A marketing plan is essential. Serving as your guide to successful evangelization and growing your mission, church, ministry, etc.
A well-constructed marketing plan will help you answer key questions about your mission and how it can grow: Who are we trying to reach? What are we trying to say? How are we going to say it? Who will see it? What action are we asking the audience to take? Is this mission viable? What would success or failure look like? All of these are vital questions that as an entity, you must be able to answer.
Additionally, a good marketing plan will help you to make sure that you’re using your precious resources in the wisest and most sustainable way. This is doubly important if your plan includes an online marketing component, as that is an area where many Church organizations have less experience. Rather than just throwing money into social media or blindly expending valuable time and resources a blog, an online marketing plan helps you to match your online marketing with a realistic analysis of your goals.
What Should I Include in My Marketing Plan?
A traditional marketing plan includes several key components, such as:
- Situation Analysis: The situation analysis will provide an overview of your mission, offering, or service and its place in the target market. What is the target market that you’ll be reaching out to? What are the trends in this demographic? What other similar organizations offer a similar product or service that may compete with yours? How will you make yours unique in the eyes of the audience?
- Target Market: What age group will you be targeting – Millenials, GenX-ers, or Baby Boomers? Will your project or service appeal more to men or women, single or married, lay or religious? Are you targeting fallen away Catholics or the ones that are in the pews every Sunday? The variables that make an audience unique are essential to identify, but the salient point is this: the more that you understand and identify your audience, the better you’ll be able to craft your message in a way that will speak to them.
- Marketing Strategy: The marketing strategy addresses the 4 P’s of marketing: product, price, promotion, and place. Basically, what is your product or offering and how is it different, how will you price it (if applicable), how will you promote it, and where will you promote it.
- Objectives & Tactics: Once you’ve identified your strategy, you need to figure out how to implement it. You can set objectives to meet and identify the tactics that you will use to meet those objectives.
- Sales and Budget: Your marketing plan can also include a income forecast and an advertising budget. The projections will outline your income targets on a monthly basis. Your budget will specify how much you will spend and when. The combination of sales and budget will allow you to be aware of how much you are spending on marketing and how much revenue you’re generating as a result.
An Online Marketing Plan
As we all know, things are moving quickly online. Blogs, search engines, and social networks have all disrupted traditional marketing. The result has been a shift from “outbound” or “push” marketing to “inbound” or “pull” marketing. This means that in the past, a marketing strategy that relied on reaching out to your clients by sending direct mail, advertising in print publications, or attending trade shows was sufficient. Now, however, you need to take into account the realities of the online world and integrate content marketing into your online marketing efforts.
This is why we focus on online marketing plans, which is what we recommend for most clients. Like a traditional marketing plan, an online marketing plan will include several key components such as:
- Target Market and Ideal Client Identification: Given how scarce attention is online, it’s critical that you capture the attention of your ideal client quickly.
- Messaging: What is the message that you want to convey to your clients? You only have seconds to get their attention, so you need to make sure that you’re clear about your message so that you can integrate it into all of your online activities.
- Define Your Niche: The days when you could be all things to all people are long gone. With all of the competition online, you need to clearly identify your niche and use that to guide your online marketing strategy.
- Content Strategy: Rather than just posting updates about whatever has your attention at the moment or putting content on your website that may or may not help your business goals, a content strategy will ensure that all of your online activity is focused on one thing: meeting your business goals.
- Editorial Calendar: The best way to plan out your blog posts and social media updates is with an editorial calendar. This will help you to avoid the problem of not knowing what to write about, because you’ll have already prepared in advance.
Benefits of Planning Your Marketing
With a good marketing plan, you’ll have an action plan that you can implement knowing that it is aligned with your organization’s goals. You’ll have done the work of identifying your target market, refining your message, and deciding what are the appropriate social networks for your organization. You’ll have set clear goals and identified the objectives, strategies, and tactics to reach those goals. You’ll also have chosen the appropriate metrics to help you track your progress. In short, rather than just engaging in marketing activity that lacks focus, you’ll be working strategically.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of preparing a marketing plan, though, isn’t just the finished plan. Through the planning process, you will also have engaged in a valuable process of thinking through important questions related to your business. This will serve you well as you encounter the daily challenges of running a business. You could launch and run your business without a marketing plan, but why would you want to?