Crafting a Comprehensive Marketing Strategy (for any stage of business)
Marketing, lead generation, and sales are some of the most daunting aspects of business for many coaches and resume writers. It just so happens that these are three of my favorite areas of business, so I’m excited to break down this amorphous blob into a simple, approachable plan that’s easy to execute and stick to (because consistency is key in marketing and lead generation).
Use the following as a field guide of sorts, as it outlines my unique three-tiered approach to marketing based on your business stage, growth, and long-term goals. Whether you’re just starting out, looking to establish consistency, or aiming to build a long-term brand, I’ve got you covered.
Tier 1: Short-term launch activities that build initial momentum
Getting noticed is one of the most challenging and critical aspects of your first few months in business. The activities you’ll engage with at this stage are intended to get you out and about quickly, which will help you build early awareness and hone your pitch.
Don’t hop, skip, and jump over this tier if you’re already established in business. These strategies are also beneficial when you’re launching new products, services, or programs and want to spread the word quickly and personally.
→ Get up close and personal with FRANK (Friends, Relatives, Acquaintances, Neighbors, Kids), as well as their extended networks. Word of mouth within your existing circles can yield quick referrals.
→ Embrace in-person networking Events: Attend local business events, meetups, and networking groups to meet other entrepreneurs that will spread the word about you. MeetUp.com is a great resource!
→ Learn to love LinkedIn: There is no single better marketing channel to showcase your services, exhibit your expertise, and engage with potential clients. Regular posting and profile openness can help you establish a strong online presence.
→ Paid advertising: Pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns on Google, Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest can work, but I’ll offer two words of caution: don’t lose your shirt. Keep budgets modest at first until you validate the spend and make sure you have a proven sales process to convert leads effectively.
Tier 2: Medium-term consistency activities for steady lead generation
In the 6- 12 months following the launch of your business or new program, you’ll move on to longer term marketing tactics that will start to build leads and client inquiries. This doesn’t mean you’ll give up Tier 1 entirely, but you’ll begin to shift your priorities to bring some of these channels into the fold.
→Directory list serves: Platforms like Thumbtack, Angi, and industry-specific directories can help potential clients find you online while you’re waiting for your website SEO to strengthen. This also gets you into new circles!
→ List-building content and freebies: How much do you love free stuff? Well, give it out! When you offer resources such as e-books, quizzes, or checklists in exchange for email subscriptions, you’ll build a highly engaged mailing list that you can market into. Yes, email marketing still rocks!
→ Referral partnerships: Sorry for the ego-hit, but you’re not an expert in everything, so collaborate with coaches, businesses, or individuals with opposing niches, so you can refer work back and forth.
→ Virtual workshops and webinars: Hotsting online events not only positions you as an expert but also offers opportunities to engage with potential clients. LinkedIn lives could be a cool way to build on that Tier 1 marketing tactic.
Tier 3: Long-term brand building to establish thought leadership
Once you’ve nailed steps 1 and 2, you’ll likely find your lead generation is consistently, largely organic (instead of paid), and you know exactly what channels to leverage to turn up the inquiries. When you hit that point, it’s time to start thinking about the long-haul and positioning yourself as a leader in your industry.
Many of these options take resources (time and/or money), which is why they come in at a later stage. That said, knowing you may want to roll out some of these initiatives in the future helps you build a road map that will support it when the time comes.
→ Influencer status: Consider hosting a podcast, appearing on others’ podcasts, guest blogging, or creating online courses to contribute to your brand’s authority and reach.
→ Speaking engagements: Conferences, webinars, and seminars are a great way to share your expertise in front of a live audience and elevate your profile.
→ Authorship: Write a book or e-book on career-related topics to enhance your credibility (and build another revenue stream)!
→ Digital course: Online products and digital deliveries are a great way to showcase expertise, create passive income, and impact more people than you can 1:1. These types of products can be the cornerstone of your brand, but they require a solid established reach in order to successfully launch.
This by no means is an exhaustive list of all the ways you can create visibility at various stages in business, so I hope you’ll take it as inspiration to explore other ideas.
The takeaway I hope you got from all of this is to implement a combination of short-term launch, medium-term consistency, and long-term brand-building activities for a well-rounded marketing plan that supports sustainable, predictable revenue.
Remember to adapt your strategies based on feedback, performance metrics, and industry trends to ensure continued growth and success, and have fun with it! This is the fun, creative side of business!