At the Small Business Marketing Forum last week, I did a workshop on how to create a marketing strategy. The workshop features exercises and templates to help people get their heads around goals, target audiences buyer personas, and the buyer’s journey. It gives them a better idea of what they want to achieve and how to attract customers. So what do you do with this information? When I’m working with clients, I create a full-blown marketing strategy. It’s an in-depth document that establishes a roadmap on how to move forward with clarity and confidence. But many entrepreneurs, particularly people running new and small businesses, may not need something so comprehensive. They do, however, need a marketing strategy to make sure everyone’s on the same stage. The answer is a one-page marketing strategy. It provides a snapshot of what a company is offering, the value of the product, the target audiences and the channels to use. It gives entrepreneurs a mini-document to provide direction and focus. As important, it deters entrepreneurs from doing things on the fly or by the seat of their pants. That’s not marketing, that’s throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks.
Here are the key elements for a one-page marketing plan:
What do you do? This should be a snap to answer but many entrepreneurs stumble. They say too much too soon or they are not clear enough. Keep your answer simple and succinct, while setting the stage for people to ask more questions. For guidance on how to create better answer to “What do you do?”, take my free Story Spark video course. Goals: What do you want to achieve? Is it brand awareness, leads, sales, demo requests, Website traffic, sales? In other words, what does success look like? Establishing goals seems like a straightforward exercise but Dr. Seuss says it best: You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go. Target audiences: Who matters to you? Who’s going to consume and buy your product? While it’s important to know that your target audiences are, for example, women between the ages of 25 and 40, that’s just the beginning. You need to take another step forward and create buyer personas. It involves splitting your target audiences into micro-groups that may look similar but have slightly different needs and interests. How is your product better, different or unique? How does it deliver value? This does your product or service stands apart, even in a small way. In every market, there is fierce competition so differentiation is a must-have. It could be, for example, that you have amazing customer service or better pricing plans. In other words, identify and rally around your differences. Key benefits: How do consumers get value from your product? How does it make their lives better? Will it make them richer, healthier, happier, more productive? Put the spotlight on what’s in it for the consumer, and not about features and prices. In time, people will want to know about prices but the top of the funnel activity is about benefits, benefits, and benefits. Channels: How will you attract, engage, nurture and win over customers? In a world full of options (a veritable marketing buffet), focus on channels and marketing activities that move the needle. As important, party where the party is happening. If your target audiences research their potential purchases on Facebook, it’s a no-brainer to be all over Facebook. If your customers don’t use Facebook, it’s a-ok to ignore Facebook, even if the rest of the world is obsessed. One of the keys to picking the right channels is dividing your marketing world into three parts: now, soon and later/never. Now involves marketing that makes an immediate impact (e.g. a better Website, speaking, or sales sheets). Soon are things that put off for three to nine months. Later is marketing that may happen in nine months or never happen. The Now, Soon & Later approach lets entrepreneurs focus on what matters and stops them from being things to all consumers. To create your one-page marketing strategy, use this template.
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