Creating a marketing plan is a prerequisite for any person conducting business. Whatever business you are involved in, you need to base your marketing campaigns on a well laid out plan so that you do not lose track and run your business blindly. Have you ever created one?

Surprisingly, not many online marketers think about creating a marketing plan. They just begin their online businesses and end up jumping from one failed marketing method to another. But if you are a success-conscious marketer, you need to have a WRITTEN MARKETING PLAN to avoid doing things wrongly. In this article, I would like to share with you 9 steps for creating a successful marketing plan.

1. To create a successful marketing plan, you need to read to understand the different online marketing and advertising methods. If you are a newbie, you need most importantly to equip yourself with some knowledge on online marketing before you create your marketing plan.

2. Understand your market and competition. Find out first what the marketplace is, what happens in it and what its trends are.

Additionally, get information on your competitors by finding out who they are, what they sell, how they sell it, what their marketing methods are, what makes them stand out, how their websites are, what their weaknesses are and what they don’t offer that you could offer. You can easily get this information by searching on the internet.

3. Get to know properly your targeted customers. You should know who they are, how and when they buy, what their problems are, which solutions they are looking for, how they respond and find what they buy, what they say and what needs to fill the gap.

4. Discover the position of your business. Find out more about the product you intend to sell or promote and how you will position your business. Find out what your strengths and weaknesses are, your field of business and expertise, lives and challenges of your customers and the different niche groups in your line of business.

5. Develop your marketing messages. Your plan should entail in-depth information on what your brand is, what your unique selling point, strap-line and marketing slogans will be. Remember that your messages have to cause action to be taken. It’s a reason why you need to develop them carefully and strategically.

6. Set your marketing goals. A successful marketing plan clearly spells out the vision for your business, what you want to achieve, your specific achievable goals and your priorities. Your goals have to be stated clearly in that they are not only SMART but they are also SMARTER (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time bound, extended and rewarding).

7. Determine your marketing methods. Get to know the marketing methods competitors use and what works for you best basing on your strengths, knowledge, skills and ability. Focus on how you will get new customers and maintain old ones as well.

8. Develop your budget. When developing your budget, base on the marketing methods you have selected to determine the total cost of your marketing campaigns, the resources you need to invest in your marketing and what your return on investment will be. Having a marketing budget is a key to creating a successful marketing plan.

9. Map your marketing strategy. Creating a successful marketing plan requires you to focus on how you will progress in each and every aspect of your plan. You should focus on what is needed to set up your business and the steps and practical actions to be taken. Project your anticipated obstacles and deadlines and how you will track, evaluate and review your strategy.