One of the most powerful strategic planning tools your business can possess is a marketing plan designed to generate leads. I’m not talking about the traditional marketing approach including the large document you used to get funding or request a loan. Your inbound marketing plan should be a simple (1-4 page) document that specifically answers who you are, what problem you solve, who needs that solution and how you plan to attract their attention. This document is used to show a clear path of how warm leads will be created for the sales team to follow up with and may include the high level sales goals you plan to achieve with each of your marketing campaigns.
Follow these seven steps to build the perfect marketing plan.
Step 1: Pick a niche. Try to describe your ideal customer in the narrowest and most detailed terms possible, as though you’re describing him or her to another client. Include the results you typically achieve for your clients. Stay away from describing how you achieve those results. Clarify the niche(s) you serve, then package your products and services to fit their needs
Step 2: Clarify the problem. Figure out what you do best and what your target market wants.. Call up three or four of your clients and ask them why they buy from you. Craft a core message (short paragraph, summary tag line, mission statement) that quickly differentiates your business.
Step 3: Create topics for education based marketing materials. Review all your marketing materials, including your website, revise them by page and marketing piece to focus on education and the results the reader gets. Make certain every word in your marketing materials speaks of your core messages and talks to your target market.
Step 4: Build Inbound marketing systems. Make sure all your advertising is geared toward creating prospects, not customers. Educate before you sell. Your target market needs to know how you provide value in a way that makes them want to pay a premium for your services or products. The short bits of information in an ad, social media post, landing page, tradeshow flier will not be able to have enough information. . Your ad must get viewers to ask for more information. Give them a way to connect with you so you can help them along the sales process to understand the value you bring. Outline all the ways you will get your education-based messages in front of your narrowly defined target market. Some marketing is designed to communicate the brand, but most of your marketing should be designed to attract the audience to specific locations to take specific actions. These form the marketing campaigns that will be tracked for effectiveness in delivering leads.
Step 5: Attract media attention. Create a list of journalists who focus on your industry or community, and build relationships with each by becoming a reliable resource of information. Plan out an entire year of new items that you can promote by season or event.
Step 6: Expect raving fans. Create a referral marketing engine that systematically turns each client and referral network into a kind of unpaid sales pro. You must install a business marketing mind-set into your business’s culture. Do this by making every customer a marketing and referral contact. Capture every contact, use a Client Relations Management (CRM) Database and build a process that focuses on referrals.
Step 7: Live by the calendar. Create a communications calendar that sets the monthly plan of topics and educational material you will communicate out to your audience including the press releases or media articles. Use seasonal events like holidays and quarterly events in your industry to guide the base calendar and fill in with your specific business events like tradeshows, speaking engagements or promotional campaigns.