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Developing a basic marketing plan can serve as the blueprint of what you want to accomplish with your business and how to get there. Although marketing plans can take several forms, a basic approach is to provide details on the scenario you're facing, identify your prospective audience, list your goals and clearly explain how you'll achieve them.
Outline Your Situation
It's customary for a basic marketing plan to begin with a breakdown of the product or service you wish to market, the strengths of your product or service, and the challenges you'll face from your competitors or due to other factors. For example, you could outline your service as a yoga teacher, strengths such as your advanced training and ability to tailor one-on-one classes to your students, and challenges such as your remote location or the inability of your clients to book appointments through your website.
Identify Your Audience
Every marketing plan should include a detailed breakdown of the audience you wish to target; doing so gives you the ability to precisely target this group with your marketing. Include as much demographic information as possible, such as the audience's average age, prominent gender and location. This section of the marketing plan can also identify what Forbes magazine calls the "psychological profile" of your audience. This term describes the audience's areas of interests.
List Your Goals
The next section of your marketing plan should identify and develop your goals as specifically as possible, but without explaining how to achieve the goals. Make the goals possible to measure -- for example, you might wish to expand your business by 10 percent or have 500 new people sign up to your business' email newsletter in the coming year. Although you might wish to list one or more overly ambitious goals, don't omit those that are realistic. Accomplishing realistic goals can help encourage you to tackle more ambitious goals.
Strategies to Achieve Goals
It's easy to view the fourth section of your marketing plan as the most important. In this section, you outline the strategies that you'll use to achieve your goals -- that is, to present your product or service to your target audience in an engaging manner that will build your business. This section, even in a basic marketing plan, can be extensive. Develop steps that you need to accomplish to achieve each goal. For example, if you wish to expand your email newsletter, think of incentives you can provide those who sign up or refer a friend. As with the goals themselves, the strategies to achieving each goal should be measurable and practical. This section can also have a budgetary element in which you list the expected cost of achieving each goal.
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.