Monday, 04 March, 2024

2 Components of a Marketing Plan That Give You the Advantage

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Years ago I taught a series of web-related classes at our local Small Business Development Center (SBDC), and Facebook had just become a “thing”. Social media sites were still in their infancy, and Facebook had just been created.

At the time there were plenty of “guru’s” that would help you get stuff set up, but nobody was talking about how to effectively market on the social media platform.

I filled the gap at that point because it’s more important to know how to put a plan together than just flip the switch.

While social media has moved forward several light years, and it may be more exciting to create posts and put pretty graphics together in Canva, if you don’t have a plan, sooner or later you’ll run out of steam, or at best be posting ineffective information that simply adds to the noise. 

Is planning not your forte? Not sure where to start? Let’s look at several key elements that should go into your Marketing Plan.

Who is Your Customer

I can’t stress the following statement enough… Your customer is not everyone!

To really zero in on who your customer is and how to maximize your marketing efforts to reach them, you need to look at two sides – who your ‘sweet spot’ ideal client is and what you have to offer – and then connect them together.

Identify WHO your client is

Do you know how to categorize your clients? Do you have the majority of your clients in your sweet spot? If you don’t identify who of your clients are your “sweet spot” clients, at best they may never find you and at worst you could inadvertently alienate them. Here are some questions to ask to help focus on who they are (and bonus tip, they also become key points you’ll want to address or answer in your marketing):

  • What are their points of pain?
  • What are they thinking and communicating?
  • What are their demographics and psychographics?
  • What do they believe in?

Identify what YOU have to offer

Now flip that coin, and look at your service(s)/product(s)… what do you have to offer people?

If you are dealing with just one person (B2C – Business to Consumer), this is a simpler process. In the B2B world, you have an entire company to think about and often their decisions are made by a committee.

For both, boil down what you offer to a core — what do they love the most about what you do?  What “problems” do you solve for people? BTW, this is NOT “what” you do!

It’s “why” you do it. It’s the reason you do what you do. Once you have the core, you can move on to more detailed questions like “What do I need to do to improve my offering in order to get them to buy?” And finally, once you’ve got all of this in place, you can move on to the “how” of selling: “How do I communicate with my customers?” “How do I make sure that they keep coming back?”

If you need some inspiration or clarification, take a few minutes to watch Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why” Ted talk.

Putting them together: Your client & your business

Your “perfect-for-you” client: Think about both WHO your clients are and HOW they can be helped by the problems you solve. Where do these intersect? Don’t just attach easy-to-find demographic information, but delve into their values, ambitions, dreams and goals.  The initial step is to create a simple list, but you will want to grow it into a persona, a word picture of what makes these people tick.

There are many resources out there to help you through these steps, here’s one from Hubspot.

You need to think about how your “sweet spot” clients like to communicate with you as you move to the next step of creating your Marketing Plan. Are they on Facebook, or are they more active on a professional networking website? Do they like to read educational or informational emails and articles or are they mainly interested in upcoming promotions and discounts?

If you will take the time to clearly identify your ideal client, and how your solutions will truly help you, you will have the advantage over many of your competitors.

Create Your Plan

It’s time to make a decision about what you’re going to do. Don’t be afraid to start small and grow because it’s important not to bite off more than you can chew. Decide what you can keep up with, and start with that.

Publishing your content

How many days a week will you post on your chosen social media platform? Starting at 2 or 3 days is fine.

Sometimes you can reuse content. For example, our bi-weekly emails are posted to Facebook after they are sent on Tuesday. They are also posted to our blog so they can live a long life of usefulness.

Use a content calendar

If you want to succeed, you need to create a calendar where you can group and track your ideas. It’s the backbone of your plan – what you will do, when, where, how frequently. Best of all, it takes the stress off so you’re not scrambling for ideas last minute. When I take the time to plan my topics first for the quarter and then for the month, it is much easier to write about them.

I recommend picking your main topics for each quarter when you do your initial planning. Then, fill in the “month” topics for the upcoming months in the current quarter and try to work ahead to get the upcoming quarter complete. This completes the big picture that will help make the weekly content easier to create.

There are so many available options for content calendars online. Hubspot has a selection of 13 different content calendar options. Find one that fits and go for it! 

About Christy Kiltz

Christy Kiltz is the owner of Design! by Kiltz Internet Solutions and has been taking care of business owners online since 2001. Her high-touch digital agency is located in Southern Oregon and provides comprehensive online marketing services and technology solutions that free up business owners to focus on what they love to do instead.

According to Christy, “Service-based business clients come to us spinning their wheels trying to make money online. We form a partnership to turn their websites into lead-generating machines. Our White Glove Growth program is designed to help you get more leads and grow your business.”

In addition to building websites and offering technical support, Christy’s primary focus is education and empowerment. By toning down the “geek” and offering practical tools easily understood by non-technical folks, Christy opens the black box of technology with classes, webinars, and web tips developed to demystify digital marketing. With ease and a bit of humor, she reminds us that while technology continues to move forward at warp speed, many foundational marketing principles remain. 

Christy Kiltz joins us as a regular contributor to share her digital marketing expertise with our business community. Enjoy her articles and commentaries!

Find out more about how Christy can help your business improve your online world. 

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