Business Planning DEEP DIVE (Pt. 3)
About four years ago, I created The Easiest Business Plan Ever. Over the past four years, it's been downloaded by thousands of people just proving how easy it can be to create a solid strategic plan for your business. I've made several videos, about Business Planning. Most of these videos were 20 minutes long but up until this point, I've never gone very deep with any one section of my business planning process. We've gotten so many questions about different parts of the plan, that I'm going to do a deep dive into part one of business planning.
We're going to be working through part two, which is the marketing messages. This is a very essential part of your business plan because this is where you figure out how you're really going to get the word out about your business and you're going to tell people about your products so that you can start making sales and making money.
This is also where things really start getting real and you start coming up with some action items, and some things you're actually going to be doing to run your business, so keep on watching to learn exactly what goes into the strategic marketing plan and how you can write one for yourself.
Who does your company serve?
Quick but important announcement for those of you who are following along with the business planning deep dive series. This is the last episode, I'm going to be sharing on YouTube and in my blog. This is not the last episode of the series. The easiest business plan ever has six parts, and this is only part number three in the video series, so there will be three more episodes, but we are going to be publishing those only on my website, GillianPerkins.com. If you want access to episodes 4-6 of this series, click here to access the next 3 trainings. I'll put that link down below for sure so that you can find that the entire series is free.
Target Market Demographics
The first section of your strategic marketing plan is going to be your target market demographics. If you've been following along with the series and you watched last week's episode and learned how to write your marketing messages then you are way ahead of the game. You probably have this most of the way figured out last week you are working on starting to clarify who your target customer is and who you are marketing your products to, but now you're going to get a little bit more granular break things down a little bit more, and so you're going to break down.
What demographics really matter?
Well, it really entirely depends on your business and the product that you're selling, is this a product that's only for people of certain ages or certain genders or who live in certain areas, or have certain socio-economic statuses, you need to think about those things.
Now, remember, even if your product could help anyone you will have the easiest time marketing your product. If you custom tailor it to a specific demographic sector or so for a specific gender a specific age group a specific locality, both the product itself so that it is the perfect product for a certain group of people, and also your marketing messages because that's what we're talking about right now your marketing messages, so you need to have your marketing messages really speak to one specific group of people.
I know it is so so tempting to try to go broad and think – I want my product to appeal to as many different people as possible, but here's the big problem with that. When you do that you watered down your messaging, you cannot make it speak very strongly, or be perfect for everyone, it's just going to be pretty good for everyone, and kind of resonate with everyone, and that means that your conversion rates. The percentage of people in that big pool of people who buy will be extremely low, you will have a much easier time marketing your product.
If instead, you go really deep with one specific group, because then you'll have a huge percentage of people in that group who buy your product and love it, then they'll all start talking to each other and talking about how much they love your product, and that will start to create some momentum, where they find out other people love your product too and so they start talking about it and telling other people, which can spread your marketing messages more and more and can quickly grow your company without you having to spend an enormous amount of money on advertising to a huge number of people who don't quickly adopt your product.
Target Market Psychographics
Once you have your demographics worked out, then you'll move on to the next section, which is psychographics. Who are these people what are their true desires, what are their true needs, what are their struggles?
Let me give you a few different examples of psychographics. The first and most important one is:
What do your target customers want more than anything else? What is their primary driver? Especially when it comes to the area of their life, that your product relates to.
For example, if you were selling virtual assistant services, well that relates to their business, specifically. So, what is their main goal for their business and how can your service help them to achieve that goal? However that's getting a little bit beyond the scope of what we're talking about right here. What we want to know right now is just what is that main goal for their business, that all of your target customers are going to have in common. It might be that they all want to increase their revenue and decrease their working hours.
Some other important psychographics might include certain fears that all of your target customers have. It could be something that you can help them avoid or it could be motivations, why do they want that goal that they all have?
Now keep in mind that, of course, your target customers will not have all of their psychographics matching each other. However, there may be a few key psychographics that all of your target customers have in common that you can speak to in your marketing messages.
Estimated Size of Target Market
The next section is the estimated size of your target market. You have started figuring out who these people are and in fact, you've probably gotten a fair lot of detail about that. Now I want you to figure out how many of those people with those specific demographics, with that specific psychographics, how many of those people are there.
Before you get into this at all, you're not going to be able to figure out the exact number, you're not even going to be able to figure out the total number, I just want you to figure out a minimum amount that you know there are at least this many people in your target market, it's going to be an estimate but that will be amazing because that means you'll be really playing it on the safe side, and there will be more potential customers than you've even identified.
So that means your business will be able to grow even further than your estimating that it will be able to grow. So in order to estimate the size of your target market, you need to go out there and find some groups of your target customers. You can do this by looking around online and offline, you might look at trade groups that relate to your industry for example, and see how many people are in those trade groups. You also could look on Facebook, this is one of the easiest ways is go on Facebook, and click on Groups, and then search in the groups for topics that relate to your product and find out how many people are in those groups, and just start adding up the numbers, you could also look for brands that are essentially your competition on Instagram and see how many people are following those brands, that's another really easy way to do this, and along similar lines, you could find brands or even just people talking about similar topics here on YouTube and see how many people are watching those videos, where can your target market be found.
Where can your target market be found?
In answering the previous question where you figured out how many people were in your target market, you probably found them here and there and a few other places, so you can just put down those locations that you found these people in perhaps Facebook groups perhaps following certain people on Instagram, perhaps on online forums, perhaps, searching for things in certain places, perhaps following certain trade publications, all those sorts of places you can just put those down in the section, but there's one other place you can look as well. Let's talk about that for a minute.
Here's what I want you to do, I want you to think about if you were looking for your product, where would you go to look for it. Would you immediately go to Google and do a search, or would you ask a friend, would you log on to YouTube and look for a video to teach you about that thing, or when you head over to Instagram and search for a hashtag, or maybe you look for a Facebook group? I want you to think about your own behavior because this makes it really practical to think about where your potential customers might be hanging out, because most likely, most people are going to do something pretty similar, probably, you're not a special snowflake of an anomaly, and most people are going to look for your product in a similar way. Now, not necessarily, and not everyone, but it's a great place to start when you're looking for your target customers.
Visibility (brand awareness) Strategy
This is where things really get into the action items and the next section here is visibility strategy. This is also referred to sometimes as your brand awareness strategy, and basically what this looks like is, how are you going to get the word out about your brand? How will people first hear about your brand?
Let's talk about a few different ways you can become visible as a brand, and introduce people to your products. So let's talk about three different visibility strategies, there are certainly many more than this, but I just wanted to give you a few examples to get you started.
Google SEO search engine optimization. By just getting your website to rank on Google this is one of the most common ways to get traffic to your website and get some visibility for your brand. Another great one would be using paid advertising. Now, this isn't for everyone, especially if you're starting your business on a budget, but it's certainly a very common one, you can pay for ads on Google or Facebook or many other places to get your business, some visibility. Finally, another free method that you can use is to collaborate with brands to get featured in the media.
For example, you could become a featured guest on podcasts or write guest blog posts, or even get new sites to write articles about you. I did a podcast episode a few months ago all about how to get more visibility for your business, so I will be sure to link that here for you to listen to.
Lead Generation Strategy
The last part of your marketing plan is your lead generation strategy. This is going to be your strategy that you're going to use to turn this traffic that you're getting this visibility that you're generating into leads, you're going to be identifying specific people who are interested in your product and you're going to start to interact back and forth with them, they'll give you their contact information because they're interested in learning more about your products and you'll follow up with them to tell them more and you'll slowly lead them closer and closer to being ready to purchase your product.
The most common lead generation strategy that online businesses use and even many offline businesses use on their website is to have some sort of opt-in form on their website. This is a very small little form that allows people to enter their name and their email address to sign up for an email newsletter. Now, you can configure this a few different ways it could be a sign of an email newsletter, or it could be a sign up to get some specific free resource that relates to your product, or it could just be a really short signup for people to sign up to get more information. You also could take this a step further and have a longer forum for people to fill out, perhaps to make an inquiry or to sign up for a free consultation or to apply for a quote.
And finally, last but certainly not least, you've got your conversion strategy. Your conversion strategies are the method you're going to use to close the sale at the end of the day, these people have heard about you, you've guided them closer to the sale they've become a real solid lead, and now they are potentially ready to buy, so you need to have a method that you use to ask them to purchase and to allow them to purchase your product for your conversion strategy to be effective, it needs to have two parts.
First of all, you need to have the call to action you need to ask people to buy your product. So this could be accomplished with a Buy Now button on your website, or you can send an email asking people to purchase your product now and include the link to do so. You could include other information on your website about how to purchase your product but you need to tell people that your product is available for purchase, and how to buy it.
The second part of your conversion strategy is the actual physical process that people follow to check out. So, for example, you might need to configure an online shopping card, or if you're running a brick and mortar business then you might opt for a physical cash register or a way that people can swipe their card using something like a square card reader that works with your phone.
So as I'm sure you can see, this third part of your business plan, your marketing plan is an essential part of your plan for your business, it's an essential part of turning your business into a success, because if you don't have a strategy for telling people about your products, telling them more about your products, helping them to understand whether or not your products are the right fit for them, and then eventually closing that sale, then your business is never going to make any money, and your business cannot become a successful business if it doesn't make money.
So don't skip this step. It's very important. I know you might not have all the answers yet or you might at least feel like you don't have all the answers yet, that's all right. I just want you to spend about 30 minutes working on this part of the plan and write on the best answers you have right now, you can always come back and revise it later on.
But I want you to know right now that if you just finish this, even if you don't have the perfect answers, it's going to serve you much better than if you wait until you have the perfect answers because a finished marketing plan is going to get you more results than an unfinished plan, even if the finished plan eventually would be perfect. I want you to start making sales.
Now as you start turning your business into a success, you've stuck around all the way to the end of this very important episode of the series, but I'm curious to know if you've already watched the first two episodes in the first one I break down the business overview?
You can read about Business Planning Deep Dive Part 1 here and Business Planning Deep Dive Part 2 here.
In part 1, you outline things like your business name, your location, a description of your business and your chart of accountability, amongst a few other things. This is the foundational work for your business plan.
Then in Part 2, I break down how to write your marketing messages. It is also very foundational, it is how you plan how you will explain what your company does and the value of your product to prospective customers, and your marketing strategies that we talked about in today's episode, aren't really going to work unless you have solid marketing messages so if you haven't already make sure you check them out.
This is the last episode that we are going to be publishing on YouTube and the Blog, at least as of now, this is only part 3 of a six part series one episode for every part of the business plan. You can go to this link here to access episodes 4-6, completely for free. Thank you so much for joining me for episode three of business planning deep dive, I hope you've been finding this series really helpful. I hope that you are actually putting it into practice and working on your marketing plan.
Now, of course, your very first step to getting started with this is to go and download The Easiest Business Plan Ever. When you do so you will get all six parts of the easiest business plan, and in future weeks we will be working through those subsequent parts of the plan so that you have all of the details and guidance you need to be able to create a really solid plan for yourself.