Have you wondered why some businessmen are so popular?
They sell their product or service for the highest price, get tons of traffic to their website, and have hundreds of thousands of social media followers? Because they do something that most entrepreneurs don’t: they market themselves, and they do it well.
But marketing is hard, right? What if I told you that creating a basic marketing plan is actually really pretty easy, and is a critical step toward having a successful business? If you follow these steps, you will be able to create an effective marketing plan.
So what is a marketing plan? It’s a lot more than simply how to advertise yourself, or listing off which products of yours are for sale. Your marketing plan lays out a strategic vision to grow your business and boost your profitability.
The foundation of a successful business is a satisfied, and growing client base. By applying the latest marketing techniques, you can both improve the retention of your existing customers, and also generate new customers – even if you are up against a lot of competition. And it’s not difficult at all!
Here is my easy marketing plan:
#1 Get to know your customers
This is a critical step in creating a marketing plan, and every other marketing activity.
Knowing your customers and what motivates them is the most important step to becoming successful. You have to know:
- Who are your customers?
- What do they want?
- What is their motivation to buy a product?
This knowledge is the core of a successful marketing plan, and allows you to build the best strategies and increase profits easily.
The more that you know about your potential customers, the more effective and the less expensive your marketing will be.
Selling to “everyone” equals selling to “no one”
The biggest mistake a new entrepreneur can make is to believe that they simply sell “their product”, and that “everybody who wants their product. If you think that everybody is your potential customer, I have bad news: at the end of the day, nobody is your potential customer. Wait, what? How can this be?
Let me give you an example: Imagine you are a general with a small army. You want to take over a decent sized country. Well, you can’t occupy a whole country with a small army, but you can take over a castle, and once you occupy the castle, you can grow your army. With a larger army, you can take control of a larger and larger area, until eventually, you can occupy the whole country. BUT only after you have occupied that castle first.
The same concept applies to marketing. You can’t take over the entire market with a limited budget. But you can tackle a specific niche or perhaps a small geographical area, such as a neighborhood or town. Once you are well established in that niche, you can start to expand into new market niches or regions. So how do you figure out what that niche is? You use a technique called market segmentation!
Market segmentation is the division of the market or population into subgroups with similar motivations. It is widely used for segmenting based on differences in geographical areas, personality, demographics, technographics, psychographics, gender, and even product use. Before you start to sell a product, you have to know what your customers want. Where do they live, where do they hang out, how old they are, females or males, etc. – all of these questions will influence what products matter to them, and how to connect with them.
Finding “the” niche
The best marketing strategy a new business can find is to search the market and find a small niche that is underserved, or even better, not served at all. Think about it: people want to feel like they are important, and if they are a part of a group that is ignored by other businesses, they will appreciate being recognized by yours – and you won’t be facing a lot of competition in the process.
Every customer has their own unique problem, their own special reason(s) why they want to buy your product. That’s why one general marketing message doesn’t automatically convert everyone into a customer. You have to focus on people as individuals, based on their specific needs, their own specific issues or challenges. The more targeted you can be, the easier it is to get new customers.
Instead of trying to sell a very generic product to everybody, find a specialty, something that makes you different than your competitors.
Of course, nothing says you have to offer ONLY these products, or only one or two specialties. But if it’s something you are good at, and a product you can be advertised, you can easily get targeted customers, allowing you to build a name. Customers will HAPPILY buy your product, because you offer something especially for them! You become the answer to their wishes and dreams!
#3 Create your marketing message
A marketing message not only tells your customers what you offer, but also inspires them to buy from you. For your marketing plan, it’s critical.
The slogan has to be short and impactful. It’s better to use something simple than something funny – people are looking for catchy and memorable information here, not for a good laugh.
The second part is your marketing message. You will use this for every marketing channel: advertisements, Facebook post, banners, websites, videos, etc. To create a short, clear, and demonstrative marketing message, you have to follow these steps:
- Summarize the problem of your customer segment,
- Provide urgency that the problem is so important that you have to take action immediately if you don’t want to make it worse,
- State why you are the best solution to solve this problem,
- List the benefits they will have in their life if they buy your product,
- Happy customer reviews or testimonials
- Explain pricing and terms and conditions (short version, just the most important ones)
- Guarantee of results
#4 Choose your marketing media
We talked earlier about the importance of finding a segment that you can reach and communicate your marketing message easily and inexpensively. Finding the best marketing media is critical for a successful marketing plan.
Marketing media is a communication channel that you can use to reach your potential customers. It’s important to find a marketing channel that fits in your marketing budget (cheaper than the profit it generates). The best channel is one that effectively reaches your potential customers’ niche at an affordable price.
Based on your specific segment and your marketing message, choose a few marketing channels to communicate with your future customers. Choosing the right media is the key for a successful marketing strategy.
Once you choose your marketing media (it’s important to choose more than one, otherwise you can easily become annoying), get out there, and keep communicating your message every single day.
#5 Set up measurable marketing goals
Setting written goals is critical for success. A goal in your head is no more than a wish. To set up a good goal, make sure that it:
- Is specific
- Is measurable
- Is achievable
- Is relalistic
- Has clearly defined timing
Set goals for profit, such as yearly income, or profit from a campaign.
Put numbers behind your goals. It’s not enough to say “I want more customers than last month”. How many more? How often? Who? Ask yourself these and similar questions. There are studies that show that 90% of those who have clearly defined goals, who write down their goals, and fight to achieve those goals, are successful. You will be amazed by the results if you start to use the goal system now!
How to make use of measured data?
“The secret to change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates
If you performed well last year, and produced ‘measurable’ results, creating a strategy for the new year is going to be a breeze! If not, start the process with an overall focus on setting goals. By now, you’ve analyzed your data from the previous year (or month) and discovered opportunities for improvement. Begin by asking yourself some questions:
- Is there a particular campaign or initiative that stood out?
- What was my net profit by product?
- Are there products you wish to discontinue for next year?
- Are there NEW products you wish to promote in the coming year?
- Which marketing and advertising channels produced the greatest results?
- Which marketing and advertising channels were unsuccessful?
Understanding what makes your current and potential customers tick is a key component of successful marketing planning.