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7 Steps to Get your Marketing Right

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Planning & Productivity

7 Steps to Get your Marketing Right

When you're starting a new business venture or are looking at a full reboot, there's an optimal order to set things up.

Of course, there’s no one-size-fits all - but thinking and planning ahead can save you having to retrace your footsteps or getting stuck.

This article will help you avoid mistakes by planning your project’s initial setup efficiently.

Note: in some cases, you already have an audience (an email list, a client list, followers on social media) before starting this. This gives you a huge advantage - but it doesn't mean you can't get started without.

When we apply this system, we apply it to 3 types of businesses: 

  1. Our client has products and/or services, but hasn't been very successful at marketing it (yet) 
  2. Our client has an audience, and is looking at ways to monetise their following
  3. Our client has a thriving business (either offline, or offering 1:1 services) and looking to take it online and scale it

In many cases, though, that same order will apply. After reading the below, if you're not sure how this applies to you, please do get in touch and we'll schedule a call to talk about your strategy.

Here are the 7 steps to setting up your project:

Step 1: Define your Customer Persona

Also known as Avatar, Ideal Client Avatar, ICA or many other names, we cannot stress enough how crucial it is to know who your ideal client, customer, follower or reader will be. Knowing this makes it so much easier to create a platform, to create marketing assets, to create content and to create a product that they will love.

Most online businesses that fail, fail because they skipped this step.

Or because they went at it half-heartedly - "my ideal client is a business owner", "our ideal customer is women in the US of A". Those descriptions ain't gonna cut it.

Defining who your IDEAL client or customer is, doesn't mean your brand would no longer be attractive to all other people you could sell to; however it means your brand will be extra attractive to those people you want to help most or first.

When you know exactly who your avatar is, you’ll be able to do some market research and conduct avatar interviews. This way, you’ll know exactly what your people want, what they need, and what language you could use to sell it to them.  

Avatar interviews are where you get in touch with people who potentially would be the ideal client for your business. They’re the ideal customer, they would be potential buyers, they would be first adapters for your product or the people that would most be helped by your course, etc.

Market research is not a one-off thing though - you’ll want to keep interviewing people throughout your business’ lifespan, and you might find yourself adjusting things - tweaking your target audience, your product ideas and more.

Step 2: Decide on Branding

Foundational Copy

At SmartAlpaca, we like to work with what we call "Brand Scripts".

They're the copy that will not just set the direction for the steps to come, keep you and your team grounded and clear on priorities, but these also provide great copy for social media or even inspiration for videos, podcasts, or articles later on.

At SmartAlpaca, we use the Storybrand framework to get to the bottom of your business' messaging so we can write down

  1. Your brand's vision & mission
  2. A one-liner or elevator pitch (or if you have multiple products, we might create several - one for each product, + a general one)
  3. Your brand's main script, to be used in "about" copy, in lead magnets etc
  4. Problem-Solution scripts for each of your ideal persona's problems (that you could solve) or for their objections to working with or buying from you
  5. A content wireframe for your homepage
  6. The roadmap for your brand: this can be a 5-year plan, your full business strategy, an outline of your multiple sales funnels, or just goals for the year - or a combination of different projections.

Brand Voice & Tone

In this stage, we make the tough decisions on your brand's overall voice: is swearing ok on your platform? American, British or Australian English? Will you refer to yourself as “I” or “we”? What words should reflect how you talk to your audience (formal, witty, casual, sarcastic,...)? What exact words will you use to help your audience understand you, trust you and love you? Will you be using certain catchphrases or taglines? 

Drafting the foundational scripts first not only sets the direction, but also provides everyone you work with from this point onwards an idea of your brand's voice, mission, overall strategy and more.

Visual Branding

If you're on a budget and are doing this yourself, this is the time to get into colour psychology, research colours used in your industry, create mood boards and have fun with Coolors. Although you won't be able to produce the same level of work as an actual branding expert (and create visuals that resonate with your people instantly!), at least you'll be able to show up with consistent and coherent visuals.

If you're working with us, this is where we will do all the above for you, and present you with options when it comes to colours, fonts, and imagery to use.

When the hard decisions have been made, we create a "brand pack" which includes everything from your mission statement and brand scripts to visual branding guidelines.

Step 3: Get your Processes Figured Out

You've got an overall strategy.

You've got branding guidelines.

So now, it's time for you to get real.

This might mean

  • Picking a domain name (if you don't have that already)
  • Setting up an email address - or multiple addresses for your team.
  • Signing up for an email service provider
  • Creating an outline for the course you'd like to launch
  • Creating a marketing plan (much more in-depth than a general marketing strategy)

Basically, get a clear overview of everything you'll need.

Step 4: Set Up your Sales Funnel(s)

It's no use promoting your brand on social if it's not going anywhere.

You'll want to have the automations in place to at least build your email list - and ideally, take your subscribers on a journey that ends in a sale.

This means

  • Coming up with a REASON for people to subscribe to your email list. You can offer them a free PDF download (something they really need and want and would gladly give you their email address for), insider access to something, an email course or series they want,... but these days, no one subscribes just because your website happens to have a "subscribe" button.
  • Creating the signup process in your email service provider
  • Writing at least one email to introduce yourself (and deliver whatever you promised) 

Ideally (and with time), the email automations would go further: 

  • Segment your list: split them into sub-lists so your subscribers get the emails they're really interested in
  • Add them to a nurture sequence so your subscribers can get to know you, like you and trust you
  • Write an email sequence that takes them on a journey from completely cold lead, to seriously considering to work with you or buy from you...
  • And don't forget to actually sell to them! Add calls to action where relevant, send out emails when you've got something awesome to offer.

Step 5: Build your Website

We're not saying you need a super-fancy 20-page website.

But we ARE saying you need a website.

In many cases, we recommend a 5-page website to get started with: 

  • Homepage
  • About page
  • Contact page
  • Privacy policy
  • Terms & conditions

You can expand on this later: add a landing page for your newsletter, pages for individual products or services, add a blog, add a shop, add lots of fun and fancy stuff.

But don't let the lack of fun and fancy stuff stop you from building your website right away. It doesn't need to cost the world; we recommend building a simple SquareSpace website to start with. In most case, we share our Storybranded template website, apply the client's branding and put in foundational copy, link it to the client's sales funnels and we're good to go - for now.

If you're ready for a real and full website though, we will build our clients' websites using either WordPress or Webflow - depending on your business type and technical requirements. Find a couple of examples in our portfolio.

Step 6: Create or Optimise your Social Platforms

When it comes to social media, my recommendation is always to start with just one platform - grow your audience there, and don’t start putting your time into a second platform until the first is running on automatic (more or less).

However, as you’re starting a new venture, it could be smart to create an account now on all major social media platforms.

  • It ensures you can use the same username or vanity URL on all platforms
  • If you get tagged by someone else on a platform you don’t actually use, people will be able to find the way to your website and/or other social media platforms
  • In some cases, you could use a scheduler to get content out to several platforms at once - extra exposure without the extra work; or you could auto-post updates on the accounts you’re not really using, just to keep them active.

I recommend creating an account with the same username on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

For every account, upload (the same) profile picture and cover picture (banner); copy-paste in a blurb about you, your business or your project - and don’t forget a link to your website.

Step 7: Get Marketing

For the next step, we’re going to get to work - enough with setting up accounts, time to implement the marketing plan.

This is where we start creating content and putting it out there - so we can grow and scale your brand.

We will be writing more information on how each step works exactly.

In the meantime, if you want our expert advice or just an extra mind to brainstorm with, don’t hesitate to schedule a call so we can discuss your project!

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