Now that you have an idea of the kinds of systems and strategies that are required for a relationship-based marketing system that can create record sales and profits for your business, you need a focused plan. Remember GPS? Well, you can apply GPS to marketing as well. Your sales goal, your market- ing plan, and your marketing systems.
An easy way to think about your marketing planning is to use the 5 M’s of Marketing. The five M’s are:
- Money: What is your sales goal, and how much are you going to invest in marketing?
- Mission: What is the experience you’re delivering?
- Market: Who wants that experience?
- Message: What’s the message that resonates with them?
- Methods: What systems and strategies will you implement to accomplish the goal?
The First M: Your Phenomenal Money
The first thing you want to have in your plan is a money goal. For now we will focus only on the sales and profit goals. Sure, you could have some other objectives such as market share, creating new products, etc., but this simple plan is about taking action, not having a robust, strategic marketing plan that you would take to a bank for funding. This is a bare bones guide that small business owners can easily remember and follow.
Determine what your sales goal is for the next 12 months. If you have history, go back to see how much you did last year. Are you on a growth path? Are sales declining? What significant changes are taking place that can change those numbers? Once you have your annual sales goal, break it down by the month, by the week, by the day, and by the hour. My brother owns a McDonald’s, and his profit is determined by how the staff cost is managed by the hour. If you don’t have daily or hourly transactions, then break your sales goal down by the smallest measurable increment possible. If you do a few large projects per year, then determine how many projects you are going to do and what the average project amount will be. If you sell products, how many products will be sold at what average price point?
You will also want to break down your sales goal by profit center (or ser- vice category) and even by how much you will do in repeat business, referral business, and direct sales and advertising. You will learn about this in Phe- nomenal Administration Systems.
To get to your sales goal, you will need to know what your profit goal is. It all starts with your net profit because that is what funds your life goal. Remember the one and only reason your business exists is to be a vehicle to help you achieve your life goals. If the financial spoke on the Wheel of Life is suffering, then everything else in your life will suffer. A business without a profit is just a hobby! I don’t know about you, but being broke and in debt isn’t any fun. To top it off, working 24/7 to be broke and in debt is even worse! If you’re going to be broke, you might as well stay home. At least you could enjoy yourself while you are going broke!
The wonderful thing about being a business owner is that you can plan what you want your profit to be. Of course, Lord willing. None of us know what challenges life will bring us, but we would also be fools to build some- thing without a plan. So we plan and we work the plan the best that we possibly can. The amazing thing is that when you plan and stay focused, many times it works!
Determine what you want your profit to be. Then you will have to deter- mine your cost of doing business (see Phenomenal Administration Systems). Also determine how much you are willing to invest in marketing. This should be in your 12 Month Cash Flow Budget. Decide in advance what you are going to invest. This will keep you from becoming a victim of the advertising wolves in sheep’s clothing. They have an irresistible offer that you are abso- lutely convinced will work (although it hasn’t been proven).
Meanwhile, you aren’t doing the proven things that are outlined in this book. A marketing investment amount that includes exactly how much you will invest in each system, strategy, and ad will keep you focused rather than reacting to circumstances. Far too often marketing is done in purely an opportunistic manner rather than a focused plan.
Another thing I have learned from the countless surveys we have taken from small business owners we coach is that there isn’t nearly enough invested in marketing. When you see the puny line item called marketing on an income statement, there’s no wonder there isn’t any business!
You have to plant a seed to get a crop! As the late Jim Rohn said, “You can’t say to a field, give me a crop and then I’ll plant a seed. You can’t say to a fireplace, give me heat and then I’ll give you some wood!” It’s ridiculous, yet that’s what I see every day.
Decide in advance what you are going to invest in marketing. Commit to that investment. Don’t make the investment based on whether you have “extra” money or not. Put it in the budget. Make the investment! I know that planning and budgeting doesn’t sound like much fun, but it can make you wildly wealthy, which means you can go have all kinds of fun!
How much do you invest in marketing? Whatever it’s going to take to get the profit number you need. You may need to do some research on this, but once you line out the things you are going to implement, figure out how much those items will cost. To get this exactly right, you will have to go back and forth on your 12 Month Cash Flow Budget.
The Second M: Your Phenomenal Mission
In Chapter 2, I shared the importance of your mission. When it comes to marketing, you want to keep in mind what you are actually delivering. If you have not determined what your mission is, you should come to terms with that before planning your marketing. The reason is that it will determine who your target market is and what your marketing messages will look like.
And keep in mind that if you aren’t passionate about the mission you are on, you won’t promote it well and you won’t lead others to carry it out either.
The Third M: Your Phenomenal Market
Have you determined who your prime target niche market is? Everyone is not your customer. If you try to be everything to everyone, you won’t be anything to anyone. Not anything significant anyway. You must understand your target market. The more you know about them, the more successful you can be in marketing to them.
Who can benefit from the mission you are delivering? For example, my target market is small business owners who are doing over $100,000 and less than $5 million per year. They have been in business for more than three years, and they feel like slaves to their businesses. They are ready for a solu- tion and probably seeking that solution. They are people who are interested in growing or getting unstuck, and they are teachable.
Of course many other people can benefit from my work. My inspirational teachings have impacted the youth of some of my clients, which thrills me; and some new businesses have enough foresight to realize they need to build it right now instead of later. Network marketers who understand that they have a real business can also benefit. Large corporations can totally utilize our marketing, sales, and leadership systems and have a huge impact; but we don’t intentionally target these groups because our focus would be diluted.
It’s okay with me if people outside of my core niche want to learn from me, so if you fit one of the other categories, come on in! We can help you! My systems can help any type of business, practice, and even non-profit organizations. But when I market, I am thinking about small business owners who feel like slaves to their businesses. That’s my niche target market.
So you want to start by going deep in a niche. You want to become a BIG FISH in a small pond rather than a minnow in a huge ocean. When you are the bomb to that niche, you can have all the business you want and you can literally have people standing in line to pay you the highest prices for what you do. I know because I’ve done it more than once.
Who is the niche market that desperately needs what you have?
My friend and small business consultant Ellen Rohr says, “Picture your favorite customer—you know, the one who pays your price (and pays on time!). The one you love working with.” Those are your perfect niche clients. Do you have a picture in mind? What are their frustrations? What is the competition doing to frustrate them? (I think about Southwest Airlines tak- ing advantage of the ridiculous baggage fees that some airlines are charging. Southwest started advertising “Free Checked Baggage”!)
What is their lifestyle? With whom do they associate? Where do they live? How much money do they make? How old are they? How long have they been in business? Multiple locations or single location? Retail or wholesale?
Do you see how we could fill an entire book just with questions on how to know your niche market? One of the most important questions is how they buy. This will be vital when you get into “Methods” in a moment.
The 4th M: Your Phenomenal Message
Once you determine how much money your business needs to produce, what your mission is, and who your target market is, you now want to craft a message that resonates with them. Go back to the “5 Point UEP” (Unique Experience Proposition). This will become the core of your message. You should be able to expand and contract this message based on the situation and the method of marketing you are using.
If you are at a networking group that gives you 60 seconds, you can use the full 5 Point UEPTM. If you are writing an ad, or you are doing a sales presentation, you’ll need to expand the five points. It is also vital to under- stand how to write marketing copy.
The Fifth M: Your Phenomenal Methods
The final M in your plan is your phenomenal methods. What methods of marketing will you use to reach your phenomenal target market? You can have plenty of money to invest, a powerful, passionate meaningful mission, a clearly defined target market, and a compelling message that sells like crazy, but if your perfect prospect never sees it, what’s it worth?
What methods will best deliver the message they need? In order to deter- mine this, we must ask ourselves a few questions. How does your prime target market buy services? Online? Offline? Through ads, direct mail, radio, tele- vision, newspaper? Do they read trade magazines? Are there online forums where they hang out? Do they primarily buy through referrals? If so, who do they trust? Who has a relationship with them?
I have seen too many small business owners who have a great product or service, but they struggle because they are using the wrong media. Under- standing how your perfect target market buys is vital to choosing the right method to reach them.
I hope this chapter has given you lots of ideas on what methods to use. In most small businesses, the simplest, most effective way is to use my referral marketing system of identifying potential referral sources, bring your phe- nomenal message about your phenomenal mission to them, and inspire them to talk about you to their clients (your perfect target market).
Once they refer, you then have a phenomenal client-based marketing system using something like Send Out Cards that compels them to come back to you and to refer you. I have found that companies that learn how to use referral marketing and client-based marketing well can be very successful without direct advertising or direct sales. I had dinner with an SEO guy not too long ago and he was telling me about the client he helped get to number one on Google. But the guy is still struggling financially. He doesn’t have enough business. I could clearly see that in his industry, all he has to do is begin developing a relationship with powerful referral sources. He also is not marketing to his past clients. Big mistake.
I cannot stress enough the importance of a phenomenal referral mar- keting system and a phenomenal client-based marketing system! Couple that with a phenomenal mission and message—and you have a winning combination!