You’ve got your “Why” – a purpose for being in business that keeps you focused every day, and motivated through good times and bad.
You know your “Who” – your audience, the people who want/need what you offer.
These are foundational elements of your marketing strategy, and will help you achieve your company’s mission and overall business plan.
So now it’s time to get operational by coming up with a marketing plan that puts your strategy into action and gets you directly in front of your audience – your “How”.
One simple way of approaching this is to divide your plan into three phases:
Going a bit deeper on your “Who”, it really helps to visualise your audience so you’re actually speaking to someone when you create your marketing content. You’ll come across as authentic, and will appeal directly to the type of person you want to attract.
When you’re identifying the people you want to do business with, it’s often a good idea to go narrow before you expand your offering. Many business coaches advise that you start off as a big fish in a small pond. In other words, be important to a small group of people before you spread to other ‘ponds’.
Marketing gurus have devised the PVP acronym:
● P = Personal fulfilment – how much do you enjoy dealing with that client?
● V = Value to the marketplace – how much does this market value your work (and will pay you)?
● P = Profitability – how profitable is your work in this market?
By being clear to your audience, you’re actually putting them in a position to buy from you.
Your messaging will speak to their ‘pain’, and your solution will make complete sense to them.
In this “Before” phase of your marketing plan, you also have to decide on the media you will use to get in front of your audience. Will you send your message out via:
● Social media
● Local media
● Trade press
● Direct mail
Knowing your people, you’ll know where they spend their time and therefore where you can reach them.
Every sale has a lifecycle, and it begins when you reach out to your target audience with the appropriate type of content via your chosen media channel.
People won’t have heard about you until you start getting in front of them with your message. Because you’ve chosen carefully and strategically, your content will mean something to them and you’re therefore putting them in a position to respond
You’re now taking them from being vaguely interested in you to wanting to know more. Educational content and being generous with sharing information and resources are key here. People won’t know what they don’t know until you make them aware of it.
They begin to see you as an expert in your field, and they’ll actively look forward to the content you share with them on a regular basis. They’re slowly but surely becoming “hot prospects”, and will soon be ready to take some sort of action, ideally by booking an appointment or making a purchase.
You’ve taken these prospective customers on a journey from knowing you…to liking you…to trusting you enough to take affirmative action.
Some will join your tribe quicker than others. Those who are not ready make a meaningful commitment are your customers of tomorrow.
Your marketing efforts must continue to encourage them over the line. Your plan must now be to nurture those who take the plunge so they remain loyal. Ideally they will become your advocates as they share their experiences with others, and recommend you to those they know who might need what you offer. These referrals are probably the most effective type of marketing. The cost is mainly in the effort it takes to give your customers a world-class experience that they can talk about.
Do for your customers what they likely can’t do for themselves. Be innovative and help them gain an advantage over their competitors. Introduce them to technologies and resources that help them streamline their businesses. Encourage their efforts and give emotional support where needed.
This kind of generosity and thoughtfulness will go a long way to creating advocates who will essentially become your extended sales team.