There’s a pretty well-known online marketer whose favorite quote is “Hope is not a marketing plan”. In other words, you can’t just pick a marketing strategy and “hope” it will work. Instead, you have to put together a detailed marketing plan where you lay out your bevy of strategies for meeting your business goals. I don't mean a comprehensive list of daily tasks...rather, it's about breaking down each tactic you want to use and the process you’ll put in place for its implementation.
Start With Your Business Model
Not every marketing strategy will work with every business model. You’ll hear lots of promos about “proven” tactics, but that doesn’t mean they are the right ones for you. First, examine your own business model then outline some of the characteristics of that model and your market, including:
- A detailed description of the key features of your target customers
- Where customers will come from - is it organic search, paid search, joint ventures, offline sources, affiliates, etc.?
- What are the buying triggers for your prospects buying triggers? Where or when do they usually make a purchase decision? For example, it could be from a personal referral, a product review, a trusted expert's endorsement, through surfing content sites, through email suggestions, etc.
What Are The Most Popular Marketing Strategies?
Now, look again at your business model and the most popular marketing tactics used by your competitors and what I like to refer to as "role models of excellence". How do they convert from prospective client to paying client? For example,
- Do they have sales pages that lead to freebies that put prospects into an email series
- Do they host regular free teleseminars that include a special offer at the end
- Are they using straight SEO and traffic generation
- Are they engaged in multiple joint ventures and recruiting affiliates
Which Attraction and Marketing Strategies Will You Focus On?
If you try to do several marketing campaigns at once, it's hard to do either one of them just right. It's probably better to focus on one to start with. Test it out, see if it’s working, and then look at adding more strategies. There are endless methods to choose from. Try choosing the easiest marketing strategy so you can put it in place and get moving straight away. You should always have at least one easy tactic you can use that doesn’t require a lot of thought and planning. For example, you can create an autoresponder series that starts every time a person signs up for your list. It’s a very passive form of marketing that requires almost no attention once you have it up and running. Then you can start planning out more campaigns.
Try Working Backwards
In order to put your marketing plan down on paper (or computer), start by looking at all the steps involved from the end result back to the first step. What are the activities you need to complete in order to implement and maintain each strategy? Now put those steps into order by priority and use a process you can follow. Which steps are interdependent? Which ones need to be managed first? You can even use a mindmap to lay out a visual of the process, which makes it easy to move things around. Freemind is a great, free tool for creating mindmaps on PCs. SimpleMind is another one that works well on iPads (this is one I use frequently) and it has a desktop version as well. You can export any of the mindmaps to a pdf so that you can print them and post them by your computer.
Make sure you set deadlines for achieving each step in your marketing plan.The success of much of your strategies will be dependent on a specific timeframe, like the length of time between emails or follow-ups. Get it on your calendar and set firm dates for yourself. Your marketing plan will help you determine what actual tasks you'll need to do from day to day. For example, if you know that your emails need to be set up in daily intervals, then you’ll need to put the outlining and writing of those emails down on your to-do list every day. Just don’t make the big mistake many impatient, overambitious marketers make by trying to do everything at once. Focus on a single strategy at a time, set deadlines, and follow it through to success.