Marketing plan

7 Online Resources to Tap When Creating a Marketing Plan

Whether you’re launching your first startup, preparing for the release of a new product line or getting ready to make the leap to self-employment, you’re going to need a bulletproof marketing plan before hitting the accelerator.

Regardless of how great you believe your solution is, a strategic marketing plan will help you better formulate your value propositions, target the right customers and reach them as efficiently as possible.

Over the past few years, I’ve helped brands like LinkedIn, Zendesk and CreativeLive develop and execute high-return marketing plans. Through my research and practical experience, here are the top seven online resources for creating a marketing plan that in order to get real results for your bottom line:

  1. Google AdWords Keyword Planner

Want to get a clear estimate of how much online demand there is for your type of product or service? Google’s Keyword Planner will give you the most accurate idea of how many monthly searches there are on Google for the specific keyword phrases you enter.

For example, if you’re planning to launch a new portable speaker targeted for use in the shower or at the beach, you’d want to check out the level of demand and competition while creating your marketing plan. With Keyword Planner, you can get a snapshot of how many people search each month using keyword phrases like, “waterproof speaker,” “Bluetooth shower speaker” and “best portable speaker for the beach.” You’ll also get clear estimates for how much running an AdWords campaign will cost for your target keyword phrases.

  1. Buzzsumo

This tactical research tool gives you the ability to track down the highest performing existing websites, content and influencers in the space you’re operating in. Buzzsumo’s content researcher gives you a targeted list of potential partners for your marketing campaigns, destinations to run sponsorships and relevant influencers who’d likely be interested in becoming brand advocates for your upcoming solution.

  1. HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator

Like it or not, any marketing plan in today’s digital age needs to incorporate content. Whether that’s in the form of written blog posts, testimonials, product reviews, video content, animated films or otherwise, creating unique content is a must. After entering a few nouns that describe your upcoming product or service, the blog topic generator tool by HubSpot will automatically give you a list of five creative topics you can create content around.

Related: 7 Common Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make with a Marketing Plan

  1. Moz Open Site Explorer

This free tool created by Moz has become the industry standard for researching competitor websites, finding link-building opportunities and identifying collaboration partners to work with on the launch of your solution. By looking up the websites of similar or related competitor companies in your industry on Open Site Explorer, you can quickly identify all of the top articles and sites that link to your competitor. With this knowledge, you can build a targeted outreach list to start drumming up press for your upcoming launch.

  1. Google Trends

Another extremely useful free resource from Google, the Trends tool is a great starting point for identifying trending stories and mapping out long-term trend projections for specific topic areas over time. By searching “Bluetooth speaker” on Google Trends, you can see clear spikes in search activity around the holiday season each year — which can help inform you on the best times of year to boost your paid marketing campaigns.

  1. The Quicksprout Blog

Quicksprout is the marketing blog that’s run by Neil Patel, one of the world’s foremost authorities on digital marketing and SEO. With almost 900 online marketing-related articles since Neil started blogging back in 2007, this is your destination for deep dives on how to execute specific strategies, tactics and campaigns that have helped him generate millions for his clients.

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  1. Peek by User Testing

Want to get a preview of how visitors are going to react to your upcoming product or service before spending a ton of money driving in traffic? Peek by User Testing is a free service that gives you a five-minute video of a real person using your website or app. It’s the perfect way to test landing page copy, get feedback on your sales funnel and identify potential shortcomings with your solution before launching to the rest of the world.

As you’re creating your marketing plan, remember not to lose sight of who your customers really are. Take the time to have regular conversations with the people in your target market, ask them which sites they frequent and develop an understanding for their deepest needs when it comes to the topic area you’re creating a solution for.

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