promote its folding chair and oven mitts.
Pro tip: Once you’ve established the right channels and timeline, you may be eager to launch your campaigns right away - especially if unexpected marketing opportunities arise. Resist the temptation until you’re absolutely sure your product is ready, with at least 85% positive feedback from users. Asking for a second chance will cost you much more than nailing a great impression the first time around.
06. Brief your team
One of the main reasons to create a marketing plan is to develop a unified operation that your whole marketing department can participate in. For this reason, it’s critical that you keep everyone in the loop.
Update your marketing team, as well as the suppliers that create the marketing materials for you. The best way to ensure everyone is aligned is to create a marketing brief - a one-page document that summarizes the market research, company goals, messaging, and action items established in your plan.
You can use the marketing brief template below to create a quick, efficient overview of your plan. It includes guiding questions to help you analyze your competitors, determine your target audience, identify your KPIs, and craft a compelling company message. Fill out this document, and share it with anyone who works with you so that they’re on the same page about your strategy and goals:
07. Monitor your analytics
Once you start implementing your marketing campaigns, you’ll need to closely monitor the results. To ensure your strategy is effective, continuously track your KPIs and see how the numbers stack up against your goals. That will allow you to adapt the marketing plan based on the goals you’re achieving and those you aren’t. Customer analytics can help you in this process.
There are two places to monitor analytics: Google Analytics and your website.
Google Analytics can easily be connected to your company website, and it’s a helpful way to track your site visitors and evaluate the performance of marketing campaigns.
Wix Analytics is another useful tool that provides a comprehensive analysis of your performance, and it’s conveniently located within the Wix website dashboard. This tool allows you to create custom audiences based on their demographics, geographic location, or other defining features, and you can access it directly from your website.
Using these two tools, look at the data. If the numbers indicate that you aren’t meeting your objectives, brainstorm action items for how to improve. If, for instance, you notice that some of your website visitors are located in Europe, try creating a multilingual website; it may just help convert them into customers. Likewise, if you’re getting traffic to your website or blog but are lacking in conversions, try creating content campaigns around specific products.
Don’t be discouraged if, after two quarters, you aren’t reaching your goals. This happens to the best of us, and it’s simply an indicator that you’ll need to refine your marketing plan and go back to Step 1.
Marketing plan template
Now that you know how to create a marketing plan, use this marketing plan template to walk you through the process. It’s free for download and use, and can easily be adapted for any business.
Marketing plan examples
While the marketing plan template above provides you with everything you need, it may also be helpful to look at other examples for inspiration. If you’re seeking additional resources, use these marketing plan examples to guide you:
01. Marketing Plan Template from SBA
The Small Business Administration provides a highly detailed marketing plan template that can be downloaded as a PDF and easily adapted to suit your company. The plan covers all the must-haves, like an explanation of your products and an analysis of your target market, but it supplements those with finer details like location analysis and product packaging.
02. Marketing Plan Template Generator from HubSpot
Unlike most marketing plan examples, this isn’t a file that you print out and fill in. Instead, it’s an online generator - a fill-in-the-blank template that walks you through the creation process page-by-page. The generator feels almost like an AI bot, asking you to fill in your name and then replying “Awesome! It’s great to meet you, [Name]!” This is a great way to make the marketing plan process more dynamic and fun.
03. Marketing Plan Microsoft Word Template from More Business
The advantage of More Business’s marketing plan template is that it’s downloadable for Microsoft Word, allowing you to fill in each section directly on the document. The document not only contains different strategies that you can use to inspire your own marketing efforts, but it also comes with examples of tables and charts for your marketing plan.
04. One-Page Marketing Plan Template from SmartSheet
This template is available for download on Microsoft Word, Google Docs and SmartSheet, but we particularly like that it’s available as an Excel version. As a one-pager, it’s short and sweet - ideal for getting your marketing plan started without getting lost in too much detail from the beginning. It’s a helpful sheet for brainstorming, or for summarizing your marketing plan once it’s complete.
05. Marketing Plan Slide Deck Template from Slidesgo
This marketing plan template comes in yet another format - an attractive slide deck that’s downloadable for both PowerPoint and Google Slides. This includes all the essentials, but in a more visual format, making it a useful asset for turning your marketing plan into a presentation.
What is the marketing funnel and how does it work?
Marketing automation and how it can boost your business
Small business marketing: 25 low-budget marketing strategies
Was this article helpful?
6-Step Checklist to Create a Scalable Marketing Plan for Small Business
Startups are regarded as some of the best workplaces to work at.
Small (but incredibly close) teams, working tirelessly to make your idea a reality—the whole shebang. Even the smallest victory makes you feel like a Fortune 500 firm, bringing you one step closer to “making it”.
While this may be a somewhat romanticized version of how you got started, here’s a reality check:
- 20% of small businesses fail in their first year
- 30% in their second year
- 50% after five years in business
- 70% in their 10th year in business
There’s no denying that establishing a business is a one-of-a-kind experience but you’ve to identify and plan for when it’s time to expand.
Scaling your business in the right direction can help prevent the doomsday often observed by small businesses.
Everything in your business must expand for it to thrive. Scaling your sales and marketing will be important if your organization intends to handle an increased and developing load.
This article will take you through actions to better equip the people who drive your company’s scalability. So, gear up for some basic yet effective marketing plan for small businesses.
How to Create a Marketing Plan for Your Small Business
1. perform thorough market research.
Most small businesses perform market research before launching their company to identify the scope of their venture. However very few continue the process fervently once the business takes off.
Thorough market research acts as the baseline to make informed decisions about the marketing plans , operations and potential target audience.
When you gather data about the consumer and other companies systematically, you can better understand what that group of potential consumers needs through quick analysis.
Ongoing research can keep you up to date about the industry shifts, latest legislative trends, and ever-changing consumer preferences. This turns out to be a scalable operation as you can shape the efforts and resources whenever the focus needs to be in the present scenario.
Thorough market research can help businesses run more efficiently and market more effectively through two types of data.
- Primary: This is the first-hand information you collect yourself . Primary data can also be collected with the help of a market research firm.
- Secondary: You can find secondary data through pre-existing information. For example, keeping a tab on relevant data shared in government or industry reports.
2. Allocate Marketing Budget
Ahead of allocating a marketing budget, etch out the total finances available for spending. This will be a critical component in determining the size of your marketing budget. Assigning a proper budget is the initial component of your research for developing a scalable marketing strategy .
Marketing often accounts for 7-10% of a company’s total income . If you’re a new company or want to focus on rapid expansion, you can invest a higher amount—up to 20% .
This information can be obtained through a variety of methods, including one-on-one interviews, in-app micro surveys, email questionnaires, customer success teams , and others as observed in the next segment.
3. Carve the User Persona
As you can never completely understand what the customers exactly want, these personas help understand them a little better by building on your research data and passing on that information reliably.
A buyer persona proves to be an ideal way to answer several marketing questions. A few examples include:
- What makes your target audience tick?
- What is their usual thought process and mindset?
- How do they express their opinions?
The result will help you create relatable content that will draw your potential customer’s attention and expand the product vertical or services as per their specific needs.
Another advantage of etching out buyer persona is that you can communicate uniform insights to partners, employees and everyone involved in the process. Here’s how it makes scalable marketing possible for small businesses.
- Your small business is most probably outsourcing tasks such as content creation, and web development. Such external partners need the necessary information to bring forth a goal-oriented and customer-centric asset.
- The way you collect data from real customers differs from the big companies as your resources are limited.
- Your company’s relationship with the customers is more intimate and intricate than large corporations.
4. Identify User Journey Touchpoints
Once you have identified your user’s needs and traits through market research and buyer persona , it is only fit to figure out their journey with your small business.
While identifying their journey, look out for essential customer touchpoints. These are your brand’s opportunities for customer contact from start to finish of the journey .
In case you are worried about missing touchpoints, try placing yourself in the customer’s shoes while strategizing. An omnichannel strategy will help recognise a plethora of ways for the customers to experience your brand.
Small businesses with effective omnichannel presence tend to impact major touchpoints resulting in 10% year-over-year growth , a 10% rise in average order value, and a 25% increase in close rates.
5. Optimize the Content Marketing Funnel
A content marketing funnel is a method that converts as many leads as possible into actual consumers who pay for your products or services by guiding them via a step-by-step content flow.
Consider the wide top of a funnel. This is where a huge number of individuals may learn about your products or services. All of these individuals are leads or potential customers.
Many will drop off as they pass through your funnel into the much-tapered neck. Finally, only a small percentage of leads will make it to the bottom of the funnel and become customers.
A scalable content marketing funnel isn’t about making a single purchase. An efficient funnel takes your finest clients to replenish the funnel’s top . It’s a cyclical method that generates goodwill and confidence through time, rather than in linear progression.
6. Build Repeatable Marketing Workflows
Efficiency is the key to scalability. Your firm becomes more lucrative and can uncover new areas for possible expansion and diversification. This leads to meeting greater demand with the same or fewer resources .
Efficiencies, on the other hand, do not appear on their own.
You and your team must construct them using wiser techniques and useful technologies. When done correctly, you may create repeatable marketing workflows to aid in the acquisition, nurturing, qualification, and sales.
Obtaining Leads: Manage all inbound and outbound marketing activities from a single platform to attract and acquire new leads. Marketing automation helps you to boost SEO to attract high-intent visitors, create and optimize landing pages and conversions, and also manage all of your social media efforts .
Nurturing Leads: You can better identify each contact’s place in the buying journey and automatically segment them into relevant campaigns with personalized messages. You can continue to track their involvement and easily change your strategy as needed.
Sales Enablement and Lead Qualification: Marketers can use a good scoring system to automate the lead qualification process, improving existing nurturing and providing your sales team with transparent and complete data into contract-specific journeys.
Ready to Scale?
One of the best aspects of creating a scalable marketing plan for your small business is that there is always room for growth. Although your campaigns are automated, you can make regular changes to them.
The magic elixir in this case is testing.
Everything from email subject lines to paid search headlines should be A/B tested and the results should be continuously monitored.
Marketing automation’s precise insights into performance can help you understand what’s working, what isn’t, and how and where you can improve.
Speaking of automation, do include SocialPilot in your marketing mix—a handy tool that will take care of your social media marketing. Use its scheduling posts in advance feature to scheduled reports to save on your time.
Try it for free now!
Frequently Asked Questions
🌟 How to scale a small business?
Scaling a business, small or big, is always a challenging endeavor. First and foremost you have to think big and plan accordingly. You can take the following steps for the successful scaling of your small business.
- Etch out the scope and future plans for your business.
- Do not refrain from investing in new technologies for your team.
- Implement through marketing and sales strategies.
- Always aim to standardize the processes while leaving room for creativity.
🌟 How to create a marketing plan for a small business?
You can create an efficient marketing plan through the following steps:
- Perform Thorough Market Research
- Allocate a Marketing Budget
- Carve the User Persona
- Identify User Journey Touchpoints
- Optimize the Content Marketing Funnel
- Build Repeatable Marketing Workflows
🌟 What are the best tools for small business marketing?
Here are the most useful tools for small business marketing:
- Google Analytics : To analyze and track customer data
- SocialPilot : For a seamless social media marketing
- Survey Monkey : For lead generation through surveys
- Mailchimp : For effective email marketing strategies
🌟 What is a marketing funnel?
The marketing funnel represents the journey of converting leads into customers. This journey has several different stages. The main marketing stages are: Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action.
🌟 What are the types of marketing for a small business?
Marketing branches out into numerous different subcategories. When it comes to small business marketing you have to make sure you implement the following types of marketing strategies to your campaign:
- Content marketing
- Email marketing
- Social media marketing
- Influencer marketing
About the Author
Tim Robinson is Digital Marketing Manager at PACK & SEND , a 25+ years old and respected brand in ecommerce, logistics, and freight delivery solutions. Tim has 20 years of combined experience in sales and marketing.
Manage social media effortlessly.
- Trial Begins Immediately
- No CC Required
- Change Plans Anytime
- Cancel Anytime
Start Your 14-Day Free Trial
- © 2023 SocialPilot Technologies Inc. All Rights Reserved.
- Terms of Service
- Follow us :
Filter by Keywords
11 Free Marketing Plan Templates to Build a Marketing Strategy
October 31, 2023
Marketing used to be simple.
A tuppence on a town crier and maybe an ad in the local newspaper, and you were pretty much set. Nowadays, things have gotten a little bit more complicated.
Marketers plan elaborate campaigns that sync across several mediums in real life and the digital world. This can include ads on social media, search engines, blog content, in-person events, and much more. All of this marketing requires a lot of project planning .
You can’t just throw something together and call it a day. And that’s where marketing plan templates come in. These handy little tools help you plan and coordinate your marketing strategies by doing some of the leg work for you.
Obviously, these templates can’t do everything. It’s still up to you to make big brand decisions, like whether Rihanna or Ariana is the right person to head up your event. But templates can make planning that engagement easier, set out clear to-do lists for your team, and make cross-department execution a breeze.
So regardless of whether you’re an entrepreneur dipping your toes into the world of marketing or a multinational company needing help keeping your marketing efforts organized, there’s a marketing plan template for you.
This list of 11 marketing plan templates is a great place to get started. Each has its own focus, so take a moment and find which ones will help you plan your next big marketing move.
What is a Marketing Plan Template?
What makes a good marketing plan template, 1. clickup marketing plan template, 2. clickup agency client health tracker by zenpilot, 3. clickup marketing action plan template, 4. clickup marketing strategy template, 5. clickup digital marketing plan template, 6. clickup content plan template, 7. clickup event marketing plan template, 8. clickup sales and marketing plan template, 9. clickup marketing campaign plan template, 10. clickup social media marketing plan template, 11. clickup marketing calendar template, benefits of having a strong marketing strategy, how to write a marketing plan.
A marketing plan template is an essential tool for any business to have when creating and executing a successful marketing strategy. It provides the roadmap for your marketing activities, from setting goals to choosing channels and measuring success.
These templates can also be tailored according to the needs of each organization, allowing you to focus on specific areas that need attention and provide direction for your marketing efforts. So if you need some help planning out your social media campaigns and posts for the next quarter, there’s a template ready to make that process just a little bit easier.
A good marketing plan template can be summed up in three words: organized, specialized, and helpful.
One of the main goals of any marketing strategy template is to add some much-needed order to the chaos that comes with your average marketing department. These templates help keep you organized and on track, allowing you to stay focused on what matters most: achieving success.
Great templates should also specialize in a certain kind of marketing type or task you need help with. For instance, a template could specialize in designing a marketing action plan for your company or in helping you map out your future marketing initiatives. Doing everything in one template would be near impossible, so specialization allows each template to be thorough without being overwhelming.
Finally, a template needs to be helpful.
The whole reason you need a template is to save you time or to help you complete a marketing task you’re less familiar with. If the template doesn’t come with smart formatting, data importation options, or expert advice, then it might just be easier to do it on your own.
11 Best Marketing Plan Templates
Marketing plans are a crucial way for businesses to create and execute a top-notch marketing strategy.
However, the process of planning can be overwhelming without the right tools. This list of 11 marketing plan templates provides an excellent starting point for any business looking to create a comprehensive and effective marketing strategy.
The ClickUp Marketing Plan Template is a powerful and customizable tool that can help teams plan and execute successful marketing strategies. This template simplifies the process of coordinating and planning your marketing efforts , allowing you to easily create an overview of your campaigns and track progress and results.
This template includes helpful sections that allow you to fill in deadlines, statuses, effort levels, impact tags, and more. It also provides real-time collaboration features so teams can easily track tasks and ensure they’re all on the same page.
Plus, this template is completely customizable based on your team’s specific needs. Add or remove any sections you need and organize your marketing plan in whatever way works best for you.
The ClickUp Marketing Plan Template is perfect for entrepreneurs, small businesses, or large companies who need an easy-to-use and comprehensive tool to organize their marketing strategies.
As a bonus, it pairs well with many of our more specific templates included on this list.
Effective marketing requires deep insights into your clients’ needs and preferences. That’s why the ClickUp Agency Client Health Tracker from Zenpilot Template is such a valuable tool for businesses. This customizable template allows agencies to track the health of their customer relationships, making it easy to manage client info and ensure that marketing efforts align with client needs.
With the ClickUp Agency Client Health Tracker, agencies can track a range of important marketing analytics , including client satisfaction levels and feedback. Armed with this information, businesses can tailor their content marketing strategy to better meet the needs of their clients.
By understanding each client’s unique preferences, businesses can create targeted campaigns that drive engagement, deliver value, and ultimately drive customer satisfaction.
Every good strategy needs a detailed plan. If you want to market your product or service, you’ll need a marketing action plan to turn your ideas into actual marketing ROI .
A marketing action plan is a detailed document outlining the strategies and tactics a business will use to promote and sell its products or services. It typically includes a target market analysis, business goals and objectives, pricing information, and any other pertinent information that may be helpful in executing the plan successfully.
ClickUp’s Marketing Action Plan Template has been designed to help you create a fully fleshed-out marketing strategy, even if you’ve never done this before.
It achieves this by running you through the main things you’ll need to understand and formulate before you can create your plan. These include:
- Defining your goal : Understand what the ultimate goal of your marketing efforts is.
- Knowing your customers : Do customer research to understand what your customers are looking for, where they can be reached, and what kind of advertising might work best for them.
- Auditing your current practices : Learn from what you’ve done in the past, both good and bad, to create an even better marketing strategy going forward.
- Itemizing your plan : List every task that needs to be done for your strategy to succeed.
- Reviewing and polishing : See if you’ve missed anything by running it by a colleague.
Plus, once you itemize your plan, use ClickUp’s project management software to export those tasks and share them with your team so people can get to work realizing your marketing strategy.
It’s really that easy, and all you need to get started is the template at the link below.
The ClickUp Strategic Marketing Plan Template is designed to help you track the success of the marketing action plan you created earlier.
Unlike the action plan, which is mostly about identifying how you’ll market your product, this strategy template outlines how you’ll track the success of your plans through concrete OKRs (Objectives & Key Results).
This template includes sections for setting specific OKRs, progress meters, and priority levels. It also lets you track which targets are being met and which need more work. This makes it easy to intervene if necessary, ensuring that your strategy stays on course.
Head over to the link below and start creating a comprehensive and effective marketing plan today.
Content is one of the most important aspects of any digital marketing strategy. It helps you attract new customers, engage old ones, and even define your industry.
The ClickUp Content Marketing Plan Template is designed to help you create and organize a comprehensive content plan that will both educate and grow your customer base.
By default, this digital marketing plan template organizes your content by month, making it easy to see what’s being worked on at a glance.
It’s also a great way to keep your entire team organized. Team members can see what they’re responsible for, with room for information like a brief, deadline, assignee, and much more. This way, your team spends less time tracking down information on their latest project and more time actually making killer content. Plus, ClickUp integrates with other apps like Dropbox and Google Drive , allowing you to easily attach relevant files and create a true content database for your team.
Check out the link below to get started with the ClickUp Content Marketing Plan Template today.
Content plans are essential for any business that wants to improve its SEO, increase engagement and grow its customer base. They provide a roadmap for what content needs to be created when it should be published, and how it should be promoted.
The ClickUp Content Plan Template is designed to simplify this task by providing an easy-to-use organizational space with nine customizable fields. These include:
- Assets needed
- Content type
- Content pillar
- Action taken
- Target audience
Not only that, but this template also comes with three views, so you can find exactly what you need quickly. For instance, with the calendar view, it’s simple to see which pieces are due when.
This makes coordinating content efforts much easier, especially when multiple teams work on a single piece. Couple this content plan template with one of our other content calendar templates and look out, you’re going to be ready to set the content world on fire!
So don’t waste another minute trying to figure out how to plan your next content campaign.
With so much happening in the world today, your company needs something special to get and hold people’s attention.
Big, spectacular events are perfect for doing just this. They allow you to stand in the spotlight for a moment and get your message across in a way that’s likely to stick with people for longer than any Facebook ad or blog post could ever hope to.
However, planning these events can take months. You’ll need coordination between multiple teams, marketing planning software , and maybe even outside contractors to pull it off.
That’s where the ClickUp Event Marketing Plan Template comes into play.
This template is the place for your team to plan your next big event. It includes tasks, budgets, and deadlines, along with multiple views, to help you track what needs to get done and who’s responsible for it.
Plus, this template is completely customizable if you need extra space for something more detailed.
Bonus: Marketing tools for startups !
Although they broadly have the same goal, it can sometimes feel like sales and marketing teams live in different worlds. They have their own metrics, strategies, and processes to help the company sell more.
However, when these departments aren’t in sync, you’re missing out on an opportunity to truly leverage the power of your entire team.
That’s why the ClickUp Sales and Marketing Plan Template was created. It provides a single platform for both departments to work from, allowing easier collaboration and better alignment of business objectives.
This template includes sections for sales goals, marketing plans, campaign results, and more. This way, it’s clear what roles each department plays in the grand scheme of things.
For instance, your sales team probably frequently interacts with target customers and knows what pitches work best with which demographics. Your marketing team can use that knowledge to not only market better but also to identify leads that are more likely to convert.
Get your marketing and sales departments on the same page today with our Sales and Marketing Plan Template.
A great marketing campaign should be well thought-out and planned in advance. It needs to have clear marketing goals , smart tactics, and a timeline of when each task needs to be completed.
In other words, if you want your campaign to really work, it needs the right campaign management tactics to make it the best it can be. This is where the ClickUp Marketing Campaign Plan Template can take your campaigns to the next level.
This comprehensive template includes sections for tasks, marketing budget tracking, and even a timeline view to help you plan your campaigns quickly and effectively.
It also integrates well with other apps, like Dropbox, making it easy to attach relevant documents or files to each task. Plus, it’s collaboration friendly, so anyone working on the project can track tasks and get access to the information they need.
Finally, it’s not enough to just create a campaign—you’ll also want to know how it performs. This template comes premade with a conversion tracker so you can see exactly how well different parts of your campaign are performing.
So if you don’t quite hit your marketing goals, it’s easier to do a post-mortem to see what went wrong. Don’t let your campaigns get dragged down because your team isn’t quite in sync. Use our template today to plan and execute the marketing campaign your product deserves.
With social media marketing, consistency is key. But creating multiple relevant posts across different distribution channels is easier said than done. The pain points and social media strategy that works on LinkedIn might not fare so well on Facebook or Instagram. That’s why the ClickUp Social Media Marketing Plan Template was created.
This powerful tool tracks planned posts across multiple social media platforms. Plus, since you house all of your planned content in one place, it’s easier for team members to see if you have any gaps in your social media calendar.
For instance, instead of assuming that someone else was working on the New Year’s Eve post this year, your team can see that there are no current plans on this template and fix the omission. Get your social media content calendar in order with the template below.
For big teams, marketing efforts can quickly become disjointed. Everyone is in their little box, working on their own marketing channels, with no sense of cohesion beyond top-line key performance indicators (KPIs).
Not only does this way of marketing lose any sense of synergy, but it can be easy to miss small fixes that can lead to better marketing returns. The ClickUp Marketing Calendar Template gives you an ideal way of getting more out of your social media content.
With all of your marketing tasks laid out for anyone to see, managers can get a sense of what’s in progress, what’s already done, and what needs the urgent attention of a team lead. This way, it’s possible to execute marketing strategies, even when your marketing department’s numbers are in the tens or even hundreds.
Try out marketing calendar software !
A well-thought-out marketing plan can bring multiple benefits to your business, including:
- Increased brand awareness: A strong marketing strategy can help you reach new customers and make more people aware of your brand.
- Improved customer engagement: By creating targeted and relevant content for your audience, you can engage with them on a deeper level and build stronger relationships.
- Higher conversions: With a clear marketing strategy in place, you can attract more qualified leads and convert them into paying customers.
- Better market positioning: A solid marketing strategy can help you stand out from your competitors and establish your brand as a leader in the industry.
- Increased ROI: By tracking your marketing efforts and refining your strategy, you can see a higher return on your investment.
- Enhanced teamwork and communication: With a marketing plan in place, all team members can be on the same page and work towards common goals, leading to better collaboration and communication.
Now that you understand the importance of having a strong marketing strategy, here are some tips for writing and implementing an effective marketing plan:
- Define your business goals: Determine what you want to achieve through your marketing efforts, whether it’s increasing sales, improving brand awareness or launching a new product.
- Identify your target audience: Understand who your ideal customers are and what their needs and preferences are. This will help you create targeted and relevant marketing campaigns.
- Conduct a SWOT analysis: Evaluate your business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to identify areas where you can improve and capitalize on potential opportunities.
- Set a budget: Determine how much you can realistically spend on marketing activities and allocate resources accordingly.
- Choose your marketing channels: Based on your target audience and business goals, select the most effective marketing channels to reach them.
- Create a timeline and deadlines: Set specific timelines for each marketing campaign or activity to ensure that everything is completed in a timely manner.
- Track and measure results: Continuously monitor the success of your marketing efforts and make adjustments as needed to improve performance.
- Communicate and collaborate with your team: Keep all team members informed and involved in the marketing process to ensure that everyone is working towards the same marketing objectives.
- Regularly review and update your plan: As your business evolves, so should your marketing plan. Continuously review and update it to stay relevant and effective.
Maximize Your Team’s Marketing Efforts With Marketing Plan Templates
No matter the size of your business, marketing success can be achieved with a well-thought-out plan. With ClickUp’s suite of powerful and easy-to-use templates, you’ll have everything you need to create an effective strategy.
Make it easier to meet all your goals, whether it’s marketing your product or onboarding your new client . From content planning and event marketing to sales and website project management , these templates provide the tools needed for any digital marketer or entrepreneur looking to make their mark in the world today.
So don’t wait another minute—get started on upgrading your team’s marketing capabilities with ClickUp.
Questions? Comments? Visit our Help Center for support.
Receive the latest WriteClick Newsletter updates.
Thanks for subscribing to our blog!
Please enter a valid email
- Free training & 24-hour support
- Serious about security & privacy
- 99.99% uptime the last 12 months
- Share on Twitter
- Share on LinkedIn
- Share on Facebook
- Share on Pinterest
- Share through Email
How to Create a Small Business Marketing Plan in 9 Simple Steps (with Templates)
A small business can use a marketing plan to guide their entire marketing efforts. Follow our step-by-step roadmap to reach your business objectives, increase revenue, and grow your company.
Imagine there are two T-shirt companies. Their shirts are both handcrafted and are of the exact same quality and style.
T-shirt seller A has never created a marketing plan and strictly relies on word of mouth to sell their shirts.
T-shirt seller B has put plenty of time into its marketing efforts. They’ve created a website, uses a variety of digital tools, posted regularly on social media , and even built an email list.
Which company do you think sells more shirts?
Regardless of the size of your company, the core marketing principles are the same. Even if you have a small business, you can create a marketing plan to help you grow your business. In fact, the smaller your business is, the more important it is to put time and energy into creating a marketing roadmap.
In this in-depth guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about creating a small business marketing plan to help you reach your goals. We’ll break down the nine simple steps you need to take to craft a marketing plan that works in the digital age. Plus, you’ll get a template you can follow to craft your own strategy and some best practices to follow to ensure it’s a success.
What Is Small Business Marketing?
Small business marketing is the process small businesses use to get their products and services in front of potential customers to generate sales. This type of marketing typically includes a variety of marketing channels, disciplines, and tactics to gain exposure.
The primary goal of small business marketing is to not only connect with new prospects to acquire new customers but also to build and nurture relationships with existing customers to keep them coming back.
Small business marketing can consist of a variety of offline and online strategies . Regardless of the marketing tactics you use, the end goal is typically to generate more revenue, expand market share, improve profitability, and grow.
What Is a Small Business Marketing Plan?
A small business marketing plan is a roadmap small businesses can use to reach their marketing objectives, increase revenue, and grow their overall business. A small business can use a marketing plan to guide their entire marketing efforts to ensure they meet their company’s objectives.
In 2021, the most prominent small business marketing challenges were:
- Not having enough time and resources to focus on marketing
- A small marketing budget, and
- Lack of clear marketing strategy and objectives
Without a clear marketing strategy and objective, your marketing efforts will be a waste. But, if you implement a small business marketing plan, you’ll be well to see your company or department succeed.
9 Steps to Create a Small Business Marketing Plan
Every small business marketing plan will be different as each business is different. But there’s a simple framework you can use to come up with a plan that’s actionable and effective. Follow these nine steps to set your marketing team up for success:
1. Establish your goals
First off, you need to set your marketing goals. But you can’t just set a random, vague goal like “Make more money.” You need to set clear, actionable goals.
The best way to come up with marketing goals is to use the “SMART” formula. This stands for:
- S: Specific
- M: Measurable
- A: Achievable
- R: Relevant
- T: Time-bound
The SMART goal strategy is a tried and true method of goal setting to help you achieve what you’re aiming for. Here’s an example of a SMART small business marketing goal:
“Increase return customer rate from 5% to 20% in 12 months.”
Let’s see how it lines up with the SMART formula:
- S: Specific (about retention)
- M: Measurable (includes real numbers)
- A: Achievable (not too far out of reach)
- R: Relevant (aligns with your overall business objectives)
- T: Time-specific (in 12 months)
If you’re having trouble coming up with your goals, you could start by identifying some broader small business objectives before getting specific.
Here are a few common small business marketing goals:
- Build a greater online presence
- Generate more leads (and customers)
- Increase brand awareness
- Connect with a broader audience
- Engage with your audience more
- Generate more recurring revenue
It’s up to you to figure out which of these goals makes the most sense for your team and your business. Try and come up with 3-5 SMART goals now and write them down.
2. Understand your target audience
Now that you’ve established your primary marketing goals, it’s time to focus on your audience. Ultimately, they’re going to be the ones to help you reach your goals.
Before you can achieve any sort of success with your marketing efforts, you need to know who you’re targeting. Your target audience can vary based on a variety of different factors like geographical region, your business type, and demographics.
Oftentimes, your audience will dictate the type of marketing tactics you implement later on, so it’s crucial you take the time to research so you can understand them better.
For instance, if your target audience is in their 70s, then TikTok might not be the best place to invest your marketing resources. On the other hand, if you’re targeting Gen-Zs, then you should probably avoid print ads and, instead, get on TikTok and Instagram asap.
Here are a few questions you should ask yourself to help understand your audience:
- Who are your past customers? Look at demographics like age, location, and gender.
- Who are your returning customers? This is important to understand, especially if one of your goals is to generate recurring revenue through increased retention.
- Who do you want to reach? While you may have a specific past customer base, it’s crucial to know the type of customer you’re after so you can adjust your marketing strategy to target them better.
- What products or services are people buying from you the most? Look at sales data to help understand what your customers are interested in, their pain points, and the problems they’re looking to solve.
- Why did your past customers buy from you? Look into primary driving factors for their purchase decisions. You can email customers directly, conduct surveys, and look at reviews and testimonials to understand the intent behind their purchases.
Stay Up-to-date On All Things Marketing & Leadership.
- Your email *
- Phone This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
3. Set your budget
Now that you’ve set your goals and understand your target audience, it’s time to establish your marketing budget.
You should take the time to assess the current financial health of your business—including your current and future cash flow—to determine your marketing budget. If you’re not running the finances in your small business, sit down with your CFO to come up with a budget you can both work within.
It’s crucial to figure out your budget ahead of time, as it’ll help guide the remainder of your marketing plan.
You should be realistic about how much money you’re able to invest into your marketing efforts every month.
If you’re scratching your head wondering where to start, you can start with around 10-20% of your overall revenue. This is a typical budget allocation for small businesses to invest in their marketing efforts.
While this may seem like a lot to invest, the return on investment (ROI) will be well worth it (if you implement the right marketing plan).
If you’re thinking you have almost nothing to spend on marketing as you’re brand new, that’s alright! Any little bit helps. Whatever you can invest in your marketing will help fuel future business growth.
Don’t forget that when budgeting, you should also take into consideration your time budget. In other words, you should look at not just the money you can put into marketing but the overall resources, including work hours. How much time are you able to devote to your marketing strategy every day, week, or month?
Write it down alongside your monetary budget. It can be easy to let other business activities take priority over your marketing efforts. Make sure you craft a time budget as well to ensure your marketing gets done. This will help you see your goals through to the end.
4. Create a website
Now that you’ve set your time and money budget, it’s time to spend it!
This is the fun part (at least for most people). Now that you know what you’re working with in terms of your resources, you can get to work on your marketing.
Your website is the digital headquarters for your business. It’s the place where you establish your branding, where you convert prospects into leads, and where you generate new sales.
You need to ensure your website is both professional and tactical. It’s the place where you show off who you are and what you offer. It’s the place of first impressions, so you need to ensure it’s designed well and functions in alignment with your goals.
The most effective websites will be much more than a digital brochure. When crafted properly, they can be 24/7 salespeople for your business.
If you have the budget, you should hire a web designer and developer to help you craft a professional site. If you have a limited budget, there are plenty of cheap and free website-building tools you can use to create your own site, even if you know nothing about design or coding.
5. Build a social media presence
Now that your headquarters is established, it’s time to set your brand up on social media. Nowadays, social media is an essential part of any small business marketing plan (whether your business is online or offline). The reality is that every type of customer is on social media (regardless of age).
If your audience skews younger, then chances are they’re on TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat. If they’re older, they’re likely on Facebook. If you have a B2B brand, then you might want to check out LinkedIn.
You probably think all the different platform choices are overwhelming. You’re right—it can definitely be a confusing process trying to figure out how you’ll manage to post on dozens of social platforms consistently.
The truth is, you don’t have to, and you shouldn’t—at least not at the start.
The best way you can get started with your social media plan is to focus on one platform (two at max) when you’re first starting out. Take a look back at number two—your audience. Where are they? Chances are, they hang out on one social media platform more than the others. Try to determine where they hang out. If you’re unsure, you can conduct surveys, ask customers one-on-one, or you can try testing out paid ads on a few platforms to see if there’s a winner early on (we’ll touch more on this at number 7).
There are two secrets to winning with social media:
- Post consistently.
- Engage with your followers.
That’s it. Yes, there are dozens of other tactics you can use to increase your social media marketing efforts. But you should spend 80% of your social media efforts focusing on these two things—especially when first starting out.
Just remember: Even if you’re not going to start posting regularly on all the additional social media platforms, it’s important that you at least make a profile on each one to establish consistent branding if you do decide to branch out to them in the future.
6. Create content
Ever heard the term content marketing? It’s one of the most powerful forms of digital marketing in 2023. While content marketing primarily refers to blog posts and articles that help drive traffic to websites, it encompasses a wide variety of different mediums and content types.
In 2021, video content actually surpassed blog content in terms of the type of content created in content marketing strategies.
Businesses primarily use content marketing as part of an overall inbound marketing strategy—which includes creating content as a means to draw people to your site. Inbound marketing is all about providing your potential customers with helpful information and resources and providing value that both attracts and converts them into customers.
Nowadays, your content marketing strategy can include a variety of content types:
- Social media marketing
- Video content
- Blog posts and articles
Similar to choosing a social media platform, it can be confusing where to start with content types. You should consider two things: the ways your audience consumes content and the content you like producing.
For instance, you may find that your audience loves video content the best, and they hang out on YouTube and Instagram. But you’re really not into creating long-form videos. Instead, you could create stories on YouTube and Instagram—short-form videos you like creating that also engage your audience.
Just remember, it’s more important to consider how your audience likes consuming content than what you actually enjoy creating. If you despise writing but you know your audience loves reading blogs, then you may want to outsource your content writing or hire a content agency to help you create content.
7. Invest in paid ads & influencers
All the marketing tactics we’ve mentioned above so far are primarily longer-term tactics to grow your audience and build a brand for the long haul.
However, there are two primary marketing tactics you can use to grow your audience and convert customers quickly—if you have the budget.
Those two are paid ads and influencers.
With enough money, you can access any audience. This could be paying for Facebook ads, or it could be paying an influencer to review your product to their audience of 300,000 engaged followers.
Either way, if your goal is to grow or convert new customers quickly, then you can leverage paid ads, influencers, or a combination of the two to reach your goals. To get started, you don’t need to have tens of thousands to spend. With even the smallest of budgets, you can focus on micro-influencers and run pay-per-click ads on Google or Instagram.
8. Consider traditional marketing tactics
The world, in 2023, is super digital. Everyone has a digital marketing strategy. You can use that to your advantage. As digital marketing has become the dominant form of marketing over traditional efforts, traditional marketing has become less expensive and less crowded.
A well-rounded small business plan will often include both online and offline marketing strategies. If you want to diversify your marketing efforts, then you may want to consider implementing some traditional tactics as well, such as:
- Print advertising
If you have a business that’s primarily targeting a local audience, then you will definitely want to consider some of these tactics. These traditional marketing efforts can be incredibly powerful for community and brand-building. If you have a brick-and-mortar store, then implementing at least a few of them is essential to thriving in your community.
9. Track & measure your results
Now that you’re taking action and working on the different marketing tactics outlined in this comprehensive plan, it’s time to focus on perhaps the most important step of them all: tracking and measuring your results.
This is a critical step—and one that will essentially evaluate how close you are to your targets set in step number one. Did you reach your goals? Did you surpass them? Did you fall short?
If you want to succeed with your marketing plan, you need to analyze your efforts. You may be posting on Facebook every day only to get a couple of likes here and there. Or maybe you've built a blog that’s generating thousands of visitors every month.
Perhaps your in-person workshops have turned into a thriving repeat customer base.
You should go back to your original goals at the end dates you set for them (since you crafted SMART goals). Where did you land? If you didn’t reach your goal, analyze why. What tactics and specific steps of action did you take (or not take).
What channels are serving you the most?
What channels are performing the worst?
The best way to close out step nine is to re-establish new goals and essentially start your marketing plan over again. Except this time, you’re not starting from scratch. You’ve built up a solid plan and simply need to shift course a bit. You’ve seen what’s working and what’s not, so you can allocate more time, money, and resources to improve your plan even more.
Remember, building your marketing plan isn’t a one-time event. The best small business marketers know that continually monitoring their efforts and optimizing them is how they will find success in the long term.
Small Business Marketing Plan Templates
If you’re looking for a marketing plan template , you can follow steps 1–9 above to create your roadmap. But, if you want something easy—where you can simply fill in the blanks, then there are hundreds of free or paid marketing plan templates available online.
Whether you’re looking to start from scratch with a comprehensive marketing plan template or a simple one-page template, or you want a practical project-based roadmap, there are plenty of resources available.
Comprehensive marketing plan template
Business.com created a free marketing plan template you can use built right within Google Docs. It’s a comprehensive template you can use to build your marketing plan in a day. Each section includes in-depth explanations as well as free resources to learn more so you can build a clear roadmap.
One-page marketing plan template
If you don’t have a lot of time available to work on an in-depth plan, then you’ll want to consider Smartsheet’s template. Smartsheet offers a ton of free marketing templates, including a simple one-page marketing plan that you can get done in under 30 minutes.
Project-based marketing plan template
If you’re looking for a template that’s more of an action plan for your upcoming campaigns, then you’ll want to check out Monday.com’s marketing plan templates . While you’ll have to get a paid plan to use Monday.com, you get access to a variety of impressive marketing plan templates that are project-based and actionable to help you meet your goals.
4 Best Practices When Crafting a Marketing Plan
1. center everything around your value proposition.
What makes you stand out from the crowd? Why should customers choose you over the competition?
When building your marketing plan, you always need to keep your value proposition top of mind. It has to take center stage when crafting every piece of content, creating new campaigns, and establishing your buyer personas.
Your value proposition is the thing that differentiates your brand from others in the space. If you’re not sure what yours is, try looking at what you do better than everyone else in your industry. If you can’t figure it out, then you need to establish the thing that does make you different. It could be your product, customer service, content plan, branding, or even price.
11 marketing campaign types to boost business in 2023, social selling: 5 strategies to improve social media roi in 2023, how to create and retain high-performing marketing teams, the 17 best direct marketing books every pro must read, 2. stay focused on your primary goals.
There are dozens of different paths you can take with your marketing. Within the marketing world, it can be easy to get distracted by new, shiny marketing tactics that are “guaranteed” to convert. While it can be tempting to give in to them, it’s best to stick to your core tactics.
Once you have your marketing plan set up, you need to stick to it to ensure the highest odds of success in reaching your goals. Once you’ve reached your primary objectives (or you’re on the trajectory to do so), then—and only then—should you even consider shifting your marketing efforts to other tactics.
3. Be consistent with your branding
Your branding is your business, and your business is your branding.
When it comes to building the right marketing plan, it’s important to measure the results of your efforts. One of the more challenging aspects of marketing success is measuring how well you are branding yourself. How powerful is your brand?
Your brand image has the power to turn customers off forever with a bad first impression or create raving fans who tell all their friends to buy from you.
One of the key elements to establishing your branding is to ensure you’re consistent. You need to know what type of brand you want to be, then ensure you’re congruent with it everywhere—on your website, social media, ads, in your voice, and even in your customer support.
4. Build a tool stack
In the digital age, you’ll only get so far with your marketing plan without the right tools. Even if you don’t consider yourself tech-savvy, you need to have the right technology at your disposal in order to make a dent with your marketing—even if you lean heavily on traditional marketing tactics.
Here are a few different types of marketing tools you should consider using:
- Marketing strategy software
- Email marketing software
- Content marketing software
- Social media software
- Project management software
- Analytics software
If you have a lean budget, don’t worry. There are plenty of tools in nearly every tool category that won’t cost you a thing.
Level Up Your Marketing Strategy
No matter how great your product or service is, you won’t be able to create consistent growth without a proper marketing plan.
Remember, marketing plans with the greatest odds of success start with the end in mind. Stay focused on your business objectives, and pay attention to what’s working. By staying flexible, you’ll be able to optimize your strategy over time and find success in your industry.
If you want to stay up to date on the latest marketing strategies and trends, then sign up for The CMO newsletter today . Our email newsletter offers practical advice and software recommendations from industry experts you can use to level up your marketing strategy and grow your business.
Access our collection of user-friendly templates for business planning, finance, sales, marketing, and management, designed to assist you in developing strategies for either launching a new business venture or expanding an existing one.
You can use the templates below as a starting point to create your startup business plan or map out how you will expand your existing business. Then meet with a SCORE mentor to get expert business planning advice and feedback on your business plan.
If writing a full business plan seems overwhelming, start with a one-page Business Model Canvas. Developed by Founder and CEO of Strategyzer, Alexander Osterwalder, it can be used to easily document your business concept.
Download this template to fill out the nine squares focusing on the different building blocks of any business:
- Value Proposition
- Customer Segments
- Customer Relationships
- Key Activities
- Key Resources
- Key Partners
- Cost Structure
- Revenue Streams
For help completing the Business Model Canvas Template, contact a SCORE business mentor for guidance
From creating a startup budget to managing cash flow for a growing business, keeping tabs on your business’s finances is essential to success. The templates below will help you monitor and manage your business’s financial situation, create financial projections and seek financing to start or grow your business.
This interactive calculator allows you to provide inputs and see a full estimated repayment schedule to plan your capital needs and cash flow.
Marketing helps your business build brand awareness, attract customers and create customer loyalty. Use these templates to forecast sales, develop your marketing strategy and map out your marketing budget and plan.
How healthy is your business? Are you missing out on potential growth opportunities or ignoring areas of weakness? Do you need to hire employees to reach your goals? The following templates will help you assess the state of your business and accomplish important management tasks.
Whether you are starting your business or established and looking to grow, our Business Healthcheck Tool will provide practical information and guidance.
Learn how having a SCORE mentor can be a valuable asset for your business. A SCORE mentor can provide guidance and support in various areas of business, including finance, marketing, and strategy. They can help you navigate challenges and make important decisions based on their expertise and experience. By seeking out a SCORE mentor, you can gain the guidance and support you need to help grow your business and achieve success.
SCORE offers free business mentoring to anyone that wants to start, currently owns, or is planning to close or sell a small business. To initiate the process, input your zip code in the designated area below. Then, complete the mentoring request form on the following page, including as much information as possible about your business. This information is used to match you with a mentor in your area. After submitting the request, you will receive an email from your mentor to arrange your first mentoring session.
Copyright © 2023 SCORE Association, SCORE.org
Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.
10+ Small Business Marketing Plan Templates – DOC, PDF
No matter what kind of business you intend to open, you must realize how important it is that you focus a good chunk of its efforts into your marketing plan . The reason as to why you would want to do this is to get people to know that your business exists within the industry. You may also see Plan Samples .
- 20+ Best Business Marketing Plan Templates
- 30+ Marketing Plan Templates in PDF
Construction Marketing Business Plan Template Bundle
- Google Docs
Small Business Marketing Plan Template
Simple Small Business Marketing Plan Template
Small Business Marketing Plan
Marketing Plan Worksheet for Small Businesses
How to Come Up With a Marketing Plan for Your Small Business
1. assess your marketing goal and assess your small business’s situation, marketing plan for start up business.
Sample Small Business Marketing Plan
Printable Business Marketing Plan
2. Determine How Much Time and Money You Can Invest
Guide for small business marketing plan.
Small Business Marketing Plan Outline
Small Business Marketing & Sales Plan
3. Know Who Your Small Business’s Target Market Is Going to Be
- Who are the people who frequently visit your establishment or do business with you?
- What are the products and/or services that are popular?
- What kind of behavior do these people show when doing business with you? What are their buying patterns?
4. Come Up With the Strategies that Will Help You
More in plan templates.
Small Business Marketing Letter
Marketing Strategy for Small Business Template
Small Business Marketing Snapchat Geofilter Template
Small Business Marketing Roadmap Template
Small Business Marketing Flyer Template
Small Business Marketing Postcard Template
Small Business Marketing Linkedin Post Template
Small Business Marketing Instagram Story Template
Small Business Marketing Whatsapp Post Template
Get instant access to free & premium small business marketing , ai tools & daily fresh content.
Get access to 1 million+ FREE, PRO, template bundles with professional written original content. Advanced AI, design, document editing tools
Share this page
Business proposal templates
Deliver a powerful business proposal with these business proposal templates. each of these free business proposal templates is fully customizable..
Free business proposal templates
If you’re working on growing your business , use these business proposal templates to speed up the process. Each of these professionally designed business templates will help you sell your products or services and make a good impression. There are a wide variety of business proposal templates to choose from. You can use these templates to generate investor proposals, sales proposals, RFP proposals, project proposals, and more. Each of these business proposal templates is fully customizable, so you can change the text and colors. You can also add your business logo for a branded proposal. Customizing your business proposal is easy—you don’t need to be a graphic designer to do it. Each of these free business proposal templates can be downloaded, so you can share them online or print them out and distribute them in person. Explore more templates that can help you grow your business, such as marketing asset templates , planners and trackers , and more.
On This Page
What is a one-page business plan?
What to include in your one-page plan, why you should start with a one-page plan, resources to help write your one-page plan.
How to Write a One-Page Business Plan
What’s the most challenging part of writing a business plan? Getting started. That’s why you should create a one-page plan as a starting point.
The one-page business plan is simple to create, easy to update, and built for adaptation. It includes all of the essential components of a traditional plan but is far briefer and more focused.
Think of it like you’re tweeting about your business. You have a limited number of characters to work with and are intentionally making it easy to digest. If you need additional support, try downloading our free one-page plan template .
The one-page business plan is a simplified version of traditional operational plans that focuses on the core aspects of your business. While it may be a shorter business plan, it still follows the structure of a standard business plan and serves as a beefed-up pitch document.
There’s really not a lot of difference between a single-page business plan and a good executive summary. In fact, as you create a more detailed plan you may even be able to use it as your executive summary .
Here are the eight necessary sections to include when developing your one-page business plan.
Try and keep each section limited to 1-2 sentences or 3-4 bullet points to ensure that you stay within one page. It’s always easier to add more later rather than cutting back from lengthy sections.
A description of the problem or need your customers have and any relevant data that supports your claim.
Your product or service and how it solves the problem.
How you will make money—including the costs of production and selling, and the price that customers will pay.
Who is your customer and how many of them are there? Define your ideal customer by starting with a broad audience and narrowing it down. This provides investors with a clear picture of your thought process and understanding of the greater consumer market.
What makes you different from the competition? Explain how this will lead to greater success, customer loyalty, etc.
The management structure of your business, including currently filled roles, ideal candidates, and any management gaps.
Key financial metrics include your profit and loss, cash flow, balance sheet, and sales forecast. This section may be the most difficult part to condense, so try and focus on visualization and standard business ratios to get the point across. You can always share broader financial information if requested.
Have what funding total you need front and center to clearly display what you are asking from investors.
There are plenty of good reasons to write a business plan . There are even more reasons why your first step should be writing a one-page plan.
1. It’s faster
Instead of slogging away for hours, days, or even weeks tackling a formal business plan—the one-page format helps you get your ideas down much faster. It removes the complex formatting,
2. A great format for feedback
Need quick feedback from business partners, colleagues, potential customers, or your spouse? Provide them with a one-page plan instead of a lengthy in-depth version for better results.
The one-page plan is more likely to be read and reviewed. And since all of your business information is available at a glance, you’ll receive far more valuable and timely feedback.
3. Easy to update
Entrepreneurs never get things right the first time. You’ll constantly be learning and receiving feedback—requiring you to iterate and revise your business concept. Instead of updating a large document every time, you can do it in minutes with a one-page plan.
4. Direct and to-the-point
Learning to communicate your ideas clearly and directly is critical. You need to be sure that anyone can really understand the essence of your business. Delivering your entire business concept on a single page is a great way to practice this, as it forces you to be succinct.
5. Works as an idea validation tool
Initially, your business is just a set of assumptions that you need to validate. Do your potential customers have the problem you assume they have? Do they like your solution and are they willing to pay for it? What marketing and sales tactics will work?
As you validate these assumptions, you leave them in your plan. But, assumptions that end up being wrong will quickly fall off the page.
6. Becomes an outline for your detailed plan
By “detailed” we don’t mean “long.” If you do need to create a detailed business plan document for investors or business partners, you can use your one-page plan as your core outline. You will just expand and provide more details for each section.
7. No one really reads long business plans
A common problem with traditional business plans is that they are simply too long and overly complex. Even when investors ask for a detailed document, chances are that they won’t actually read every word. They may read certain sections, but often just want to see if you’ve thought through the details of your business, how it will operate, and how it will grow.
8. Useful for any business stage
A one-page plan is useful for business owners that are mulling over ideas, just starting, actively managing, or looking to grow a business. It can help validate a business idea, work as an internal strategy document, or as a flexible management tool that can be adapted over time.
Check out our guide for quickly writing a one-page plan and download our free one-page plan template to kickstart the writing process.
How to write your one-page plan in under an hour
Still feeling a bit overwhelmed about creating a business plan? Check out this step-by-step guide to write a useful one-page business plan in as little as 30 minutes.
One-page business plan template
Download a free one-page business plan template to make the plan writing process simple and easy.
Write your plan faster with LivePlan
Try the business planning and growth tool trusted by over 1-million business owners.
Start your plan
5 Min. Read
How To Write a Business Plan for a Life Coaching Business + Free Example
6 Min. Read
How to Write a Real Estate Business Plan + Example Templates
15 Min. Read
How to Write a Business Plan for a Cannabis Company
11 Min. Read
How to Create a Detailed User or Buyer Persona
One-page business plan FAQ
What is a one-page plan?
A one-page plan is a single-page overview of your business strategy, operations, and direction. It includes the same core components of a traditional business plan but in a far more condensed format that is easier and quicker to write or update.
Can a business plan really be one page?
Yes, a viable and useful business plan can be written on one page. Creating a one-page plan is actually a very valuable exercise for any small business owner. It forces you to keep your messaging brief and identify the critical aspects of your business that you, your partners, employees, or investors should know about.
How do you write a one-page plan?
Focus on being fast and to the point when writing a one-page plan. Stick to single sentences, bullet points, and visuals that get the point across. The intention is not for the plan to be perfect, but to help you get all of your ideas and information down so that you can quickly test, refine, and rework your plan.
What is in a one-page plan?
A one-page plan is made up of eight sections—the problem, solution, business model, target market, competitive advantage, management team, financial summary, and your funding request.
The quickest way to turn a business idea into a business plan
Fill-in-the-blanks and automatic financials make it easy.
No thanks, I prefer writing 40-page documents.
Our biggest savings of the year
Cyber Sale Save 60%
for life on the #1 rated business plan software
Free Marketing SOP Templates, Examples, and Samples
By Joe Weller | November 16, 2023
Use these free marketing SOP templates to help your team work and collaborate more consistently and effectively. Marketing, human resources, operations, and other executives use these templates to increase efficiency, stay on brand, and much more.
Included on this page, you’ll find a digital marketing SOP template . You’ll also learn about marketing and sales SOP examples , key marketing SOP elements , how to write a marketing SOP , and the benefits of marketing SOPs .
Marketing SOP Template
Download a Sample Marketing SOP Template for Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF | Google Docs
Download a Blank Marketing SOP Template for Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF | Google Docs
This marketing SOP template, available with or without sample data, enumerates and simplifies procedures so that you can guide your marketing team more effectively. The procedure table features a checklist column, allowing you to mark in real time the process steps you’ve completed. Use this template to list the approval dates, descriptions, scope, keyword definitions, resources, and authors, all to update the SOP version history. In the purpose section, summarize what this SOP seeks to accomplish.
This collection of free SOP templates will help you explain and formalize your business processes and workflows.
Digital Marketing SOP Template
Download a Sample Digital Marketing SOP Template for Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF | Google Docs
Download a Blank Digital Marketing SOP Template for Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF | Google Docs
This marketing SOP template, downloadable with or without sample data, outlines procedures for content, email, search engine optimization, and other elements of digital marketing. This template's flowchart helps you visualize a digital marketing workflow for your team. In the procedure table’s checklist column, you can document the step-by-step process. Detail the SOP's version history, purpose, scope, resources, and more with this comprehensive digital marketing template.
Check out these free project management office templates to document and standardize project and portfolio management processes.
Review the policies and procedures how-to guide to learn more about researching, writing, and reviewing policies, procedures, and work instructions for your business.
Marketing and Sales SOP Examples
Marketing SOPs are documents that outline tasks for specific marketing content, parts of a campaign, or a project. SOPs help you ensure that your marketing procedures are efficient, uniform, and consistent, so you can expect a successful outcome.
Marketing SOP Examples
Review the following examples for guidance on marketing SOPs:
Digital Marketing SOP for Social Media Example Purpose: This SOP details the process for social media posting, so you can build brand awareness, as well as increase sales and engagement. Scope: This SOP applies to marketing team members who are responsible for social media posts. Procedure:
- Generate marketing campaign ideas.
- Identify internal or external content to promote.
- Create a posting calendar.
- Write messages and insert images.
- Submit messages for approval.
- Schedule posts.
- Create post awareness.
- Monitor reactions and engagement.
- Gather data and assess performance.
- Identify lessons learned for future campaigns.
- Style guide
Marketing SOP for Market Research Analysis Purpose: This SOP helps you ensure that your market research processes are accurate, consistent, and reliable. Scope: This SOP applies to team members who conduct market research analysis.
- Define your market research objectives.
- Identify the target audience.
- Select your market research methods.
- Gather and organize your market data.
- Analyze the market data to find conclusions.
- Make adjustments to the market database.
- Competitor intelligence
- Predictive analytics
- Social media monitoring
Sales SOP Examples
Review the following examples for guidance on sales SOPs:
Sales SOP for New Client Acquisition Purpose: This SOP outlines steps for your sales team to gain new clients. Scope: This SOP applies to sales team members who are focused on acquiring new clients. Procedure:
- Research a list of potential clients.
- Find their contact email addresses.
- Introduce yourself and detail your product’s benefits via email.
- Schedule a virtual meeting for each reply you receive.
- After a successful meeting, forward the new client’s information to the sales manager.
- Client list
- Email style guide
- Virtual meeting guidelines
Sales SOP for Cold Calling Scripts Purpose: This SOP standardizes the cold calling process to improve sales pitch effectiveness. Scope: This SOP applies to sales team members who are tasked with cold calling. Procedure:
- Research prospective client needs and how your product or service can benefit them.
- Prepare talking points that are aligned with your sales strategy.
- Make the call to introduce yourself and the brand.
- Make a sales pitch that addresses the client's needs.
- Document the call's outcome in your customer relationship management (CRM) system and note any necessary follow-up.
- CRM asynchronous workflows
- Sales process and pitch guidelines
Elements in a Marketing SOP Template
A marketing SOP typically includes sections for the title, ID number, purpose, keywords and definitions, scope, procedure, and resources. Marketing SOP elements are detailed and practical.
A marketing SOP typically includes the following sections in this order:
- Title: Enter the name that identifies the marketing process being standardized.
- Identification: List the SOP's ID number and version. This section might include a version history with dates, authors, and approvals.
- Purpose: Summarize what the SOP explains.
- Keywords and Definitions: Define relevant and valuable keywords in order to clarify these terms for your marketing team members.
- Scope: Define the parameters of the SOP both content-wise and staff-wise.
- Procedure: List each process step by step and in detail. You might document the workflow procedure in a flowchart.
- Resources: Identify the resources that team members need in order to complete the procedure successfully.
How to Write a Marketing SOP
When writing a marketing SOP, first create a list of marketing processes. Next, determine the scope and audience. Research and write the procedure steps. Implement the SOP with a completed template. Finally, make sure the SOP is accurate and updated.
Follow these steps for writing a comprehensive marketing SOP:
- Create a List of Marketing Processes: Select which marketing activities require an SOP. Next, prioritize the SOPs based on need.
- Consider the Scope and Audience: Determine which task, department, and team members will execute the SOP. Consider your audience's level of experience. Less experienced users might need a longer, more detailed SOP.
- Research and Write the Procedure Steps: Consult experienced team members and experts for accuracy and editorial feedback. Make sure to include a step-by-step list or flowchart of all the procedure’s tasks.
- Complete a Marketing SOP Template and Implement It: When your marketing SOP is complete, download a marketing SOP template . Fill it out and proofread it for errors. Make any corrections and implement the SOP.
- Update the SOP: Revise the SOP to ensure that your users have accurate information when they complete their marketing tasks. Your marketing SOP updates should meet organizational needs and address marketing changes.
Read this standard operating procedures how-to guide to get step-by-step instructions and expert tips for understanding and creating SOPs.
Benefits of Marketing SOPs
Marketing SOPs help you maintain consistency among your marketing activities. They outline the necessary steps for keeping marketing campaigns on brand and on message. These operating procedures reduce errors, increase efficiency, and save time.
Here are some of the benefits of using marketing SOPs:
- Enable marketing teams to expand while also maintaining productivity and quality.
- Ensure that marketing processes are uninterrupted and completed on schedule.
- Guide marketing teams, promote collaboration, and simplify the process of onboarding new team members.
- Reduce errors, improve efficiency, and save time.
- Standardize and streamline workflows, ensuring consistency across marketing tasks, campaigns, and projects.
Supercharge Your Marketing Efficiency and Productivity with Smartsheet
From simple task management and project planning to complex resource and portfolio management, Smartsheet helps you improve collaboration and increase work velocity -- empowering you to get more done.
The Smartsheet platform makes it easy to plan, capture, manage, and report on work from anywhere, helping your team be more effective and get more done. Report on key metrics and get real-time visibility into work as it happens with roll-up reports, dashboards, and automated workflows built to keep your team connected and informed.
When teams have clarity into the work getting done, there’s no telling how much more they can accomplish in the same amount of time. Try Smartsheet for free, today.