How To Design An Incredible Marketing Plan To Make More Money

 

“My sales aren’t where they need to be!” You’re sure of that but coming up with a marketing plan to get more business can be hard!

If you can’t tell a marketing plan from a marketing strategy, I can help. Here are the steps to develop a successful campaign to reach your business goals and make more money.

A lot of marketing terms are confusing, so, first, I want to define what some of them mean.  

Whether you choose digital or more traditional marketing, you will use these four elements.

Marketing is the entire process of transferring goods or services from the producer to the customer. It includes determining what people want, delivering it, and evaluating consumer satisfaction.

Promotion includes most of what we do to encourage people to use a product or service through advertising or publicity.

Public relations is a planned approach to helping people think well of your business or product, usually through free articles in the mass media or by connection to charitable organizations or events.

Publicity is a story or article carried by the mass media. We can’t control the slant of the story but, we hope it encourages people to use our product or service by presenting a good image to the public.

Advertising. Everyone knows this one!  Paid announcements to promote products or services.

Identify Your Brand & Get Tons of Raving Fans

Branding has two parts.

1) establishing a strong link between a company and its logo/typeface/picture or name/phrase.

2) developing the ‘personality’ of your product and service, establish the characteristics that should come to mind when people think of you. Branding helps build loyalty.

Raving Fans. This term is the title of a book by Ken Blanchard and has become a common word to describe people who have such good opinions of your business they influence others to use it.  

Achieve Your Marketing Goals

A marketing strategy is the overall marketing goal; you need to complete your business plan. It is the ‘thinking’ that happens before you start ‘doing.’

The marketing plan is your action plan to fulfill your strategy.

Implementation is the actual process you will take to achieve your marketing plan.

Equally importantly, you will want to Analyze as you implement each step in your marketing plan and ask these questions:

  • Are you getting the results you want?
  • Have you given it enough time?
  • Can you change or improve your results or is it time to try something new?
  • What is the dollar return on your marketing investment?

Define Long-Term and Short-Term Goals to Get Results

By now, you’ve defined your Target Customer and identified your Unique Value Proposition (UVP). You can use that information to keep your marketing strategy in line with who your customer is and the benefits they need.

Even if you hire a marketing agency, to do a good job, they will need this information. When I write for a business, this is the first information that I need in order to effectively target content. 

I love acronyms. I really do! They help us remember things that are important and here’s a good one to help with setting goals.

S-M-A-R-T Goals are:

Specific  Is your goal defined?

Measurable  Can you track your goal?

Aspirational   It should inspire you, so go for it!

Realistic  Is it an attainable goal?

Time-Bound  When do you want to reach this goal?

It is helpful to set financial goals as well as other benchmarks you want your business to reach; both long-term, maybe five years,  and short- term, perhaps six months.

Don’t make it too complicated at this point; I’d suggest just a couple of goals, so you don’t get stuck her

 

A Great Tool- The Four P’s of Marketing

Briefly, the four P’s are:

Product (or Service) What do you have that your customer will want? Why will they want it? What makes it unique or different?

Price- Obviously, what you charge, but it is it a good value for what you offer? How does your price compare with competitors?

Place- Where can people get it? Online? In a store?

Promote- What are you going to do to convince people to use your product or service?

You should already have this information figured out from your UVP, but it’s helpful to put it in this format.

To better understand the 4 P’s of marketing, watch this short video.

The Last Acronym for the Week…A.I.D.A.

This mnemonic stands for Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action; and it describes the process a person goes through as they move from ‘not knowing you exist’ to becoming a customer.

Your mission is to find out ways to move them along. First, you must decide where your potential clients are.

A– Are they even aware you exist?

I–  How interested are they?  Can you demonstrate you can help them solve a problem?

D– Do they want what you have to offer?

A– How can you help them take action on that belief?

For instance, if your plan calls for increasing the average sale total for each customer, your marketing will be different from a startup that is trying to let potential buyers know that they exist.

 

The next article will return to our fictional business, Bob’s Auto Repair, and show you how he might work through this process.

In the meantime, please contact me if you have any questions or comments.

 

 

 

Tested Methods to Create Your Unique Value Proposition

I think you’ll agree with me: it’s difficult to brag about ourselves; whether it’s the ‘About’ page on our website or crafting a Unique Value Proposition, it can be super-hard.

However, if we can’t define what’s special about ourselves and our business, how will we convince customers to spend their money with us?

Unique Value Proposition/ Unique Selling Proposition, It’s the Same Thing

The tricky word in these statements is Unique, so take a look at the definition in the Oxford Dictionary of the English Language:

Being the only one of its kind; unlike anything else. Belonging or connected to (one particular person, place, or thing). Particularly remarkable, special, or unusual.

What Makes Your Business Unique?

Remarkable? Special? Unusual? Not easy, but take a look at what Seth Godin said about it.   He can take a complicated concept and make it clear like nobody else. To quote him, “What do you do that’s worth talking about?” It’s what he calls, “The Purple Cow,” and it gets attention.

Your Purple Cow can be hard to come up with, so keep reading for a couple of tips.

 Why are you doing what you’re doing? (if you didn’t need the money, why would you do it? What do you love about it?)

  •          Your answer to this question often reveals your passion. Without question, loving your work is not too common, and it differentiates your business.

For instance, if you own a bookstore and are a raging bibliophile, you will be able to recommend titles better than a clerk who had worked at only a hardware store! Amazon still doesn’t talk to you and share their favorite book as you do.

Look at what The Strand Bookstore in New York City did to emphasize the level of knowledge required to work there! And it just so happened they got a write-up in the NY Times, too.

 What one thing do you do better or different than your competition?

  •  Without a doubt, you better come up with something here, or your business will be in trouble! For instance, you may not be the biggest or cheapest, but you can be more experienced or friendly.

So, brag about yourself!  If you run a pizzeria, talk about how you use Grandmama’s recipe, organic fresh-picked San Marzano tomatoes, and cook every pie in a wood-fired oven for taste ‘just like you’re in Italy.’ And nobody else in town does all these things just like you do, especially the franchise on the corner.

  What do your customers like about you, your product or service?

  •   Actually, you can ask them! Conduct a brief survey of existing customers and find out why they choose you.

Ask things such as: What do you like most about my service or product? Why have you kept returning for five years? If you were to encourage your best friend to come here- why?

You may be surprised at the answers, but it will give you an insight into what your customers like about you.

The Unique Value Proposition of Bob’s Auto Repair

Let’s go back to the example I used in the Mission Statement article.

Bob’s Auto Repair is an auto-service business serving Central Texas. Our passion is providing honest, efficient service and repair at a fair price.

Here’s Bob’s answer to question one about why he loves his business. It gives us  a clue about how his business is Unique:

“I  love diagnosing broken autos and figuring out how to repair them. I am restoring an old Bronco at home in my  garage. It makes me happy to see people excited to get their car back, running again.”

He believes his Unique Advantage is, “I am crazy about what I do, and I love having satisfied customers. They know my shop is honest, reliable, and efficient.”

His response to questions two and three shows us how it provides the Value Proposition:

“Customers tell me over-and-over they trust me and my honest mechanics. My shop almost always gets their vehicles back when promised. If there are unexpected delays in getting a part, I keep them updated. I often hear other shops suggest unnecessary repairs and pad their bills with extra charges.”

Bob describes his Unique Advantage as “I am passionate about what I do and about having satisfied customers. People realize we are honest, reliable, and efficient.”

Put all these elements together, and he might come up with a Unique Value Proposition like this:

You love your car- so do we! Fixed right, on time, every time;  no hidden charges.

Or, he could go with a headline and a few bullet points:

You know what you need. So do we. Every time, all the time.

  • Fast service
  • Expertly done
  • Honest prices

Remember, You Have to Sell Yourself Before You Sell Your Product

The upshot of all this is, start considering your Unique Advantage. I guarantee it will be useful to you as we discuss how these three things will make your marketing more efficient:

Know Your Target Audience.

Define Your Mission Statement.

Nail Your Unique Value Proposition.

Let me know if you get stuck or if you need help with these essential business elements; I love to talk business!

 

 

 

 

      

 

 

How to Craft an Easy, Meaningful Mission Statement

You hear it all the time- you need a Mission Statement to focus your marketing.

Yet, your eyes cross and your brain screams, “Overload! Overload!”, every time you try to figure it out.

Without a doubt, you need a Mission Statement.  It not only defines your company’s purpose,  it provides a framework on which to build your marketing strategy.

In every business I’ve owned, I tried to come up with a clear, though simple, statement and never got it right. All I ended up with was a bunch of meaningless buzz words strung together or a vague sentence that meant nothing.

Awhile ago, I came upon an excellent article by Kathryn Aragon.  Immediately the process came into focus.

In brief, we struggle because we don’t know the answers to three easy questions that will give a clear message to our customers. Specifically, we need these answers:

  1. I am a _________________ (what you sell or do).
  2. I provide this service or sell ____________to_____________________ (target customer).
  3. So that ______________________________ (key benefits).

Okay- What Goes in My Mission Statement?

To complete this exercise, you need to:

  • Summarize your target market in one sentence.
  • List the three biggest and most important problems these customers face, relevant to your product/service.
  • Describe how you solve their problem with real solutions.
  • Show the actual results they will get.
  • Reveal the deeper core, emotional benefits they will receive.

For example,  Bob  owns an auto repair business and his target market is:

Auto owners within 50 miles of the shop, including those who are using their warranty.

The customer’s problems are likely:

  1. “My vehicle is broken or needs routine service.”
  2. “I need to get it quickly repaired at a fair price.”
  3. “I worry about being taken advantage of by a dishonest mechanic who tries to sell me unnecessary repairs.”

You can solve her problems when you:

  • Provide quality repair services done by well-trained, experienced mechanics.
  • Run a professional shop, so she retrieves her car quickly at a reasonable price.
  • Display your Better Business Bureau and satisfied customer testimonials and offer a  guarantee on all repairs.

She will get the results of:

A repaired vehicle.

Picking it up when promised, fixed by the expert, honest mechanics.

The customer gets the added emotional benefits of:

Confidence that her vehicle will be fixed quickly by qualified technicians.

Peace-of-mind knowing you will not be suggesting unneeded additional repairs.

 Now we can use these statements to fill in our three Elements of a Mission Statement:

Bob’s Auto Repair is an auto-service business serving Central Texas. Our passion is (2) providing honest, efficient service and repair at reasonable prices so (3) customers are confident in trusting us with their vehicles.

Now you have your Mission Statement and you can shape all of your statements to reinforce the main benefits to your customer.

For example, your website content and blog post can highlight the ongoing training that your technicians receive, customer testimonials that reinforce how satisfied they are with your service and informative articles that illustrate your expertise.

Try the three-step method I have outlined and see if it helps you crystallize the goals and marketing for your business; I’m sure it will.

When you need writing to communicate your business message and reinforce your company’s identity, send me an email and let me know how we can work together to build your successful and profitable business.

 

 

 

 

How to Target Your Customer Profile for Maximum Profit

To hit the marketing bull’s eye, you’ve got to have a target.

Do you know bona fide, research-based methods exist that you can use to define your customer profile?

You need to decide which social media to post on, which benefits of your service or product to highlight and the best keywords to use in your writing and here’s an effective way to do it.

Customer profile, avatar, ideal or target customer – these words describe a focused image based on three things; the demographics and psychographics of your client and creating a detailed picture of him or her.

1. Demographics are statistics about a group which includes:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Income
  • Education
  • Occupation
  • Geographic location
  • Marital status
  • Parent?
  • Renter or homeowner

Do you ever wonder why stores ask your zip code when you check out? That’s because it shows so much about you.

If you have a mailing list (I hope so!), you have their addresses. If not, start by using a good zip code finder/map to find the boundaries of your customers’ neighborhoods.  

When your business is virtual, or not yet up-and-running, use a zip code where you think your customer would live.

Check out this free, easy-to-use website. Enter the zip code of the area that interests you. Choose from the menu on the left for details.

You can also get zip codes of visitors from your website analytics and use them for research.

2. Psychographics identify personality, values and interests.

People buy things for a reason; to help them reach personal goals, fill desires, make their lives better or solve problems.

These choices depend on their:

  • Beliefs and opinions
  • Interests (sports, travel, pet ownership, parenting, fitness)
  • Activities (hobbies, TV shows, shopping, how they spend their free time)
  • Goals, dreams, and wishes
  • Personality and values
  • Lifestyle
  • Spending habits
  • Worries and fears

I know you have more than one type of customer but start by imagining one of your most ideal ones. If you are a start-up, imagine the perfect client and where they might live.

Again, you can benefit from the data already collected by using a free psychographic tool which will provide accurate information on that area’s residents.

There are also useful examples of customer profiles based on their information.

3.  Pull the information together to write a Customer Profile.

At this point, use your own business as a reference to develop your perfect patron.

To illustrate, imagine you are selling high-end, organic pet food. Made from human-quality ingredients and formulated by veterinary nutrition experts; it is delivered, frozen, to the customer’s home.

You could assume that all pet owners will want to buy your product. However, you will be far more successful if you segment your market and target, likely consumers.

To demonstrate,  enter the zip code 78703 in Austin, Texas.  You see 60% of the residents could be potential customers, based on income alone, and moreover, you can gain insight into their behavior and buying patterns.  

Combined with the information from Factfinder, you now understand a lot about the residents here. Specifically, you see that:

  • 27% of the families have an income over $200,000.00.
  • Women are the majority of residents, 68%.
  • The average age is 36.
  • The majority of people work in management, business, science and the arts.
  • Over 80% are college graduates or have advanced degrees.

From previous research, I know that 36.5% of families in the United States own a dog and 30.4% have a cat in the household, so you can feel confident that this is an ideal market for your healthy, organic pet food!

So, who would your ideal consumer be? We will call her Erin, she is a 55-year-old female with $400,000.00 in household income.

Demographic profile

She has advanced degrees in accounting and business.

As a self-employed financial consultant, she travels frequently.

Erin and her husband own a luxury condo downtown.

They aren’t parents, but a well-loved dog is part of the family.

Now we will add her psychographic information

  • Beliefs and opinions- hard work and education are rewarded by higher income

 

  • Interests- travel, investing, reading, luxury decorating, her Pomeranian dog, yoga, and Pilates

 

  • Information sources- relies on personal recommendations from friends but also spends substantial time online. She uses mobile devices and depends on statistics and data when making decisions.

 

  • Activities- She spends free time at home, visiting with close family and friends, dining out at gourmet restaurants, and overseas travel

 

  • Goals, dreams, and wishes- She enjoys being free from financial pressure and is proud of her successful business. She would like more time to relax.

 

  • Personality and values– Hard-driving, competitive nature, honed by years of success in a fast-paced career. She expects others to perform up to her standards.

 

  • Lifestyle- Organized, she still favors a scheduled life, with time blocked out for work, fitness, and favorite activities.

 

  • Spending habits- She values convenience and insists on the quality of the purchases she makes.

 

  • Worries and fears-  Reaching mid-life, she worries about her health and fitness, the well-being of her family and beloved dog, Pixie.

Undoubtedly, you don’t have all this information, so by all means, guess on some of the points and use your imagination. As you interview customers in real-life, fine tune it and add more personas for the primary customer types.

You can hire market analysts who access detailed information and can provide your business with complete profiles as well.

I Challenge You to Create Your Profitable Customer Profile

Get started on defining the profiles of your customers today! Without a doubt, it will take work to form a precise picture, but it will be one of your most-used business tools.

It’s an essential component of all the writing I do and results in the effective communication of your message.

If you need help, please email me today for a free one-hour consultation on how well-researched content can boost your profits.

The next article in this marketing series will talk about integrating the benefits of your product or service with potential markets and your customer profile.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Truth About Finding the Job You Want

Preparing for a job interview

Good communication, including reading, writing, and speaking, is the number one skill that employers want.  

Understanding what others are saying and responding appropriately is essential in every job. The ability to express yourself clearly and confidently was the number one skill employers were looking for, according to a recent report.  

Other communication skills are important, as well. For example,  I interviewed a  manager who told me,

“An applicant’s initial response to a job posting is their chance to make a good impression.  Did they follow the basic instructions by answering via email as requested,  and including a resume? Did they spell correctly and include their contact information? If they can’t follow directions up to this point I hit the ‘delete’ key because it doesn’t look promising for their future with my business.”

Continue reading “The Truth About Finding the Job You Want”

Get Powerful Results from Your Website

“Websites are old news. Social media is all I need.”

As a small business owner you might think you don’t even need a website.  At the same time, you may say that obtaining sales leads and traffic are one of your biggest needs.

However, studies show that this impression is not correct. Your Instagram photos, Twitter posts and other forms of social media, help keep your name in customers’ minds, but they don’t replace your website. Social media can help build a brand, but they won’t sell products.

Continue reading “Get Powerful Results from Your Website”