The 1-Page Marketing Plan
Cover & Diagrams
Need a marketing strategy that can get results fast? Here is a practical and uncomplicated 1-page marketing plan that you can complete today and increase your return on investment. The 1-Page Marketing Plan provides a framework that clearly defines your marketing strategy and how to get, keep, and realize value from customers. Discover why you need to pursue an even-tighter market niche, how to get inside prospects' heads, and why you should raise prices. Learn how to be perceived as a welcomed guest rather than a marketing pest. Finally, create your tribe of loyal customers and receive successful referrals.
Top 20 insights
- Accelerate growth with a focus on what generates the most value for your company. A 10% improvement in marketing will pay off exponentially in the near term.
- Take the 80/20 rule one step further. The 64/4 rule demonstrates that 64% of effects come from 4% of causes. When applied to business, this means to eliminate or drastically decrease 94% of your business activities.
- The quickest way to marketing failure is to imitate the mass marketing tactics of major corporations. Anyone other than Nike, Coca-Cola, and the like should use direct response marketing instead.
- A narrower niche allows price to be irrelevant and positions you as a specialist rather than a generalist. This will not only increase your perceived value but also lower your competitions.
- Use the "PVP" framework to easily identify your ideal customer: Personal Fulfillment, Value to the Marketplace, and Profitability. Think about what type of work gives you the most personal fulfillment, is most appreciated and needed among potential customers, and leads to the highest profits?
- One of the most frequent mistakes to differentiate a company is to highlight its superior quality or service, because such qualities are expected and foundational, and not something to brag about.
- Your largest competitor is not another company but "inertia." The prospect's option to do nothing is often the key factor in lost businesses. You can overcome this with a marketing copy that sends the right message. It should first and foremost convince that there is a need to buy, and then that you have the best offer.
- Confusion is the enemy of conversion. "When you confuse them, you lose them" because the vast majority of customers will walk away rather than seek clarification. This means that all marketing copies should be extremely clear, from the name of the company and website language to paid advertisements and offer descriptions.
- Use this tried and tested formula for your elevator sales pitch: "You know [problem]? Well, what we do is [solution]. In fact, [proof]." This sounds natural, approachable, and far from pushy.
- Avoid marketing copy that is overly professional and stuffy. Instead, your copy should be like a "car accident" – no matter how much you don't want to, you can't help but look.
- Research shows that people buy based on emotion and justify purchases with logic. One of the most significant emotions is fear, particularly the fear of loss. Use this in your marketing and sales strategy with a clear definition of what your customers might lose out on if they don't buy from you.
- Consider "snail mail" as a core part of your marketing strategy. In recent years, marketing via physical mail has become less cluttered as compared to email marketing. Additionally, people are wired to have more of an emotional response to physical objects than to digital media.
- To convert leads into customers, follow-up three times at a minimum. 50% of salespeople throw in the towel after the initial interaction, 65% after two communications, and a full 79.8% after three unsuccessful attempts. Persist and be the last one standing to make the sale.
- Human nature programs us to be interested in unique, unexpected objects. Use this to your advantage. Follow-up with leads with a "lumpy package" – a piece of mail with a small 3D object like a magnet or stickers along with a handwritten note. This will make an impression in a market that's now saturated with email marketing.
- Processes that automate marketing activity after "trigger events" lead to effortless conversions. For example, if someone contacts you for a quote or more information, you should follow a series of preordained steps: enter their contact information into your system, send a "lumpy package," and then follow up by phone within two days.
- Don't think "sales", think "education." When you educate your potential customers, you build trust, ease the fear of risk, and position yourself as a knowledgeable thought leader, rather than a salesperson, in your field.
- Understand that 10% of your customer base would pay 10x as much as they do now for your product or service. In addition, 1% of your customers would even pay 100x more for a related offering. Make an ultra-high-ticket item available for such customers, or you'll leave money on the table.
- Always consider your exit strategy, even if it's in the distant future. Make sure you have a business instead of be the business. No one will pay you top dollar for a company that implodes once you leave. Set up systems and processes so it can run without you.
- Never overlook former customers for future sales. They are 21x more likely to make a purchase from you than from someone they've never worked with before.
- Don't try to sell directly from an ad. Only 3% of your target market is ever highly motivated and ready to buy immediately. There is another 37% of those who see your ad and may be interested now or in the future, so it's better not to turn them off with an overt pitch.
This summary will help you create a simple marketing strategy for any small or medium-sized business. Learn the three main phases of marketing and why you shouldn't imitate large companies using brand awareness tactics. Identify your target market, develop the message you'll use in ads and offers, and select your advertising medium. Then, understand the best way to convert leads into paying customers, including why snail mail can be a good approach. Finally, consider tactics to keep past customers close at hand to maximize the lifetime value of these relationships and get endless referrals.
Three phases of marketing
There are three major phases in marketing: Before, During, and After. "Before" consists of all the activities to make your potential customers aware of your offering. "During" is what happens once someone makes contact with your business and becomes interested in buying. "After" is the period post-purchase, but also when the work to realize a customer's full lifetime value is far from being over. This summary will outline the main activities at each stage and pull out the best tips and tricks for a small business owner or marketer. Here's the one-page plan this summary will help you complete:
The first thing to know about marketing for smaller businesses is that you will fail if you try to imitate major brands that use awareness marketing. Large companies have massive marketing budgets that allow them to saturate the market with brand awareness efforts. Smaller businesses typically don't have the monetary resource for that, nor will it be successful. It is therefore more effective to resort direct response marketing. Here are eight attributes of direct response marketing that small or medium companies should strive for when designing a marketing strategy:
- Trackable – Each lead or purchase should be related directly back to a specific ad or marketing effort.
- Measurable – Measuring the effectiveness of each effort allows you to maximize the investments that generate the most leads.
- Interesting – The message must include much more than your logo, contact information, and generic offers. It should include compelling amcopy that grabs the attention of your prospects.
- Targeted – Marketing to a broad audience in direct response marketing is a mistake. Your ad should be addressed to a specific demographic, aka. your target market.
- Buyer-Focused – Your direct response marketing should include an offer, but not one focused on making a sale. It should provide value to the buyer based on their needs or fears (like a free report) and not focused on what you have to sell.
- Facilitates the Next Step – As part of the delivery of the initial valuable offer, include a follow-up irresistible offer that compels the prospect to take the next step towards purchasing.
- Continually Follows-Up – Automate your outreach to keep in touch with prospects who may not have been ready to buy immediately.
First – identify your market, message, and medium
Identify your market
One of the biggest mistakes new businesses make is trying to be everything to everyone. They are strapped for cash and wouldn't think of turning down a customer, regardless of whether or not that customer is a good fit. The business doesn't want to exclude anyone in marketing materials, so the messages become so broad that they fall flat for everyone. Avoid this common mistake and go much narrower than you might expect. For example, rather than broadly targeting Millenials in the Midwest, go after young female professionals earning more than $80,000 who live in Chicago and Columbus.
You'll see that targeting a narrow niche market allows you to tailor your message and really resonate with prospects. It also allows you to charge much higher prices. Think of a medical specialist. They are sought after, respected, and well-compensated. So too can you become a specialist in your field by positioning yourself as such, assuming you have the necessary knowledge and experience. Small businesses go wrong when they are already specialists but position themselves as generalists because they fear missing out on customers who don't fall within that narrow band.
The best way to identify your target market is to use the "PVP" framework – "Personal Fulfillment, Value to the Marketplace, and Profitability." Ask yourself which kinds of customers you truly enjoy working with. Who are the most pleasant, the most satisfied with what you offer them, and present the types of problems you most enjoy solving with your business? Which types of customers greatly value what you offer and have the willingness and ability to pay? And lastly, which customers generate the highest profits for you because of related costs associated with working with them? Thinking about each market segment along these dimensions can help you determine what's the best for your business.
Identify your message
Never try to sell directly from an advertisement. Instead, design your ads to generate leads by capturing contact information or sharing helpful information. This is because only 3% of people are highly motivated and ready to make an immediate purchase. Still, another 37% are either open to or interested in making a purchase now or in the future. Making a hard sell in your ad can turn away those who may just be looking for more information and not yet ready to buy. It is therefore more important to make your message a lead-generating tool rather than an aggressive offer or sales proposition.
In writing the actual words used in your marketing materials, position your product or service as simple yet remarkable. Confused and bored customers will walk away or keep scrolling. Even if your industry is somewhat commoditized, you can use words and descriptions to stand out. ASOS, a clothing mass retailer, does this in the way it describes the care instructions for its clothing. Instead of including the same old boring instructions in online product descriptions, it uses witty language like "Just here for the care instructions? We thought so. Check the label before washing." or "Avoid post-wash regrets. Clothes have needs, too. Always check the label." Warby Parker also takes a similar approach with the language on the boxes customers receive as part of a home try-on. They say things like "Good things await you" and "Get Excited". Most markets are already saturated, and true innovation is hard to find. Making these small changes to make your marketing remarkable can make a major difference in a crowded market. And these changes are easy to make if you allow an authentic, personality-infused voice into your copy.
The third aspect to keep in mind when crafting your message is the emotion of your prospect. Purchasing is done with emotions and justified with logic after the fact. What does your target market most desire or fear, and how does your product or service fit into that inner dialogue? One of the strongest emotions is fear, especially fear of loss. You can capitalize on your prospects' "FOMO" to motivate them to take your offer. For example, a coffee shop should say, "Don't spend your life drinking crappy coffee and miss out on life's everyday luxuries" instead of displaying a laundry list of the reasons why their coffee is superior. While leveraging this emotion may be considered unethical by some, if your product or service truly delivers value to the customer, guiding them towards a purchase could be doing them a great service.
Identify your medium
Now that you've identified your target market and the kinds of messages you plan to share with them, you need to select the best way to reach them. There are a few solid reasons why you should think twice about putting all your efforts into social media.
The real-life comparative of social media is mingling at a party. Just as you wouldn't go into sales mode to your family or friends at a social event, you should also hesitate before blasting your social media networks with your marketing efforts. This is why so many people are put off by self-promotions from their "friends" on social media.
In the author's words: "Overt selling and constant pitching of offers are generally considered poor behavior on social networks and can result in repelling people from your business rather than attracting them to it."
Focus on building up media that you can completely own and control, and that allows you to capture contact information from leads and then target those who have expressed interest. Websites and email marketing is a great approach to this. The six rules to keep in mind when developing your email marketing approach are the following:
- Don't spam – Only email those who have legitimately requested to receive them.
- Be human – Lose the professional-speak.
- Use a commercial email marketing system – Spend the few dollars a month so that you don't have an email address ending in "@gmail.com."
- Email regularly – If your communications dry up, your customers will too.
- Give them value – Don't just write fluff, provide value in each email.
- Automate – Email marketing systems can take the burden of follow-up off you.
Next – convert your leads into customers
If you've implemented the steps in the first section, you should be ready to start capturing the contact information for your leads. What's the best way to do this? Become a marketing farmer. The first and obvious step for this is using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. Working from this system means you're cultivating seeds that have been planted rather than hunting for new customers that may or may not be easy prey.
How do you find people who might be interested? Some tactics include offering a free resource, an in-person event where sign-up is required, or a discount code for visitors to your website. Once you have their information, what are the cultivation tactics? Apart from keeping in regular contact and providing valuable information such as through a blog related to your product or service or other informational email series, you can use one tactic that many overlook…
Consider the appeal of the "lumpy mail and the shock and awe package". Traditional mail is overlooked today because of the ease of email. As a result, there can be advantages in physical mail. But don't just send any old flyer. By taking the time to send leads interesting small items that relate to your business, you'll be memorable and stay on top of their mind.
Some tactics to ease customers' fear of risk with purchase is by providing an "outrageous guarantee," such as offering a try-before-you-buy. Outrageous guarantees go beyond just saying satisfaction guaranteed. An outrageous guarantee goes to great lengths to describe exactly how a customer should feel after purchasing and how they can expect their lives to improve.
People's fear in making the wrong decision is also reflected by a well-known study at Columbia. When people were offered 24 options of gourmet jams at a farmer's market, only 3% of customers who stopped by the jam stand made a purchase. When only six flavor options were offered, a whopping 30% of stand visitors made a purchase. Limiting your options can therefore also be an effective conversion tactic.
Last – create loyal customers
Much effort goes into reaching prospects and converting leads into customers, but the job is far from finished there. You must also create a buying experience for your customers that far surpasses that of your competitors to maximize their lifetime purchases and ensure they sing your praises to their networks. Why is this so important? Studies indicate that previous buyers are 21 times more likely to buy from you than a competitor. Once you convert a customer for the first time, the remaining sales become easier wins.
Creating a world-class experience can look like much more than just delivering exceptional service and being prompt and courteous in resolving customer issues. Much in the same way that businesses can stand out by imbuing authenticity in their ad copy, so too can they easily improve their customers' experiences by using personality. Think of this stage of marketing much as you would a relationship. As a business, you should be "fun and easy" to work with. You should treat customers as more than a source of short-term cash, and instead stay in touch with them to nurture a long-lasting relationship. Never let customers down and always keep your word. These small mindset shifts will help both you and your customers see beyond a monetary transaction and towards a lifetime of shared value. As you provide value over time to these customers, some specific ways to increase it include raising prices with inflation to maintain your perceived value, capitalizing on earned trust through upselling related offerings, and making it easy for customers to come back by offering reminders, subscriptions, or discounts that expire.
The value you provide to customers can come back to you in the form of referrals. But don't just sit and wait for these to come to you. There a few things you can do to maximize these. First, simply ask. Second, be specific. What types of people are most likely to need your offering? What stage of life are they in? What decisions are they making or issues are they dealing with? Ask customers if they know those types of people who may need your product or service. Then, provide value right away. Offer to send your customers some free resource materials they could pass along. That way, you're not just reaching out cold. This can ultimately serve everyone's needs and create a win-win situation.