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Marketing Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating an Effective Marketing Plan for Your Business

Doing marketing without a plan isn’t a whole lot better than gambling and is a great way to lose a whole lot of money very quickly. This is why in this episode, I’m going to be breaking down five key components that you need in order to create a bulletproof marketing plan so you can generate more leads, customers, and sales for your business. Let’s get to it. Hey there, my name is Adam Earhart, marketing strategist, and welcome to the Marketing show. Look, I get it. Marketing plans are boring, man.

That’s exactly why I’m not going to be asking you to create a 500-page document that’s outdated the minute you press print. Instead, I’m going to be discussing five key things that you can jot down on a single piece of paper and use as a source of reference anytime you want to launch a new product or service or business, or any idea whatsoever. See, over my career, I’ve done marketing in a number of different ways, including marketing with a plan and marketing without a plan. And probably not surprisingly, the marketing with a plan tended to work a whole lot better. That’s what I want for you here.

So with all that said, let’s dive right into the meat and potatoes of the episode, starting with point number one, the market. No matter what business or product or service you’re offering or selling or whatever marketing campaign you’re hoping to create, it always starts with the market. In fact, the market is so important that it’s baked right into the word marketing itself. See, there it is. This is because marketing is all about communicating the value of your product or service or business to your customer, and to your market. So without them, you’re not really doing anything at all. I guess you’re talking to yourself.

That’s why it’s so incredibly important to really understand the wants and the needs and the dreams and the desires and the fears and the pains and the frustrations and all of the aspects and elements of what comprises your ideal target market. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s dial it back a few steps first. You see, when it comes to creating truly effective marketing and really building out a solid marketing plan, you really want to start by identifying that ideal customer avatar. That fictional representation makes up all the characteristics of your best customers, the people that are that love you, love what you do, want to tell all their friends and family about just how great you are, and you are pretty great, as well as the ones that are happy to pay you for the value you provide.

Your job as a marketer, as a creator of a marketing plan, is to try to know them better than they even know themselves, because the more empathetic you’re able to be and the better you’re able to put yourself in their shoes and really understand where they’re coming from, well, the stronger all of your marketing is going to be. This is why it’s so incredibly important to really identify and really clearly describe the characteristics that make up that ideal customer avatar. So let’s do that in three different steps. Number one is you want to identify their demographic details.

These are the stereotypical things everybody thinks about when they’re creating an ideal customer avatar. Things like age, gender, income, occupation, titles, things like that. Then, of course, you have their geographic details, like where they live, their city, state, province, country, or maybe even neighborhood, maybe even street, if you want to get really small about it. And then lastly, you have their psychographic details, their attitudes, interests, beliefs, affiliations, organizations, political viewpoints, religious background, basically all the stuff that’s not polite to talk about at the dinner table. This is the stuff you really want to dial deep into.

You want to really try to understand where they’re coming from. So talk to them, read what they read, watch what they watch, listen to what they listen, really try to embody where they’re coming from and try to get in again into their shoes and see what they’re thinking about and how you can position your business or your product or your service as the solution to their pains. Whoever does this best typically wins. All right, so now that you’ve got your ideal target market really identified, you know who it is that you’re trying to market to, it’s time to move on to tip number two, which is all about the model.

This is all about what it is that you’re trying to sell to them. Basically, whatever product or service or business or offer or idea, whatever it is that you’re trying to influence and persuade them to come over and buy. Now, this is going to sound really obvious, but I want you to stick with me anyways. Essentially, you want to sell something that people actually want to buy. I know that’s some groundbreaking information, but you’d be amazed at how many consultations or how many audits I do where I’m looking at the marketing and I’m looking at the offer that the business is making to the customer and they’re wondering why nobody is buying it.

It’s because it’s a bad offer. It doesn’t mean that your business is bad. It doesn’t mean that your product is bad. It doesn’t mean your service is bad. It just means that the way that you’re representing it, the marketing of it is bad. This is why marketing is so incredibly important because, at the end of the day, it’s not the best business that wins.

It’s not the best product or service that wins. Rather, it’s the one with the best marketing that wins. So make sure to spend a little bit of extra time, energy, and money, and really dress up the product or the service or the business, or even the idea that you’re trying to sell. Make sure that it’s appealing to the right people, the right people being your ideal target market, and make sure that you’re presenting it in the best light possible. Also, when we are talking about models, which we’re doing right here, it’s important to take a step back and really take a look at the entire customer journey. What you want to do here, rather, what you don’t want to do is be selling transactional one-off items for low dollars.

Think about a pack of gum at a gas station for a buck where you sell the pack of gum and you never see the person again. Not a great business model. However, if let’s say the gas station offered recurring gum subscriptions, or they knew that they were located in a spot of town to benefit from repeat customer purchases or something like that, well, then you can see that you’re starting to increase the customer lifetime value, which means they’re going to be spending a whole lot more with your business over the course of their entire lifetime.

And this model tends to get a little bit sweeter. This is why when you’re taking a look at what it is that you’re selling, you really want to avoid those transactional, low-budget, low-dollar one-off items, and you want to move more in the area of relationship marketing, recurring revenue, subscription services, or something with a high customer lifetime value where you’re going to be able to basically generate more revenue from your customers. When in return, of course, you’re going to deliver a heck of a lot more value too. After all, a business that charges a lot and doesn’t deliver anything, they’re not going to be in business for very long, thanks to the internet.

So if you can map out the customer journey and you can start finding areas to offer upsells or down sells or cross-sells, or again, those memberships or subscriptions or something that allows you to increase the revenue, well, the better service and the better products you’re going to be able to generate and to deliver in the long run for your customers. The last point that I want to cover here when we’re talking about models is that you always want to be trying to sell a painkiller rather than a vitamin.

Meaning you want to sell something that solves an immediate need for someone right now rather than help them prevent or possibly mitigate some future scenario that people are really bad at anticipating. All right, let’s move right along to point number three, which is all about the message. This is why it’s so important that we build things out in this order and that you first start with your ideal target market and who it is that you’re trying to serve. Then you move on to the model and what it is that you’re trying to sell them. And then we can get to the message after that, which is how you’re going to wrap this all up and package it in a way that’s appealing to that market.

The way that I like to present this is one of two ways, the first of which is all about their miseries. This is really uncovering your ideal customer avatars, pains and fears and problems and frustrations, and all of the things they’re trying to get away from. The second thing is you want to determine their miracles. This is their wants and their dreams and their desires and their aspirations and everything that they’re trying to achieve. Your job as a marketer is to help them bridge the gap away from their miseries and toward their miracles.

Now, how you do that is through one of two ways, the first of which is with a hard or direct offer. This is for that small group of people, let’s say the 3 % of your market that’s ready to buy right now. They’ve got a credit card in hand, they’re ready to make a purchase, they’ve got the pain and they want a solution. For these people, you can come right out with a hard or direct offer and say what you do, who you do it for, and why they should care. You can afford to be a little pushier or a little more aggressive or a little more direct and really just give them the solution that they’re looking for.

No harm done. For the much larger percentage of the market, let’s say the 97 % who aren’t ready to buy right now but are still in that data collection phase, you want to have a soft offer or a transitional offer. The reason marketing and sales get a bad rap is being aggressive or pushy or sleazy or salesy is that so much of the market is trying to cram these hard direct offers down the throats of the masses who aren’t ready to buy right now and it’s pushy and it’s aggressive and it doesn’t work that well. This is why you want to have that softer transitional offer that provides them with a little bit of value.

It educates them, entertains them, informs them, and helps them in some way that allows you to position your business as the authority and the leader in the space. When they are ready to make that purchase decision, your business is the one that’s top of mind. Now that you’ve got your market, you’ve got your model, and you’ve got your message, now it’s time to move on to media. And again, this is where people get things so wrong they often start with the media by picking a channel like, say, YouTube or Instagram or LinkedIn, and they hear about just how great it is, so they go all in there and they completely forget to identify their target market and figure out, are they even active or present on these platforms?



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