Welcome back to a brand new episode of the Brand, Market, Flourish podcast. This is episode six and in this episode, I’m going to be talking to you about how you can create a marketing plan for your business.
Now depending on what stage you are at in business, your marketing plan and in particular your content plan, may be just focused on one platform or on multiple platforms.
Each and every marketing plan looks different depending on the business vision, goals, length of time in business and how many people you have on your team. The more team members you have to help you with your marketing, the wider you can spread your reach.
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I’ve been in marketing for a long time now and I’ve developed marketing strategies and plans for corporate companies of various sizes back when I was working full time as a marketing manager. The marketing plans I developed back then are different to the plans I develop now for online business owners but at the heart of it, there are still things that stay the same.
This is what I’m going to be talking to you about in today’s podcast episode. Marketing plans exist in various shapes and sizes and to be completely honest, the marketing plan templates that you may find online aren’t necessarily needed for us smaller online business owners. Each of the steps I’m going to be taking you through today, are necessary in building out your own marketing plan.
So, let’s get started!
Step One – Identify Your Goals
The first step in creating a marketing plan for your business is to identify your goals.
Goal setting is an essential part of creating a successful business and brand. Setting goals in your business gives you direction, helps you to track your progress and keeps you accountable.
Your goals should all relate back to your vision for your business. If you don’t have a clear understanding of your business’s vision, then I’d recommend getting clear on this first before moving onto your marketing plan.
I recommend setting yearly goals and then breaking these down into quarterly (90- day) goals, monthly goals and weekly goals.
It’s important that your goals are S.M.A.R.T.
Specific / Measurable / Achievable / Relevant / Time-based
I recommend setting 1-3 big goals that you want to achieve in the next 12 months. One of these goals should be an income goal. Other goals could be related to services and/or products that you want to launch or marketing activity that you want to add to your business. For example, you may wish to launch a digital product or start a podcast. Perhaps you want to speak at an event or hire a coach.
- What is your income goal for the next 12 months?
- Do you want to launch any new services and/or products?
- Do you have any marketing activities that you want to launch in the next 12-months that will help to connect with your audience and share your expertise?
- Are there any investments that you would like to make in your business? Perhaps you would like to rebrand your business, hire a coach or work with a VA.
Next you want to break your yearly goals down into quarters. Initially you want to be focusing on the next 90-days in your business. Planning in 90-day blocks is far easier than trying to create a detailed plan for next 12-months. A lot can happen in a year and whilst I think it’s a good idea to have an overview of your annual plan, it’s best to only go into detail for 90-days at a time.
The questions you want to be asking yourself when creating your 90-day plan are:
- What is my income goal for the next 90-days?
- What goals do I have for this quarter?
Once you have outlined your goals for the next three months in your business, you can further break these down into monthly goals and objectives. Now at this point you can choose to break them down for each month or you can do them for a month by month basis. I personally like to have a broader plan for 90-days and then I’ll create a monthly plan at the beginning of each month.
At this stage, we are not trying to figure out our content topics, we are simply looking at what our goals are so that we can then start to work backwards and create a plan to achieve those goals.
During the goal planning stage, I don’t just want you to focus on your business goals. I also want you to think about your personal goals too.
Setting personal goals is just as important as setting business goals. What do you want your business to help you achieve personally? Is there a big holiday that you want to go on? Do you have debts that you want to pay off? Perhaps you want to move home or renovate your house? You could even want to pay off your mortgage in the next five to ten years.
These goals don’t have to be money related, they can be time related too. Maybe you would like to cut down your working hours so you are only working three days a week? Maybe you want to take each of the school holidays off so you can be with your children. You might even want to spend these school holidays travelling with your children or spending the summer holidays in a different country. I know this is something that I have on my goals list. I’d love to spend four weeks each summer exploring a different country with my family. And once we are out of this pandemic, I’m determined to make it happen.
Whatever your personal goals are, write them down. Allow yourself to dream big and don’t hold back. After all, it’s our business, anything is possible if we work for it and take action.
Step Two – Understand Your Audience
Once you have identified your goals, you’ll next want to understand your audience. There’s no point in going any further until you have a crystal clear understanding of your ideal client.
Trying to create a marketing plan without knowing who you want to work with is like trying to build a house without technical drawings and specifications. It’s just not going to work.
If you’ve been marketing your business without any real success or consistency in your leads and sales, then one of the reasons could be a lack of understanding on who you are trying to reach.
Let’s start with what an ideal client actually looks like. An ideal client is someone who:
- Has a problem that you can provide a solution for
- Can afford your services and/or products
- You enjoy working with
- Values what you offer
- Will be a loyal client or customer who returns to you and refers you to others
When you identify your ideal client you can…
- Tailor your offerings to their specific needs
- Speak directly to those people making it easier to market your business
- Benefit from referrals between a niche group of people
Your goal is to build a business that markets to fewer people. When you’re trying to speak to everyone and solve every problem, you’re going to end up speaking to noone. By narrowing down your audience and identifying exactly who you want to work with, what they are struggling with and how you can help them, you will make more money.
By taking the time to really understand your ideal clients on a much deeper level, you will be better placed to meet them where they are and guide them to where they want to be. This is what is going to help you to grow your business.
So what do you need to know about your ideal client?
There are essentially two different areas that you need to know about your ideal client. The first is their demographics. There are many different types of demographic information that you could obtain abou your ideal client but in reality, you might necessarily need to know all of them.
I like to keep it simple here. The demographic information I know about my ideal client is their gender, their location and their age. You can dive deeper into questions like ‘how many children do they have?’ or ‘are they single, in a relationship or married?’. It really depends on the type of business you have and who you want to work with.
Next up is psychographic. Psychographic information focuses on aspirations, personality, mindset and other psychological criteria.
When thinking about the psychographic profile of your ideal client, you will want to know their pain points – what are they struggling with. You’ll also want to know their wants, needs and desires – where do they want to be? What do they want to achieve? What are their goals? It’s also important to have an understanding of their hesitations and anxieties. What’s holding them back from investing in help?
You can see that by understanding this information, you are much better placed to be able to create offers that serve them. You can use language in your messaging and marketing material that triggers an emotional connection with them.
Hopefully you can see that by understanding this information, you are much better placed to be able to create offers that serve them. You can use language in your messaging and marketing material to show that you really understand them.
Step Three – Know Your Marketing Platforms
Once you’ve identified your goals and know exactly who it is that you are speaking to, it’s time to identify what marketing platforms you are going to use to execute your content marketing plan.
The number of platforms you use will depend on factors such as how long you have been in business, how much time you have to spend on your business and whether or not you have a team.
If you are newer to business then I recommend sticking to one or two marketing platforms. Whilst it can be tempting to do it all – start a blog, show up on Instagram, create an email list, share on Pinterest, create a Facebook group – you’re not going to do any of these platforms effectively if you try and do it all yourself. Not only that, but you could end up seriously overwhelmed with everything you have to do.
By choosing one platform at the beginning you can focus all of your energy into it and do it really well. Once you feel comfortable with that platform and feel like the time is right to introduce another you can do.
I talk more about building an audience and the different methods and platforms on which to do so in episode five – 3 Ways to Build and Grow an Audience. If you haven’t listened to that episode then I’d definitely recommend giving it a listen after you’ve finished this one.
Step Four – Create Your Content Calendar
By now, you will have identified your goals, figured out who it is that you want to work with and chosen the marketing platforms on which you’ll focus your efforts. Now it’s time to create your content calendar.
Content is at the heart of a marketing plan for any online business owner. No matter which marketing platform or platforms you choose, content is key! The next episode of this podcast is going to be focused on how to build a content marketing plan for your business so check back next week for that one as it’s a great follow-up to this episode. Because of this, I’m not going to go into too much detail about creating a content calendar in this episode.
What I will say is this…
Consistent content output can really help to propel your business and brand forwards. Creating a content plan will help to create intentional content instead of posting randomly because you haven’t posted in a while.
Your content should be focused around your goals. The outcome for your content is for it to build the know, like and trust factor with your audience and for them to realise that you are best positioned to help them solve their pain points because you have a solution to their problem.
A content calendar is what is going to help keep you consistent. Instead of trying to create content every day, you can plan and batch your content in advance which is going to save you time in the long run.
Step Five – TAKE ACTION!
Now it’s time to take action and put your content calendar to work. Simply creating a plan isn’t enough. You need to take action and stick to your content calendar and marketing plan that you have set out for yourself. Don’t just create it and forget about it.
Step Six – Test and Measure Your Plan
At the end of the 90-days, you need to review what has and hasn’t worked. I recommend tracking your marketing stats each month so you can start to see patterns in behaviour and understand what is and isn’t working.
The type of data you’ll want to track will depend on the marketing platforms you’re using but ultimately you want to make sure that the efforts you are putting into your marketing are working.
Types of data you’ll likely track will be website visitors, number of leads, number of sales and whether you’ve met your goals. Like I say, it really is dependent on a varying number of factors and I’ll be sure to do a podcast episode in the future about testing and measuring your sales and marketing efforts.
Okay, so there you have it, the steps that you need to create a marketing plan for your business. I really hope you enjoyed this episode and be sure to listen to the next episode where I will be going into a lot more detail on how to create a content marketing plan for your business.