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ContentCal's Marketing Plan Template to Rule Them All

Blog Post Author – Alan
Alan30th July 2020
marketing plan template

The success of your marketing activity depends on a good social media marketing plan.

But where do you even start?

A marketing plan template makes sure that your efforts are contributing to your business’s overall goals, and that you’re using the right marketing channels to reach your audience.

The best marketing plans are visual and help everyone in marketing quickly understand what the strategy is, and how they contribute towards it.

You can get the ContentCal marketing plan template right here.

Free marketing plan template

This is the ultimate sales and marketing plan template.

Why ultimate? Because it doesn't matter if you're looking to do a 1,000 word summary or a 100,000 word summary, the structure's going to be the same.

We've made a simple content calendar that's flexible to what you're looking to do. So instead of doing an inflexible PDF doc, we wanted to give you the building blocks of your marketing plan, examples for what each section should look like, and let you do the rest.

But before we get into how it works, we wanted to give a bit more background one why and how we created it.

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan allows you to organise, carry out and monitor your businesses marketing strategy/ies over a planned period of time.

It also allows you to build confidence in your marketing strategy to your boss and your team. Other than fabulous results, a marketing plan is the best way to get your boss’s nod of approval.

Trust us - without a marketing plan, your marketing will be a mess. Your campaigns need to be joined up and work together towards the same thing.

How does a marketing plan work?

A marketing plan is the reference point for all marketing strategies within a company. It can be for a quarter, or for a year, or for a different window entirely. However your business works...

You’re looking for a marketing plan that adapts to everything you throw at it - not a rigid PDF you need to squeeze everything into.

So that’s what we’ve put together.

Whether you’re looking for a social media marketing plan template, a digital marketing plan template, or a strategic marketing plan template, you’re in the right place.

Social media marketing plan template

There’s no real difference between a social media marketing plan template and your regular marketing plan template.

Apart from the obvious focus, you’ll still want to demonstrate how your efforts funnel up towards your business’s overall objectives.

Otherwise what’s the point?

Unlike the regular marketing plan template, your social media marketing plan template also references any upcoming campaigns, anniversaries and other important dates for your company.

Looking for something more interactive that you can use with your team? You can try ContentCal free for 14 days.

Digital marketing plan template

A digital marketing plan template includes all of your company's online marketing activities, such as guest blogging, email campaigns, paid advertising etc.

A digital marketing plan template is distinct from an off-line marketing campaign which focuses on TV, radio and newspaper advertising or editorial.

The marketing plan template we’ve put together is a great place for all your digital activities, as well as the offline initiatives you’ve got planned.

Put time in now, save way more time later

You can’t really do much worthwhile of anything without a strategic marketing plan.

Sure, you might get a task done here and there, but there’s no structure to what you’re doing.

And without structure you’ll waste time on things that won’t make a difference, your boss won’t understand what it is you’re working on, and it’s going to be a huge effort to reach your targets.

Make your team care

It’s fine to hand your marketing team tasks, but if you want them to care about their work then you need to give them a bit more than that.

Why are they doing what they’re doing?

They may be able to tell you, sure. But they need to be aware of why they’re working on what they’re working on in order to do the best possible job. There’s every chance that your marketing plan goes wrong. Every marketing plan gets unstuck at some point. In the case that it does, will your team know what to do next?

How will they know whether things are going right if they don’t know your overall goal?

Your whole team needs to be on board, and your marketing plan should take that into account.

Be consistent, get rewarded

Whatever channels and campaigns you work with, you’ll need to be consistent if you want what you’re doing to work.

That’s because you want to find out what’s working as quickly and possible, and make quick changes to optimise your activity.

Plus, posting consistent content reinforces your brand, whether that’s on social, to your email subscribers, or to your top-of-funnel leads.

If you have a marketing plan template, you’ve planned it all out in advance. Your brand voice, your positioning, the channels you’re going to work with and the campaigns you plan to put live.

Not the nitty-gritty details, but everything you need to know to be consistent with the marketing materials you’re putting out there, how often your team is expected to put them live, and what results they should be getting.

Prepare for those big events

When we’re working flat out day-to-day it can be difficult to think about the following day, never mind a month in advance, and that could lead to missing out on key events.

Having those key dates as a key part of your marketing plan means that you’ll never make that mistake again.

You can also capitalise from content both before and after the event, and build a buzz around your brand that warm up your leads.

Social media trends to look out for that are dominating 2020

Give creativity oxygen

Having a marketing plan written down and worked out months in advance gives you the time to be more creative with your content.

You can see right away if you’re covering the one topic too much. Perhaps you don’t have enough video content in? Maybe you’re over-using one social media platform to the detriment of the others?

By the end of the year you might find that the data shows your audience prefers a certain kind of content. Do more of that type of content.

How to use your free ContentCal Marketing Plan Template

Use our free content marketing plan template to help you with your small business marketing plan strategy this year. You can download it here.

Here’s how our marketing plan template works:

First of all, you’ll want to make the template your own. You can do this by making a duplicate of the page within Notion or by selecting all the text, copying it and pasting it into a new doc.

We’ve added these instructions at the top of the page to make things easy.

Marketing plan template

Macros

From there, you’ll go into our first section, called Macros. This is where you set the scene for your marketing plan.

Overall what are you trying to achieve, and how you plan to get there. We’d recommend doing a bit of scene-setting here.

Be as concise as possible. Of course, if you’re expected to put together a more weighty report, you’ll want to include more detail.

Either way, we’ve included some examples that unpack when you hit the arrows. Replace this info with whatever’s relevant to you.

How to use Macros in our free marketing plan template

As part of the Macros section we’ve included a template for a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats). Add in your own strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to give an overall view of your business’s market position and where your marketing should take your business next.

Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in marketing

Then, add in the metrics you need to hit that plan. This can be a rough estimate, based on previous data and your business’s overall growth forecasts.

Target buyer

Next you’ll need to identify your target buyer (otherwise known as key persona). This is the person that is most likely to benefit from what you’re offering, and is most likely to pay for it.

Identifying your target buyer in marketing

Again, just replace the info that’s already there with your own, using what’s already there as a guide. It’s great to include a mix of market research and qualitative and quantitative customer research.

This bit is really important because it decides what makes up your marketing efforts later - don’t skip it!

When you’re done with this section you should have a clear idea of the factual and behavioural attributes of your ideal customer persona.

Brand Audit

How effective is your brand at attracting your ideal customer persona? You should do a full brand audit to demonstrate how important your brand is.

The template takes you through all the steps involved in an effective brand audit and asks you to complete a market positioning map for your imagery and messaging.

To do this, you just need to place your brand and your competitors’ brands on the below positioning map wherever you think they are best placed.

Use your brand values on the X and Y axis. The more clear space between you and your competitors on the graph, the more unique your brand proposition is.

How to do a brand audit in business marketing

Brand Book

With all that in place, you’re in a much better position to get started on your brand book.

Add your brand vision, mission, unique selling points and value proposition. Here’s a quick definition for each.

Vision: What you would like your brand to be in the future Mission: What your brand wants to do for customers right now Unique Selling Points: What makes your brand different Brand Value Proposition: Why people use your brand’s product or service

Technical Audit

The technical audit helps you understand how well set up your marketing tools are to grow your business.

Add every tool you work with in your marketing department and a brief note about the blockers you see with each.

Feel free to replace our suggestions with your own.

How to do a technical audit of your brand

Add every tool you work with in your marketing department and a brief note about the blockers you see with each.

Feel free to replace our suggestions with your own.

‘Data that uncovers opportunities’ is our favorite section. What can you see in your analytics tools and CRMs that suggests your marketing department should try new things.

We’ve added an example to help you get to grips with this.

Channels

The channels a marketing department defines its success just as much as the content it puts out through those channels.

The key to finding the right channels is to think about where your persona is most likely to engage with your brand.

Add all your relevant channels, with their objective, your plan for using them, and your success criteria for their use.

How to organise your channel output in business marketing

Campaigns

Campaigns are the marketing initiatives you distribute across different channels.

They’re also your biggest chance of getting leads, so you’ll want to plan these properly and execute them right.

Like with channels, enter your objective, your plan, and your success criteria for each.

Organising your campaigns in a calendar

Calendar

Calendars help you plan what’s happening when.

With so many campaigns and channels live, you’ll need a calendar to help you keep on top of things.

We’ve included a calendar in Notion which you can use there or download as a PDF.

We’ve also included links to our Content Calendar Template and how to use Custom Planning Channels in ContentCal, where you can manage different campaigns.

How to create campaign calendar for your business

Small business? Here's your free out-of-the-box LinkedIn strategy

Wrap-up

Finally, you’ll want to do a summary of marketing activity. Your boss’s boss may just want to read this bit, so keep it short and precise.

How to create a marketing summary for someone outside of the team

READ MORE: How to use Twitter to its full potential (a beginner's guide)


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