Spring is in the air; for Entrepreneurs, it is time to create your business plan, develop a marketing plan, and build your 24/7/365 window to the world, your website.
Entrepreneurs and small business owner’s most significant technological milestone is their website. After the business plan and marketing plan have been created, it will be time to start content branding and attract those clients to a new site.
Before you Build a Website, Create a SMART Content Marketing Plan and Master Messaging Roadmap.
Before you launch into your website design, create a marketing plan everything from the life cycle of social media to return on investment (ROI) for your content assets is informed by your marketing plan strategy and implementation tactics.
Without a master messaging roadmap that includes both short- term, and long-term strategies with implementation methods and a timeline to bring your brand to life and attract new business, your business will flounder gasping for breath like a fish out of water.
It’s time to say no to distractions and forge ahead, utilizing SMART thinking.
“It is only by saying ‘no’ that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.” – Steve Jobs.
The Goal is to Create:
- Think SMART, say no to distractions.
- A Strategic Content Marketing Plan
- A Master Messaging Road map
- Content Creation Calendar
- And a Quarterly Marketing Cycle that combines the funnel and flywheel that we call Full Circle Marketing
Let’s see how we can create a marketing plan to attract new customers, make more money, and stand out from the competition.
In this article, we share why and how to create a marketing plan for Small Businesses, Consultants, Start-ups, and Professional Practices. Most importantly, how to create this plan.
This article shows you how-to:
- Set SMART Content Marketing Goals that will stop you going around in circles
- Set a Marketing Strategy
- Build Visual Marketing Plans Efficiently and Effectively
- Create a Master Messaging Road Map
- Plan Your Next Breakthrough Marketing Campaign
- Implement the marketing plan that spreads awareness of your professional skills and expertise to attract qualified core income-generating clients across all media types.
Here we share a simple methodology using a “Cascading Content Marketing Waterfall Strategy” to help you create your marketing plan. Now is the time of year to follow these simple steps to develop your yearly marketing plan.
The Cascading Content Marketing Waterfall is a Tool to help Small Business, Professional Firms, and Consultants Create a Marketing Plan.
Why Create a Marketing Plan Road Map?
We want you to succeed. Companies and marketers with a documented content marketing strategy are five times more likely to succeed; they are working more efficiently and effectively because they have a plan, defined goals with a timeline of action.
Your online marketing plan should include a master messaging road map that will be your strategic and tactical implementation plan for your firm. It should also include business development and sales materials as they interlink, from website development, market leadership articles, and one-sheets.
Your Marketing Must Deliver Clear Messaging and Images that Provides Value that Connects Creating Customer Delight.
What is a Master Messaging Road map?
A master messaging road map is a strategic planning content plan that includes short-term and long-term strategies with implementation methods, and a timeline to bring your brand to life and attract new business.
“Strategy (a Plan) without tactics (an implementation Method) is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy are the noise before defeat.” – Sun Tzu.
Short-term strategies identify urgent and easily implemented action items, from SEO to the utilization of both personal and corporate social media that may include advertising and marketing retargeting.
Long-term strategy planning that includes art direction and coaching to refresh your brand, incorporating your marketing materials, i.e., logos, sales one-sheets, business cards, etc., all are flowing into your integrated website and graphic design, video, PowerPoint productions, and presentations.
To create a Master Messaging Roadmap, we need to Understand the Differences Between Marketing and Business Development.
What is Marketing?
What is marketing? You may wonder why we ask that question? Many Professional firms confuse marketing with business development (BD) and sales!
Marketing is about identifying your key differentiators, developing your message, and establishing a positioning within your market(s). As an example, marketing is advertising, event promotion, website content, and building thought leadership through public relations, white papers, PowerPoint presentations, webinars, etc. – these are all marketing strategies (or at least first cousins to marketing).
What is Business Development?
Over the years, we have heard lots of misleading quotes on what Business Development (BD) is from partnerships to sales and hustling.
“Business development is the creation of long-term value for an organization from customers, markets, and relationships.” – (Pollack, 2012)
Long-term value is opportunities and income, prestige, brand recognition, etc., that helps the company to grow and thrive.
Markets are clearly defined, but with the global economy selling worldwide has become a trend. For example, a friend of ours bought a “must-have product” from a Facebook ad, thinking that it would be delivered tomorrow per the Amazon model. Six weeks later, it arrived on a slow boat from China!
Relationships that build trust and rapport lie at the foundation of the Funnel, Flywheel, and of course, Full Circle Marketing. The building, managing, and leveraging of relationships rely on trust, respect, and mutual benefit. Relationship building is at the core of Business Development, from partners, customers, employees, to the press.
Business Development is not a get rich quick scheme; it is a consistent long-term goal that changes with the times.
Let us begin by working smarter to reduce the time it takes to make decisions, and help you focus on results.
Image Source: SMART GOALS © Content Branding Solutions | contentbrandingsolutions.com
1. Set SMART Content Marketing Goals
- Get targeted, be specific. Answer the simple question of HOW or WHERE?
- Increase your Blog traffic by XXX
- Grow your following by XXX
- Be the Speaker at XXX Conferences this year
- Specific goals must be measurable.
- Present as a speaker at XXX conferences
- Increase targeted website traffic by 50%. Measure it with google analytics
- Reach XXX downloads of our White Paper
- We will measure the success of an article by the number of contacts that XXXX makes
- Tie every goal to action. Be accountable.
Just like an NFL team’s “two-minute drill,” content marketing needs to orchestrate an intricate strategy of actions to get results; this is the plan. As content marketers, we need to address the “How: (Action) behind the “What” (Goal).
- Create one new lead-generating content asset each month that has correct SEO to attract new qualified clients and potentially grows your email list.
- Advertise and promote your whitepaper on LinkedIn to target audience groups
- Review your SEO keyword strategy by Mid-January and improve as needed to maximize website traffic. Review quarterly.
- Depending on Small Businesses, target market advertising on Facebook can be useful. The Wooden Wish is an example
Be realistic, how many New Year’s Eve resolutions make it to March? It is important to dream and set achievable goals that will push our abilities.
How do you know what is realistic? Gather the team. Look at last year’s numbers and the overall direction your market area is headed. Did you achieve last year’s goals? Evaluate what is realistic, flexible, and attainable.
Set a deadline, a delivery date for your goals. Naturally, you do this process for all your projects. Marketing for your firm should be no different.
Expert Tip: Take the time to create goals that are specific, measurable, actionable, and realistic with a “Time” for delivery.
- Our Thought Leadership white paper will go out in the first week of each quarter.
- Our Thought Leadership knowledge piece on Sustainable content will go out in the third week of each quarter etc.
Your Website is a Cost-effective 24/7/365 Sales Prospecting Machine Working for $0.16 Per Hour – $0.32 Per Hour
(based on a $7K – $14K website with a life-cycle of 5 years)
Why Not Make It Pay for itself-100 Fold?
You will notice one consistent trend. All these actions from Sales, Marketing to Business Development and Thought Leadership pieces that delight your customers by answering the concerns and needs lie at the foundation of a business’s success and relies on content. Your website relies on fresh content, be it in words, images, or graphics to communicate your message.
Content lies at the center of your marketing, sales, services, and business development. That is why creating a strategic content marketing plan with a master messaging road map on a content creation calendar with a quarterly marketing cycle is so important.
The Cascading Content Marketing Waterfall for Small Businesses, Consultants, Start-ups, and Professional Practices takes all the handwaving mystical guesswork out of the equation.
The Cascading Content Marketing Waterfall is an effortless fun way to develop your Marketing Plan: Use the downloadable PDF outline (image below) as the agenda for your team’s yearly Marketing Plan Meeting. Project it on the monitor and follow the waterfall to success.
Image Source: Cascading Content Marketing Waterfall © Content Branding Solutions | contentbrandingsolutions.com
The Marketing Waterfall from Content Branding Solutions – “We Communicate Content in Words, Images, and Actions”
A. Set your Marketing Goals
We start by identifying your high-level business objectives. b.) You may know your Mission, Vision, Values, and Goals, but does your team? Now is the time to refresh your vision and align your team’s goals.
- Define your Market. What is your area of expertise? What does the market need?
- Define your Ideal Targeted Customers. What are their primary concerns and problems? What keeps them up at night?
- How can your Brand Awareness solve their problems with content that answers their concerns and challenges?
- Where should your Brand Positioning be in the market?
- Lead Generation. How do you presently generate leads?
- What is your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)? Why should a client use you?
- What is your Pricing and Positioning Strategy? How are you priced compared to your competitors? Why can you charge more? Define the reasons clearly and objectively
- Delight Your Customers. Marketing, sales, services, and closing are about building relationships, developing leads, and communicating benefits and value. How is your firm engaging and delighting your clients? Are you the Market Leaders, the Knowledge Experts, the go-to team? If not, why not?
- Identify Your Superstars. These may be your area leaders, the number one salesperson, or you. You should be marketing with, and for these leaders.
- Develop a Simple Conversion Strategy that nurtures leads, creates, and rewards sales, and has the opportunity to develop residual clients through value. A strategy that delights and excites every step of the way.
Expert Tip: Don’t up-sell or cross-sell on a service call. It leaves a very sour taste in the client’s mouths. Up-selling often fails to solve the reason the client called.
- Build a Following. How? Discuss your firm’s white papers and thought leadership opportunities, from being a keynote speaker at conferences to webinars and podcasts, (these will help and guide your promotion strategy.)
- Customer Retention and Loyalty. When was the last time your superstars had time for a cup of coffee with a client? Develop a client list with dates for your superstars to meet and chat with past and future clients. (Note: Complete Later).
- Send out invitations to tour completed projects together as a one year, five-year, review
- Show a client through an innovative project that may interest them
- Play golf, or have coffee. Just do something together with your clients
B. Develop Your Promotion Strategy
Make sure you have healthy, sustainable snacks on the table as you quickly summarize the marketing goals as people gather. Now let’s create a promotion strategy to meet your goals.
What is your Mission Statement? For example:
CONTENT BRANDING SOLUTIONS
Communication is Our Business
Our mission is simple; to Communicate TIMELESS messages through CONTENT, GRAPHICS, and COACHING for all your media needs.
We Communicate In Words, Images, and Actions
What is your 30-second Company Positioning Statement? For example:
Content Branding Solutions is a digital content marketing company specializing in creative content, graphics, website design, and associated consulting services in Denver, Co.
Jot down your thoughts and write your company positioning statement
Develop Your Content Asset Titles
Topics are working titles for content assets from, presentations and marketing both on and off-line, to articles that solve your client’s problems. The ‘what’ topics, for example:
- How to Successfully develop XXX
- New Trends in XXX
- The Economic Outlook In XXX
- Online Marketing Content Assets. Divide those working titles into thought leadership articles, white papers, blogs, and potential keynote speaking opportunities and presentations. Assign each content asset a champion, a Superstar, a thought leader, who might be you if you are a single person start-up.
- Marketing – Advertising Promotions Channel Strategy. The when, where, and how. Before we start this, we need to develop an understanding of social media and its content lifespan.
You get the hang of this brainstorm, set your yearly goal, have fun, and create some hook lines and thought joggers to attract new business.
When you know the outline of all your pieces, you can create an executive summary that combines all the pieces with a marketing budget.
A well thought out marketing plan serves as a resource to get your content marketing started and keep you on track. Always test each piece to see the results and adjust your strategy for maximum success.
New Book Release Coming Soon from ContentBrandingSolutions.com
Content Branding Solutions for Entrepreneurs: Strategic Content Marketing
TAKE THE MARKETING QUIZ
Test Your Knowledge. Take our Content Marketing Quiz to Test Your Knowledge and Create Your Plan for Strategic Content Marketing.
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- Brand Management
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- Colors Do Matter in Marketing
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