Where Your Marketing Plan Should Really Begin

We need a website redesign. No, we need more leads. Why aren't we blogging? Is our website optimized? 

That's a lot of questions. And if you're like most marketing managers, you're trying to do each of those things while explaining the reasons you're not done with all of them. When all of these options pile up, you might even feel like you have so much to work on that you just don't start some of it. 

Let’s just pause and take a breath.

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If you don’t know where to start, you are like a lot of tech marketers trying to sort through the myriad of ways to promote your message. And you’re likely hearing from a number of people within your organization – many of whom have varying degrees of experience in marketing and plenty of opinions. 

Feel better with that breath and knowing you’re not alone? Good. 

There actually is a lot you can do to put a productive, effective plan in place that shows results. The first step is to ask yourself two questions. 

(Oh, no! I thought we were done with questions! Just hear us out…)

  1. Who do you need to reach? 
  2. What do you want to achieve? 

We are going to walk through some simple ways to answer these questions, and you’ll have the information you need to go back to others in your organization and prove why what you’re doing is the right approach.

Who Do You Need to Reach?

Building a persona is your first step because it puts in place a voice and purpose behind everything else you create: content, emails, social media posts, websites and more. You first determine to whom you’re speaking and what they are looking for from a company such as yours. 

But personas are not just creating a person out of thin air and deciding what their favorite activities and social media habits are. Rather, when building a persona, you’re looking at everyone in your market and making an average picture of them. 

There are basic questions (again with the questions!) you should use to frame your target persona:

  • What are their demographics? 
  • What are their primary goals, pain points and fears in their jobs? 
  • What would their coworkers say about them? 
  • What common questions do they ask? 
  • What keywords or topics of interest do they frequently search? 

Once you know to whom you’re marketing, then you can line up the other marketing needs you’re being tasked with. So about that... 

What Do You Want to Achieve?

Do you want or need brand awareness or leads? Everyone says they want leads, but can you confidently say you have the structure in place right this minute to properly nurture them? 

Be honest: the answer likely is no. 

Whew! That’s some good honesty. And that’s okay. Most companies think they have the right structure in place when they don’t. Recognizing that you’re not there (yet!) is important. 

You need some more brand awareness before you can get into lead gen. In fact, as your company grows, adds new solutions or solves new problems, brand awareness never goes away. It’s always needed to continually build your pool of potential leads. You need to implement early on nurturing programs that include information to answer the questions you think - or even better know from experience - prospects have. 

Arm them with information. Prepare them for decision making. 

No one wants to be sold to; they want to be educated first. When you become a partner in the decision-making process from the start, you are more highly regarded in their mind as they get to the end of their information-gathering journey and start to make a decision.

Keeping that in mind, you can build out a solid structure of educating prospects and leads, making sure you anticipate questions they might have to guide them through the process. Technology solutions are researched fully first, and this approach can help you answer anyone’s questions - both internally and externally. 

With these answers, you can format and defend your plan when faced with a barrage of questions from others, and know your marketing plan is starting on the right foot.

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If you’re still facing a number of questions, our Digital Marketing Assessment can help arm you with the information you need to provide solid answers and make you look like a rockstar with a fact-based plan. Our Digital Marketing Assessment takes your initial plan and shows where your strengths and weaknesses lie, and what next steps you need to take.

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