Take a deep breath. I’m going to say something now that might freak you out a bit.
You need a marketing plan.
If you know me, you know I preach the holy trifecta of AWARENESS, PURPOSE, and INTENT in running your business. You must be AWARE of what you are doing in order to align your activities and actions with PURPOSE and INTENT to achieve that end goal. Like this:
- When you’re aware of your goals and objectives, you can create a purposeful and intentional plan for achieving them.
- When you’re aware of your brand value, you can be purposeful and intentional in communicating it to your ideal audience.
- When you are aware of your client avatar, you can be purposeful and intentional in creating messages built just for them.
You get the picture.
So, when I say those scary words “You need a marketing plan,” what I mean (and what you should hear) is: you need to create awareness around your marketing goals so that you can be purposeful and intentional in achieving them.
Does that sound less scary?
The good news is, there are no right or wrong answers, just the right answer for you and your business. Which means, you don’t have to have the PERFECT marketing plan, you just need the plan.
Today, I want to share some quick tips on creating a simple marketing plan you can use for 2019. Here we go!
Don’t worry about the format.
Maybe you’ve heard that a marketing plan has to adhere to certain guidelines or formats. I’m here to tell you to let those expectations go and do what works for you. Done is, after all, better than perfect. You can Google “marketing plan template” for ideas, but I encourage you to find a format that works for you and your needs.
For a simple plan, you’ll need sections on the following:
- Marketing Goals
- Products and Services
- Ideal Client
- How you’re going to reach your ideal client
- Action plan
Most business owners would say their primary goal for marketing is increased sales, but there’s actually a lot of reasons to build a solid plan for your marketing. Some of them include:
- Increase sales
- Build brand awareness
- Grow market share
- Launch new products or services
- Target new customers
- Enter new markets internationally or locally
- Improve stakeholder relations
- Enhance customer relationships
- Improve internal communications
- Increase profit
Ask yourself, honestly, what are YOUR goals for 2019? The answer depends on your stage of business development, your vision for yourself, your resources and a million other factors unique to you. Think about what you really want to achieve so that you can build a simple marketing plan to get there. After all, recent surveys show marketers who set goals are 429% more likely to report success than those who don’t (and, 81% of those successful, goal-setting marketers achieve them).
Products and Services
It’s imperative that you understand your products and services intimately. I meet far too many business owners who stumble when asked what they do – if you can’t tell me, who will? Understanding the value you offer to your audience, what sets you apart from the competition, and why people choose you over any other similar product or service is the basis of your marketing plan. This section includes:
- Products and services: make a complete list and then write a description of each. Then, write a SECOND description of each from your ideal audience’s perspective.
- What makes you unique: This is the secret sauce or unique selling proposition (USP) that sets you apart from your competition. What are the practical benefits and values of what you provide? What emotional problems are you solving for your clients? What makes you different and increases your value in the eyes of your customers? It could be price, quality, delivery, features, innovation, ease of use, convenience, or something else.
- What makes you better than the competition: Why would someone buy from you rather than your competition? How does a customer decide to buy from you? What do you offer that outshines your competitors?
Your Ideal Audience
Many times, small business owners and entrepreneurs want to market to “anyone who…” Realtors want “anyone who needs a house,” stylists want “anyone who has hair”. When you understand your USP and those things that make you unique, you can start to visualize the type of customer who is looking for just that type of provider. The truth is, you’re not the best fit for every consumer, and every consumer is not the best fit for you. Speaking to just the right client saves you time and money, and leads to greater success. Consider:
- Your target market: Create a story about the person or business that would buy your product and service. What is their daily life like? Are they married with kids? Are they students? Are they other businesses or a specific person within another business? Be as specific as possible when you outline the characteristics of your client.
- Values and Goals: Understand what your client needs, what their goals are for purchasing your product or service. What values do they possess that would lead them to choose your business over the competition? Do they have more than one need that you could meet? What are they looking for?
- Their behaviors: Now that you know who they are, you have to find them. Understanding your audience as a whole person, or avatar, allows you to understand what activities they enjoy, where they spend their time, and where they live. Do they belong to online communities? Are they on local adult sports teams? Do the work in the downtown area? Think about where they hang out so that you can target your messages, both in content and location, effectively.
How Are You Going to Reach Them?
Now that you understand what you’re marketing and who you’re marketing to, how will you get the marketing message in front of them? Today, there are a gazillion options for marketing, when you understand the needs, habits, and behaviors of your ideal client, you can choose the ones that will get your message there the fastest and the loudest.
- Channels: What are the best ways to reach your audience? Online? Offline? Networking? You will need to spend most of your time researching the right channels and tracking results to narrow down your understanding of which channels are best for you, your goals, and your business.
- How will your audience reach YOU: Think about how you want your audience to connect with you once they’ve started to understand your value and what you have to offer. Is your website well-designed and easy to find? Do you need to set up a business phone number to keep calls separated from your personal contacts? Do you have a business email that includes your name or your business name? Understanding your customers and what they want from you in terms of service and delivery will help you create the right connections to serve them.
- Call to action: Whether you’re running a specific promotion or a general branding campaign, think about what action you want your audience to take. Do you want them to download content? Call you? Connect with you on social media? Tell them how to interact with you by specifying what you want them to do.
- Track your return on investment: If you spend money on marketing, create systems that allow you to track the results based on your goals. If you goal was to increase sales, how will you connect your marketing activity with the corresponding growth in numbers? What metrics and key performance indicators will you track? This is a key element of awareness that will allow you to adjust your activities with purpose and intent to get the best return on your investment.
Create an Action Plan
Whether it’s a spreadsheet that comprises your budget and activities for an entire year, or single campaign worksheets that incorporate activities, deadlines, budgets, responsibilities, etc., map out how you will achieve the goals you’ve identified in your simple marketing plan. Calendar out dates. Create checklists. Create a system that works for you that clearly defines your goals and how you will achieve them.
You can see by now that a Marketing Plan, although it sounds scary and complicated, can be as simple as creating statements about your business and organizing them in a way that is easily understandable to you. Trust me, you won’t be graded on presentation! What the outcome will be is a greater sense of control and purpose when you build and define your goals and the actions you need to take to achieve them.
This is the perfect time of year to engage in a strategy session. My packages are surprisingly affordable and range from one hour to my six-month VIP experience. Curious about what working with a business strategist could mean for your business? Schedule a One-Hour Business Breakthrough Session today!