9 simple steps and questions to help you create a marketing plan for your business

Cheap Digital Marketing Expert

By Guy Hudson

When people create their own marketing strategy and plan they often heavily over complicate it. This means the plan becomes very difficult to follow. One of the biggest common mistakes is they focus heavily on what has worked the best in the past or what is currently working well. This is an issue because it often focuses on one marketing channel such as Facebook Ads. The questions below should allow you to create a marketing system rather than relying heavily on one marketing channel. 


I have filled out some examples to the questions below and mentioned some common mistakes people make when answering the questions. Feel free to use these as inspiration to create your own marketing system or you can even send me a message if you are struggling to answer any of the questions. 


Question 1 – What is my target market? 


Step one is quite simple: define your target market. The most common mistake people make when answering this is “my business is for everyone”, in an ideal world every business would be perfect for everyone; however this is simply not true. 


People often see having a niche target market as limiting themselves where this might be true to some degree, if you focus your services on one specific niche of people they are much more likely to become raving fans of your business. 


Some simple questions to help you find your target market. What age bracket is your ideal customer? What gender are they? Where do they live? What industries do they work in? What are their main interests?.


The most important question when it comes to finding who is your target market is “What main problem do they have?” your business’s services should be the solution to this problem.  


Question 2 – What makes me unique to my market? 


Step two is something everyone seems to struggle with when they first get started and that’s what makes you unique to the market. 


There are 1000’s of websites in certain niches where you can take away the logo and branding of a company on their website and they would all look exactly the same. Architects are particularly guilty of this, if you search “Architects (your area)” and click on the top 5 results odds are they will all look pretty much identical. 


It is crucial you find what makes your business unique to the market and promote this. 


Some ideas of what can make your business unique: 


  • Free Guides/Training – If you sell a product sending your customers free guides on how to get the most out of your product is extremely helpful. If it is a service you offer, allowing your clients to receive free training can separate you from your competition.


  • Price (although this is easy to replicate) – Be careful as just promoting yourself as the cheapest, for one a bigger company can more likely just lower their prices and also if you haven’t built a name for yourself some customers can be wary of low rates at first. 


  • Creativity – As a small business you can be creative, big businesses are too busy ticking boxes and pleasing board members, this is where you can take some of the market, people like creative businesses. 


  • Customer service – As a small business owner or even employee you have a chance to personally interact with all of your customers. This makes you unique. Calling a customer a week after they purchase asking them how things are going with your product and service can be a win/win. It gives you vital feedback and also will promote your business as having the best customer service in the industry. 


  • Offer – I will talk more about offers in the next sections, however if your offer is unique to your industry it is a fantastic opportunity to separate yourself from the crowd. 

Question 3 – How will I promote my business to this market?


Step 3 is how will you promote your business to this target market, this is one of the most flexible parts of a marketing plan. The world of digital marketing changes every day, prices of advertising change and different platforms become most popular.


A good rule of thumb is where my potential market spends most of their time. This should become your main marketing channel. 


As a small business one of the best tips I can give you is to use the marketing channels big businesses are not yet using, they will often be a lot cheaper than traditional marketing spaces and have a more targeted audience. Companies with £1000’s marketing budget can afford to run a campaign that doesn’t convert, you can’t. 


Make sure the marketing channels you pick are trackable, so you can see how much each lead and conversion costs your business, this then allows you to scale your marketing campaigns as you grow. Social Ads such as Facebook for example will allow you to target an exact audience and also track the actions they take after seeing your advert. 


Question 4 – How will I get people to engage with my business? 


Step 4 is how to get people to engage with your business. Often people believe you just advertise and customers come, this unfortunately is not true. It is crucial you create a lead magnet that gets your potential customers to engage with your business. 


The lead magnets that get the best engagement are free. Yes, this means you have to give something away and not expect anything in return, some businesses struggle to see how this makes sense; however you most think of customer lifetime value here. If you give something away for free and they like it they are now very likely to use your services in the future. 


Some examples of successful lead magnets I have used for clients:


  • Free eBooks

  • Guides and How to’s 

  • Free trials 

  • Free sample 

  • Try for 30 days and money back guarantee


Question 5 -How will I get people that have engaged to be more interested? 


Step 5 Now people are engaging with your business. It is important to understand how you increase their interest and ensure you don’t lose them as potential customers.


Depending on your product and service this can be a really fast or really long process as a rule the higher prices you charge the longer potential customers will be in this stage and the more work you will have to do to keep them engaged with your business. 


There are many ways to increase interest in engaged potential customers:


  • Email marketing campaign – Send them a useful weekly email that is resourceful and promotes your brand as an industry leader 

  • Using social remarketing – Don’t just use this to promote sales messages, you can use this to put useful content in front of your potential customers

  • Create eBooks & guides – Send these directly to the audience that has already engaged with your business. 

  • Have a personal conversation – This one can be hard to scale without growing your team, however simply just ask the potential customer why they haven’t yet used your service and find an answer to their pain points. 


Question 6- How will I convert these people into buyers?


Step 6 is one of the most important steps, how to convert an engaged audience into buyers. Taking people from the consideration to the buying stage is crucial for your business. 


You must have a plan in place for how you will do that. As mentioned before you may need to focus on customer lifetime value here, creating an offer that a potential customer can’t refuse can get them to pay for your products/services and from there you can turn them into a fan of your brand (more on that below). 


The main thing to do here is think of the common reasons an interested person does not pay to use your product or service and think of ways you can work around it. 


I will list out the most common reasons people don’t move from the consideration to the buyer stage and give an example of how to fix that.


  • Price – Quite simply they can’t afford you or think it’s too expensive. You have two options here, option 1 offer them a discount or option 2 offer payment plans, you can now easily set this up even with e-commerce products. 


  • Location – Sometimes people are just too far away from your location. If your service doesn’t require you to be in the same location, offer an online version for these people. If you do have to be in the same location it may be worth your time to make special arrangements to travel for specific clients if the finances work in your favor. 


  • Trust – Quite simply they don’t trust your business enough yet to commit. The previous stages should have improved the trust level between you and the potential buyer; however it still may not be enough. This is where money back guarantee offers can be fantastic, as you can present it to the potential buyer that they have nothing to lose. 


  • Time – Often people will say they don’t have enough time. This is where you need to present your processes as being as stress free as possible. Ensure the potential buyer knows that you are the one doing all the hard work. If you offer a product it may be a good idea to offer initial set-up. If you offer a service be honest about your on-boarding process and showcase how easy it is for a potential buyer.


Question 7 – How will I offer a better experience than my competitors? 


Step 7, find a way to offer a better experience than your competitors. The goal of the step is to make sure that not only do you outshine your competitor but offer a service that is so good that customers feel like they can’t not use your business. 


Communication is key in this step, every month ask for feedback, what can be done better? Is there any additional service/product you wish we offered? Your current customers are the answer on how you can get more future customers, find out what they like best about your business and use this information to scale your business moving forward. 


Keep an  eye out for your competitors when they do a special offer, it may be a good time to promote your own. If a competitor offers a new service/product it may be important that you offer your own version. 


Question 8 – How will I improve customer lifetime value?

Step 8, customer lifetime value is the logical way you should see potential customers. This will improve and help you budget for your marketing efforts. Quite simply, work out how much an average customer spends with you over the course of using your business, this is your customer lifetime value. Now you can work out profit and it should give you a basic answer on how much you can spend on marketing on each customer for your business to be both profitable and scalable. 


One way to ensure your business stays profitable is to improve the customer lifetime value of specific customers. In some businesses 90% of profits come from around 20% of clients this is especially true for service based businesses such as marketing agencies. 


One of the main ways you can improve a customer’s lifetime value is via a high ticket item.A high ticket item is something only a few customers will ever purchase from you but will give you the highest profit margins. This is where you can reap the benefits from all the previous steps, all of the free guides, samples & trials will be paid for once people start to purchase your high ticket items. 


Some examples of high ticket items: 


  • Training course – Offer a full bespoke training course for specific clients 

  • High end product – A product that may be 10x higher than your average product cost, this will only be purchased by a small percentage of your audience and will be the highest profits. 

  • Workshops – The previous steps should have presented you as a leader in your industry, now you can make yourself available for workshops. This can either be corporate ones where a business pays and brings you in or you can sell tickets to your own. 

  • 121 coaching – As your business grows and you have success in your niche you can offer 121 coaching to help other businesses succeed. 


Question 9 – How will I use my best customers to gain new customers? 


Step 9, now you have a plan on how your business will bring in customers and how you nurture those people interested from strangers to buyers. Once, you have done that you have offered a high ticket item that should be the biggest financial win for your business. You have created a marketing system that works for you.


The final step is how you can get your current customers to bring in new customers. People trust those they know a lot more than any business. Creating a referral scheme can be a good way for potential buyers to bypass all the stages of awareness & consideration. Offer your current customers freebies, a % of profits or even extra services if they refer new customers to you. It is important you set up a form of referral scheme early as it will be one of the easiest things to scale as your business grows. 

These 9 questions should help you set the foundations for your marketing plan. You should now understand who your target market is, how you are going to promote your business to them and how you are going to turn them into fans of your business. This gives you the foundation to build your full marketing system, not every single marketing campaign you do will be successful however a marketing system gives you a set method on how you can grow and importantly scale your business.


If you are new to digital marketing it can seem very complicated and overwhelming, it is important to create processes and systems that make it as simply as possible for you and your business. If you have any questions on what has been mentioned here, please feel free to contact me via email at guy@bespokemarketingplans.co.uk