As the owner of your business, your core responsibilities are to:
- Identify a problem (where you are now vs. where you want to be)
- Determine the timeline to address the problem
- Make sure you have the resources in place to address the problem
- Decide how you plan to allocate those resources to address the problem within the set timeline
If your goal is to develop a marketing plan, it can be tempting to fall into the trap of using tactics and tools instead of strategies.
Goals, Strategies, Tactics & Tools
- Goals = Where you want your business to be
- Strategies = Long-term campaign plan (determines the tactics)
- Tactics = The actual means used to reach an objective
- Tools = Systems or resources used to help complete a tactic
START HERE: Background, Mission Statement & Value Proposition
You know this well, but do you have it down on paper? Take time to write out the history of your business, your mission statement (why your business exists & your overall goal) and your value proposition (what you’re delivering to the customer).
As you work on writing out your background, mission statement and value proposition, consider; “what problem can you help solve for a customer?”
Set Realistic & Specific Expectations
To do this well, you need to know where you are now. If you don’t have analytics and data to review, implement these now. It’s better to get something in place now, rather than continuing to operate from what your gut is telling you.
These expectations should be attainable and specific. Saying, “I want more business” is too vague. How many more calls or sales per day do you need to get to consider your marketing plan a success?
Define Your Buyer Persona
Consider your target customer’s location, age, gender, interests and where they hang out. Look at reviews and comments to determine the verbiage and content that is preferred by your audience, and make sure your content reflects it.
Define Your Sales & Lead Generation Tactics
There are many different tactics you can use to generate new leads for your business. Knowing your target customer and what is often followed in your industry is a great start, as it can help you focus your efforts.
- Email Marketing
- Content Marketing
- Website or Landing Pages
- Search Engine Optimization
- Social Media Marketing
- Paid Search/Online Advertising
- Webinars/Virtual Events
- Join a Business Group
- Attend a Networking Event/Trade show
- Create Flyers with a Special Offer
- Cold Outreach (Phone or Email)
Review Your Competitors
Do some Googling on your competitors to see what their online presence looks like.
- What tactics are they using?
- How easy is it to find & navigate through their website?
- Do their social channels have a good amount of activity?
- What promises are they making to their customers?
- Is there something they’re missing that you can capitalize on?
Personalize the Experience
Most people know when they’re getting a newsletter email but taking the time to personalize your message shows them that you care enough to address them with their name.
When shopping online, we don’t get to have friendly conversations with the store clerk at the register. So consider, how can you add a personal touch or connect with your audience in a meaningful way?
Encourage Participation from Your Followers
User generated content and contests are a great way to get your community to engage and spread the word about your business.
Bonus: Think back to your Buyer Persona. What would your target audience like to have that you can offer as part of a contest?
Use a Loyalty Program to Encourage Repeat Purchases
A loyalty program follows personalizing the experience because it’s also about making the customer feel appreciated and special.
If you have a customer that frequently purchases from you, or has been a customer for a long time, why wouldn’t you want to encourage them to continue to purchase from you by sharing a reward with them?
Track & Measure Your Efforts
- Sales Revenue – How much revenue has your marketing strategy brought your company?
- Cost Per Lead – How much does it cost you to acquire a new customer?
- Customer Lifetime Value – (Average Sale per customer) x (Average # of times a customer buys per year) x (Average retention time)
- Inbound Marketing ROI (Return on Investment) – For an in depth look at how to calculate ROI on your web efforts, read this article: How to Determine Your ROI on a Web Project
- Traffic-to-Lead Ratio – Make sure you understand where your traffic is coming from (if it’s organic, paid, direct, social media, or referrals) and if it’s steady, increasing or decreasing.
- Lead to Customer Conversion Rate – Of those who show interest in your company, how many actually become a customer.
- Conversion Rate – If a lot of traffic is going to a page of your site, but your conversions are low, you might want to consider A/B testing changes. (Some examples: update your copy to convey more value, change your call to action color, add testimonials).
- Organic Traffic – People are finding your website by searching keywords you rank for without having to pay for advertising.
- Social Media Traffic – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google My Business, Pinterest and Instagram traffic can all be tracked through your Google Analytics. Make sure you know where your traffic is coming from and which channels you should spend more time on.
Optimize & Refine Your Plan
If something isn’t working, there’s no point in putting more time and money into it. Make a note of what you did and why you think it didn’t work and move on to something that will make a difference for your business.
Your resources are too valuable to put towards a tactic that isn’t generating you more business. Schedule time on your calendar to revisit your numbers and decide if your plan is addressing the problem and helping you get closer to your goal.
If after reviewing the numbers you see that it just isn’t working, stop! Make a note of what you tried and either tweak it to see if it improves, or try something else.
When Resources Allow, Hire an Expert
If you aren’t able to devote at least 2-4 hours per day on implementing and optimizing your marketing plan, you might want to consider hiring an expert to help you.
Again, doing something is better than not doing anything, but if you want to make sure you reach your goal and another year doesn’t just fly by, it might be time to consider hiring an expert.