We know firsthand the overwhelm that can come with running your own business. When it comes to competing priorities the struggle is real. And you need to become a ninja on prioritisation. Which is likely a topic for another day. But, marketing…. Marketing can create its own kind of overwhelm because there are SO many options. You can very quickly go down a rabbit hole, wasting endless hours on something before you realise that it wasn’t even the right thing in the first place.
“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” ― Peter Drucker
The customer journey and marketing framework
Planning at a high level, holistically before you deep dive in, is the way to go and we have a simple to use framework to get you started. So block out an afternoon, grab some big sheets of paper or a whiteboard, grab a coffee and go, go, go. You can also do the work digitally using our Customer Journey and Marketing Plan Template. Although a lot of people prefer to get hands on, getting out the markers and Post-its, and then digitise once all the thinking is done.
Now, to get ready you need to map out 5 key customer stages, like a timeline, across:
- Awareness – how and where your customer might first come into contact with your brand
- Consideration – consider everything they do and want to know when they are weighing up your product or service against someone else’s
- Purchase – consider that purchase moment, what are the final thoughts and information they need to pop them over the line? How can you make it as frictionless as possible?
- Experience – consider the experience, how can you surprise and delight? How can you make them feel special?
- Loyalty – how are you going to nurture them so they not only buy more, but so they become an advocate and tell all their friends? How can you actively encourage word of mouth?
Focus in on your ideal customer
Before you start any marketing it is critical that you are clear about your brand – who you are talking to and what you are saying about yourself. We have written many articles that cover these topics in detail so be sure to explore our branding blog first if you can’t confidently answer those questions. And when we say you need to know who you are talking to, we mean getting really specific. Laser focus on your ideal customer, and having a vivid picture of their likes, dislikes, demographics, needs etc. If you are too general in your marketing approach it will not work, unless you have oodles of cash (and don’t mind wasting a lot of it). With that ideal customer firmly in mind you are ready to start.
What questions are they asking themselves?
The first layer you want to explore across those 5 key stages is the questions the customer is asking themselves throughout their journey. So put yourself in their shoes (which hopefully isn’t hard if you are the one usually fielding their questions) and write one question per Post-it, and generate as many as you can. This is such a valuable exercise which helps determine your marketing activity, but also your content strategy. Everything you do should be built from what your customer is wanting to know each step of the way. And remember, in the awareness stage they are just starting to learn about you, and potentially just realising they even have a need, so think broadly about the very early stage thoughts that lead people to need you, there will be gold here to inform your top of funnel activity.
What ideas do you have to answer those questions?
If you have come up with a lot of questions you might want to prioritise them into ‘have to answer’ and ‘nice to answer’. You can come back here for ideas anytime when you are short for an idea for a blog article or podcast, and even when you are looking to add a new product or service. With the ‘have to’ questions start mapping on the next layer ideas for addressing them. If they are asking how you are different, you might want to create content around your unique process, if they are wondering if you will get the results they need, you might want results-led case studies, if they are asking whether you are the right fit for them, you might want a ‘real stories’ series of videos of your ideal customer sharing their pain points and their journey. You get the gist.
In this planning session it’s good to keep the ideas flowing as much as you can, you can worry about constraints and culling them back later.
What are the touchpoints and channels to engage with your customer?
So now you know what your customer needs from you, and you have ideas to address those needs – now it’s time to decide the touchpoints and channels to use to reach them. Again, map out as many as you can. But once you get down to prioritisation here it’s definitely less is more. You need to choose only the number of activities you can do well, and with a consistent frequency. Once you have those humming along like clockwork in your business then you can come back to your completed Customer Journey and Marketing Plan and choose the next priorities for implementation.
Once you know the activities and channels you can map out a 12 month calendar and start dropping in what needs to happen when. Everything is going to feel a lot more achievable with that solid plan in place!
Jodie + Em xx