Does a Virtual Assistant need a marketing plan and how easy is it to create one?
No matter what stage of business you’re in, there are certain documents you need to have in place, if you want to stay on track for growth. A marketing plan is one of those documents. Often, it’s included within the pages of a comprehensive business plan however, for the small business owner such as a Virtual Assistant, it can work out more effective to have it as a stand alone document.
Last week, we looked at business plans for your VA business, and what they typically include (you can find that article here: https://www.vact.co.uk/does-a-va-business-need-a-business-plan/). As part of your business plan, you need to know your customers, your products and services, available finances and the different opportunities open to you – all things that help you devise a marketing plan. It therefore makes sense to create your business plan first, and include a brief summary of your marketing plans within that business plan. You can then go on to create a separate, more in depth marketing plan afterwards.
So what is a marketing plan?
A marketing plan is a blueprint for how you’re going to implement your marketing strategy, as summarised in your business plan. Like your business plan, a marketing plan is also designed to give you focus and direction, to help you grow and expand your business. It reminds you who you’re looking to work with and how you’re going to reach them.
A detailed marketing plan should explain how each of the marketing targets and objectives will be achieved. However, as a marketing plan is your strategy for introducing and delivering your service to your ideal customers, it’s a document that you will need to look at regularly. This is why it’s hugely beneficial to separate it out from the business plan and create two separate documents.
What does a Virtual Assistant need in a marketing plan?
Creating your own marketing plan doesn’t have to be difficult. It can be broken down either into statements about each of the sections, or you can separate it down by marketing activity. The key here though, is to do whatever suits you best – as you will be referring back to it often, so you want it to be something that makes sense to you!
A marketing plan tends to include:
Start by summarising what is it that you plan to do with your marketing and how you’re going to get those results.
Your marketing objectives and goals
Next, you can move onto who you’d like to target with your marketing and how this fits into your overall business goals. Your marketing goals need to help you move towards your bigger business goals. So, what would you like to achieve and what is the aim of your marketing?
Promotional strategies you will implement
It’s important to include an overview of how you’re going to carry out your marketing and what that looks like. For example, are you going to be using online marketing methods, offline ones, or a mixture of both? Will you be using social media – if so, which platforms and how often?
Before you get into the nitty gritty of your marketing, you need to know how much you’ve got to spend on marketing. What is your budget for the year and/or quarter and how you will spend that budget? Will there be free strategies you’ll be implementing during this period too?
Overall brand strategy
It’s important to understand what core message and story you’re looking to spread, during your marketing. Will you be focusing on getting this core message out during this period – or are there more specific messages and stories you need to get out there now?
This is the biggest part of your marketing plan, as it details exactly what you’re going to do. There will be specific actions you’re going to take, as well as associated timeframes and deadlines – and all of this needs to be detailed here. What exact strategies will you be using? This is where it may be best to break down your promotional strategy into the different platforms you’ll be using, to help keep it simple and focused.
Remember to track your results
No matter how great a marketing plan you have, you need to ensure you’re tracking your results. Not only does this help you replicate strategies that work for you, it also helps you see what isn’t working. So, what will you do to analyse and track your results? What tools and systems will you use to track those results? How often will you evaluate your marketing efforts and set new goals?
Like your business plan, a marketing plan should be a living document. If it’s something that you just set up once and never look at again, it just isn’t going to be of use to you. You need a clear plan of action, if you want to be successful in business and the information above will help you get one in place. (Check out the Common mistakes most VA businesses make, when starting out, to find out what else you need to consider, if you want your business to get off to the best possible start!)
When you put in the focused marketing efforts and track those results, you have a plan that can be tweaked and amended, as needed. Not only can you use it to replicate strategies, you can also use it to remind yourself of your achievements – and how far you and your business have grown, as result.
If today’s blog post has helped you, I’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts and tips for creating and using a marketing plan, in the comments box below.
Are you looking for help to get your Virtual Assistant business up and running, we cover whether a Virtual Assistant need a Marketing Plan as part of the VA Mastery Course our flagship course along with topics such as finance, business plans etc. Our course has been proven to help Virtual Assistants earn more money than any other UK based VA Training Course. Click here to learn more.