If this was written 10 years ago, it would be in a physically published book, in your hands, and have VERY different words following this statement. The way we connect with our audience and future new members has changed drastically in the past decade, so here we find ourselves updating the old format of what a simple marketing plan looks like.
The “For Dummies” series has been a staple to look up how to do things easily in any niche for years, so let’s begin by seeing what they suggest to do for a 10 step marketing plan for beginners:
State your business purpose.
Define your market situation, focusing on issues that affect your customers, your product, and your competition.
Set goals and objectives.
Define your market and customer profile.
Define your position, brand, and creative strategy.
Set marketing strategies for your product, pricing, distribution, and promotion.
Outline your communication tactics.
Establish your budget.
Blueprint your action plan.
Define opportunities for long-term market development.
These sound great on paper, but how actionable are these really? How overwhelming does this sound for beginners?
Can we really look at these 64 words and create a bullet-proof plan out of them?
Let’s flush these out to make it actually “dummy-proof”!
#1. State your business purpose.
We call this your WHY. Why is it that you are in the business that you are currently in? What motivates you to wake up in the morning and serve humanity, and which values do these cover in your life?
By defining this, you become more real to your target market by living and expressing from this place, which is a marketing advantage in itself.
#2. Define your market situation, focusing on issues that affect your customers, your product, and your competition.
This is often referred to as a SWOT analysis and Full Circle does this as part of our AGM (Annual General Meeting) every year.
“S” stands for “strengths”. Write down as many internal strengths that you can come up with. “W” stands for “weaknesses”. Write down as many internal weaknesses that you can come up with.
“O” stands for “opportunities”. Write down as many external opportunities that make sense in your community and sector.
“T” stands for “threats”. Write down many external threats that you will face in your business in the community and in the profession at large. This gives you a real look into some of the problems you will need to overcome.
This is beginner for those who have some business background, but I contend the majority of business owners have never taken two hours to sit down and think this through. It’s amazing how much more equipped you are to make smart decisions once you face these facts head on.
#3. Set goals and objectives.
Ah finally one that makes sense! Write down your annual goals in your business. What do you aim to accomplish this year, in 5 years and in 10 years. Let’s put that dreamer hat on and then craft your path.
“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower
#4. Define your market and customer profile
We call this a buyer persona. You need to target your most desired clientele and get pinpoint accuracy about their life so that it is easier to identify them, target them and build a relationship with them.
Think about who you enjoy working with. Take a week and observe all of the members that walk through your door. If you enjoy working with families, create your first persona around a mother figure; give her an age, number of kids, marital status, occupation, neighborhood, interest list etc so you can create a fictional character of your ideal client.
Marketing becomes so much easier when you’re talking to one person, rather than a blend of everyone! At your next marketing brainstorm meeting you can discuss new ways you can reach this defined buyer persona – Perhaps she shops at the local market and enjoys Monday evening hot yoga in the city core!
#5. Define your position, brand, and creative strategy
Your “position” can be defined as your niche, and your competitive advantage. Why is your practice different than others in town and what can you specialize in.
Your “brand” is how you are portrayed in the market. You can influence your brand by creating a nice congruent website, logo, marketing materials, messaging etc., but it is ultimately determined by how others portray your business. Define how you want that to be.
… it would be a good idea to get some friends and family to look at your website (and other marketing materials) to see what kind of feeling it generates for them, and if that’s what you intended.
Your “creative strategy” is how you determine to uphold this standard of practice. How will you communicate your differentiation? How will you get your amazing reputation into the community? Create some strategies for growing your brand.
#6. Set marketing strategies for your product, pricing, distribution, and promotion
Here is where we get to have some fun. Marketing strategies are everything from online promotions to internal contests and referrals to guerilla marketing campaigns. I’d recommend downloading this e-book of 102 marketing ideas and then using the accompanying marketing planner to organize your initiatives.
2 hints for good marketing strategies: Think SOCIAL (having a social cause that you can be helping while you grow your business) and GAMIFYING (turning something into a challenge or game, see how Duolingo, gamifies learning languages).
Gamifying business has been the hot trend lately to engage employees and customers. See INC’s infographic on how to gamify your business.
#7. Outline your communication tactics
This can be as simple or as complicated as you want to flush out. Communication tactics can range from how you communicate to your team, to how you write content, press releases, discussions with banks and shareholders.
The key is to always be open and transparent about yourself and your company. Some of the most successful internet marketers that I follow will post every failure, every case study and monthly income reports so you know they’re 100% open and honest with how they conduct business. The best way to convey trust is to expose your weaknesses and shortcomings.
In this era, trust is pertinent in success and transparency is pertinent to gain trust.
#8. Establish your budget
This business math is different for every company, in every industry, and dependent on how long you have been in business. Entrepreneur.com suggests new companies use upwards of 20% of projected revenue to ramp up visibility and exposure, whilst older companies using closer to 10% (6-12%). Jim Collins stated in his book “Good to Great”, that some of the best performing businesses in the world had a marketing budget not to see how much money to allocate to certain goals, but rather to see where to allocate 100% of their money. A “burn the ships” mentality.
Forbes suggests that you look at the minimum reliable income on a monthly basis and allocate from there, instead of pulling from predicted revenues and spending money you don’t have. There is no guaranteed suggested minimum and maximum spend, it is just a trial and error process. If you set up proper tracking and ROI, you can have predictability with the winning marketing campaigns and cut the costly losers (usually after 1 year of data, but best to do a monthly marketing recap meeting with your team).
#9. Blueprint your action plan
At Full Circle we have a marketing planner that tracks internal marketing procedures vs. external marketing procedures along with the dates of implementation, the staff person involved and Return on Investment tracking of every campaign.
The blueprint starts in the brainstorm, of which we tackle annually at our Annual General Meeting (AGM) to decide which 10 annual goals and the marketing campaigns needed to grow those legs of the business.
Once your 10 goals are defined, get creative with the marketing ideas and then use the planner as your blueprint for action and tracking.
The key is to have one person on the team leading each marketing activity and never more than one.
At the end of each month, make sure you find the amount of dollars and time each activity took to determine the ROI and repeat the successful campaigns.
#10. Define opportunities for long-term market development
It is great to look one year ahead to determine where you anticipate the growth of your company and how you will go about this. We like to be creating goals that are long-term wins but may require short term losses, but we always work the numbers backward on our goals to set monthly revenue and expense goals. The more specific you can be, the more the universe can help you “create a vacuum” to fill the void.
While you are creating your action plan, do not be afraid to create GRANDIOSE goals that will require a 5-7 year plan and a large DREAM.
This will help you stay inspired on the mission and your staff motivated.
- Marketing Planner, ROI tracker and 102 Marketing Ideas
- Book an authenticity call with my marketing arm, Meraki.
- Values and Decision Making in Business