Failure to plan, is planning to fail

“You need a plan to make marketing work”. That’s not what you want to hear I know, but stick with me. I know you want me to say “you can just skip the plan and get lots of new customers with a few Ads”. Well if it was that easy then frankly, I’d be out of a job, so it’s time to face the reality that you need a plan to make marketing work. In this article, I’ll explain what you need to plan for to make marketing work?

A shortcut path next to a curved path

The Shortcut looks so appealing

Lots of business owners say they don’t have time for all that marketing stuff they want to jump ahead and get people to BUY NOW. They want to shortcut the marketing process and take people from stranger to sale. 

The big Ads platforms and ‘get results quick’ agencies will sell you the shortcut and assure you that spending money on ads is the best way to get more sales. They have spent a lot of money making the shortcut look very appealing.

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The split in the path

So while Ads can get you a lot of traffic, clicks and views they can’t magically bring you ‘customers’ and that is a key difference. If you have an impulse purchase product, for less than £50, then clicks and a great landing page will work well with Ads. But if you have a consideration purchase then you need more than those few seconds attention that an Ad click will get you.

If you’re at the split in the path considering buying Ads to get more sales, and making a plan to nurture new customers, then you need to ask yourself the uncomfortable question; “why aren’t more people buying my product or service?” 

If you’re converting every customer already, then you need to increase your prices and that will solve your problem. If you don’t have enough people to sell too, then using Ads to bring more people to a product or service that people aren’t buying doesn’t make sense. More people isn’t the answer. 

You need a product or service that’s selling well, for a good price, before you throw more customers at it. The reality that many business owners don’t want to face is people aren’t buying your product or service because you’re selling the wrong thing.

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Asking the right questions

If people aren’t buying what your selling then let’s look at this from a new angle, from the customers perspective. With your ideal customer in mind ask these 3 questions:

  1. How does it benefit them, is it clear what’s in it for them? Can they clearly tell what happens after they buy your product or service and what the outcome for them will be?
  2. Is it easy to buy? Is it clear how to buy and what happens once they become a customer? Have you got something for those who are not ready to buy, who still have questions? (eg. a brochure or video)
  3. Are you making the sale too early? Are you proposing on the first date? People need to know, like and trust you before they will consider your offer. So are you keeping your marketing messages clear and focused on the customer benefits and outcomes?
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Make a plan

To get more sales you need to nurture more people into customers. We can do this by making a simple plan and working through it, getting each stage working before moving on to the next. It’s tempting to rush ahead but you need to invest your time now to see the benefits later. 

Using the 3 questions above make a list of things you need to get sorted. Start with the offer, what do you need to do to make it clearer and easier to buy. What do you need to offer to those who still have questions? Implementing this should increase your sales, if it doesn’t, it’s still not right, go around again. 

Then look at how you’re talking about your product or service on social media, blogs, videos etc. is it too much too soon? Are you talking about the outcomes and benefits or the features and how great you are at doing what you do? Make sure you focus on what the customer gets and what the outcome for them is. Planning out more considered content that is customer-focused should get you more leads/traffic/clicks and if it doesn’t then again it’s not right yet so keep at it.

Once you have this plan working you can use Ads to make it go faster. Saving Ads until it’s working on its own will save you a lot of money!

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Which way to turn?

The shortcut looks so inviting, the promise of lots of clicks and more traffic is very appealing I know. If you invest in making and following a plan it will keep working over and over without needing continual spending on Ads. 

If you take the shortcut you might get more people to come but will they like what you’re selling enough to buy it without consideration? You’ll have to pay a LOT of people to come to your site to find out.

simple string line vs muddled string line

Clear and easy wins the race

If people aren’t buying it’s most likely because it’s not clear what you’re selling or how it benefits the customer. You can bring more people to this offer but they’re unlikely to buy, so make a plan to fix the offer, the buying process and how you talk about the offer and that will bring you more people who are want to buy what you’re selling.

We have a free small business marketing guide that has more detail on each of these steps and how to implement them for your business. You can download it here. Follow or subscribe for email updates below and get articles like this direct to your inbox.