Updated: Dec 19, 2019
You will have to develop a living plan for every aspect of your business. Plans that will need to be changed, tweaked, updated from time to time.
Every success story and every win, every victory starts with a plan. Sure, the plan may not be as clear as you would like it to be when you start, but one is required to "win" at anything you do. And business is no different.
In fact, some would argue that in business, you will find yourself doing the "planning" part of any initiative most of the time. As small business owners and entrepreneurs, we spend most of our time planning, strategizing, reading reports, meeting with our teams, Lawyers, Accountants, etc.
You will have to develop a living plan for every aspect of your business. Plans that will need to be changed, tweaked, updated from time to time. Marketing and Marketing automation is no different. You need a solid plan to help kick things off. You will need to plan out which marketing channels to use.
Will you look to reach your target audience via social media, Email, SMS Messaging, or all of the above? You will also want to consider who you will want to reach, how to reach them, what to say, how to say it, and so on.
Always start with a plan
Always! You do not have to have a perfect, well-thought-out plan when you embark on any new project or in this case, marketing campaign. Nope! it takes time, experience, and a whole lot of trying and error-ing for a plan to come together.
However, you will want to have some idea of where you are going.
It is best to document your plan in some way. This will help you make the necessary changes to it when you need to. You will also be able to refer to your plan during the course of implementing it and be able to share it with other interested parties.
There is no set standard of what to include in your marketing automation plan.
Most successful plans I have seen in this particular area answers the following questions:
• What is the point of putting an autonomous marketing plan in place?
• Who am I trying to reach with my campaign?
• What value can I offer my target audience?
• What is my ultimate goal? In other words, what do you want folks to do in the end? Do you want them to buy something? signup for your newsletter? make a donation?
Your initial plan should include these questions and your answers to them as you see fit at the time.
Sure, as time goes on you will add some other questions and answers to your plan, but here is a very good place to start.
Know your audience
Here is a very important part of marketing, especially in the realm of automation. For the purpose of this article, keep in mind that most of the ideas I am sharing are meant to help you build a killer marketing automation machine.
One that sends out valuable, relevant campaigns; answers customers questions and converts browsers to customers all while you focus on other aspects of your business. Or perhaps while you are on vacation or tending to the more personal parts of your life.
One key element to successful automation is relevance. You will have to set your marketing automation system up so as to send out messages that are uniquely valuable to your end-user.
This can be tricky since most businesses have thousands, even millions of users and prospects all with varying needs and wants.
The key to helping to improve your "targeting" is knowing your audience. As part of your planning, you will want create customer personas. If you only offer your products and services to one particular type of customer, then this will be fairly straight forward for you. For those with a diverse mix of customers, you will want to create separate customer profiles for each type of customer.
Different organizations include different types of information in their customer profiles, but for the most part, your customer profile should include:
Profile name: Creating a catchy, easy-to-remember profile name will help you not only refer back to your ideal customer in shorthand but will also let you and your team keep in mind what type of person you are looking to reach.
Demographic: This part of your customer profile should cover attributes such as age, gender, ethnicity, geography (city, state, county) and members of your ideal customer's household.
Socioeconomic: Here you will want to clearly identify your ideal customer's household income, level of education, profession or vocation, community, and affiliations.
Geography: This includes data related to where (geographically) your ideal customer lives and/or works.
You may choose to include or exclude more profile data in your customer profile depending on the type of business you are in, and the type of customers you serve.
The key is to include any pieces of data that will help you clearly place each customer in a well-defined group.
This will help you target each "type" of customer with only offers they are likely to care about.