You and me, we want to build businesses we love. And we want the marketing to be easy. Something we don’t have to think about daily: we just want to know what needs to be done, do it and be done with it. We want it to be fun!

To be able to do that we need an easy-to-use marketing plan. Just a basic outline so we know what to do and how, and we can build on it if necessary. So today I want to talk to you about the steps to make this easy-to-use plan.

To start your marketing strategy for your dream business, you need to make sure you have your business foundations set up and figured out. If there is any doubt in your mind that your foundations are set and clear enough to work on, go back to that first and only go on with the marketing strategy once you’re sure you have the foundations figured out.

Read more about your business foundations in “Laying down your business foundations“.

Step 1: Messaging and branding

First up, you have to think about your overall messaging and branding. Messaging is what it is you are saying to your ideal client, and branding is how you show up and are being seen by those perfect clients.

Branding

Now, I am in no means a branding expert, but branding is about more than just your logo, fonts and colours. It’s about your imagery, your words. It all has to fit together. If you need to work on your branding, look for someone that understands that it is more than just a logo. This will help you tremendously further down the line.

Read more about branding in ‘Shades of Brands‘.

Messaging

To work on your messaging, it might be useful to start with a mindmap of all the messages you could talk about. What comes to mind when you think about your main topic? Use only words that you would use and that fit with your audience too. Then look at that word, what other sentences and words come to mind? By making a mindmap with messages, you have a big selection of words and sentences to use next time you need to write something.

Step 2: Plan

The next step in making your marketing strategy is the marketing plan. This might sound like the same, but it isn’t. The marketing plan is about the channels you use for your marketing and how you plan on making your potential clients move through there.

Know Like Trust Buy

Maybe you have heard of Know Like Trust Buy – It is the stages people go through to buy. The terms are from John Jantsch, who actually has 7 phases: Know Like Trust Try Buy Repeat Refer. But I have brought it back to these 4:

  • Know stands for getting to know you exist – Good examples of what will get them to know you are ads, blog posts, articles, referrals.
  • Like is getting to know what you do – People start liking you by checking out your website, but mostly your social media.
  • Trust is all about starting to feel like you are someone worthy of their time and money. They start trusting your expertise because of your social media content, your newsletter, free options like challenges, ebooks and videos.
  • Buy, of course, is the buying stage – Which they will generally do at your website while looking at how you treat them during and after. Or maybe the will send an inquiry to get a quote and then accept it.

Now people will move through these channels and self-select them along the way to see if they are a good fit with you. To explain this further, I first have to make a bit of a detour to a marketing funnel.

A marketing funnel is a term for a system that gets people from not knowing you to raving fans that buy what you have and do. They usually are drawn something like this.

Generic Marketing Funnel

You see several steps, going from big to smaller until you end up at the result: a sale. Step 1 would be Know, step 2 Like, step 3 Trust and Step 4 Buy.

This is, of course, a straightforward representation of how people will buy from you and not accurate. Because it would mean that it is a linear line that customers go through your channels and content and I can assure you it hardly ever is these days.

It’s not like they check out one ad, then check out your website, check out a social post and are ready to buy. I think you wished it was THAT easy. (I do too!)

So instead of the funnel image, I developed the Know Like Trust Buy Circles.

The Digitalie Know Like Trust Buy Circles

In each of the circles can be one or more channels. Potential clients can move within a circle from one channel to another, till they are ready for the next step. That way they get to ‘Buy’ when knowing you ARE right for them, in a way that feels good to you.

So that is what we need to decide on. Which channels will you use to attract the right clients to you for each phase?

Channels

What kinds of content will you be making? Where is your audience most active? What channels do you personally like?

All of this is important when figuring out which channels you will use for your marketing. You have no use for Twitter if most of what you do is very visual. There is no need for being on Snapchat if your audience doesn’t even know what it is. You don’t have to be on YouTube if you won’t be making any videos, because you hate being on camera.

If you need to do some research to find out where your ideal clients hang, ask someone where they are most active. Or where they would like to find that kind of information. And with someone, I mean someone that could be your perfect client. That represents that fantastic target audience you want to reach. Once you know which channels, in general, would work, you can decide which ones would be best for each phase.

See this overview of all marketing channels if you need some inspiration of which channels to use. Or check out “How to do market research: ask specific people the right questions” to get to know your audience better.

Step 3: Marketing Focus

Last, but certainly not least it’s the marketing focus. This is specifying the branding, messaging and channels for a specific product or service. This can be a launch or just an item you want to focus on for the next few weeks.

A marketing focus could also be named a marketing campaign. You are focussing most of your marketing efforts around that product or service.

A marketing focus exists of:

  • What is the topic?
  • What is the product or service?
  • Description
  • The feelings (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, tactile)
  • Specific words
  • Specific images
  • Other information

With this information you are ready to go onto Content Creation!

Read all about content in “The Ins and Outs of Content“.

Your Marketing Strategy in 3 steps