Creating a Marketing Plan

Creating A Marketing Plan 101: Part I

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how to create a winning marketing plan

The services your business offers your clients are amazing.

Well, at least you think so.

What do your clients say?

You’re sure their testimonials are going to be glowing… as soon as you actually land a client.

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Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in business for a while, if your flow of clients is more like a trickle – it pays to sit down and think out (or rethink) your marketing plan.

So many voices tell you that “you MUST be on Facebook!” and “you HAVE to write a blog!” that often we listen – even when it won’t and doesn’t help us actually convert interested parties into clients. Your business is unique, and it needs a custom-tailored marketing plan.

The good news? If you’re willing to put a little thought into it, you can do it on your own. In this marketing mini-series, we’ll walk you through the steps of thinking out your own marketing plan, so you can earn those glowing testimonials from actual clients.

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Step 1: Who are your clients?

This is THE most critical part of your entire marketing plan. Get it right, and the rest will flow. Get it wrong (or don’t get it at all), and you’ll be funneling lots of time and money into nowhere.

The two words to bear in mind here are:

1)    Specific
2)    Motivation


We all have the tendency to try and widen our target audience as much as possible.  Who can we help with our product or service?  Why, everyone!

Part of this is self-serving (we want to have as wide a pool as possible so we can have as many customers as possible) and part is altruistic (if we really believe in what we sell, we want to help as many people as possible).

But when we try to reach everyone, we end up reaching no one very well. Our message sounds very generic and no one person is moved.

And that brings us to…


We need to define our clients based on their motivation.

Why? It will inform and help shape our marketing efforts. You can make an intelligent guess that your target audience is female New Yorkers ages 40-60. But no one buys a product because they are a 50-year-old female New Yorker. They buy a product because they feel they are missing something that the product will fulfill, or that they have a problem that the product will solve. It could be as simple as “I’m hungry and I want to feel full,” or as complex as “I have health, wealth and friends but I still feel like something is missing – I want to feel a sense of purpose and contribution to the world.”

Let’s use an example. You’re a personal trainer. Considering that the vast majority of Americans don’t get enough exercise, you could help a lot of people.  80% of the United States is enough clients for you, yes?

But if you go out and market yourself as “I’ll create a personal fitness program for ANYONE,” you may not get so many takers.

First, it’s not specific. Second, this doesn’t speak to anyone’s motivation. How many people are going around saying, “I’m missing a personal fitness program – I want someone to design one for me”?

What would work better?

Let’s say you decide to focus your target market on women who have recently given birth. You’re now a Post-natal Fitness Trainer. More specific, no? And what’s the motivation of women after birth? Why would they want a fitness trainer? (Even if you’ve never been a woman after birth, I’m sure you can imagine this one.) Right – they want their shape back, they want their energy back – in some ways, they want their life back. With the baby, of course, but with time to care for themselves. Time which they used to have, but has suddenly become so scarce.

Now you’re marketing yourself as “A post-natal fitness trainer who will help you take care of and get back to yourself with a fitness program customized to your time and needs.”

Compare that to “a personal trainer who can create a personal fitness program for anyone.”

Which sounds more compelling?

Once you have that definition of your target audience – specific, and taking into account their motivation – your marketing plan will flow forth. Keep that definition firmly in place – your path will be clear. Start questioning your definition, trying to broaden it a little here and there: you’ll no longer have a clear plan and your efforts will be less effective and more frustrating.

Action: Take a few minutes and write down some examples of who your target audience is/could be.
Make sure it’s specific and includes motivation. One particular exercise which is very helpful is picturing those glowing testimonials. What are your clients saying about you? How specifically did you help them? How exactly did you change their lives? Write a few pretend testimonials – the kind you really want to see. The profile of your target client (specific and motivation-driven) should spring forth from your words.

aviva-lgSubmitted by Aviva