Running a successful business is fun. Nothing beats the feeling of having your product and services sell like hotcakes while you wake every morning excited to hit your to-do list. But running your own business can sometimes have its low points. Those painful moments when you realize that things aren't going so great.
So, when you're tired of putting up all those hours without anything to show for it and you have absolutely no idea what you should do next. I'm going to share with you a sure-fire strategy that will help lift you over any obstacle standing between you and your business and your long-term success. It's by helping you get started with planning your inbound marketing process, right now.
But before I share with you my insights, I really wanted to set the scene by asking the question;
What is a marketing plan?
By definition, it is a plan for your marketing. Marketing plans, which are rigid in format, track you through the process of all the questions that you should be asking yourself as a business owner on how to achieve your financial and business goals.
What has changed? We now live in an environment where our audiences are scattered. If we look back 20 years ago, traditional marketing plans would be done every 12 months and we would map out what we are going to do over the next 12 months and we would run those number of promotions. But technology has changed. It has changed the way in which people communicate. When we understand that when we build a marketing plan, we need to adapt to the fact that the whole world has changed. The day of planning for the next 12 months is just not practical in this modern era of marketing.
As we progress down the line of inbound marketing, we take on the fact that there is a lot more technology. There's social media channels like; Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. All of these are different ways in which people, your customer, wants to or even prefers to communicate. In that process, we're left with the challenge, as a business owner, how can we adapt?
For us as business owners, we need to understand that technology has brought the opportunity for your customer to communicate and get their news and their research through the different channels. The solution for us is to understand that the future of any marketing that we do is through the power of list segmentation. List segmentation means taking the time, using your CRM programs and breaking your customer data base into lists. We refer to this in inbound marketing, as grouping your customers together under their Buyer Persona.
A Buyer Persona is just a fictitious character representation of a group of people. So, you might have business owners, you might have accountants, office managers, women with young children, women with older children, or women with older children who are now reentering the workforce. Again, these are all different types of buyer personas.
That leads us to the understanding of; how can we adapt? How can we adapt with this tactical hell or marketing hell of so many different ways in which people can communicate with you and your business? I mean, we're taking on the effect that we've got offline marketing, such as; trade shows, newspaper, print signs, people walking past your shop. Then we incorporate that into the online world, where we have; SEO, affiliate marketing, remarketing, reviews, blogs, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and all of the other myriad of social media that people can choose to communicate by.
So, here we're going to share with you how you can adapt a very simple method that allows you to complete your marketing plan on an ongoing basis. And we're able to improve your results by tested measure in a more practical and systematic way.
First, we've got to start with our marketing. We want to look at it as a building, a jigsaw puzzle. We're building the foundations first. So, every time we look at developing a campaign, whether this is an AdWords campaign, a Facebook advertising, or an SEO, we're always building a process. It’s a system. We always want to start with the questions; What am I processing? What am I doing? What is my marketing system doing? What can I do to improve it?
The history of this methodology comes from the Lean Start-up Loop. We look at very successful start-up companies like, Uber and Airbnb. These are companies that have developed techniques that are designed to allow them to deploy, and test, and measure what they're doing; so that they can learn from that deployment. We begin with building, measure, and learning.
Stage one is about building.
This is about getting very clear on, the buyer persona. Who is the target audience that we wanting to build this campaign around? At the same time, we're wanting to build the goal of this advertising or this campaign. This is where we're going to choose;
- How many visits to the website are you wanting?
- What is the call-to-action?
- What's the offer at the core of it?
- Are you going to need landing pages?
- Do you have a budget?
This is the start of that campaign process. We're building the elements. All of the things that are in a traditional marketing plan, we're now building those questions into our campaign. We're building it with the marketing questions, those marketing checklists that you would normally find in a marketing plan. When you're building out, we need to make sure that we are very clear on the objective. Who's going to come to the website? Who's the target audience? What method are we going to use? What's our budget?
Typically a campaign is going to have a landing page. A landing page is just a page we're going to send your visitor to. It's going to be set for that particular buyer persona. On that landing page will have a format that is going to create the reason why they should buy the product or sign up for that free eBook, or webinar, or trade show, or any other type of offer that you are wanting, what action you're wanting them to take.
Also, remember, the content on this landing page needs to be in context with what you are offing, and what the buyer persona is wanting. You also need to take into account imagery. What are they expecting to see and get?
Once we've got the landing page, its then a matter of looking at how we're going to promote it. And we can use things like, content marketing, SEO, referral marketing, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Google AdWords, other paid services like, Twitter and LinkedIn. Again, that's the concept we're building.
Step two, is about measuring.
At this stage, we are going to answer the question; how do you know if you're improving? That's where analytics become our key. If you are not using Google Analytics, you're mad. While we use other tools including Google Analytics, we use HubSpot's analytics tools, which makes it a lot easier to keep track of all the code that we're wanting to look at.
If you can't measure the clicks from the ad, or the visits to your website, how many people sign-up on the landing page, that flows through your CRM system where you can track who did buy and who didn't buy, the whole system is going to fail. Coming back to that principle of you're building your system. Sometimes when you're starting out, it will require you investing in new tools and new schools that allow you track and measure the success of your campaign.
Once you get into it, there are a couple of things that we need to understand. We're wanting to track, minimum, is how many visits you get. Others;
- What's the average click through rate?
- How many sign-ups are you getting?
- Then from there, sign-ups are leads, its then; how many of those leads go through to appointment or to a sale?
Being able to track that conversion is very, very important.
Step three, It’s the learning process.
We take all of the data from the previous stage, and might leave it a bit because, quite often, it is overwhelming. One of the techniques, I highly recommend, is to use a methodology that we use, called test and amplify. What we mean by that is, people who look at analytics, become paralyzed because they have so much data. They're focus tends to be on what's not working. The truth is, when you're starting out and you're doing all of your marketing, a lot of things that you do won't work.
So instead of looking for the things that aren't working, look at your analytics with a different view. Look at what has worked. Ask yourself, how can I amplify that? Take the power of what has worked, it may only be that one landing page got 1.3% conversion, while the others only got .5%. Start with what is working, amplify that. Improve upon that in your next build.
Remember, when your faced with the marketing plan for the future, is building those processes into your campaign. So, that you become agile and you're building it, your measuring it, and you're learning in the one process. As you do this and you build the new habit of how you are creating your campaigns, you're going to find that what you're left with is a system that is working. That becomes a future and you’re building an automated marketing system that works for you now and into the future.