“To earn money with dropshipping, simply open an online store, locate the right supplier, and that’s it.”
Who knows how many times you’ve heard this sentence, but unfortunately things are not exactly like that; a successful dropshipping store is always supported by a strategic business plan and an ad hoc marketing plan.
Today we’re going to talk about how to build an annual marketing plan to get your business on the right track and turn your business goals into reality. Once it’s set up, the marketing plan is a tool that will guide you in all the important decisions of your business and will also be essential to correctly define your campaigns and growth objectives in an ambitious but realistic way.
If you don’t write down the various steps of your project, every decision you make will seem messy and improvised. But don’t worry, nothing prevents you from creating variations to your marketing plan in progress.
THE MARKETING PLAN
In this guide, we’ll help you create a marketing plan that’s right for your online business. We assure you that, if you are meticulous, careful and methodical, it will be really simple.
What cannot be missing from your marketing plan at all?
- Corporate mission
- Business goals
- Your target
- SWOT analysis
- Market strategy
- Your budget
- Marketing channels
- Financial projections
1. Corporate mission
Write down your company’s profile, mission and organization. Where is your company based? What is its organizational chart? What is its mission?
2. Business goals
Segment the various commercial objectives and state which marketing operation will work according to them. Describe the objectives qualitatively and quantitatively and enter as many details as possible to make them SMART.
3. Your target
You will need to carry out one or more market research to identify your target and plan marketing actions consistent with the audience you want to reach.
This element of your marketing plan will help you describe your buyer persona, that is a semi-fictitious description of your ideal customer that contains basic elements such as: age, place of residence, educational qualification, work goals, personal challenges, etc.
Once you have identified your buyer persona, the latter will almost certainly have problems, frictions to solve and obviously you will have the right solution. You will almost certainly not be the only one though: for this reason you’ll need to know your market niche and its competitors well.
Analyze your competitors and understand what they do effectively and their gaps, which you could potentially fill. Some parameters to be taken into consideration are for example: positioning, market shares, type of offer, average price, etc.
5. SWOT analysis
In your marketing plan, always include a SWOT analysis, which includes strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for your company.
6. Market strategy
This is one of the most important phases of your business. Use all the information you collected in the previous stages and identify the most correct strategy to bring your company closer to the market niche you want. What do you offer more than the competition? Why should your buyers choose you?
Get help from famous and time-tested marketing tools, like the 7Ps of marketing.
What product do you offer? At what price? In which place, a physical or online store? What promotions will you run? What people are you addressing? What process will you implement? What is the practical and tangible proof of the validity of your product?
7. Your budget
How much money will be allocated to your campaigns? How much budget does the marketing team have available to achieve the objectives outlined by the elements identified above?
Once the budget has been identified, you will have to divide everything into micro-expenses; the most frequent ones are related to costs of marketing agencies, online adv, events, tools for analysis, influencer marketing, etc.
8. Marketing channels
The last operational step will be defining which channels you will use to advertise your products by paying. What are the correct advertising spaces to purchase and use? Only you will be able to answer this question after building your marketing plan.
Remember that on social platforms you can communicate with your target and build relationships, generate leads and spread awareness about your brand.
Define well which social platforms you will use, what you’d like to talk about on them, the type of content and the projection of results over the long term. The results won’t be immediate, it will take time and consistency to build your online brand reputation.
9. Financial projections
At this point, you should know your budget and which marketing channels and campaigns you’ll want to invest it in and you’ll be able to come up with different tactics based on the expected ROI.
Therefore, prepare the financial projections for the year; even if they won’t be 100% accurate, rest assured that they will still help you with executive planning.
Our final piece of advice is to set up your marketing plan on the basis of many small goals, so as to reach them faster and not get discouraged immediately.
Once you have overcome the first objectives, you will be able to tackle more ambitious and demanding projects and with longer timescales, for which you will involve the entire team.
Now that you have learned the 9 things that cannot be missing in your marketing plan to have a successful online business, get to work and start analyzing thoroughly point after point. As we told you in the beginning, in order to earn and live thanks to dropshipping, you cannot simply open an ecommerce and wait ..!