In a world of ever-changing algorithms, new social media platforms, and changes to advertising policies, it can feel hard to keep up. It’s also tempting to jump on every marketing bandwagon, feeling like you need to invest everywhere. And while it is important to have a presence across the world wide web, it’s important to let a local marketing plan drive your marketing efforts.
Instead of chasing after every marketing strategy, you need a strategic plan that informs which tactics to pursue.
In this free guide we’ll give you the tools you need to put together a comprehensive marketing plan and tips for knowing when to incorporate new strategies along the way.
Why a marketing plan is important
The reason you invest in marketing is to get more clients through your door, and a marketing plan will help you stay focused on that goal. A marketing plan will ultimately save you time and money, which are valuable resources for busy pregnancy center directors and staff. A plan will help you identify your target audience and clarify your message.
A plan is also flexible. It gives direction while still leaving room for course adjustments along the way; if it does make sense to hop on a new social media platform or if Google makes changes to its advertising policy, a well written marketing plan will make allowances for that.
Components of a good marketing plan
Mission & Vision Statements
If it’s been awhile since these were written or updated, you should take some time to review them to make sure they’re still accurate and up to date. These are more than just statements on paper – they’re the driving principles behind what you do and why. They’ll also drive many aspects of your marketing plan.
Take stock of where you’ve been and what areas of your marketing have been effective, what areas need improvement, and what areas you haven’t engaged with yet. Look over your marketing from the last full calendar year for each area – email, social media, advertising, blog, website – and answer these questions:
- What’s working?
- What’s not working?
- What needs improvement?
- Is this helping you reach your goal of getting more women through your doors?
As you evaluate what you’ve been doing, you’ll get a better idea of areas that are good, areas that need more attention, and areas where maybe you need to stop what you’re doing and start something new. All of this information will help you create your new marketing plan.
This step often feels obvious so it’s skipped a lot of times. You may feel you know your target audience very well, but it’s worth putting pen to paper to outline exactly who your target audience is. Get your team together to help you with this; the results may surprise you.
Take time to list out everything you can about your target audience or ideal client. Where do they live? Are they in school? Starting a career? What income bracket are they in? How old are they? What are their hobbies and interests? Where do they hang out online? Where do they shop? The answers to these questions will help you determine much of your marketing plan and strategy.
Keep in mind that you probably have multiple audiences and will want to have portions of your plan designed with each in mind. You may currently be targeting just college students, but if there are high schools in your area, you’ll need to update your plan to include that demographic as well. These audiences reflect two distinct age groups that both will feel overwhelmed by an unplanned pregnancy in different ways for different reasons. To effectively reach both, you need a plan for both.
Once you know who your target audience is, you can move on to identifying objectives. What are your key objectives for your marketing?
One obvious goal is for more abortion-minded and abortion-determined women to schedule appointments, show up for their appointments, and ultimately choose life. But maybe you have other goals as well. If you have a sexual integrity program, one goal may be to get into more schools this year. If you offer men’s services you may set goals focused on how to reach and serve more fathers. Or maybe you have always relied on word of mouth to let potential supporters know about your pregnancy center and haven’t intentionally marketed to new donors.
Think through all of your services, resources available, and your audience to determine which of those you want to focus on in your marketing plan for this year. The answer may be all of them, or you may want to focus more attention on some than others.
Now that you know who your ideal clients are and have clarified your objectives, it’s time to figure out what messages you want to put in front of each one. These will include the actions you want people to take, how you can help address their perceived or real problems, and why they should trust you above other clinics or organizations that may be available.
Selecting Your Tactics
Now you’re ready to select which tactics you will employ. Most people are tempted to start here and skip all the previous planning steps, but your marketing will not be as effective and it will be difficult to measure if you start in the wrong place.
The demographic you want to reach will determine where you reach them and the messages you put in front of them. For example, younger GenZ hangs out on Snapchat, YouTube, and Tik Tok; trying to reach them on Facebook will not be as effective unless you are in a rural or low-income area. Older GenZ and Millennials are on Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook.
Once you know who your audience is, you can begin doing more research about where they spend time and what kind of content they prefer to consume. Don’t forget to explore offline marketing options as well! GenZ pays attention to billboards and other offline advertising in addition to digital marketing so try to reach them in both places.
After selecting the tactics and platforms you want to pursue, it’s time to do more in-the-weeds planning. How often will you post? What new platforms are you going to use? What is your messaging and how are you going to communicate those messages?
Do you need to build new pages on your website? Or set up new social media profiles? Are you planning to start advertising this year? Is this the year where you’ll start a blog?
Now is the time to list out all of the action steps associated with all of your new and old endeavors and decide on a content schedule for each one. For each one, you will want to answer this question: “How does this tie into my organization’s overall goals?”
Create a Calendar
You’re so close to finishing your marketing plan – don’t stop without including this next crucial step! It will take time but is worth the effort.
You’ll want your calendar (often called an editorial calendar) to list all of your platforms, the key messages, and frequencies of how often you’ll post to each platform. This is where the rubber meets the road. You can have all of the best plans and tactics selected, but if you don’t plan when you’ll implement it, it likely won’t happen.
Finally, you’ll want to have a plan in place to measure how you’re doing. You can put a lot of effort into certain platforms and tactics but unless you measure you won’t know how effective it is. Most social platforms have insights and metrics reports in place so you can see how you’re doing; Google Advertising will reveal how well your ads are doing, and Google Analytics will show how many people are reading your blog, visiting your website, and taking various actions on your site. Use this information to gauge which platforms are working and which ones need more work.
Sometimes if you’re not getting a lot of traction somewhere it’s not because you’re in the wrong place but are sharing the wrong message. Having a marketing plan in place allows you to make adjustments along the way but know that you’re still working toward the same goal and objectives.
We hope this helps you catch a vision for why you need a marketing plan going into 2020! As always, if you need help putting one together or are wondering what tactics should be included in your plan, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’re here to help you succeed in reaching more abortion-minded women with hope, resources, and truth!