5 Steps to Create an Outstanding Marketing Plan [Free Templates]

Do you are taking a very good, arduous have a look at your crew’s advertising technique yearly?

It is best to. An annual advertising plan helps you set your advertising on the precise course to make your organization’s enterprise targets a actuality. Consider it as a high-level plan that guides the course of your crew’s campaigns, targets, and development.

With out one, issues can get messy — and it is practically inconceivable to place a quantity on the funds you may must safe for the tasks, hiring, and outsourcing you may encounter over the course of a 12 months if you do not have a plan.

Remember there are variations to the advertising plan you want, relying in your trade and the targets of your advertising crew. To make your plan’s creation simpler, we have put collectively a listing of what to incorporate in your plan and some completely different planning templates the place you may simply fill within the blanks.

Download Now: Free Marketing Plan Template

To begin, let’s dive into methods to create a advertising plan after which check out what a high-level advertising plan has inside.

On this article, we will focus on: 

1. Conduct a state of affairs evaluation.

Earlier than you will get began along with your advertising plan, it’s a must to know your present state of affairs.

What are your strengths, weaknesses, alternatives, and threats? Conduct a primary 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 have a better understanding of 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 what your goals are, 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 it.

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 you’re 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 your 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 the elements that a high-level marketing plan should include.

Marketing Plan Outline

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. This includes:

  • The company name
  • Where it’s headquartered
  • Its mission statement

2. 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.

3. Customer Analysis

Here’s where you’ll conduct some basic 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.

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:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Title
  • Goals
  • Personal challenges
  • Pains
  • Triggering events

4. Competitor Analysis

Your buyer persona has choices when it comes to solving their problems, choices in both the types of solutions they consider and the providers that can administer those solutions. In your market research, you should consider your competition, what they do well, and where the gaps are that you can potentially fill. This can include:

  • Positioning
  • Market share
  • Offerings
  • Pricing

5. SWOT Analysis

Your marketing plan’s Business Summary also includes a SWOT analysis, which stands for the business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Be patient with your business’s SWOT analysis; you’ll write most of it based on your market research from the sections above and your strategy below.

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?

In a full-length marketing plan, this section can contain the “seven Ps of marketing”:

  • Product
  • Price
  • Place
  • Promotion
  • People
  • Process
  • Physical Evidence

(You’ll learn more about these seven sub-components inside our free marketing plan template, which you can download below.)

7. Budget

Don’t mistake the Budget element of your marketing 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
  • Marketing software
  • Paid promotions
  • Events (those you’ll host and/or attend)

8. Marketing Channels

Lastly, your marketing plan will 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 lay 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. Financial Projections

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.

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:

Cover page of free marketing plan template

Download your marketing plan template here.

Social Media Advertising Plan Templates

As advertising departments develop, so will their presence on social media. And as as their social media presence grows, so will their must measure, plan, and re-plan what varieties of content material they wish to publish throughout every community.

In the event you’re on the lookout for a strategy to deepen your social media advertising technique — even additional than the advertising plan template above — the next assortment of social media advertising plan templates is ideal for you:

Download 10 social media reporting templates here.

Within the above assortment of promoting plan templates, you may get to fill within the following contents (and extra) to fit your firm:

  • Annual social media funds monitoring
  • Weekly social media themes
  • Required social media picture dimension key
  • Pie chart on social media visitors sorted by platform
  • Social media publish calendar and publish time

Beneath, let’s assessment the social media reporting templates, and what you may discover in every one.

1. Social Media Questions

Social media publishing analysis and questions.

This template lists out questions that will help you resolve which social media administration platform you need to use.

As soon as what social media ways you are going to implement in your advertising plan, it is time to determine what channels are best for you. This template will provide help to do this.

2. Hashtag Holidays

Social media hashtag holidays.

If you are going to lean in to social media in your advertising plan, you should use hashtag holidays to generate concepts.

These holidays are a good way to fill out your social media publishing schedule. With this template, you may get a listing of all of the hashtag holidays for the 12 months.

3. Fb Stay Schedule

Facebook live schedule template.

If Fb dwell is without doubt one of the advertising ways in your plan, this template will provide help to design an editorial calendar. With this template, you may set up what Fb dwell’s you wish to do and when.

4. Instagram Put up Log

Instagram post log for social media publishing management.

Are you going to start utilizing Instagram frequently? Do you wish to enhance your following? With this template, you may set up your Instagram posts, so everybody in your crew is aware of what posts are going dwell and when.

Moreover, you may set up your belongings and campaigns on this doc.

5. Paid Social Media Template

paid social media template for annual budgeting

With this template, you may set up your annual and month-to-month funds on your paid social media calendar.

6. Social Media Audit

Social media audit template.

Conducting a social media audit? You need to use this template that will help you collect the precise analytics.

7. Social Media Editorial Calendar

Social media editorial calendar template.

With this template, you may set up your social media editorial calendar. For instance, you may embody social media posts for every platform, so your crew is aware of what is going on dwell on any given day.

8. Social Media Picture Sizes

Social media image size template.

With this template, your crew can have the most recent social media picture sizes useful. This template consists of picture sizes for all main social media platforms, together with Fb, Instagram, and Twitter.

9. Social Media Advertising Proposal

Social media marketing proposal template.

With this template, you may create a whole social media advertising proposal. This may define the social media targets, scope of the work, and the ways that you simply plan to implement.

10. Social Media Reporting Template

Social media report template.

With this template, you may acquire entry to a slidedeck that features templates for social media reporting. In the event you plan to implement social media in your advertising plan, these reporting templates can assist you observe your progress.

Easy Advertising Plan Template

In fact, this kind of planning takes plenty of effort and time. So for those who’re strapped for time earlier than the vacations, give our new Marketing Plan Generator a attempt. This software simplifies yearly planning and lays your methods, initiatives, and targets out in a easy template so you may establish what’s most essential for the approaching 12 months.

Try our free Marketing Plan Generator here.

As soon as you have stuffed in your data, you may come away with a plan that helps you:

  • Define your annual advertising technique
  • Determine your most essential annual initiatives
  • Nix the tasks that will not provide help to hit your targets
  • Monitor the precise metrics all year long
  • Align your crew via a standard mission

Professional Tip: The easiest way to arrange your advertising plan for the 12 months is to begin with fast wins first, that approach you may ramp up quick and set your self (and your crew) as much as hit more difficult targets and tackle extra refined tasks by This fall. So, what do you say? Are you prepared to offer it a spin?

Editor’s word: This publish was initially revealed in December 2016 and has been up to date for comprehensiveness.

Marketing Plan Template

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