How To Write A Strategic Marketing Plan – Part 1
If you’re not seeing the growth you want in your business, this episode is for you. Most small business owners struggling to grow think they’re not big enough to need a strategic marketing plan.
But what they don’t realise is the growth potential and benefits of developing a strategic marketing plan now, will far outweigh the negatives in both the short and long-term.
In this episode you’ll hear:
- Why every small business wanting to grow, needs a strategic marketing plan NOW
- The problems a marketing plan will solve for small business owners
- The step-by-step information to put in your marketing plan to ensure you’ve got solid foundations and aren’t wasting time and money.
- What to do if you don’t have the time, knowledge or resources to create a marketing plan
- Download marketing plan template – free and easy to use PDF
How To Create A Strategic Marketing Plan – Part 2
If you want marketing that gets results, and your business to stand out and grow, then creating a killer marketing plan is essential. In this second part of the series, we’re getting into what actions you need to take to create the biggest impact in your business, and to do it without the overwhelm and usual frustrations.
In this episode you’ll learn:
- To work out what’s working, what’s not, and what’s missing in your marketing
- The steps you need to take to determine what marketing activities to prioritise and what actions to take to reach your goals
Remember to download your 90 day Marketing Success Planner to get better results and make your marketing strategy so much easier to put together.
Download your free 2 page 90-Day Marketing Success Planner template and get your marketing to create bigger impact and faster growth.
All I ask in return is that you spread the word and tell your friends about the podcast. It could make all the difference to helping a fellow business owner grow their business
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Nicci O’Mara – Part 1 – Episode 14
For most small businesses, marketing is way more complex and time consuming than it needs to be and doesn’t lead to the big results that come with getting your marketing strategy right. So, if you’re not seeing the growth you want in your business, this episode is for you.
Welcome to Episode 14 of the Simply Standout Marketing podcast. I’m your host, Nicci O’Mara, a long time marketing communications strategist who loves nothing more than helping to grow small businesses through powerful messaging and strategic marketing. Today I’m going to reveal the exact steps you need to take to simplify your marketing, attract more customers and generate more income. And how you can use this to grow your business. And as a bonus, to make it even easier for you, I’ve created a free 90 day marketing success planner for you to download.
But first up, let’s talk about what you can do in your marketing to make it simpler and super powered, because at the end of the day, who doesn’t want that? Over the last 25 years, the three biggest mistakes I’ve seen small businesses make that create the largest impact on their success and ultimately their income. The first is not standing out and communicating their true value through clear and powerful brand messaging. The second is missing out on a heap of growth opportunities and concentrating on the wrong marketing activities because they don’t have a solid marketing strategy that drives what they do. And lastly, trying to save money by doing everything themselves, but not realising that getting the right outside expertise to help with the things that you’re not an expert in can bring in way more money than they ever would have saved by doing it themselves.
Today, we’re talking about the second mistake, which is not having a strategic marketing plan to guide your marketing and your growth. One of the most common things I hear from small business owners is we are not big enough to need a strategic marketing plan, are we? Well, the answer is a definite yes. If you have a business that you want to attract more customers to, that you want to convert more enquiries or lookers into sales and that you want to grow and generate more income and impact, then the benefits of developing a strategic plan now will far outweigh the negatives in both the short and the long term.
Now, the first thing you’re going to tell me is you don’t have enough time and can’t possibly take on one more thing. Believe me, I hear you, because this I totally understand, because as a small business owner myself, I know that everything and everyone wants your time and there’s just not enough of it to go around. But I can tell you from the experience of having worked with hundreds of businesses, by taking the time to develop and write down your marketing strategy, now, it doesn’t have to be huge, it can be a two page document, it’s going to save you a heap of time throughout the year and have much better results. And better still, you’ll be spending your time on things that work to grow your business rather than wasting time on marketing that isn’t right for you.
It’s very easy to get distracted, I find with all the jobs you think you need to do instead of the things that are going to help you achieve your goals, whether they be growing your customer base, increasing customer spend or improving retention and referral rates.
Think about how often you’ve found yourself spending hours working on some great new thing that promises to attract more customers. Only need to realise later that you really should have been doing something else. Was it a blog post you or one of your staff were writing? Images that you were designing? A new piece of software that promised to change the way you work? Unless you know the who, what, why, where, how of your marketing, your bound to actually waste a heap of time and money, and both of those things are very precious.
For most small business owners, marketing is not your area of expertise. And therefore the thought of having to develop a marketing plan or put together the brand messaging is too daunting. So you either give it a go, but you never finish or you just leave it in the too hard basket often. If you’re serious about growing your business and your income, then you need to either put aside the time to learn how to create the biggest impact from your marketing in the simplest and most effective way and work out exactly what you need to do,and when. Or alternatively, you need to invest in getting a marketing expert to develop an actionable marketing plan for you that you can then jump straight into and start implementing yourself with clear direction and priorities of what will help you achieve success faster and more sustainably. No more guesswork, no more winging it or shiny object syndrome, because at the end of the day, you can’t afford not to have a strategic marketing plan and you can’t just stick with only doing what you know.
You need to either work on learning everything you can about making your marketing more effective and efficient or getting an expert in to help guide you so that you don’t miss amazing opportunities for growth.
So now that we’ve talked about the reasons why you definitely need a strategic marketing plan, let’s go through what the essential elements of a marketing plan are. Because developing your small business marketing plan is so important, I’ve decided to actually break this into two so that it’s easier for you to go away, do the foundational work that we talk about first, and then come back and listen to part two where all the action takes place. But you can’t do one without the other.
So what goes into part one of your marketing plan? When it comes to your marketing, begin with the end in mind always. What exactly do you want to achieve? Is it 30 percent higher monthly revenue? Is it 50 percent increase in website conversions? Or do you want to grow your email list by 1000 people in the next 90 days?
Without setting goals, it’s like getting on a plane without a destination in mind. How will you know how you’re going to get there and how will you know when you’ve arrived? So once you’ve got your goals down, next you need to look at the who, the who is your target audience. This is absolutely essential. And now we don’t want to just talk about, you know, writing down all the different customers that you currently have. We want to know who are your ideal clients? Who are the people you love serving, who value what you have to offer and are willing to pay for the results you offer.
The more specific you can get, the better. For example, are they women aged between 35 and 50 who work standing all day in retail and hospitality and health? Maybe they live in a particular town or state or country. They value their time so are willing to spend more for, say, convenience. And it’s important to them that they look stylish and are comfortable and they also want to impress their bosses and colleagues. Look, they also could be spending time after work connecting with friends on Facebook, and they love reading home styling magazines.
So that’s giving you a whole lot of information. And that’ll be through you having spoken to your target audience, to your current customers that you actually love and finding out more about them. So now that you’re clear on exactly who you serve, you want to get clear on exactly what problem you solve for them. People’s minds are wired to survive, so they’re always looking to solve a problem, whether it’s a caffeine fix to get them through the morning, board shorts that stop chafing or ways to reduce their tax bill.
Let’s keep on working on understanding who your target audience is, so that you can market to them much more successfully. And for that you need to look at what the transformation or results that people are looking for, that you provide and how you do that differently. The results your customers achieve are key to forming a connection and making you stand out. Next, you need to look at your competition and what makes you stand out and be unique. Competition is far from being a bad thing.
There’s no one business that’s the right solution for everyone. We all have different expectations. We have different price points and the value we place on each product or service differs depending on the person. You don’t have to be the biggest or the cheapest or even the fastest to get a solid following of customers. You just have to know what makes you different, how you solve problems that others don’t. You need to understand the difference in your offering, the support you give people.
You need to understand the difference in your people and in your audience, plus the results that you provide and even your business’s values. So write down all the things that you do differently to your competition and work out which of these is important to your customers, because there’s no point in promoting a point of difference that no one cares about, but you. With all this information clear in your head and now written down in your plans, you never lose sight of who you’re targeting.
You need to write down your brand messaging in your plan. Why? Because so often you’ll write down your current messaging and look at it with a fresh perspective, taking into account the work you’ve just done to clarify your ideal customer, their problems, results they’re seeking and the objections to buying. Not sure what your brand messaging should entail is actually a tried and true formula for developing powerful and really captivating brand messaging. And it makes a huge difference to the success of your business.
So to get a better understanding of that go and listen to Episode seven of the podcast, why your brand isn’t getting people’s attention. Okay, let’s move on to your offer. Or you might think of it as the campaigns you run to promote certain products or services throughout the year. If a product or service isn’t selling, often it can be a problem with the offer, not the product or service. But you possibly thinking, aren’t they the same thing?
Well, they’re absolutely not. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a beauty salon, a law firm, a pub, a course creator or a retail store, you need to communicate a compelling and really irresistible offer in your marketing, for people to want to buy. Creating an irresistible offer isn’t often the easiest thing in the world. It’s like art and science coming together. But once you break it down into chunks and you start creating and refining your offers, because you got to start somewhere, it becomes something you can rinse and repeat with the successful offers that you come up with.
So what makes a great offer? It’s a combination of really very clear messaging about the who, what, why and where of what you’re selling that provides immense value for the customer. It might include a discount, a premium, bonuses or be part of a bundle. Any great offer also creates a sense of urgency or scarcity. Plus it has a strong call to action telling people exactly what you want them to do. Have a look at offers by some of the most successful companies, both within your industry and outside it.
McDonald’s, Amazon Prime, Xero are all really excellent examples of big companies that you can get ideas and learn from them. Let’s go over what you’ve learnt so far. What you need to cover in the first half of your marketing plan, are your marketing goals, and getting a clear understanding of your ideal customers. You know who they are, where they hang out online and offline, what their problem is and what results or transformation they’re looking for. You also need to write down what objections they have to buying so you can address these objections in your marketing.
And lastly, it’s essential that you’re clear on what your differentiation is to your competitors, what your brand messaging is that you’ll use throughout all your marketing. Plus, what irresistible offers are you going to make to your target audience to entice them to buy? Without doing this work, you’re going to find you’re working from false assumptions and a lack of clarity, which means you’ll be building your entire marketing strategy on really weak foundations. So go on, download the free two page, 90 day marketing success planner and start working out the strategic direction of your marketing.
If you put in the work, it really will make a huge difference to reducing your overwhelm and provide you with so much better results and bigger impact. And all that I ask in return is that you spread the word and tell your friends about the Simply Standout Marketing Podcast. Stay tuned for part two of your marketing planning development in the next episode of the Simply Standout Marketing podcast, where you’re going to learn all about prioritising what marketing activities to work on, working at your budget and human resources. Plus, how you’re going to simply measure the wins and files of your marketing so you can create bigger impact much faster. Thanks so much for joining me today.
Thanks for listening to Simply Standout Marketing Podcast. Head over to simplystandoutmarketing.com for the show notes, downloads and even more great stuff to help you grow your business with marketing made simple.
Nicci O’Mara – Part 2 – Episode 15
If you want marketing, that gets results and you want your business to stand out and grow, then creating a killer marketing plan is essential. In this second part of the series, we’re getting into the nitty gritty, talking about what actions you need to take to create the biggest impact in your business and to do it without the overwhelming and usual frustrations. So stay tuned.
The Simply Standout Marketing podcast is for you, the small business owner wanting to supercharge your marketing with simple, actionable strategies and inspiration so you can smash your goals and grow your business. Now it’s your turn to discover what actions to take to make your business truly stand out and succeed. Let’s get started.
It’s exciting to have you back here with me again to delve further into how you can simplify your marketing and create bigger and better results by developing a 90 day marketing plan. If you haven’t already listened to part one of this two part series, which is Episode 14, then you need to stop right now and go back and listen to it. Plus, while you’re there, download your marketing plan, a template designed specifically to accompany these two episodes.
For those of you that have already listened to Part one, let’s go over what you’ve learnt so far. I talked about why, if you want your business to grow, it’s essential to have a strategic marketing plan and what needs to go into my simplified but highly effective plan. You’ve learnt about setting achievable marketing goals and getting a clear understanding of your ideal customers, who they are, where to find them, what their problem is, the results they’re looking for and what objections they have to buying.
So you can address all of these things in your marketing. And lastly, I talked about having a clear and powerful brand messaging, plus irresistible offers to entice your target audience to buy. So let’s get into what you need to do next. When it comes to deciding whether you need to start a YouTube channel, ditch your Instagram, write email series to automate or update your website. The first thing you need to do is to look at your current marketing, what’s working, what’s not, and what’s missing.
Every time I develop a marketing plan for a business, which is often these days, the first thing I do is go through every part of their marketing to see what needs fixing, amplifying or ditching first, because it’s much more effective and affordable to sort out what you’ve already got before you start on something new. The simplest and most effective way to do this is to use the audit checklist that I use with my clients. If you go back to listen to Episode nine of the podcast, you’ll learn more about how to assess your marketing properly. Plus, you can download my marketing audit checklist there.
Once you’ve worked out, by looking at the facts and figures, what you need to do to improve your marketing, it makes choosing what actions to take seriously, simple. So the best way to work out what marketing you should be concentrating on is to start by writting down the stages of your customers journey through the sales process. So I use the stages awareness, consideration, conversion and retention. So write down those headings awareness, consideration, conversion and retention.
And then under each, write a list of what marketing you currently use and what you know from your research will have the greatest impact reaching people in each stage of your buying process. An example of this would be a Facebook ad that would create awareness, which would send your people to your lead magnet as a download on your website, and then to present a series of emails which are in the consideration stage, leading into conversion stage where they buy through your sales page on your website or sales calls or even in store. And lastly, would lead on to your loyalty programme, which is targeted at retention.
Once you’ve broken it down into what overall marketing activities you want to focus on, write down each action you need to take to improve your marketing and grow your business and then rank them in order of priority to meet your goals that you said earlier, because not all marketing is created equal. And just because something works well for one business doesn’t mean that’s true for you.
Think about which actions will have the biggest impact. The actions that many small businesses need to take first are: fixing their brand messaging, implementing ways to grow their email list, improving the consistency and content of their emails, and improving engagement and conversion of their website by communicating their true value through captivating text. So write down on your 90 day marketing plan that I’ve produced for you, specifically what you want to achieve in the next 90 days, what actions you take to achieve those goals, who was responsible for making it happen and by what date.
For example, if your primary goal on the next 90 days is to build relationships with new clients in order to increase retention and referral rates. And to do this, you might start with actions to write and automate a special nurture series of emails when clients first sign up so that you can better inform them about how your process works and how they can get the most out of your service. Plus, you also want to say phone every new client two weeks after they buy to follow up with them.
To help give you clarity around each actions purpose, I’ve also added a tick box on each row to show whether you’re doing each action to improve attraction, conversion or retention rates. And in the last column, you need to write down the cost of each action so you can be clear about whether it fits into your budget. Plus, consider the financial cost vs. the benefit. There’s one last thing you need to write down on your planner, and that is how you’re going to measure the success of the actions you take.
Will you record at the start and the finish the number of people on your email list, plus the open click through and conversion rates? Or will it simply be that your goal was to get five great testimonials so your measurement would be to have the five and have added them to your website, social media and email. Now remember to download the 90 day marketing plan to make all of this so much easier to put together. You might be wondering why I made it a 90 day plan instead of the year long plans that marketing professionals develop.
It’s because as an owner with so many competing demands, it’s much easier and achievable to concentrate on reaching 90 day goals, then it is to give yourself a whole heap of actions to achieve over 12 months. Because let’s be realistic. What usually happens is it all gets left to the last minute and then little is achieved over a whole year, which is a huge wasted opportunity. The idea of this podcast episode, and part one as well, was to explain why it’s essential for growth to have a strategic marketing plan and to give you a simplified but still highly effective version of what needs to go in it.
You’re far better off creating a two page marketing plan that has all of the essentials, then putting it off until you can afford to pay someone to do it or just not do it at all. Yes, look, a strategic plan developed by a marketing expert will provide better insight, clearer direction and better results. But this takes us days and days of research and planning and years of experience. But many small businesses either can’t afford or don’t want to invest in their marketing in this way.
So no matter what stage of your business you’re in, you need to take action towards your goals. So download the free two page, 90 day marketing success planner and start working out the strategic direction of your marketing. If you put in the work, it really will make a difference to reducing the overwhelm with your marketing and provide you with much better results so you can reach your full potential. Look, if you found this episode helpful, all I ask in return is that you spread the word and tell your friends about the Simply Standout Marketing Podcast. Thanks for joining me today.
Thanks for listening to Simply Standout Marketing Podcast. Head over to simplystandoutmarketing.com for the show notes, downloads and even more great stuff to help you grow your business with marketing made simple.