Do you have a marketing plan for your business? Your marketing plan is your roadmap for your business success. You need it to clarify your ideal customer, outline your unique selling position, state your goals and strategy and outline your marketing tactics to grow your business. Here’s what you should include in your simple marketing plan for your business.
1. Ideal Customer Avatar (also known as buyer persona)
What does your perfect customer look like? Big Hint: it’s not everyone and it’s not general! This is not a real person, but a fictional character that represents your ideal customer. It’s not just a stay-at-home mom or an entrepreneur. That’s way too general. Think about income, age, what web sites they visit, what are their pain points, fears, frustrations, dreams and desires. Where do they want to be this time next year?
2. Unique Selling Position
What is your unique selling position? What do you offer that others in your field do not? You can’t attempt to be known for everything or else you risk being known for nothing. It has been said if you cannot summarize what sets you apart in a few sentences, then you are not unique in your market.
3. Marketing Goals and Strategy
The marketing goals give you a plan to work toward. They may include increased sales, increased subscribers, launch a new product, increase brand awareness, increased visitors to your web site, etc. Don’t get too crazy; pick a few attainable goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, results oriented, and time oriented.
Your Product or Service
Are you launching a new product or service? Conduct a product and service audit. Consider any improvements that you need to make to your products, services, or even customer support processes. Customer feedback is a great way to determine where to make improvements in this area.
Your Distribution Strategy
Think about how you will distribute your product or service to your customers. In the 4Ps of marketing, this is called place, otherwise known as your distribution strategy. Will you sell through your web site, through an online marketplace such as Amazon, eBay or Etsy, or a brick and mortar store?
Your Pricing Strategy
Is it time to review your pricing strategy? If you answer yes to any of these questions, then you should consider a review of your pricing: 1) you launched a new product or service, 2) your competition has changed their pricing, 3) your customers are making more money because of your services or product line, or 4) your costs have changed.
Your Promotional Strategy
This is where you will outline your actions on how you will meet your strategies. For instance, if you have a new product launch, what tactics will you employ to ensure a successful launch. Your marketing tactics (and more) are outlined in #4 below.
4. Determine Your Marketing Tactics
Your web site is the cornerstone of your business. On your home page, at a minimum, you need to make sure you have your main lead magnet (also known as freebies, freemiums, free gifts, ethical bribes, sign ups or opt-in incentives, content upgrades). If you don’t have a web site, put this down as your main marketing tactic and research some of the business web site builders such as Squarespace, WordPress, or Wix. Input your action items below.
Your Content Strategy (e.g. Blog, Video, or Podcast)
Let’s be clear. Marketing is not possible without content. In your plan, you will decide how you will create original content every single week. This is your building block and it will drive your social media posts, email marketing, and content on your web site for organic (non-paid) search.
Here are some things to think about: You could drive traffic from your paid advertising (e.g. Facebook ads) or social media posts to your opt-in on your home page (or another lead page that you have set up where they can opt-in to your lead magnet). Consider the following:
1. Your brand new subscribers. These are the ones who have just opt-ed into your email list and you want to take the time to build trust and allow them to get to know you. You should set up a nurture email sequence specifically targeted for this audience.
2. After the nurture email sequence and when are you ready to start selling to them; start selling! Depending upon your product/service, you could do a video series, webinar, etc.
3. On a specific schedule, you will email your subscriber list each week with content you create weekly from your content marketing strategy.
For your social media strategy, pick a few social media platforms that work best for your business. Use the content that you create weekly from your content strategy as a basis for some of your social media posts. Outline your social media tactics here. Examples include: Build a community around your business such as a Facebook Group, monitor and respond to all social media mentions about your business, and schedule your content to free up time so you can engage with customers.
Don’t forget to conduct a social media audit via Google to see if there are any rogue accounts or imposters using your name. Be sure your social media profiles are on brand and up to date.
Use the 80-20 rule. 80% of your content should be engaging with your customers and sharing relevant content they would find valuable. The other 20% - selling your products/services.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
To make it simple, SEO is the process of getting free, organic traffic from search engines. This is traffic that you did not have to pay for; the user just typed in the information in the search box and voila! they found your site. You want to ensure that your web site and blog is SEO friendly so you can take advantage of this free traffic. After all, you don’t have an endless marketing budget!
Paid advertising (e.g. Facebook ads or Google Adwords)
If you have the budget, online paid advertising can be very effective and even a small budget can go a long way when implemented correctly. Retargeting is also effective if you have a decent number of visitors to your site. Other examples include sponsored posts, buyable Pins on Pinterest, brochures, flyers, etc. The list could go on.
Keep in mind that the majority of email is opened on a smartphone and almost 100% of adults use their smartphone to access content and information. So, essentially, all your marketing is mobile! Ensure your website is responsive; your emails look good and can be easily read via a smartphone (there is nothing wrong with plain text). Any call-to-action buttons should be big enough to easily tap in order to facilitate click-through. Keep forms to an absolute minimum; the shorter the better.
Pricing and Promotion
Is it time to review your pricing strategy? If you answer yes to any of these questions, then you should consider a review of your pricing: 1) you launched a new product or service, 2) your competition has changed their pricing, 3) the economy has changed, 4) your customers are making more money because of your services or product line, or 5) your costs have changed.
Consider what (if any) promotions you will run during the year. Examples may include free shipping, 20% discount, discounts on payment in full (e.g. if you offer a payment plan on a digital product).
Other Marketing Opportunities
Consider other marketing opportunities for your business: webinars, PR, landing pages (for your opt ins), speaking engagements, events, and guest blogging.
5. Financials and Measurement
In this step, you will plan your annual revenue projections for each product. Excel or Google Sheets is also a great tool for revenue projections.
For your metrics, there are three main areas you will analyze for your business:
- Web Analytics – Track your website demographics using Google Analytics: track unique visitors average time on site, pages per visit, and geographic locations are all key factors to consider.
- Social Media Analytics – Some social media metrics to consider are follower growth, likes and reactions to your posts, mentions, click rates, content shares, and reach. Also, analyze your audience demographics.
- Email marketing – Consider open rate, action rate, click rate over time, complaint rate, and number of unsubscribes. Your email service provider should have reports available to you for these analytics.
- Paid Adverting Campaign – Key measures to consider for online advertising include click-through rates, conversion rate, cost per conversion, and total clicks. Also consider Quality score for AdWords and Relevancy Scores for Facebook Ads.
Budget for your Marketing
How much money is needed for your marketing tactics? Do you need to spend money for an email service provider, webinar software, website builder or hosting, paid advertising, design services, etc.
6. Your Schedule and Project Plan
It's important to plan out all of your marketing activities so they don't get lost in all the madness. Asana is a great task management tool that is easy to use and understand and it's free for the basic version!
To help you with your marketing plan, I developed a simple Marketing Plan Workbook so you can get started today in planning your marketing strategy.
What about you? Do you have a marketing plan for your business?