The Basics of Making a Marketing Plan
You’re in startup mode. You’re energized about entrepreneurship. You have a dream, maybe even a team and a budget, but you don’t know how to take the next step.
Is this you?
We talk to entrepreneurs who are in this situation all the time. So many people out there have incredible ideas but don’t know how to put together a plan. And that’s where we come in.
Parts of a Marketing Strategy
Of course, there’s a lot more to marketing strategy than can be explained in a single blog post, but here we lay out the essentials so you can begin building out your plan.
Mission & Vision
A mission statement tells everyone what you do as well as when and how you do it. A vision statement says why you do those things and paints a picture of what success looks like once (if ever) you’ve “completed” your mission.
Both mission and vision statements are usually only one to two sentences. For the most part, if you can’t boil them down any more than that, then you probably need to go back to the drawing board to understand who and what you are at your most basic level. As an example, Habitat for Humanity’s mission is to “bring people together to build homes, communities and hope,” while their vision is “a world where everyone has a decent place to live.” That’s big goal energy.
This is the who—who you sell products or provide services to. You need to really dive deep here. What are your audience’s demographics, psychographics and turn-offs?
Narrow down your audience to five or fewer archetypes, and then outline their characteristics in detail. Which social media platforms are they on? How do they spend their money? Do they have a spouse, children or pets? And where do they live? Treat them like you know them personally, and in each future marketing decision you make you’ll start to wonder, “Would Emma like this tagline? What about Jalen or Jada?” Audience personification is everything.
Once you know what your who, what, when, where, how and why, it’s time to figure out what makes you unique. Think about the overarching trends in the market, how many dollars are spent in the industry, any historical data about your brand and what your competitors can’t (or won’t) do. Within the parameters of your mission, vision and audience, how is your brand new? How are your products or services better than what’s currently out there?
One of the most important points here is to think about your differentiators from your customer’s perspective. You may have a custom CRM that’s the best of the best, but will your customer care? Yeah, probably not.
“Buyers make most of their decisions by relying on their two-second first impressions based on stored memories, images and feelings.” This quote from Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking powerfully expresses how your customers think. In laymen’s terms, you only get one chance to make a first impression, so don’t fuck it up.
In terms of branding, this means developing a name and logo that speaks to your target market and evokes a specific emotion or sensory experience. You can go about this in many ways. We take our clients through a progressive branding experience, part of which we will share with you.
- Write down a list of words, potential names and/or concepts that you might want to start with (this is if you don’t already have your company name).
- Write down a list of adjectives and emotions you want your potential client to feel when they see your logo.
- Find five to 10 logos you like and five to 10 logos you don’t like, and then describe in detail why they made the list.
- Determine which colors, art styles and fonts you like and don’t like. Then, think about why you like or don’t like them. Have good, branding-based reasons.
- Find the right graphic designer. For small budgets, we suggest searching low-cost online marketplaces like 99designs or Fiverr. If you have the budget, you should definitely hire a graphic designer you can develop a relationship with. It’s well worth it in the long run.
At the end of the day, you get what you pay for. Your logo will live on your business cards, your website, your social media and everywhere else. In many cases, it will be the first thing a prospect sees, so make sure it conveys the right message.
We are living in a digital world where people expect an exceptional online experience. Sorry not sorry, but in 2021, there’s no excuse for a shitty website. Similarly, even if you aren’t on social media, people will be looking for you there, so you might as well get on the ‘gram to control the narrative.
Making sure that your website is a solid visual and descriptive representation of your brand is critical. It’s usually a customer or client’s first impression, so make sure to spend time and money wisely to make sure it’s a good one. Creating an interesting and information-rich platform to serve as your online headquarters is one of the first steps to cultivating an engaging digital experience.
Another part of that experience is social. To be honest, social media is a necessary evil at this point. If you’re not socially savvy, we suggest that you take a swing and get to know each of the platforms first on a personal level so, as a business owner, you can understand the basics. You don’t need to be on all of the platforms. Just think about where your customers are and where you can have the most impact. If you want to develop a social media plan the right way, there’s no other way around it: leave it to the experts. You will save time in the long run, and you’ll end up with more engagements and far fewer gray hairs.
Digital Marketing Strategists
If you don’t feel comfortable developing your own marketing strategy, you’re not alone. We talk to new entrepreneurs every day, some who only need a little push and some who need the whole shebang. Connect with us for a free consultation.
Laurel Mintz, Founder & CEO
Elevate My Brand