Online Marketing – Success Is in the Plan

Creating a Marketing Strategy

Years ago I taught a series of web-related classes at our local SBDC, and Facebook had just become a “thing”. Everyone wanted to know how to set up a Facebook account and create a business page. And there were plenty of “consultants” who would help you get stuff set up, but nobody was talking anything about how to effectively market. I filled the gap, because it’s more important to know how to put a plan together than just flip the switch.

So, we’re going to go through several important steps that you need to take into consideration whether you’re blogging, doing Social Media, or email.

The First Step – Who is Your Customer

Your customer is not everyone!

Identifying WHO is your client

Take a look at your current clients, how can you categorize them? Are the majority of them your “sweet spot” clients? If not, identify who of your clients are your “sweet spot” clients — let’s focus on them.

  • What are their pain points?
  • How do they think and communicate?
  • Can you attach any type of demographic?
  • What values do they have?

Identifying what YOU have to offer

Flip that coin, and look at your service(s)/product(s)… what do you have to offer people?

If your business is B2C (business to consumer), this is a simpler process because you’re generally dealing with just 1 person. In the B2B (business to business) world, you’ve got an entire company to think about, and many times their decisions are made by committee.

For both, boil down what you offer to a core — what do they love the most about what you do?  What “problems” do you solve for people? BTW, this is NOT “what” you do!

If you need a bit of inspiration, I recommend that you take a few minutes to enjoy Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why” Ted talk. (His book is awesome too and goes in-depth on the science behind how people buy).

Putting the pieces together

Now, think about WHO can most benefit from the problems you solve. Again, you may be able to attach demographics, but if not, what values, ambitions, goals do these people have? The initial step is to create a simple list, but you’ll want to grow it into a persona — a word picture of who these people are. There are a ton of resources out there to help you through these steps, here’s a guide on creating personas from Buffer to get you started.

As you move to the next step, you need to think of how these people like to be communicated with. Are they on Facebook, or are they more active on LinkedIn? Do they read educational/informational emails and articles?

The Second Step –  Creating the Plan

Decide what you’re going to do. With this step, it’s important not to bite off more than you can chew, so don’t be afraid to start small and grow. Start with what you know you can keep up with.

Where to publish your content

If you’re starting with regularly posting on your Facebook page, how many days a week do you want to post (i.e., come up with content)? There’s nothing wrong with starting at 2 or 3 days.

A secret here is that often you can repurpose content. For example, our weekly emails get auto-posted to Facebook when we send them out on Monday. Then we post the content to our blog so the tips can live out a long life.

An editorial calendar

The key to success is creating a calendar where you can group and track your ideas. It’s soooo much easier to sit down and write if I’ve taken the time to brainstorm and plan a topic area for the month, and then divide it into 4/5 segments — writing down sub-topics for each week. When I don’t do that, it’s painful!

Get / Create an editorial calendar — there are so many available, many free. Go to your favorite search engine and search for “editorial calendar”. Depending on what you are looking for, you can also add “tools” or “template”, or “social media” or “email” to your search criteria. We’ve created our own calendar to fit our needs… here’s a couple of screenshots so you get an idea.

DBK Marketing Calendar
This is our main calendar that includes all of our marketing
DBK Email Calendar
This is where I plan out the topics I’m going to write for our weekly email.

And… GO!

Put the tips and tricks we’ve been sharing into practice, and let your passion hang out!

As always, we’re here to lend an eye or ear… and definitely cheer as you step into this new world!