Creating a Marketing Plan

Creating A Marketing Plan 101: Part II

Getting your message to your people

Creating a Winning Marketing Plan 101

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.


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.

Last week, we talked about defining your client base and determining your specific, motivational message. This week, we’ll tackle identifying where your clients are, and how to reach them.

Step 2: Where are your clients?

STOP!  If you don’t have your audience defined (as per the exercise in last week’s post), the following will not be practically helpful. Go and do the exercise.

I’ll wait, I promise.

If you don’t have patience to go do the exercise right now, you are wasting your time reading this. Click the little X in the corner of the browser tab and come back when you’re ready.

I’m only half-kidding. Why are you reading this if you’re not going to implement it? If you want to effectively influence your marketing effort – take out the paper and pencil. Come on – you’ll be happy you did so afterwards when you have more clarity in your marketing plan.

Back to the question… where are your clients?

To be more specific: where do they hang out that you can reach them with your message?  This can be a:

1)    physical forum (doctor’s office, student union)

2)    online forum (Facebook, chat room, LinkedIn group)

3)    broadcast media forum (a specific radio station)

Wherever they are – that’s where you go to reach them. They’re already there! And if they’re not – don’t waste your time.

Here’s the fallacy of the “you MUST be on Facebook” argument. If your audience isn’t on Facebook, or if they are but they only use it for sharing pictures of their grandchildren, or if they are but there are at least 10 other venues that your audience frequents more… don’t waste your time putting up a Facebook page! You don’t have to write it off entirely, but don’t make that a primary focus of your strategy. Invest your energy, time and money where it is most likely to count.

Let’s go back to our Post-natal Fitness Trainer. She wants to reach mothers who are just after birth and are longing to get back to themselves.

Physical forums where new moms might be would be the home/office of a lactation consultant. That’s an exclusively after-birth forum. Our fitness trainer can make up some brochures or business cards conveying her message (making sure it’s new mom focused and speaking directly to their desires and motivations) and ask local lactation consultants if they can put them out for their new mommy clients to see. How is she going to convince the lactation consultants to do that? “Please” is a very effective magic word. Barring that, she can always offer the lactation consultant a complimentary fitness consultation in exchange.

Online forums for new moms would be forums like JustMommies or CafeMom. For any forum you find – whether it’s a message board or social media – make sure to evaluate it before jumping in.

1)    How active is it? How many replies do posts get? How many views do they get?

2)    Do you get a signature where you can have a tagline with your message and a link to your site – making every post an opportunity to market your services?

3)    Do they say that advertising is not tolerated? If so, it may not be worth spending effort there if the one time you mention your services you get thrown off the forum – although if you participate enough and just mention what you offer here or there, it may not be a problem.

Pencil and paper time again! Write down three ideas of places (physical, online or otherwise) where the client profile you just wrote is likely to be.

Step 3: What can I share with my ideal clients that will convince them to buy from me?

Let the message be your guide. Give them tips and hints they cannot find elsewhere or are unlikely to already know – a taste of what your full service or products can provide.

Our fitness trainer can give examples of quick and powerful exercises for the busy new mother, something she can do with her newborn in tow – or write a blog post about 10 ways to pamper yourself that don’t take a lot of time. Either speaks to her target client’s basic desire. She can share this content in the places where her clients hang out, whether it’s a printed sheet in a physical forum or a post and a link in an online one.

Oftentimes the questions and comments raised by your target audience in an online forum can provide ideas for content creation.  You know it will speak to them because they raised the issue.

One last time – take out that pencil and paper. Write down three ideas for content (an article, a blog post, info for a flyer or brochure) that support your message. This content should resonate with the basic desire of your audience.

There. Take a look at your paper. (You DO have things written down on that paper, don’t you?  If not, do not X out of this page before you do – or at least until you’ve bookmarked this page and written it down on your To-Do list.)

You’ve done it! You have the basic outline of your marketing plan. You know who you want to target. You know what will motivate them – because that’s how you defined them. You know what content to share that will touch and spark that motivation. You know where to reach them.

So what are you waiting for?  Glowing testimonials, here we come!

aviva-lgSubmitted by Aviva