How to Develop a Targeted Marketing Plan

by | Nov 11, 2021 | Marketing

Plan your work, work your plan. It’s good advice when developing a marketing strategy for the new year. But what if you don’t know where to start to create the plan to begin with? The best advice I can give you is to first create a reasonable, attainable goal, and work backward to fill in the steps that will help you to achieve that goal.

Let’s say a reasonable goal for 2022 is to increase your sales by 15%s to homeowners in the affluent part of town that we’ll call Richland. What steps can you take, what marketing plans can you make, to achieve that goal?

Set Your Marketing Budget

If you are going to increase your sales to the fine folks of Richland, you’ve got to ask them to spend their money with you. This “ask” is called marketing. Since it takes money to make money, you’re going to need to spend some of yours to get more of theirs. Ah, but how much should you spend? Conventional wisdom has always been to set a marketing budget of around 2 – 3% of gross revenue. The Small Business Administration recommends that small businesses with revenues less than $5 million should allocate 7 – 8% of their revenue to marketing, assuming you have margins of 10 – 12% after expenses. I recommend you do the math and allocate funds in the 2- 5% ballpark that feels right to you. If you go low and need more, you’ll have room to maneuver.

Define your target audience

As you’ve already set your goal to increase sales among the well-heeled folks who can afford your services in Richland, your target audience is defined. This means that advertising in other neighborhoods will not help you achieve your goal. So, don’t advertise there. While this seems simplistic, it’s not. Over the course of the year, you’ll be hit up by advertising salespeople who want you to exhibit at an event, buy an ad, or sponsor a team for a really good cause, and you’ll be tempted to spend part of your budget. Your best defense against these salespeople is to keep in mind your goal. If the event, ad, or team does not reach your audience in Richland, then you can more easily say no. Conversely, if the advertising vehicle presented does reach your Richland audience, you’ll feel more confident in evaluating the merit of the request.

Create Your Strategy 

Knowing something about the residents of Richland will help you to deliver your marketing message in a place where they will be likely to receive it. Are there local newspapers, websites, community forums, or newsletters that specifically reach Richland residents? Since you know where they live, would community or HOA restrictions allow you to walk the streets of the neighborhood and drop off door hangers or brochures? Considering that you are being so specific with your target audience, a postcard direct mail campaign could be effective. And, of course, digital marketing through Google Ads and Facebook allow you to pinpoint your message to regions and zip codes.

Develop Your Campaign

Now that you know who you want to receive your message and how you could deliver it, it’s time to decide what you want to say. If Richland residents are really that wealthy, they might not be motivated by coupons or discounts. Think instead of what would motivate this customer to buy. It may be concierge services, specialty products, or messaging that conveys prestige. Develop a creative campaign that speaks to what the customer wants, using language that motivates them to act.

For help with defining your target audience and creating messaging that they’ll respond to, download your FREE workbook at: 

This article first ran in Irrigation & Green Industry magazine.