Marketing is a huge subject. There are so many individual components of marketing, from social to content to SEO. What type of marketing avenues you pursue is really as individual as your business (and your budget).
In working with established small businesses on growth strategies, it’s surprising to see they often don’t have a marketing plan in place.
You’ve gone this far and you won’t go out of business tomorrow, but you need a marketing plan for sustained growth and expansion.
101: What is a marketing plan?
A marketing plan is your roadmap for the future – the guideposts of HOW you are going to reach the marketing goals defined in your marketing strategy.
Skip the complicated and fancy language, but make sure it does include:
- the opportunities to reach and engage with your potential buyers
- an outline of the specific action to take to persuade, or attract, potential customers to your product or service
- all the activities needed to get potential buyers into your sales cycle and keep them there
- how to take care of your customers or clients, not in terms of customer care, but re-marketing to your existing client base)
Small business usually grows from the desire to provide a service or product to a semi-known audience, and most solopreneurs usually don’t take the time – or don’t know how – to set up a plan of action to make this happen.
When we started Sidecar we had a simple business plan in place, and the marketing plan was even more basic. The most important next step was to quickly find out where my ideal client was hanging out and then focus my marketing efforts in those places. Where do you start?
How do you create a marketing plan that will work for your small business?
Even when you know your ideal customer there are so many marketing avenues to choose from the decision can quickly become overwhelming. The easiest way to create a solid marketing plan is to get super specific and look at each platform individually. By spending a little time on various platforms, you’ll find your Right People pretty quickly. Once you have a feel for their needs and pain points start thinking through the HOW process:
- Select a platform where your audience spends most of their time. Or to get the hang of this, pick the avenue you enjoy most. Don’t only focus on social media. Also consider video, blogging, podcasts, webinars. Within social media, also look at Facebook Groups, Twitter Chats, and any of the various live streaming video services.
- Think about how you add value and get people interested in you, your product or service and other offerings. Always think in terms of, “How can I help solve my customer’s problem?” Then create and share those solutions, tips, tricks and insider knowledge through whatever mediums you enjoy, like videos, podcasts, photos, tutorials, slides, infographics, guides, blog posts, eBooks, etc.
- Put a system in place to build relationships and develop trust between you and your audience. Some examples: Email marketing that dives deep (requiring a strategy of its own), stellar customer service, responding in a personable way to customers, a hand-written follow-up note, or continual upgrades to your value and content.
- Adjust as needed. Don’t expect your plan to work perfectly right out of the gate. PLAN. CREATE. LAUNCH. MEASURE. TWEAK. Though with steps 1 – 3 solidly in place, the adjustments should be minimal.
That’s it! A simple marketing plan to make sure you are spending your marketing time and attention in the right avenues to advance your business.
Do you have a marketing plan? Share in the comments and in this post over on Twitter.