The phone rings. You glance at the number and cringe. It’s that customer. The one who takes all your time, is never happy, and always seems to need “a little more help.”
Marketing Plan Ah-Ha
Early in my business, I had several of those clients. I told a colleague, “I think I attract the most difficult people to work with.”
He smiled and responded, “You probably are.”
“What do you mean?” I asked. “I’m doing everything I can to get my name out there. I network with great groups, meet lots of interesting people and engage on social media.”
“That’s true,” he said. “But, do you have a plan?”
“Absolutely,” I said. “I want to double my business from last year.”
“It sounds like an ambitious goal, but do you have a plan to get there?” he countered.
I thought about his question. I didn’t.
He filled in my silence. “At the beginning, you are grateful for any business. You don’t have a marketing plan. Instead, you leave things to chance.”
“Let’s take social media. What is your goal and plan for your Facebook page? Why do you have it?”
I stammered. “Because everyone said I should be on Facebook. Posting happens when I have time.” I know it sounded lame.
“That’s my point,” he said, non-judgementally thankfully. “Most people use marketing tools without thinking why they use them, what outcomes they want, or who they want to attract.” He let that sink in.
“When we don’t have a plan, you end up with some clients you love. The others are not a good fit. This is a difficult way to grow your business.”
We talked more that afternoon about a marketing plan. I was excited to look at my business in a new way.
Realistic Marketing Plan
If you Google Marketing Plan, you find generic tools good for submitting a business plan, but they can’t guide your daily actions. I built a simple plan I cuse every month to reach my goals.
- Set your goal – What do you want to achieve? Increased sales? New relationships? Increased brand awareness?
- Ask yourself, “Is this realistic?” Really? Based on current workload can you achieve this goal?
- Commit – Make the goal the focus of your daily actions.
- Choose Channels – Where do you want to market? What worked in the past? What do you want to try? Where do your perfect customers hang out? What do they respond to?
- Fill In The Marketing Calendar – Pick a theme important to your perfect customer for each month. Write your posts, blogs, marketing events, emails, or direct mail pieces. Put them on the calendar.
- Schedule – Schedule what you can.
- Engage – Engage with your community both in person and online.
- Review the Numbers – Every week look at your statistics. Make notes of what works and what does not then adjust the plan.
It Works…It Really Works
Since that conversation, I am happy to say I don’t have those clients anymore. Setting goals and building an actionable plan is the backbone of my business. It allows me to do my best work with individuals and companies in a meaningful way. Isn’t that what we all want.