A struggle many marketers encounter when promoting their business is something we like to call “Random Acts of Marketing”. Random Acts of Marketing are when you send infrequent emails, post inconsistent messages to social media, or allow your website to have outdated content.
In essence, Random Acts of Marketing occurs when your marketing efforts are disorganized. This type of marketing is inefficient and often ineffective because it is hard for your audience to connect with a core message. Because the messaging appears disorganized it is hard for your audience to understand why they should care, so eventually they just tune you out.
We have discussed how developing a marketing strategy will help you develop a plan of action so your efforts are planned out and therefore more effective. An essential part of developing a marketing strategy is determining how you are going to communicate your message to your target audience.
This means developing a marketing content plan. A marketing content plan organizes your messaging efforts so that you know what content to develop and when you should publish it.
With a plan in place, you will be able to communicate a clear, concise, and consistent message to your audience which they can easily understand. Over time you will find this will make it much easier to convert potential customers to paying ones.
Let’s look at what questions you need to ask and answer in order to create a marketing content plan.
Who’s This Content For?
This first thing you must remember is who you are developing the content for. This means defining your target audience. You must understand who you are creating marketing content for so that you can better speak to their needs (more on this in a moment). It can be easy to lose focus on who you are creating content for so we recommend creating a customer persona or avatar.
A customer avatar allows you to picture who your ideal customer is so you can act as if you are creating content for that specific customer. Done correctly, your avatar will properly represent a good portion of your audience so that will make your content much more effective.
If you need help developing a customer avatar you can conduct surveys, speak directly to current customers, or speak to your front line employees.
What Problem Are We Solving?
Once you know who you are addressing with your marketing content, you must then determine what problem you are solving for them. After all, the first thing you ever ask your audience to pay is attention, or rather time.
You must provide something of value in exchange for their time. Very few things are as valuable as someone or something that can solve a major pain point that you are experiencing. So before you begin developing your content make sure you first understand your audience and then what problems will you be addressing with your content.
What Makes Us Unique?
We believe this is where it can get really fun. Unless you are inventing something totally new, chances are that you are in a competitive industry. This means that you have to find ways to make your content stand out from your competitors. Some might say that the entire purpose of marketing is to make your business stand out.
The best way to stand out is to highlight what it is about your business that makes you unique. It could be:
- Most experience in town
- Most awards over the last few years
- A special process or method known only to you
- Some inherent quality that only applies to your business
You have to stop and think about what makes your business unique and how you can use that in promoting your business. The key here is to make sure that whatever you chose to highlight as being unique has value to your audience. If you cannot easily describe that value, then your audience most likely will not see it.
What Marketing Channels Will We Publish On?
Now it is time to start thinking tactically. Where does your audience get their information from? Is it television, social media, email, something else? This is important to know because you must share your content on the marketing channels where your target audience is most likely to see it and engage with it. Otherwise, what is the point?
This may take a little trial and error to determine what marketing channels are the best ones to use. Let’s say you see that your audience gets their info from newspapers, email, and Facebook. You may try to share content on all those channels, but over time you see that email and newspapers seem to be the most effective. Feel free to cut Facebook out. Your goal should be to promote your business as effectively and efficiently as possible.
What Content Formats Do We Focus On?
After determining what marketing channels to use, you must decide what formats you will develop and publish content in. This is important because you will want to be able to plan and organize your content creation efforts.
Sticking with the example above, if you are going to create print ads for newspapers, then you want to focus on short messaging with attractive messages that will get your audience’s attention and encourage them to take action. If you are going to use Facebook, then you want a mixture of short messages, pre-recorded videos, live videos, enticing images, etc.
The key is to understand the channels that your audience gets their information from so you know which forms of content perform best.
Bonus – What Is Our Plan For Implementation?
Quick bonus item. Once you answer the above questions, take a moment to plan how you will actually create the content. This is where we see a lot of businesses struggle. However you decide you are going to communicate with your audience (video, written, imagery), you must give yourself time to develop a process to develop and publish the content.
Take some time to outline a plan for implementation. Organize your resources and set aside time every week or two weeks to create content. Over time, you will have a plan that works for you and your business.
Random Acts of Marketing hurt your marketing efforts because you are not giving your target audience something to connect with. They are unable to understand what you do and how you can help them. With a content marketing plan, you will be able to craft and deliver a message that can better attract your ideal customers and more importantly encourage them to take action. The above questions will help you lay a strong foundation for your plan.