How to Create a Meaningful Marketing Plan for Your Business

Create a 2017 marketing plan for your day to day marketing activities and marketing mixI’m sure you know what you want to achieve in 2017—but do you know what to focus on to get you there? Daily marketing tasks are some of the most important parts of your business when it comes to getting new customers in 2017. But you might be spending your time and money on the wrong marketing mix.

The biggest mistake you can make in 2017 is focusing on marketing tasks you believe matter but really don’t

I’m guilty of doing this in the past year by giving more attention than I should have to certain marketing tasks—and subsequently neglecting the marketing activities that deeply matter to my success. I can’t begin to tell you the hours I’ve spent on meaningless marketing campaigns I thought were the “magic bullet” when it came to bringing in more clients, raising awareness and building client relationships.

Truth is there are certain tasks that you absolutely must prioritize when it comes to your marketing. Ignore these indispensable marketing activities and you might as well ignore your business.

What is indispensable to your business might be entirely different than someone else’s. And that makes figuring out your most essential tasks a bit tricky. But don’t worry—it’s actually pretty easy to figure out your marketing focus and marketing mix if you’re aligning it with your business goals.

Today I want to share with you how you can work back from your business goals to find those indispensable marketing tasks.

And we’re talking about money because, at the end of the day, your business needs to make an income or it’s just a really expensive hobby! (But yes, you can totally apply this to other kinds of business goals too.)

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Identify Daily Marketing Activities with the Biggest Financial Impact

There are three variables that go into sales revenue that matter when you’re writing your marketing plan for your small business. Usually we talk about these in ecommerce businesses selling products online—but they apply to all online businesses:

  1. Number of Website Visitors
  2. Average Spend Per Customer
  3. Conversion Rate

Visitors * Conversion Rate * Average Spend Amount = Revenue

Change one of these and your revenue changes, for better or worse. To figure out which marketing tasks are going to change these numbers and increase your revenue, you need to follow a four step process. You can grab the worksheet to start working on your own 2017 marketing plan below.

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Step One: Pick One Revenue Variable to Work On in 2017

Marketing your business online is infinity easier when you can target one particular revenue variable to change, rather than splitting your attention three ways.

  • Do you want to reach more new people?
  • Increase the amount your customers are spending with you?
  • Better convert your existing traffic into customers?

Picking one of these ways to increase your revenue is the easiest way to ensure you have highly targeted, efficient marketing. If you’re chasing too many things, you’re definitely going to spread yourself too thin—and focus on the things that don’t actually matter to your business success.

Take a look at your mission for your business and think about bottlenecks in your ability to serve customers. Based on that, you can pretty easily figure out which one of these variables of revenue to work on in 2017.

Step Two: Work Backwards From Your Financial Goal to Set Your Marketing Goals

Now that you’ve figured out which part of your revenue equation to focus on, it’s time to figure out hard numbers for your goals and turn it into day to day marketing activities. Working it backwards can help you figure out your marketing goals for 2017 and give you clarity when it comes to how you should be spending your time.

At the end of the day your success comes down to how many people come to your website and how many of those people take action that results in money in your pocket.

You need to do a little bit of algebra and solve for your X with the following formula: Visitors * Conversion Rate * Average Spend Amount = Revenue

(Don’t know what your conversion rate is? Or what it should be? To be honest, conversion rates are all over the map and there’s no great benchmark to use across the board. The only way to find out your conversion rate is to look at your stats from last year of your visitors, marketing funnel subscribers, and sales. Ecommerce generally sits at around 2% so is a good estimate to start.)

Step Three: Find Your Marketing Focus and Marketing Mix

Now that you know you need to make your goal happen, it’s time to make a plan. Here’s what I recommend to do for each goal (remember, you’re only doing one of these):

  1. Reach new people: find out which marketing channels give you the most reach
  2. Increase customer spending: find out which marketing channels your current customers love the most
  3. Improve conversion rate: find out which marketing channels have the best conversion rates

You can do this by looking at your analytics from all of your marketing channels you use now, not just Google Analytics. This is where your individual business’ strengths and unique audience metrics come into play—so there’s no hard and fast rules about which marketing channels you should pursue here. However, I’ve included some general guidelines in the worksheet you can use to help you find your marketing focus.

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Step Four: Look At How You Spend Your Marketing Resources

Are you spending your time primarily on those things that have the most potential for your business? I’m betting probably not. In fact, I’m willing to bet you’ve never used this approach to figure out your marketing plan before.

The reality is everything in your business that isn’t indispensable is probably dispensable.

If you’re like every other business owner I know, you’re busy. So ask yourself one important question when you’re looking at how you spend your time. You need to make sure that you stick to your plan with your marketing execution and check in periodically to stay on task. It so easy to get sucked into the latest marketing fab, go down the social media rabbit hole, or just not do the indispensable marketing tasks you now know you need to achieve your goals.

What’s going to work better, not just more?

If you’ve completed the steps above, you know what that means for your day to day marketing activities. Now it’s time to spend your time on these marketing tasks, not the others that are just more rather than better.

You’re ready to conquer 2017 and build your business with a strategic marketing plan!

Want to really solidify your 2017 marketing plan? Grab this worksheet to get started figuring out your indispensable marketing tasks ⤵

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An Example Marketing Plan for 2017

To give you a real-world marketing plan example, because that’s the best way to understand how to apply this, I’m sharing a bit of the behind-the-scenes about my own business.

Step One: In 2017, I decided to reach more new people to increase my revenue in 2017. I made changes to my business in 2016 that allow me to serve a broader audience thanks to some new tech tools and a renewed focus on selling my courses rather than on consulting. I’m not going to be focusing on increasing the amount my customers spend with me or increasing my conversion rates.

Step Two: My 2017 goal is to do $100,000 in sales this year by increasing the number of customers I serve in 2017. My average sales amount is $249 per customer and my average conversion rate from people who visit my website is 2%.

Visitors * 2% Conversion Rate * $249 Average Sale Amount = $100,000 Sales

In other words, I need to sign up 400 new students in my course this year to hit my revenue goal—and that means I need 20,000 new visitors to my website in 2017. That’s a totally realistic goal at around 54 new visitors per day who have never been to my site before. It’s important to understand this number is New Unique Visitors in Google Analytics, which isn’t the same as visitors or page views!

Step Three: With my goal of 20,000 new visitors in 2017, I’ll need to focus on top-funnel marketing activities, like blogging, social media, and SEO, and find which sources have the most opportunities for impressions—not just where my site obtained the most traffic in 2016. I’ve found that for my audience, I need to focus on Facebook and Pinterest because that’s where they hang out the most, team up with influencers and affiliate marketing campaigns, and create irresistible opt-ins for my visitors to get into my funnel.

2017 for me is focused on raising awareness about my brand and how I can help digital entrepreneurs—because it’s directly related to my business goals, not just because it’s a vanity marketing activity.

Step Four: I won’t, however, be spending a lot of time on individualized marketing campaigns, building out up-sells or cross-sells or remarketing to increase the amount my customers spend with me. I also won’t be focusing on increasing my conversion rates and turning a higher percentage of visitors into customers, unless my conversion rate really falls by the wayside and goes below 2%.

I’ve set weekly reminders in my calendar to review how I’ve been spending my time—but most importantly I track how I spend my time day to day with Toggl. I’ve also set quarterly check ins to make sure I’m on track to achieve my unique visitor goals.

Let me know in the comments which marketing tasks you’ll be focusing on in 2017 and which ones you will be letting go by the wayside!

One Response to “How to Create a Meaningful Marketing Plan for Your Business”

  1. Thank you! This is a really useful read and given me lots to think about as its not something I have thought about before! I like how you have broken the process down and given an example based on your goals.
    I signed up for your 2017 Marketing Plan and when I receive it, shall sit down, go over the above blog and start afresh. Top of head, increasing traffic/readers to site and monitoring where they come from, feels like best place to start.
    Much appreciated.

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