The following article originally appeared in EO’s award-winning Octane magazine. For more insightful articles from entrepreneurs, visit Octane magazine online.
It’s not news that one of the biggest challenges business owners face is marketing. A scattered and unorganized approach can make it very difficult to stay focused on the activities that matter most. There is so much information out there, and it’s easy to be pulled in a million directions.
To help busy entrepreneurs not only select the right marketing channels, but get a better return, I’ve created a planning framework that has helped thousands of businesses stay focused on growth. It’s a slightly different approach to the conventional methods you find in textbooks—and it works. The good news is you don’t need a 50-page marketing plan to grow your business exponentially.
So, grab a pen and paper (yep, totally old school), a glass wine, put on your favorite music, and let’s go! Please note the first three parts in your one-page marketing plan are just as important as, if not more than, the actual marketing strategies themselves. They are here to make sure your business is positioned to attract the right people.
PART ONE: YOUR WHY
Understanding your “why” is the most important piece when it comes to creating outstanding marketing. It will help you produce campaigns that are engaging, memorable and sharable. I’m not talking about your vision and mission here, although those are important. I’m talking about the solutions people come to you for. If you start talking about the why or the outcomes of working with your business, your audience(s) will pay attention. Why do people come to you? What are you really selling? It’s usually not the most obvious answer. A bookkeeper doesn’t sell bookkeeping; she sells peace of mind. Harley-Davidson doesn’t sell motorcycles; they sell freedom. Your turn! Crank up the music and write down your why before moving on to the next step.
PART TWO: YOUR WHO
One thing I love about being an entrepreneur is you get to choose with whom you want to work. Most business owners stop at the demographics, but to truly create extraordinary marketing, you need to look into the psychographics. Divide your page into two with a line down the middle. On the top left, write the words “hopes and desires,” and on the top right, write “fears and frustrations.” Now, think about your favorite customers and write down everything that comes to mind regarding their frustrations and desires. Make sure you go deep and think of things they might not even talk about. This information will be invaluable once you create your marketing campaigns. Your turn! Put yourself in your customers’ shoes.
PART THREE: YOUR UNIQUENESS
In today’s busy market, blending in just doesn’t cut it. You have to be “talk-about-able” to be talked about. Think about what differentiates you from your competitors. Maybe you have an amazing satisfaction guarantee, or you provide freshly baked muffins in your waiting area. Also, ask yourself: What are some of the frustrations people have in your industry? And then see how you can overcome them in your business. For example, customers may be frustrated about the long waits on the phone, so you should focus on making your phone communication quick and sleek. Your turn! Write down three things that make you unique. Remember, they don’t have to be big; the magic is in the details.
Only once you’ve worked on the first three parts of your one-page plan will you be able to choose your marketing strategies. There is no point in selecting your channels without truly understanding your positioning in the market, core message, customers and differentiation. Your business has to be positioned to be attractive to your ideal market, or else you’re just wasting time, energy and money on marketing that won’t give you a great return.
You did it! It wasn’t that difficult, was it? Something that has worked exceptionally well in my businesses is to review our plan at the start of each quarter. This way, we can ensure we’re staying focused and aligned with our overall 12-month goals.
Franziska Iseli is an award-winning entrepreneur, leading marketing and brand strategist, avid adventurer, bestselling author and speaker.