You want to grow your company, project or following but don’t know where to start?  Whether you’re a new or existing business, figuring out who is your ideal customer (the people for whom your product or service meets their needs and they are willing and able to pay for) is critical.  You can determine how by asking questions to develop your target market. Or if you have customers already, looking at who is most profitable and asking them questions to serve them better (and determine how to find out more like them).

In writing a marketing plan, consider the following:

  • Who are the customer (or potential customers) who can benefit from your product or service?  When I promoted an animal welfare conference, I determined there were four major customer segments.  The customer segments included leadership of rescue and animal control facilities.  Both had specific challenges, worldviews, goals, and limitations while needing to work together if they were planning to save more shelter pets lives.  In a different role, working for a technology retailer, I was told who our target market was.  Pulling the data of the existing top customers provided a different story.
  • How do they get their information?  The different segments spent some time consuming some of the same animal welfare blogs and publications.  In other cases, they belonged to very different associations with different worldviews.  We needed to get the information to both segments and tailor the information each of their challenges.
  • What customer problems does our product solve?  To get (and more importantly, keep) customers, we need to help solve their problem.  How does our product or service help them achieve their goals?  What does success look like for them?
  • How do we measure success?  What goals and metrics will be put in place to ensure our success?

In starting this process, you’ll determine a plan starting with your target market(s).  From there, you’ll derive a strategy, which includes an outline of what channels you’ll want to use, the investment you’ll want to put into marketing and goals and metrics to determine success.  Finally, you’ll want to breakdown the strategy into tactics including marketing calendars, measurements, and the actual posts, ads, etc.

Once you have the strategy to acquire prospects, you’ll want to formulate a plan to move them through the pipeline.  Depending on whether your product is a significant purchase or minor one, will likely determine the amount of the time spent in the different parts of the funnel.