How to Use the Boomerang App for Social Media Marketing Campaigns

How to Use the Boomerang App for Social Media Marketing Campaigns

The traditional boomerang is a curved throwing stick, created sometime between 25,000 and 50,000 years ago. A popular version you might have heard of is the “returning boomerang.” This stick is curved, flattened, and designed to return to the thrower.

The Boomerang app, on the other hand, creates fun mini-videos you can share online.

What are the similarities?

We’ll get to that in a sec, but since this is the Neil Patel blog, there’s no surprise which Boomerang this post will focus on!

Many brands are using Boomerang to connect, engage, and drive brand awareness.

So, how can you get started using this tool? More importantly, how do you create content that will give you an edge over your competitors? Before we answer those questions, let’s first go over what the Boomerang app is.

What Is the Boomerang App?

Boomerang is Instagram’s standalone app, created in 2015.

You can use it to create a video loop that plays forward and in reverse, again and again. In this way, the video continuously returns to the start (just like a traditional boomerang returns to the thrower).

How long is the video loop?

Just. One. Second.

Some marketers might easily dismiss the app or shy away from using it. How can you get your message across in one second? Below, you’ll see how easy it can be to create content that’s only a second long but leaves a lasting impression.

Before we get there, it’s important to mention that Boomerang content is meant to be fun! This is not a platform for communicating complicated or profound messages. Remember, you only have one second.

So when it comes to creating videos on the Boomerang app, think light, fun, and exciting content your audience will love to see and share.

How Does the Boomerang App Work?

According to the Apple App Store, “the app takes ten photos and stitches them together, speeds up the video and smooths out any bumps, then loops it back and forth.”

To continue making the app exciting to use, the creators introduced a few additional features, including SlowMo, Echo, Duo, and Trimming:

  • SlowMo: With this option, videos play for two seconds forward and two seconds backward. As the name suggests, it slows down your video clip to help capture every detail.
  • Echo: This feature creates a double vision effect on your Boomerang video clips.
  • Duo: This option quickly rewinds to the start of the video clip (by speeding up and slowing down), which adds a glitchy feel and texturized effect.
  • Trimming: This feature allows you to edit the video clip length and decide when it should start and end.

How to Get the Standalone Boomerang App

Because this is a separate app from Instagram, you don’t have to worry about having a personal or business Instagram account to download it. You can simply download the app and install it directly on your iOS or Android device.

How to Create a Boomerang Using the App

Once you’ve downloaded the app to your phone, simply tap the white button on the bottom center of the screen.

This allows the app to take a burst of photos and create a Boomerang video clip for you.

To make some technical adjustments, you can tap the screen four times, using four fingers. This lets you alter the resolution of the video, frame rate, frame count, and how the video replays.

When you’re happy with your new Boomerang clip, you can press the “Save” button in the top right corner.

As shown in the picture below, you have the option to share your clip on Instagram, Facebook, or other platforms.

Why Use Boomerang?

What makes the Boomerang app special, and why should you use it over other platforms?

1. Shareability

In this social media age, creating shareable content is essential. This helps grow your brand and get your content in front of the right people.

The Boomerang app is great because short videos are inherently easier to share.

It’s also easier to get someone to commit to watching a one-second clip, rather than a longer, more detailed video.

2. Video Content Is King

No matter how you feel about video, you can’t dispute how effective it is.

Studies show 92% of marketers who use video marketing say it’s an essential part of their marketing strategy, and 83% of marketers say video marketing has helped them generate more leads.

In addition, 74% of consumers who’ve watched an explainer video about a product ended up buying it.

These numbers all point to one fact: visual content works.

With Boomerang, you can continue to create videos and give your market the visual content they enjoy.

3. Simplicity

As a busy marketer, you don’t have the time to try to figure out another complicated new app.

You want something easy to use. You want to worry about creating the right content, not the technical aspects of the app.

Boomerang ticks this box because it’s simple to use and user-friendly.

In just a few seconds, you can have a viral video your market loves.

If you haven’t created Boomerangs for your social media marketing campaigns, it’s never too late to start. It can be a fun and effective way to increase brand awareness and help you achieve your overall marketing goals.

Boomerang Marketing Uses

We’ve already highlighted how simple it is to use the Boomerang app. Now comes the fun part.

The following ideas can give you some inspiration on how to get started with creating fun Boomerang content that’s relevant to your audience.

Showcase Yourself Completing Work

All you need to do to create a Boomerang is tap a button, but pressing the record button is only a little piece of the puzzle.

The real job is finding something interesting to capture, something that can immediately get your audience’s attention, something novel.

Where do you start?

Continuously being creative about a product or service can be challenging, especially if you’ve been working on it for a while.

To get started, put yourself in your consumers’ shoes and ask yourself, “What would I find interesting about this product or service?”

Completing an interesting element of your work can do the trick. Here are some examples:

  • Marketing for a restaurant? How about capturing the chef adding seasoning to the dishes?
  • If you’re marketing for a clothing designer, you can show the models walking down the runway or capture the designer sketching.
  • Marketing for an artist? Record that final brushstroke across a painting.

There is no right or wrong here, but it’s important to understand that simplicity can help get your message across.

A great example of this is how Benefit Cosmetics used the Boomerang app for Instagram.

First, they clearly got the “keep it simple” memo.

They decided to capture a model putting on mascara, choosing to focus on the results of their product because that’s important to their consumers.

When putting together content ideas, think about your consumers and what would nudge them into buying or at least getting excited about your product.

Show Off Your Work Culture

When thinking about content ideas, don’t limit it to only your product or service. Sometimes your audience wants to know more about what’s happening behind-the-scenes.

The Boomerang app allows you to showcase the workplace culture of your brand. Are your employees having fun in the office? Does your brand have a light and fun energy that you want to share with your audience?

Capture these moments because they can help you create real connections with your market.

An example of a great behind-the-scenes moment is this fun and charming Boomerang from Cosmopolitan.

There isn’t a magazine in sight, and Cosmopolitan doesn’t sell bubblegum (last time we checked), but this clip still got thousands of likes. What’s the appeal?

First, it’s about the motion. We can’t help but focus on the bubble as it grows to the point of almost popping, and then gets smaller again. It instantly grabs anyone’s attention.

More importantly, this playful and fun moment endears and connects the brand to its audience.

Demonstrate Your Company’s Altruism

It’s easy to assume that you need a lot of money to make a difference, but that’s not always the case. Even if you own a small company with considerably less turnover than your competitors, you can still make an impact.

Do you feel strongly about making a difference in your community? Does your team sometimes get involved in volunteer work over the weekends? Is there a particular cause you’ve been passionate about for some time?

Whatever the case, you can create a Boomerang and show your company’s compassion.

Consider the following ideas:

  • Your team arriving outside your local charity organization
  • Giving food or apparel to the needy
  • Any other special moment that shows your commitment to making a difference

Show Users How to Do a Task

If you recently added new features to your product, or if you have a complicated software system, why not show your users how to use it?

They’ll appreciate seeing this, and it might be the final push to encourage people on the fence to make the purchase.

A great example of this can be seen in the Boomerang below.

Verge decided to use Boomerang to show off Microsoft’s Surface Book laptop.

In just a quick second, consumers can see how the product looks and how to assemble the screen and keyboard.

If you bought the product and were struggling with this, that’s good for you.

If you’re a fan of the brand or are looking to purchase a new laptop, you might also start wondering about the interesting new features the product has. This video shows you can find a Boomerang moment in any situation.

Show Off Your Product’s Beauty

When it came to showing off their product, jewelry brand Diamond Mansion kept things simple.

They knew placing their cushion-cut, double halo ring under the right lighting would grab their followers’ attention.

Check out the Boomerang below.

This clip works because the brand understands its market and what they want to see: a beautiful, sparkly diamond ring.

You don’t have to complicate things by trying to convey too many messages at once. Boomerang clips are too short for that. Just keep it to one, simple idea that’s relevant to your market.

Conclusion

As you already know, when it comes to social media marketing, a lot goes into creating the right content on any platform.

In addition to planning and creating content, there’s also the element of engaging with your audience, building trust, and keeping them engaged, not to mention competing with thousands of other brands that want your market’s attention.

It’s important, therefore, to use trends to diversify your content.

Creating mini one-second videos can be a fun and exciting addition to your feed. It can also give your audience something to remember you by.

When creating Boomerang video clips, remember to always think about one idea or message you want to convey.

Keep things simple, be creative, and have fun while creating new content for your audience to consume.

How have you used the Boomerang app for your marketing?

The B2B Content Marketing Report

The B2B Content Marketing Report

We analyzed 502 B2B companies to better understand how they approach content marketing. And to help identify content marketing approaches that work best in the B2B space.

Specifically, we looked at:

  • How many B2B companies have a blog
  • The types of content are they publishing
  • How much organic traffic B2B blogs receive each month
  • The characteristics of top performing B2B content
  • And more

Now it’s time to share what we discovered.

Our summary findings are as follows:

1. 72% of B2B companies have a blog. Put another way, 28% of B2B companies don’t have a blog.

2. Only 8% of B2B companies solely use their blogs for sharing company-focused, PR-style content.

3. B2B blogs that create education content receive 52% more organic traffic than those that mainly publish content about their company.

4. Only 29% of B2B companies allow comments on their blog posts.

5. 65% of B2B companies use stock images in their blog posts.

6. The most popular call-to-action in B2B content is to highlight “related posts” or “related content”.

7. 35% of companies used “subscribe to our newsletter” as a prominent call-to-action on their blogs.

8. Only 24% of companies use pop-ups on their blogs.

9. On average, B2B blogs receive 282 visits from organic search each month.

10. Top-performing B2B blog posts receive an average of 99 shares on social media and 49 visits per month from organic search.

72% of B2B Companies Have a Blog

Our research found that nearly 3 out of 4 B2B companies have a blog.

72 Percent Of B2B Companies Have A Blog

Or put another way, 142 of our 502 (28.3%) of B2B companies don’t have a blog.

For most companies, their blog is the main hub of their content marketing efforts. And a key source of organic traffic.

Without a blog, it strongly suggests that 28% of B2B companies are making little investment in their content marketing.

According to FocusVision, B2B decision makers typically consume 13 pieces of content during the buying cycle. Interestingly, the majority of that content is read directly from the vendor’s website.

Which is probably why 46% of B2B marketers plan on investing more in content marketing in the future.

According to our research, the majority of B2B businesses are invested in content marketing and SEO.

However, a fair number of B2B companies are either not using content as part of their marketing approach. Or their content marketing is happening off-site (for example, on social media networks like LinkedIn).

The rest of this report mainly focuses on the majority of B2B companies that do use blogging as part of their content marketing strategy.

Key Takeaway: 28% of B2B companies don’t use blogging as part of their content marketing strategy.

61% of B2B Companies Use WordPress as Their CMS

Across the 360 SaaS companies with existing blogs, we identified 25 different content management systems in use. The most popular choice was WordPress, used by 220 (61%) companies.

61 Percent Of B2B Companies Use WordPress As Their CMS

Note: We weren’t able to discover the CMS used by 53 of the companies on our list (10.5%). These may have been custom-built solutions or CMSs that are not commonly used.

According to BuiltWith, WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS.

So the fact that WordPress came out on top shouldn’t come as a surprise.

However, powering 61% of all B2B blogs, it’s interesting just how dominant WordPress is in the B2B world. To put this figure into perspective, the second most-popular CMS was HubSpot. Which was used by just 9% (34) of the companies we looked at.

Key takeaway: WordPress is the most popular choice of content management system for B2B companies – by far. HubSpot was the second most popular CMS among the B2B blogs that we analyzed.

38% of B2B Company Blogs Publish Content to Educate Their Audience

Across the companies we looked at, there were four distinct use cases for company blogs:

  1. Company news: these blogs only focus on the company and its products.
  2. Educational content: these blogs share helpful content that is designed to solve problems and provide value to the reader.
  3. Mixed: the company shares its press and educational content in one place.
  4. Industry news: Blogs that focused on sharing news relating to the industry they’re in.
Most B2B Blogs Are Mixed

The “mixed” approach was most popular, used by 51% of companies. This all-in-one strategy is likely popular because it has the best of both worlds.

Most content is focused on providing valuable content that educates an audience on a problem they’re looking to solve. The blog is also where a company publishes company-focused content that position’s their company as an industry leader.

An example of this “mixed” approach is from Segment. All their blog posts sit within one directory (segment.com/blog/). But each post is clearly separated into different categories depending on the subject matter or post type:

Segment Blog

As you can see in this screenshot, their blog posts are very clearly categorized into themes: company-related posts (such as the announcement of Segment’s acquisition by Twilio) in one category, and educational posts relating to growth and marketing in another category.

38% of the blogs that we analyzed publish 100% educational content on their blog.

Interestingly, only 8% of companies solely used their blogs for PR-style, company news-focused content.

This suggests that if a B2B company is investing in their blog, they understand they’re likely to see better results by providing useful content for their audience vs. company updates and news.

Key takeaway: 51% of B2B blogs use their blog as a home for all their content – both educational and company-focused.

Educational Blogs Receive 52% More Organic Traffic Than Company-Focused Blogs

We found that educational blogs receive 52% more organic traffic than those which focused on company news and PR-style content:

Educational Blogs Receive 52 Percent More Organic Traffic Than Company Focused Blogs

This finding isn’t entirely surprising: educational content is more likely to rank for a wider variety of keywords. On the other hand, a business that’s only publishing news is limited to ranking for their company name and a handful of other related terms.

Key takeaway: Blogs that focus on educating their audience (rather than promoting their own company) receive 52% more organic traffic than company-focused blogs.

Are B2B brands publishing content to create a community with their audience? Or is it a one-way street?

Our research found that only 106 (29%) of the B2B blogs we looked at allow readers to leave comments.

29 Percent Of B2B Blogs Allow Readers To Leave Comments

Allowing comments isn’t necessarily a “best practice” for blogs anymore. There’s certainly a case to be made that comments can lead to more site engagement. However, the data is unclear on whether comments actually generate more traffic and links.

Comments also come at a cost: moderation and fighting spam. And according to our data, most B2B companies prefer to run their blogs without a commenting feature.

Key takeaway: 70% of B2B blogs don’t allow readers to leave comments on their posts.

65% of B2B Blogs Use Stock Images

65% of the blogs we looked at used stock images as their featured image. 14% used no images at all. And only 21% of blogs used custom images for their posts.

65 Percent Of B2B Blogs Use Stock Images

Using stock images is an easy way for busy content managers to bring visuals into their posts.

However, during this study, we saw the same stock images crop up multiple times on different blogs.

In 2019, Reboot conducted a long-term experiment to investigate whether stock images (which are often used across hundreds of other sites) are treated by search engines as duplicate content, and as a result cause a ranking issue. They concluded: “Using unique images on your website does have a positive impact on organic web rankings… compared with equivalent sites using duplicated images across the web.”

While it’s impossible to draw wide-sweeping guidelines based on a single SEO experiment, it’s fair to say that custom images can help your blog content stand out. Which may make creating unique images worth the investment regardless of any potential SEO benefit.

Key takeaway: Almost two-thirds of B2B blogs use stock images for their content’s featured image.

23% of B2B Blogs Don’t Have a Call-To-Action

Content can be an excellent source of traffic for B2B blogs. But with typical bounce rates hovering at around 50%, a clear call-to-action can help convert that traffic into a lead or trial.

We found eight different types of call-to-action used across the B2B blogs in our data set:

  • Subscribe to our blog/newsletter
  • Related/recommended articles
  • Download gated content
  • Book a demo
  • Start product trial
  • Sign up
  • Contact us
  • View pricing
23 Percent Of Blogs Dont Have A Call To Action

Note: several companies used more than one type of call-to-action on their blogs.

The most popular type of call-to-action was to show-case related articles, used by 39% of companies. The second most-popular call-to-action was to subscribe to their newsletter, used on 35% of blogs.

This data suggests that many B2B companies understand the importance of using their content to build ongoing relationships with their audience and to encourage multiple pageviews.

Interestingly, almost one-quarter of the blogs that we looked at didn’t use any type of call-to-action.

Key takeaway: 39% of B2B companies use “related articles” as a call-to-action on their blog. This is an even more popular CTA than “subscribe to the newsletter”, which was only used by 35% of companies. 23% of B2B blogs don’t have any CTA at all.

24% of B2B Companies Use Pop Ups On Their Blogs

Our research found that only 24% of B2B companies were using pop-ups on their blogs.

24 Percent Of B2B Companies Use Pop Ups On Their Blogs

Note that we didn’t consider cookie notifications a popup. As that’s a legal requirement in certain instances.

Of the 88 companies that did use pop-ups, we saw nine different types:

  • Subscribe to newsletter
  • Promote specific content
  • Book product demo
  • Sign up to product
  • Allow browser notifications
  • Contact us
  • Complete a survey
  • Start free trial
  • Company announcement
Types Of Pop Ups Used On B2B Blogs

An example of this is from Grammarly. They use a pop-up on their blog to encourage visitors to sign-up for a free trial.

Grammarly Popup

Or this example from Pindrop, who use a pop-up to promote recommended content (in this case an upcoming webinar).

Pindrop Popup

The most popular types of pop-up asked visitors to subscribe to a newsletter (41%) and to promote specific content (28%). Again, this shows that the majority of B2B companies are focused on building a relationship with their audience vs pushing product demos or sign-ups right away.

Key takeaway: Only 24% of B2B companies are using pop-ups on their blogs. But those that do, the most popular type of pop-up is encouraging visitors to subscribe to their newsletter (accounting for 41% of the blogs with pop-ups).

Next, we decided to look at the SEO performance of the blogs in our dataset in terms of organic traffic and keyword rankings.

(Note that the data here is an analysis of the entire blog. Not individual blog posts)

We found that the average B2B blog receives 282 visits from organic traffic each month.

The Average B2B Blog Gets 282 Organic Visitors Per Month

However, this finding doesn’t show the full picture.

 
B2B websites Visits from organic traffic (median)
All websites in our analysis 280
Top 10% 22,000
Bottom 10% 0

As we can see in the table above, there’s a significant amount of variance in organic traffic levels among the sites in our dataset. While the top 10% of blogs receive a median of 22,000 visits from organic search each month, the bottom 10% get essentially zero.

In fact, 32 of the sites we looked at didn’t get any traffic from organic search – and 70 of them were getting less than 10 visitors from SEO per month.

We also looked at the number of keywords that a typical B2B blog ranks for in Google organic search.

We found that on average B2B blogs rank for 784 keywords. But as with organic traffic, there’s a huge variance across the sites we looked at:

 
B2B websites Number of organic keywords (median)
All websites in our analysis 784
Top 10% 34,550
Bottom 10% 2

On average the sites we looked at ranked for 784 organic keywords. But the top 10% ranked for 34,550 keywords. But the bottom 10%? Only 2.

Key Takeaway: The average B2B blog gets 280 visitors per month. However, this figure is slightly skewed by the significant number of B2B blogs that get little to no traffic from SEO. And the top 10% of B2B blogs that rank for thousands of popular keywords.

Backlinks and referring domains are an important factor in influencing search engine results. We found that, on average, B2B blogs receive 1,145 backlinks from 120 referring domains.

 
B2B websites Backlinks (median) Referring domains (median)
All websites in our analysis 1,145 120
Top 10% 147,000 2,560
Bottom 10% 4 2

We’ve previously outlined that we discovered huge levels of variance in terms of organic traffic and keyword rankings. And that pattern continues here.

In this case, the top 10% of B2B companies in our analysis have an average of 147,000 backlinks from 2,560 referring domains. However, the bottom 10% have only 4 backlinks from 2 referring domains.

Key Takeaway: The typical B2B business has links from 120 referring domains. We also found that top-performing B2B blogs received 2,560 referring domains on average.

Total Backlinks, Referring Domains and Keyword Rankings Correlate With Organic Traffic for B2B Blogs

Next, we looked at the relationship between backlinks, keyword rankings and organic traffic for blogs in the B2B space.

Our research found that there was a fairly weak correlation between both the number of backlinks and the number of visits from organic search.

Backlinks VS Organic Traffic

There was a stronger correlation between referring domains and organic search.

B2B Blogs With Lots Of Referring Domain Backlinks Get More Organic Traffic

This suggests that it may be better to generate links from a number of different sites, rather than focus on getting a large number of links from the same set of sites.

These findings are in-line with other search engine correlation studies, like this and this.

Not surprisingly, there was a specially strong correlation between the number of keywords a blog ranks for, and how much traffic it gets from organic search:

The Number Of Keywords A Site Ranks For Correlates Strongly With Organic Traffic Levels

Key Takeaway: Consistent with other correlational research, referring domains correlates with higher levels of the organic search traffic for B2B websites.

Top-Performing B2B Blog Posts Receive 49 Monthly Visits From Organic Search

So far we’ve focused on the analysis of B2B blogs as a whole. Now we’re going to switch gears and take a deep dive into the benchmarks that top-performing b2B blog posts tend to have.

Specifically, we identified each company’s best performing blog post, as measured by the organic search traffic it received each month.

Then, we analyzed each top performer in terms of organic traffic levels and keyword rankings.

 
Top performing B2B blog posts Visits from organic traffic (median) Ranking keywords (median)
All websites in our analysis 49 29
Top 10% 2,001 678
Bottom 10% 1 3

Our research found that the average best-in-class post ranked for 29 keywords and generated 49 visitors from organic search each month. 49 visitors may not sound like a lot of traffic. However, it’s important to keep in mind that B2B terms tend to be more commercially focused and have higher buyer intent when compared with B2C keywords. Also, organic traffic can often be reliable and consistent, especially when compared to traffic from the referral, direct traffic, social media or paid traffic.

As before, the top 10% of companies far out-perform the rest of the group. Their best posts rank for 678 keywords and generate 2,001 monthly visitors from organic search.

We also looked at the length of these top-performing posts. We cover that in more detail below.

Key Takeaway: Top-performing B2B blog posts tend to bring in 49 visitors from organic search per month.

Top-Performing B2B Blog Posts Generate 99 Social Media Shares

Social media is one of the most commonly-used channels for content promotion and distribution. But how successful is it?

We identified each company’s best-performing blog post, in terms of the number of social media shares it received:

 
Top performing B2B blog posts Social media shares (median)
All websites in our analysis 99
Top 10% 3,000
Bottom 10% 2

Our research found that the average best-in-class B2B blog post gets shared 99 times on social media.

Again, the top 10% of companies far out-perform the rest of the group, with their best posts shared 3,000 times. At the other end of the scale, the bottom 10% were only shared twice.

Key Takeaway: While social shares vary greatly between blog posts, top-performing posts have an average of 99 social media shares.

We identified each company’s best-performing blog post, in terms of the number of referring domains it received:

 
Top performing B2B blog posts Referring domains (median)
All websites in our analysis 12
Top 10% 245
Bottom 10% 1

Our research found that on average, the top B2B blog post generates backlinks from 12 referring domains. While the top 10% received backlinks from 245 referring domains.

A previous study we did using data from BuzzSumo found that 94% of all blog posts have zero external links.

So while a median of 12 referring backlinks doesn’t sound like a lot, it’s infinitely more than what the vast majority of blog posts receive.

Key Takeaway: Top-performing B2B blog posts have 12 referring domain backlinks.

Long Form Content Performs Best In The B2B Space

Do longer blog posts perform better in B2B?

We looked at the word count for the top-performing blog posts across four different categories:

  • Posts that generate the most organic traffic
  • Posts that receive the most shares on social media
  • Posts that generate the most dofollow backlinks
  • And posts that get backlinks from the most referring domains.

On average, the best-performing posts (in terms of organic traffic) was 855 words long, compared with 1454 words for the top 10%, and 509 words for the bottom 10%.

For the top 10% best-performing posts in terms of social media shares, the average length is 1,116 words. Compared to 679 words for the bottom 10%.

For posts that generate the most dofollow backlinks, the average post is 780 words. Compared to 495 words for the bottom 10%.

And for posts that get backlinks from the most referring domains, the top 10% of posts contained 1552 words. The bottom 10% were only 554 words in length.

For all the metrics we analyzed, the trend is the same: the top 10% of posts are significantly longer than average, and the bottom 10% are significantly shorter.

Long Form B2B Content Generate More Traffic Shares And Backlinks VS Short Form Content

Of course, a long post won’t automatically perform better just because it’s long. It needs to deliver value to earn those shares and links.

But our research does suggest that all things being equal, longer blog posts outperform shorter ones in the B2B space.

Key Takeaway: Long-form B2B content generates more social shares, backlinks, referring domains and organic traffic. For blog posts that rank well in organic search, the top 10% of posts are almost 3x the length of the bottom 10% of posts.

Conclusion

I hope you found this analysis of the B2B content marketing space interesting and useful.

I’d like to thank Emily Byford for helping me put this industry study together. For those that want to learn more about how we conducted this research, here’s a link to our methods and the raw data used for this analysis.

And now I’d like to hear from you:

What’s your #1 takeaway or lesson from this study? Or maybe you have a question.

Feel free to leave a comment below.

5 Steps to Create an Outstanding Marketing Plan [Free Templates]

5 Steps to Create an Outstanding Marketing Plan [Free Templates]

Do you take a good, hard look at your team’s marketing strategy every year?

You should. An annual marketing plan helps you set your marketing on the right course to make your company’s business goals a reality. Think of it as a high-level plan that guides the direction of your team’s campaigns, goals, and growth.

Without one, things can get messy — and it’s nearly impossible to put a number on the budget you’ll need to secure for the projects, hiring, and outsourcing you’ll encounter over the course of a year if you don’t have a plan.

Keep in mind there are variations to the marketing plan you need, depending on your industry and the goals of your marketing team. To make your plan’s creation easier, we’ve put together a list of what to include in your plan and a few different planning templates where you can easily fill in the blanks.

Download Now: Free Marketing Plan Template

To start, let’s dive into how to create a marketing plan and then take a look at what a high-level marketing plan has inside.

In this article, we’re going to discuss: 

1. Conduct a situation analysis.

Before you can get started with your marketing plan, you have to know your current situation.

What are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats? Conduct a basic SWOT analysis is the first step to creating a marketing plan.

Additionally, you should also have an understanding of the current market. How do you compare to your competitors? Doing a competitor analysis should help you with this step.

Think about how other products are better than yours. Plus, consider the gaps in a competitor’s approach. What are they missing? What can you offer that’ll give you a competitive advantage? Think about what sets you apart.

Answering questions like this should help you figure out what your customer wants, which brings us to step number two.

2. Define your target audience.

Once you have a better understanding of the market and your company’s situation, make sure you know who your target audience is.

If your company already has buyer personas, this step might just mean you have to refine your current personas.

If you don’t have a buyer persona, you should create one. To do this, you might have to conduct market research.

Your buyer persona should include demographic information such as age, gender, and income. However, it will also include psychographic information such as pain points and goals. What drives your audience? What problems do they have that your product or service can fix?

Once you have this information written out, it’ll help you define what your goals are, which brings us to step number three.

3. Write SMART goals.

My mother always used to tell me, “You can’t go somewhere unless you have a road map.” Now, for me, someone who’s geographically challenged, that was literal advice.

However, it can also be applied metaphorically to marketing. You can’t improve your ROI unless you know what your goals are.

After you’ve figured out your current situation and know your audience, you can begin to define your SMART goals.

SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. This means that all your goals should be specific and include a time frame for which you want to complete it.

For example, your goal could be to increase your Instagram followers by 15% in three months. Depending on your overall marketing goals, this should be relevant and attainable. Additionally, this goal is specific, measurable, and time-bound.

Before you start any tactic, you should write out your goals. Then, you can begin to analyze which tactics will help you achieve that goal. That brings us to step number four.

4. Analyze your tactics.

At this point, you’ve written down your goals based on your target audience and current situation.

Now, you have to figure out what tactics will help you achieve your goals. Plus, what are the right channels and action items to focus on.

For example, if your goal is to increase your Instagram followers by 15% in three months, your tactics might include hosting a giveaway, responding to every comment, and posting three times on Instagram per week.

Once you know your goals, brainstorming several tactics to achieve those goals should be easy.

However, while you’re writing your tactics, you have to keep your budget in mind, which brings us to step number five.

5. Set your budget.

Before you can begin implementing any of your ideas that you’ve come up with in the steps above, you have to know your budget.

For example, your tactics might include social media advertising. However, if you don’t have the budget for that, then you might not be able to achieve your goals.

While you’re writing out your tactics, be sure to note an estimated budget. You can include the time it’ll take to complete each tactic in addition to the assets you might need to purchase, such as ad space.

Now that you know how to create your marketing plan, let’s dive into the elements that a high-level marketing plan should include.

Marketing Plan Outline

Marketing plans can get quite granular to reflect the industry you’re in, whether you’re selling to consumers (B2C) or other businesses (B2B), and how big your digital presence is. Nonetheless, here are the elements every effective marketing plan includes:

1. Business Summary

In a marketing plan, your Business Summary is exactly what it sounds like: a summary of the organization. This includes:

  • The company name
  • Where it’s headquartered
  • Its mission statement

2. Business Initiatives

The Business Initiatives element of a marketing plan helps you segment the various goals of your department. Be careful not to include big-picture company initiatives, which you’d normally find in a business plan. This section of your marketing plan should outline the projects that are specific to marketing. You’ll also describe the goals of those projects and how those goals will be measured.

3. Customer Analysis

Here’s where you’ll conduct some basic market research. If your company has already done a thorough market research study, this section of your marketing plan might be easier to put together.

Ultimately, this element of your marketing plan will help you describe the industry you’re selling to and your buyer persona. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional description of your ideal customer, focusing on traits like:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Title
  • Goals
  • Personal challenges
  • Pains
  • Triggering events

4. Competitor Analysis

Your buyer persona has choices when it comes to solving their problems, choices in both the types of solutions they consider and the providers that can administer those solutions. In your market research, you should consider your competition, what they do well, and where the gaps are that you can potentially fill. This can include:

  • Positioning
  • Market share
  • Offerings
  • Pricing

5. SWOT Analysis

Your marketing plan’s Business Summary also includes a SWOT analysis, which stands for the business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Be patient with your business’s SWOT analysis; you’ll write most of it based on your market research from the sections above and your strategy below.

6. Market Strategy

Your Market Strategy uses the information included in the above sections to describe how your company should approach the market. What will your business offer your buyer personas that your competitors aren’t already offering them?

In a full-length marketing plan, this section can contain the “seven Ps of marketing”:

  • Product
  • Price
  • Place
  • Promotion
  • People
  • Process
  • Physical Evidence

(You’ll learn more about these seven sub-components inside our free marketing plan template, which you can download below.)

7. Budget

Don’t mistake the Budget element of your marketing plan with your product’s price or other company financials. Your budget describes how much money the business has allotted the marketing team to pursue the initiatives and goals outlined in the elements above.

Depending on how many individual expenses you have, you should consider itemizing this budget by what specifically you’ll spend your budget on. Example marketing expenses include:

  • Outsourcing costs to a marketing agency and/or other providers
  • Marketing software
  • Paid promotions
  • Events (those you’ll host and/or attend)

8. Marketing Channels

Lastly, your marketing plan will include a list of your marketing channels. While your company might promote the product itself using certain ad space, your marketing channels are where you’ll publish the content that educates your buyers, generates leads, and spreads awareness of your brand.

If you publish (or intend to publish) on social media, this is the place to talk about it. Use the Marketing Channels section of your marketing plan to lay out which social networks you want to launch a business page on, what you’ll use this social network for, and how you’ll measure your success on this network. Part of this section’s purpose is to prove to your superiors, both inside and outside the marketing department, that these channels will serve to grow the business.

Businesses with extensive social media presences might even consider elaborating on their social strategy in a separate social media plan template.

9. Financial Projections

Knowing the budget and doing analysis on the marketing channels you want to invest in, you should be able to come up with a plan for how much budget to invest in which tactics based on expected ROI. From there, you’ll be able to come up with financial projections for the year. These won’t be 100% accurate but can help with executive planning.

Free Marketing Plan Template [Word]

Now that you know what to include in your marketing plan, it’s time to grab your marketing plan template and see how best to organize the six elements explained above. The following marketing plan template opens directly in Microsoft Word, so you can edit each section as you see fit:

Cover page of free marketing plan template

Download your marketing plan template here.

Social Media Marketing Plan Templates

As marketing departments grow, so will their presence on social media. And as as their social media presence grows, so will their need to measure, plan, and re-plan what types of content they want to publish across each network.

If you’re looking for a way to deepen your social media marketing strategy — even further than the marketing plan template above — the following collection of social media marketing plan templates is perfect for you:

Download 10 social media reporting templates here.

In the above collection of marketing plan templates, you’ll get to fill in the following contents (and more) to suit your company:

  • Annual social media budget tracking
  • Weekly social media themes
  • Required social media image dimension key
  • Pie chart on social media traffic sorted by platform
  • Social media post calendar and publish time

Below, let’s review the social media reporting templates, and what you’ll find in each one.

1. Social Media Questions

Social media publishing analysis and questions.

This template lists out questions to help you decide which social media management platform you should use.

Once you know what social media tactics you’re going to implement in your marketing plan, it’s time to figure out what channels are right for you. This template will help you do that.

2. Hashtag Holidays

Social media hashtag holidays.

If you’re going to lean in to social media in your marketing plan, you can use hashtag holidays to generate ideas.

These holidays are a great way to fill out your social media publishing schedule. With this template, you’ll get a list of all the hashtag holidays for the year.

3. Facebook Live Schedule

Facebook live schedule template.

If Facebook live is one of the marketing tactics in your plan, this template will help you design an editorial calendar. With this template, you can organize what Facebook live’s you want to do and when.

4. Instagram Post Log

Instagram post log for social media publishing management.

Are you going to begin using Instagram regularly? Do you want to increase your following? With this template, you can organize your Instagram posts, so everyone on your team knows what posts are going live and when.

Additionally, you can organize your assets and campaigns on this doc.

5. Paid Social Media Template

paid social media template for annual budgeting

With this template, you can organize your annual and monthly budget for your paid social media calendar.

6. Social Media Audit

Social media audit template.

Conducting a social media audit? You can use this template to help you gather the right analytics.

7. Social Media Editorial Calendar

Social media editorial calendar template.

With this template, you can organize your social media editorial calendar. For example, you can include social media posts for each platform, so your team knows what’s going live on any given day.

8. Social Media Image Sizes

Social media image size template.

With this template, your team can have the latest social media image sizes handy. This template includes image sizes for all major social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

9. Social Media Marketing Proposal

Social media marketing proposal template.

With this template, you can create an entire social media marketing proposal. This will outline the social media goals, scope of the work, and the tactics that you plan to implement.

10. Social Media Reporting Template

Social media report template.

With this template, you’ll gain access to a slidedeck that includes templates for social media reporting. If you plan to implement social media in your marketing plan, these reporting templates can help you track your progress.

Simple Marketing Plan Template

Of course, this type of planning takes a lot of time and effort. So if you’re strapped for time before the holidays, give our new Marketing Plan Generator a try. This tool simplifies yearly planning and lays your strategies, initiatives, and goals out in a simple template so you can identify what’s most important for the coming year.

Try our free Marketing Plan Generator here.

Once you’ve filled in your information, you’ll come away with a plan that helps you:

  • Outline your annual marketing strategy
  • Identify your most important annual initiatives
  • Nix the projects that won’t help you hit your goals
  • Track the right metrics throughout the year
  • Align your team through a common mission

Pro Tip: The best way to set up your marketing plan for the year is to start with quick wins first, that way you can ramp up fast and set yourself (and your team) up to hit more challenging goals and take on more sophisticated projects by Q4. So, what do you say? Are you ready to give it a spin?

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in December 2016 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

Marketing Plan Template