If your marketing plan isn’t working, there are four undeniable reasons for this (plus one bonus reason!)
The marketing plan for most service professionals I talk to typically falls into one of these three categories:
A Hope and a Prayer. Waiting and hoping that your phone rings, an email from a prospective client lands in your inbox, or a referral comes from your Facebook or LinkedIn profile.
Throwing Spaghetti at the Wall. Which consists of trying a bunch of different activities randomly, spending a whole lot of money and seeing what sticks.
Following the Hype. Listening to advice you get from family, trend reports or crowdsourcing your Facebook friends.
If your marketing plan fits into one of these categories, and you aren’t seeing the results you’re expecting, don’t worry. You’re not alone. It’s a common trap that many business owners fall into, especially in the start-up and growth phase when money is tight and options are plenty.
Without having deep marketing and sales expertise, it’s difficult to know which activities you should be investing in to get results. And by results, I mean brand awareness, inquiries or leads – which translate into more clients and an increase in profits.
First off, you need an effective marketing plan. One that is rooted in strategy and a step-by-step process that is proven to generate results over and over again. Otherwise, you’re wasting time, money and resources. You’re basically winging it, and I know how frustrating that can be.
If your marketing plan isn’t working, there are four undeniable reasons for this, plus one bonus reason.
I’ll start with the bonus reason. Your marketing plan, actually begins with your message. If your foundational message isn’t dialed in, then you can have the best marketing activities on paper, but when you put them into practice they won’t really work very well, or at all.
The first marketing work you need to do, even before you start to connect with a prospect, is to create a unique marketing message.
Your marketing message consists of four simple but powerful elements:
- Your qualified buyers.You must define who the best clients are for your services. These are people who admit to having a problem that you can solve (or a desire that you can fulfill), have a budget and are thinking about (or planning on) getting it resolved.
- The client’s problems, issues or challenges.Why does your clients feel they need your services in the first place? Identify the top problem or pain point that your buyer admits to having (not what you think they need).
- Your promised outcomes.What exactly will your clients get if they become your client or retain your services? How will they benefit? What are the transformational outcomes?
- Stories or proof.Who has used your services and what results did they get? Success stories, client case studies and testimonials create trust and credibility.
This message is the foundation of your marketing. And when you have it clearly articulated, then you have the right to start engaging in the marketing and sales process.
One of the most important variables in making this process work for you is what you communicate to your prospects about your services. This is at the heart of marketing, and if you don’t get this foundational piece right, then the rest of the plan tends to fall apart.
Marketing and Sales Process.
The four other reasons why your marketing plan isn’t working are related to your marketing and sales process. Some people call this your marketing funnel or marketing system. Your funnel should be customized for each of your target market’s needs and will change depending on whether you are implementing it in the online or offline environment. The framework stays the same, the execution is what changes.
Your marketing and sales process is comprised of four main steps.The first two steps are part of the marketing process and the last two steps are part of the sales process. The reason why it’s called a system or a funnel is because there is a particular order in which you have to do each step of your marketing and sales activities, and each step feeds into the next.
If you skip any of the steps, your marketing plan won’t work. There are no shortcuts.
You have to follow the proven process if you want to be successful. And more than just following the system, you have to execute the steps in the right way, if you want to see real results. That’s why it pays to work with an outside expert if you don’t have the skills in-house. You need somebody on your team who has deep expertise and experience in this area. Marketing and sales are both an art and a science.
It’s not only about WHAT you do, it’s about HOW you do it.
To understand the 4-step marketing and sales process, we use a simple framework called the AIDA Model, as illustrated in the diagram below.
You can use this framework as a tool to guide the development of your marketing plan; selecting your marketing activities that best satisfy the goal of each step. You can also use this framework as a way to diagnose the effectiveness of your current marketing and sales activities by asking yourself the following key questions, and rating yourself for each question using a scale of 1 (not at all) to 5 (fully and completely):
- How well am I creating enough awareness in the watering holes that my qualified buyers are hanging out in?
- How well am I creating an effective bridge that captures the attention of cold leads?
- How well am I creating rapport, familiarity and trust with my leads?
- How well am I engaging my leads to experience what I do and give them a ‘taste test’?
- How well am I converting my cold leads into warm prospects?
- How well am I inspiring desire and converting prospects into hot opportunities?
- How well am I conveying my marketing message so the hot opportunities know What’s In It For Them (WIIFM)?
- How well am I prompting consideration of my product or service?
- How well am I placing my calls to action to convert hot opportunities into paying clients?
- How well am I validating the purchase decision and mitigating buyer’s remorse?
How did you score in each of the four areas? Is there room for improvement?
I’m curious to know which area of your marketing plan needs the most attention right now. Drop me a comment in the box below to share your insights.
If you’re tired of winging it and you’re thinking about getting support from a business growth and marketing expert to help you fast track your journey to success, I invite you to apply for a discovery call with me.
During our conversation, I’ll help you uncover the strengths and gaps in your marketing and sales plan while creating a roadmap and action plan designed to close the gaps and generate success. At that point, you’ll be in a much better position to fully understand how and where to spend your marketing dollars to get the desired results. I look forward to hearing from you.
To your success,