How to Develop an Engaging Marketing Plan in Just 7 Days
Put together an effective marketing plan in just 7 days by answering Who, Why, What, When, How, Where, and Which.
You can complete an effective marketing plan in just 7 days. In order to do this you will go through 7 steps, with each step being completed in just one day. You will need to work quickly, and you will need to make quick decisions. Don’t get stuck in “paralysis by analysis”.
TIP: If you find that it is taking you longer than one day to complete a step then you are probably overthinking this. Go through the steps one day at a time and quickly set up a framework for your marketing plan. Once you have the framework in place you can always go back and make adjustments later.
Day 1 - “Who” Is the Client?
“Who” Is the Client?
Start by creating a profile of your ideal client. Before you can even think about marketing to them, you should know who they are.
By order of priority, who are your top target segments?
You need to describe your:
- Market — What’s your specific target market? For example, your accounting firm could be trying to target a younger clientele, such as young college students in their early to mid 20s.
- Market size — Your goal is to determine how many people within your target market are likely to purchase your product.
- Market segmentation — And who are the decision makers? Are they established corporations? Or are they newer and smaller businesses?
- Reasoning — Why did you select the target segments?
Examine these specific markets and really dig into why these specific segments are suited for your firm’s services.
Make a list of your ideal clients. Review them to determine which ones are most likely to be in a position to purchase your services, which ones you have credibility with (i.e. industries you have worked in before or are very familiar with), and which ones you like working with.
Once you have this list, prioritize it. You MUST have a clear list of who you are targeting as a starting point.
For your top target client, put together a profile based on an ideal target. Look at their business, size, revenues, stage of growth. What clubs or associations do they belong to - both on a personal level as well as professionally.
Then look at them as individuals. Roughly how old are they, what are they interested in, what types of groups do they belong to, which social profiles do they follow.
TIP: Don't just look at your largest clients. Consider who you want to work more with. They will probably be higher margin and easier to service.
Day 2 - “Why” Should Our Ideal Clients Choose to Work with Us?
“Why” Should Our Ideal Clients Choose to Work with Us?
Discover what unique problem(s) your ideal clients may face. In the first column, write out the problems they are facing in their business, and how it affects them personally.
Once you have the list of problems, consider how your business can solve or address each problem. In the second column write out your solution to each problem, and try to be as specific as possible.
After all, a strong brand communicates its unique value proposition.
This means your branding efforts will introduce your accounting business to new clients looking for these types of services.
And your business's unique value proposition tells your potential clients how your firm’s services will address their needs, and what makes your offer different from the competition.
For example, if your client is having trouble keeping staff current on the latest tax and accounting software, you can offer them the perfect solution.
In the third column fill in why your ideal clients should choose you over your competitors or any other option they may have.
Consider their options - do nothing, train existing staff to do it themselves, hire new staff to do it, hire a direct competitor, or pick an indirect competitor that offers a solution to their problem.
After you have completed this, review it and pick out the top 3 problems you solve, how you solve them, and what makes your solution unique.
At this point you have completed the foundation of your marketing strategy by:
- Creating a list of ideal accounting clients, and
- Preparing your unique value proposition for your firm
Let’s move on to day 3!
Day 3 - “How” Do I Reach My Ideal Client?
“How” Do I Reach My Ideal Client?
Your goal for today is to identify the best ways to reach your ideal target client.
Your ideal client profile, and common sense, should give you a lot of direction. Once you have built your ideal client personas use them to guide your choice of best platforms and media to reach your audience.
A few common systems for generating new leads, includes:
- Trade Shows
- Lead Funnels
- And more!
Which channel will you use to generate new leads; advertising, lead funnels, sales shows, etc.?
Decide how much of your marketing plan will be focused on digital. How much should be traditional? And how they can be used together.
For example, your ideal client will not be found on Instagram, if 90% of Instagram’s users are under the age of 35, and you’re looking for CFOs who are well established in their careers.
Consider seasonal trends, as well as any industry events, conferences or trade shows that you may want to participate in, attend, or sponsor.
Will you hold your own events? What about webinars?
Once you have a list of the different platforms and ways in which you can reach your ideal clients, begin to prioritize the list.
Focus on the ones that will actually help you to get into conversations with your target clients, and estimate the volume of leads you will generate from each marketing channel or integrated campaign.
If your goal is to generate qualified leads, how many qualified leads will indicate that this strategy is a success.
By tracking the performance of all marketing activities, you’ll know where to make changes, and where to stay the course.
TIP: If Most accounting, tax, and business advisory professionals will want to have at least 2 ways of reaching out to their ideal cients.
1) Referrals and 2) another more proactive method of reaching your ideal clients.
Day 4 - “Where” Will We Build Our Brand and Reputation?
“Where” Will We Build Our Brand and Reputation?
How will you build your firm’s brand, aka reputation?
One of the best ways to do this is to establish authority in your industry with “indirect marketing” activities that promote your brand.
Indirect marketing involves activities you do to promote your firm but that won’t always necessarily result directly in leads (as in #3).
A few common examples include:
- Speaking at Seminars, Webinars, Conferences, and Events
- Writing including Blog & Social Media Content
- Customer Reviews, Testimonials, and Case Studies
Although activities, such as, speaking engagements and developing content may not directly result in leads, they will help build your brand and establish your reputation!
Indirect marketing also helps you attract and showcase your services to the right clients, but if you don’t believe how effective social media can be, here are 2 huge reasons why it is!
- Getting to Tell Your Story. People who don’t know you or your business might find it intriguing to know how you build up your brand. Through activities like posting blog content, you can create brand awareness about how hard you worked to make your business a reality. Your clients will relate to your stories more personally, and this is exactly what you need as an entrepreneur in this digitally connected world.
- Growing an Audience on a Small Budget. With so many free advertising tools available today, you can use this opportunity to cost-effectively market your product. You can grow as a page on social media networks by simply being consistent and posting interesting and relatable content for your audience.
Today, take the time to:
- Decide whether you want to build your reputation by either Speaking or Writing. Pick the one that you are good at.
- Select which topics you want to speak or write. This should be done by looking at what customers are interested in. What common questions do they have that you can answer? Alternatively, what questions should they be asking about that they don’t?
- Create a plan for collecting customer reviews and testimonials at the end of each engagement. This should be a regular habit that you get into, and part of your regular practice.
Day 5 - “How” Will We Deepen Client Relationships?
“How” Will We Deepen Client Relationships?
Today you will focus on your clients.
After you’ve moved a prospect to a sale, how will you take care of that client post-purchase?
For new clients consider activities like:
- Adding them to CRM
- Connecting and/or following them on social media
- Building relationships
For existing clients consider activities like:
- Building relationships
- Re-engaging with clients that you have not contacted in some time
- Generating repeat purchases
- Measuring and improving client satisfaction
- Creating opportunities for cross-sells and upsells
- Asking for customer reviews (on Google, Yelp, etc.), and
- Generating referrals
Consider all of the activities that you need to do to deliver the above. You may want to consider a regular company newsletter to touch base with clients.
If you are looking for ways to connect and build relationships, consider holding holiday or seasonal events, or hosting clients at local sporting or arts events to show customer appreciation.
At the end of today you should have identified your plan for onboarding and deepening relationships with new clients, and how you will continue to build relationships with your existing clients.
You should be able to:
- Focus on your top clients, or the clients that you want to build.
- Engage at least once per month (or per week depending on the number of clients you have) in some type of client-building activity, e.g. hosting, sending gifts or thank you’s, etc. Rotate weekly or monthly between clients depending on how many you have.
- Keep in mind that this is not a sales activity. The client shouldn’t feel hesitant to engage with you out of fear that you will try to sell them something.
Rather it should be you showing appreciation to your client and getting to know them and their business better.
TIP: If It is very easy to get lost in just trying to generate new clients. It is as important - if not more so - to make sure you have a good system in place to service your existing clients, including keeping them satisfied, listening to their concerns, and ultimately generating postive referrals or additional services sales.
Day 6 - “When” Will I Reach Each Milestone?
“When” Will I Reach Each Milestone?
We are officially on day 6!
What do you need to work on to make your business plans a reality?
It’s important to prioritize your strategies and then lay them out over quarterly, monthly, and weekly periods.
Use a calendar or Gantt-style chart to include work assignments, milestones, deliverables, and responsibilities for executing.
More specifically, using a Gantt chart can help you easily see:
- The start date
- What the tasks are
- Which team member is responsible for each task
- When activities start and finish
- How long they should take
- How tasks group together, overlap and link with each other
- Dependencies, milestones and the critical path of your project
Figure out how you’re going to make the above happen. What specific action do you need to take? Make a list and prioritize each action item.
Then schedule time to perform each action item from Days 1 to 5 over the next quarterly, monthly, and weekly periods.
For example, if you need to redo your website, your first task can be to "Redesign Company Website". If you have a short deadline, you can make a note by adding dates and color coding each task per activity so you can always keep up with impending deadlines.
In your calendar you should also add in your objectives. E.g. If your goal is to add 20 additional clients this quarter, add that goal in, but also add in the supporting/leading indicators for that goal, e.g. you must meet with 50 potential clients, and send proposals to 30, etc.
Day 7 - “What” Resources Do We Need to Implement This Plan?
“What” Resources Do We Need to Implement This Plan?
Today you will work on the final pieces of your marketing plan - identifying the resources you need to implement your plan, including budget, MarTech, internal staff, skills, and external agencies.
MarTech is the term used for all the marketing tools and software that help marketers reach their goals. What tools and resources will you need to reach your goals?
Your MarTech should include new technologies, marketing assets, as well as all the vendors, agencies, and suppliers that you will hire to support or implement those technologies. Make sure your “tech stack” makes your communication and collaboration easier.
Rather than incorporating marketing technologies just for the sake of it, select and implement digital elements that connect team members and streamline processes.
“Instead of using technology to automate processes, think about using technology to enhance human interaction.”
Tony Zambito, lead authority in buyer personas
Next consider the skills and resources you will need. Do you need a digital marketer? Web designer? Graphic designer? Copywriter? List the skills you require, and then list the current resources you have. If there is a gap between the two, think about how you will close the gap. Your options are:
- Learn to do the work yourself (if you have the time and capacity)
- Hire individuals with the skills you need
- Train / develop individuals within your business so that they have the appropriate skills.
- Hire externally. This could be a marketing agency or freelancer.
Add your resources to your marketing plan to make sure you are able to deliver all of the activities that you have planned, and review your resource requirements to make sure that you can afford what is needed. Identify gaps and how you will fill those gaps.
Lastly, review your plan from start to finish. At this point you have the framework for a successful marketing plan.
Be sure your:
- Objectives are clear
- Target audience is prioritized
- Value proposition is defined
- Lead generation tactics are identified
- Reputation building plan is in place
And that you have a calendar and budget/resource plan that supports what you need.
Congratulations! You now have a workable marketing plan.
From this point onwards you can continue to iterate and make adjustments to your plan, but you should have a solid foundation that will guide your marketing activities over the coming year.
Not Sure How to Design Your Marketing Plan?
Not Sure How to Design Your Marketing Plan?
Fixyr designs marketing strategies that are perfectly suited for accounting, tax and advisory firms of all types. Whether you’re a national, regional, or local CPA firm, a boutique tax specialist, or a fractional CFO, we’ve got a solution for you.
If you have any questions about your marketing plan, we’d be happy to answer them for you.
Contact the Fixyr team today and speak with our results-oriented marketing experts.
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