For many years I was extremely resistant to planning of any sort. Sound familiar?
As a creative person who likes to go with the flow – I found it went against the grain and it didn’t make any logical sense to me, as things can change so much. That was until I realised that achieving the end goal is not the point. The point of making plans is simply to create progress….and then I was sold.
Here’s the thing that’s little understood about plans…the point of them is not for you to always do exactly what you say you will (sometimes that happens).
But very often, as you implement your plan, you find out about your business and your customers which means your plan and also your goals can change. So why is a plan so important then? Well, it gets you taking action in the first place and keeps you focused – in other words, it creates progress.
So, having a marketing plan that works is essential to you finding, serving and selling to your ideal customers.
How to create a simple marketing plan
Well, I use a marketing strategy I’ve come up with called simply ‘FANS’.
So what the heck is FANS? It’s just a really simple way of mapping out my simple marketing strategy:
F – is for Foundation (brand)
A – is for Attract
N – is for Nurture
S – is for Sell
So very simply – it walks you through everything you need in your marketing arsenal, to create a marketing plan that works – i.e. it attracts your perfect customers, serves them and encourages them to buy!
First of all, you need your FOUNDATION in place – which is your brand. This is your purpose, what you do and what you stand for. If that doesn’t exist, or you’re not aware of it then how you can persuade others to buy into you? This is a fundamental requirement, before you can attract any customers to your business. (And, for the record, a brand is more than just a logo and a colour palette).
Secondly, you need to ATTRACT your perfect customers, through a variety of different methods – such as social media, referrals, events etc. Because if you don’t tell people you exist, you may as well not exist.
Thirdly (and the piece of the puzzle that so many people miss) you need to NURTURE your customers. So many people want and need to get to know you before they buy. Simply attracting them isn’t enough. You need to serve them and nurture them and offer them value BEFORE they buy. And email is the perfect way to do this.
And lastly, it sounds obvious, but you need to have a way that people can buy from you, if they want to. So you need to have selling platforms (either in person or ‘in real life’).
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
When you have all this information, you can write it down on one sheet of paper. It’s up to you how you want to do it – you can design it beautifully digitally or by hand, or you can fold a piece of paper into segments and scribble on it. What’s important is that you put all the information above on it and you keep it somewhere that’s visible to you all the time.
This marketing plan strategy focuses on getting you actual results – so it includes two things that I think are essential but often gets overlooked: Sending great emails and creating a strong brand. They might seem a bit scary at first, but if you set your mind to learning how to do these things well (you can get help and support in so many places, including from myself) then I believe these elements are fundamental to your success.
You have a plan, now what?
Great, you’ve got a direction! Now you just need to look at implementing the different parts of the plan, bit by bit. Start with whatever makes the most sense to you – whatever is easiest – and slowly work your way through the different elements. Inevitably, you’ll want to tweak as you go along and learn more things, but by following the FANS framework, you’ll start with a strong foundation that you can build on as you and your business grows.