Do you feel overwhelmed by the endless possibilities to market your micro business?
Do you lack the time to actively grow your business?
It’s easy to feel swamped by a long to-do list. It’s tough to make choices how to market your business. How do you know what will work?
Below follows a seven-step process to quickly create a short, straightforward marketing plan.
Step 1: Define your marketing objectives
Marketing your business can help you grow your business. Of course. But what exactly do you want to achieve?
- Find new prospects who are similar to your current customers;
- Change your customer base by targeting customers in a different industry or better-paying customers;
- Launch new products or services;
- Convert more prospects into customers;
- Sell more to your existing customers.
Write down your key objective at the top of your one-sheet marketing plan. If you have more than one objective, you probably need to draw up more than one plan. Or decide to focus on just one objective for the next two or three months.
Step 2: Describe your ideal customer
It’s important to understand your customers. It will guide your whole marketing plan – from your key message to your choice of marketing channels.
Step 3: Define your key messages
What do you offer? And why would your ideal customer buy from you?
- What’s special about your “features”?
- How does your ideal customer benefit from working with you? Why do you make him or her happier, healthier, or more productive?
- Which problems do you help your customers overcome?
Imagine your ideal customer; answer the three questions above; and write down your key marketing messages. Don’t worry about writing down perfect messages. You can improve them when you next review your marketing (see step 7).
Step 4: Define possible marketing channels
How can you reach your ideal customer?
Where is your ideal customer hanging out? Does she read the local newspaper? Does she spend time on Facebook just to connect with friends or is she interested in connecting with brands on Facebook, too?
Consider which tools are suitable for reaching your ideal customer:
- Advertising or PR in local newspapers or magazines;
- Business fairs or exhibitions;
- Networking events;
- Your website;
- Blogs – either your own blog or other blogs;
- Phone calls;
- Direct mail letters or newsletters;
- Social media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest or YouTube;
- A soapbox on your high street.
Write down all the potential channels you can use to connect with your ideal customer. There may be other that I’ve not listed above.
Don’t worry about costs or time required to implement activities at this stage. Discount only the channels where you can’t reach your customer.
Step 5: Allocate time and money
How much time and money do you want to invest?
Free marketing doesn’t exist. You either have to spend time or money to reach your customer.
Be honest with yourself: How much time do you want to spend each week to market your micro business? How much time CAN you allocate?
Don’t frustrate yourself with preparing a plan that you can’t implement because you either don’t have to money or the time for it.
Write down how much time you will spend daily or weekly. Be realistic!
Write down your monthly or quarterly marketing budget.
Step 6: Create your action plan
Consider the suitable channels you’ve written down (step 4) and match them with the time you have and the money you can spend (step 5).
Prioritize ruthlessly. No marketing plan is perfect. You can never do everything. You just have to trust your gut feeling and then adjust your plan on a regular basis.
Your marketing plans can have daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. For instance:
- Daily: share five articles about your topic on Twitter;
- Weekly: write your email newsletter;
- Monthly: advertise in the local newspaper.
Allocate time in your diary to complete your marketing tasks. Go back to the time you agreed to spend (step 5). Is your plan feasible or are you trying to do too much in too little time?
You have a better chance to implement your plan successfully and to grow your business if you create a realistic plan. Be kind to yourself. Reduce your action plan by scrapping a few more marketing activities.
Step 7: Review your marketing
You should review your marketing at least once a quarter. Initially, you might want to review monthly. Plan a date in your diary when you’ll spend one or two hours to review your marketing. What has worked? What doesn’t work? Do you know how your customers have found you?
Draw up your plan for the next month (or next quarter). Scrap activities that you feel are too expensive or too time-intensive. Try adding something new.
How to turbocharge your marketing
Don’t worry about creating a perfect plan. Marketing is never perfect. You have to start somewhere, and you can adjust your plan as you go.
Try to experiment. Devote a percentage of your time or budget to try something new, because that’s the best way to improve your marketing and win more customers.
Today’s micro action
Write down your marketing plan. Keep it short. But make sure you write down your plan because it helps you to track progress and to stay committed.