Marketing is an essential part of growing your market and increasing sales. But it’s also very easy to fail its execution and throw money down the drain as a result. I’d much prefer to spend that on a Christmas party for my current customers than on failed attempts to gain new ones!
Let’s start by looking at the marketing funnel:
The marketing funnel breaks down the client/customer journey into key stages. The closer a person gets down the funnel, the closer they are towards becoming your ideal client/customer.
Because it works well, this funnel is used globally by small and large companies to guide and establish their marketing/sales strategies. But before you dig into developing your master plan, it’s best you understand each stage in the funnel first.
How will people find out about you? This is about creating awareness of your business.
Why will people want to buy from you? Here we focus on providing information that will provoke interest and generate leads.
Decision made, the client/customer buys from you.
Are they happy and will they continue buying from your business? This point focuses on client/customer retention.
Is the client/customer recommending you? Having your business raved about to others creates more awareness that can lead to increased conversions.
Now that you understand the marketing funnel and how it applies to your business, it’s time to identify which stages your business should focus on. Knowing this, you can then start crafting your marketing and sales plan to support those needs. To help, here’s everything you need in your plan:
What makes a person want to buy from you? Why not buy from the competition?
It might be your company culture and values which attract them. Or perhaps your product/service is one step ahead of similar options. Or maybe it’s your immaculate track record that makes your business trustworthy.
Whatever it be, your value proposition should focus on the specific value/benefit that people get from choosing your business.
Where are your buyers? How do you connect with them? What groups are they part of? What are they searching for on google? How do they prefer ongoing communication?
This takes some effort, but knowing who your market is will greatly influence your marketing strategy. You could start by talking to your customers, sending them a survey, or following them on social media.
You want to discover what they read, what networks they’re part of, what they search for on Google, etc. This information will give you useful ideas on where to focus your marketing for new leads and prospects. However way you do it, get out there and research!
Knowing who you specifically want to target will help you refine your marketing strategy and choose your KPIs for measuring campaign success.
Additionally, the customer persona will become your guide for the type/tone of content you produce and where you market it. For example, you wouldn’t target the retired generation via Instagram.
Today there are many channels you can market through. It could be social media, newsletters, networking, email marketing, digital marketing, events, blogging, or advertising… to name a few. But which will you use?
It’s important to note that all marketing platforms function differently. So what you choose will also shape the course of your action plan.
For this reason, once you’ve chosen, be sure to draw this action plan up immediately. Breakdown all marketing activities relative to the platform, assign responsibility, create deadlines, and schedule regular review meetings.
Though it’s smart to target specific stages that require action now, you still need to make sure the entire funnel is being worked on. This means asking what is being done at each stage to progress clients/customers further down the funnel. Here are common avenues to consider when planning marketing for each stage:
Awareness: advertising and SEO.
Consideration: demos and webinars.
Conversion: relevant content and communication plans.
Loyalty: relevant content and communication plans.
Advocate: referral reward programs.
How much will you spend on each campaign? How many leads/conversions do you expect as a result?
As mentioned earlier, marketing is essential but execution can be failed easily. This often results in money down the drain. To avoid this, you need to budget carefully, stick to it, and make sure the end result is worth the pay.
Budgeting will also help you prepare your overall cash flow forecast.
How will you measure campaign performance? How will you track leads? Do you need a CRM as part of your Systems and Processes?
The only way to analyse success and justify marketing spend is to track, measure, and regularly review. So long as you have the right systems and routines in place to effectively manage this, you can safely say it’s time to start marketing.
As always, we like a simple documented plan - not a novel. So try your best to condense this information and action plan into a single page that can be easily updated as your business grows.