It's time to Get Cooking on your 2015 Marketing Plan! In this article I will tell you exactly what you may be doing wrong, what to do instead and how you can design a practical doable marketing plan that will put that grin factor back into your life.
I know many of you groan at the thought of creating plans and that's OK, I used to do that too. That was until I began to plan everything in advance, and now it's a piece of cake.
Today I'm going to share with you how to plan, prepare and cook your own beautiful cake, (a metaphor for your actual marketing plan.)
OK, using the cooking metaphor and baking a cake in particular, here's how it might look...
You decide you would love to make a beautiful rich chocolate cake that everyone will love and also has them thinking that you are a pretty amazing cook, right? Never having baked a cake doesn't stop you, I mean, how hard could it be?
In marketing terms you want to create a biz that you love, that gives you the income you want and allows you to live a lifestyle that rocks! And you want your clients to love you. Yes? You're enthusiastic and you have a few ideas.
Now here's the thing, if you're not sure how to bake a cake you might just try and 'wing it' by tossing a bit of flour, butter, sugar and a few eggs into a dish, and what the hey, let's add some nuts and coffee. Easy! You beat it up, pour the whole mess into a tin, throw it into a hot oven and give it an hour to cook and go off and do something else... Yikes!
Guess what? The cake is now burnt, hard as a rock and inedible.
In marketing; you write an ezine spasmodically, you write an occasional blog post, you sometimes do a webinar or give a talk. Hey, you might even write an e-book. You do this all by instinct depending on your state of motivation or mood. Hence, you have very few clients, if any. The sad thing is, this is the norm for about 70% of Coaches and Solopreneurs.
By 'throwing a few things together' you 'burned' your biz because you weren't paying attention, you didn't have a 'recipe' and your efforts were haphazard at best. All of those things do work, if they are a part of a specific doable marketing plan.
OK, enough of the cooking metaphor for now, let's instead, get into what you need to be doing if you prefer to have a steady stream of clients, a regular, predictable income and a simple, practical, repeatable system for getting and keeping clients that you love to work with.
1. You need to have something to sell (you'd be surprised how many don't)
2. You need to have someone to sell to (not just anyone with a credit card and pulse)
3) You need a method and systems to connect and engage prospective clients
4) You need follow up strategies and systems (this step makes or break a biz)
5) You need a method for signing up clients (as above)
6) You need to be able to accept payments ( obvious but not always in place)
7) All of the above needs to be streamlined and automated as much as possible.
Now that looks like a lot I know, and it may be to begin with but once you have all of that in place then you get to have your cake, eat it, have a cherry on top and a dollop of cream!
Each of those steps incorporate a number of other steps that are just as important, and doable.
For instance, let's take #4 and imagine that you set up a strategy session and the prospective client was interested yet didn't sign up. What do you do next? (Strategy sessions are a good edition to your follow up plan and can move someone from 'interested' to prospective client fast. You need a system for this and an automated calendar to schedule appointments.)
Do you have a system of follow up? Or do you simply just say to yourself "Hmm, I really thought they were interested but it's been a week now and I haven't heard, oh well, I tried" and then give up?
Let's hope it wasn't the latter because follow up is the most important part of your marketing plan. Whether you follow up once or 7 times, it's important because people are busy, you are not top of mind and they have lots of other things going on. People are busy!
Unless you take the time to remind them that you are there to solve the problem they are having, then they will put you on the back-burner and leave you to simmer until you either burn or get their attention. In her book GET CLIENTS NOW!™ C.J. Hayden refers to this as the Persistence Effect.
I hope you understand now the importance of follow up and how it can make or break your business and not only that. The fact is if you don't follow up consistently then you are doing a disservice to the people you are meant to serve. I know that sounds a tad woo woo but it really isn't. Some of us need a nudge and if you aren't willing to give me a nudge, I'll look for someone who will.
SIDEBAR: I don't care if you've done this dozens of times already (yes, I read your mail, I wrote most of it) I believe in you totally, and if you can take this leap of faith, and stick with it, you will be unstoppable!! Imagine that. It really is possible, no matter what age or stage of biz you are at currently.
AND, if you need help, get it!... Get a pal, a coach, a dog, whatever it takes, if it keeps you fired up, go for it... make it happen!
This can all be done with grace and ease; you are not trying to 'sell' something, you are being of service to someone who needs what you have and they need you specifically to deliver that service. You aren't doing them any favours by hiding and hoping they will contact you.
So onwards and upwards. Here is a very simple marketing plan that should give you enough to get started, get going and get clients or at least get you into the game. That's all you need to gather momentum.
1. Before you start, take time to define specifically the person you want to market to. I once heard someone describe this client as "a one-armed Irish pilot from Madagascar" Specific means specific.
2. Do you love what you're doing? Does your product or service reflect that? If not, take some time and design something really special that showcases the best of who you are and makes a massive impact on your client's biz or life. Even your initial free gift should be value added and reflect your uniqueness. Stand out, don't just do what everyone else is doing.
3. Decide how you will market your product. Will you give talks, write, give webinars, teleclasses. Do you offer programmes or an hourly service? Get very clear. Do you have processes and methods in place? If not then make this a priority. Take yourself and your business seriously, at least until you have this all in place. Believe me, once it's done you will have so much more time for fun.
4) This is where the plan often fails. Please ensure that you do this religiously! Create a step by step plan. My suggestion is that you write out 90 day goals and break them down into 30 day goals. Then break down the 30 day goals into weekly goals and actions.
Finally create daily/weekly actions that will support you in reaching your weekly goals. If that looks like too much, begin with 30 day goals. Then, put all of this into a 'giant copper cauldron' and bring it to the boil until it's "just right."
Take a deep breath and reward yourself for a job well done. Enjoy the cherries and cream!
Take a weekend to do this or take yourself off somewhere quiet with your favourite coloured markers, giant sheets of paper and your creative mind. Or open up a word document and go for it.
Whatever gets you going... Drill it down so that you know exactly what you want and how you will go about getting it... Don't settle for what you've 'always done". Get creative and real.
5. To keep you motivated and inspired set up a rewards 'basket' and gift yourself for every effort, not just completion of your goals... I cannot stress enough the importance of creating the daily goals and entering them into your calendar at the beginning of the week (or during the planning stage) and sticking with the actions NO MATTER WHAT!!!
You must prioritize and stop the interruptions, excuses, procrastination. Be like a dog with a bone! This is where the rewards are important, make them count. We ALL have busy lives and we all have the same hours in the day yet many of us, even my friend with a houseful of kids, gets amazing things done. It's about desire, priority, organization and implementation.
If you are still procrastinating then take a good long look at your goals and notice what inspires you about them? Maybe you have outgrown these goals. Be honest with yourself and ask yourself why you would want to achieve them. Are you still as fired up and enthusiastic or does it all sound like a big chore? What else might fire you up? Go deep, ask the questions you need answered...
And so, it's time to turn down the heat on the cauldron and let it simmer. Keep lifting the lid to see what you need to add or take away. What would make it sweeter, or spicier, or creamier? What would it take for everyone to know that this was your dish and it was very very special?
Make this recipe ongoing, dish it out as you grow and see what responses you get from your 'diners.' Ask them what they think, and what would make it even tastier. What's missing? What would make it even better?
Of course, it's always about them, they put their trust in you. However, don't forget you in the mix because you are the source of this creation and you are the most important ingredient in anything you create. Even if you are doing what others are doing, no-one will do it like you. You're unique.
Never water yourself down or take away your spiciness or sweetness because that is your very special ingredient. That's how you get to do what you love and earn what you're worth without guilt, apology or permission. When you understand that at your core, your life will change.
What I'd like you to do now, is to go through the points I've mentioned and see where you may need to make some adjustments in your own business. What needs to stay and what needs to go?
What would your business look like this time next year if you actually took time out and designed or redesigned it so that is showcases exactly who you are, what you stand for and how you want to be seen in the world? Not what's expected or some unreal perception you've created in your head.
What would your Services and Products look like? How much would you be earning? What kind of clients would you be working with? What kind of lifestyle would you be living? Get specific. What would really blow your hair back? Do that!
There is only one of you and no-one can be you better than you can. Yes, you might have heard that before and thought it was a nice sentiment but it's so much more than that. You need to realize how very special, unique and needed you are because that will give you the confidence, competence and inner 'knowing' to step up, step out and showcase the best of who you are. A whole world is waiting for that moment. I challenge you to...