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Tom Clairmont

Helping you pivot through your small business journey.

The Marketing Plan-Essential Building Block #5-Laying a Strong Foundation to Your Business

What is modern marketing?

Marketing has gone through quite an evolution over the past 20 years or so. With so many businesses  transitioning to Internet based products and services, it’s forced businesses to rethink their approach and what’s actually effective for modern consumers.  

Marketing, in today’s terms is: Getting someone who has a need to go through the ‘know/like/trust/try/buy’ process. 

I like to think of it this way. Marketing is serving and sales is a relationship. 

With modern marketing, it’s become the norm nowadays to create products and services that start off with a free element for people to try first so that it converts the casual observer into an active participant of our business. It’s the beginning of the ‘know/like/trust/try’ process. 

After they get a taste of a sample of our product or service, if they think there was real value in what they experienced and that we’ve proven our expertise and not just regurgitated someone else’s methods or content, then they’ll move closer to the ‘buy’ part of the process. 

This is typically done with a low cost product to get them feeling comfortable purchasing something from us. Once they see that there was real value in what they’ve purchased, they’re more likely to repeat the process with something of more value than before.  

Now, they’ve become a ‘repeat’ buyer. Mission accomplished. 

Strategy Before Tactics  

All tactical decisions should be filtered through your strategy. 

Who is your target audience? Who is your ideal client? Once you determine those things, then work on the strategy to reach them. 

My target audience is someone over the age of 40, that’s been thinking about starting a business for awhile but because the business environment has changed so much over the years, they’re not quite sure how to put it all together. 

The content that I create always has that target audience in mind. Potential clients expect to search for and find large amounts of content nowadays. Quality content. So part of my strategy is to post the message of my content on my blog and podcast and to offer over a dozen E-books, some for free and some for a small fee. 

It’s no longer enough to create a website and think that people will come to them. We have to stand out. We have to have a message with a platform. I see too many small business owners struggling with getting clients and sales because they’re not being visible. Or heard. Or both. 

My podcast is being downloaded all around the world in over a dozen different countries. And I’m just getting started. 

You need to create a total web presence. Be the one stop shop for people to see you’re an expert in your field. 

• Professional website

• Have a ‘hub page’ where it’s a ‘all you need to get started’ resources page

• Blog with content about how you offer a solution to the problem your target audience is facing

• A platform where people can see and hear you beyond social media. Don’t have your own podcast? Be a guest on other people’s podcast. Some of my guests do just that. 

• Pick two or three social media platforms that you think your target audience is participating in, not just your favorite ones. 

For more in depth information on marketing strategy, read the book Duct Tape Marketing. They put it this way. ‘a marketing strategy is a clear explanation of how your’re going to get there, not where or what ‘there’ is… to become the market leader is not a strategy, it’s an objective.” 

Be Different 

Why did I include this as part of the marketing strategy? Because being different will help you to stand out among the crowd and to get noticed. Being different doesn’t mean being weird, but to merge your personality and expertise into a solution that solves a problem for people that can pay good money for it. 

Now the ‘pay good money for it’ part is important. You’re in business to not only make a profit but to be very profitable. Otherwise it’s either a hobby or a mission. 

If you see that your competition is doing quite well with sales, then be encouraged. It’s evidence that the need is there and they’ve done some of your research for you. 

You need to reach the same target audience by coming up with solutions from your perspective. 

So for example, take personal finance guy Dave Ramsey. He didn’t really invent anything new with the concept of getting out of debt. Plenty of other people before him had the same message. 

But he delivered that message with a little twist and a clearer explanation of the solution through his personality. He laid out a plan, originally sold it on a CD course to buy and then eventually went on the radio with his own show to answer people’s questions, for free. This gave him a very powerful platform to show his expertise which also generated more sales of the CD course.  

Now again, was Dave Ramsey the first to deliver this message? No. but his perspective was that he could do it better than others giving the same message and he had a strategy that revolved around helping people. 

The Ideal Client

So let’s talk a little about that ideal client I mentioned before. Doesn’t everybody fall into the category of an ideal client? Why should we deliberately narrow down the potential client list? 

Well, to sell to everybody means that you’re actually selling to nobody. It’s not as appealing when you sell to everyone. 

If you’re business is to offer tennis lessons, then you naturally focus on people that want to learn how to play tennis. Now, will you offer that to all ages and have an adult class mixed with kids? Or will you separate the adults from the kids? 

Or maybe take it a little further and just focus on adults because you might be more comfortable with just adults as clients and feel that you can either relate better to adults or that you want to make a lot of progress with the lessons and working with only adults would be the way to make that happen. 

Or… you’d like to charge more for the lessons and only adult lessons would be worth the higher price point? 

You see where I’m going with this? There are natural, valid reasons to niche down to a selective group of people. It actually makes your offer better and more appealing. If you offered tennis lessons and promoted it as ‘lessons to everyone, young and old’, wouldn’t it be better to promote them by saying something like  ’90 day Tennis Transformation’? 

See, with a more intense course for adults, you could charge more, have better results and I would imagine be more satisfying as well. And, the adults would be more likely to refer you to someone else and give you more business.  

Creating a plan

So now that we have a better understanding about modern marketing and how to niche down to an ideal client, what’s next? 

It’s time to create a plan. But let’s create a plan based on some facts and research not just your gut feeling or hope that it will all turn out ok. Let’s ask some questions:

• Is there a demand for your product or service? 

     o Another way of looking at this is: Will they want what I have and will they value what I do? 

• Will people pay good money for it? I’m talking about the main offer, not all products. I offer low cost E-books to help people but my main offer is the coaching services to help people tie it all together and give them clarity and focus, saving them a lot of time and money but also preventing some common mistakes people make when they don’t have that clarity. 

• Will you be a business owner or a business operator? Big difference between the two.

• What will be the sales path that your prospect could take? For example:

     o What will be your free or trial offer?

     o What’s your starter offer?

     o What’s your core offer? (this is the bigger price point product or service that will actually pay the bills) 

     o What are your add-ons to increase value?

     o Will you have a ‘members only’ offer? 

There’s a lot to think about and work through and I’m only touching on the basics here, but if you need a little help in tying this all together, I do have a couple of free tools for you on my resources page. Since the marketing plan is part of the overall business plan, you can download ‘How to Write a Highly Effective Business Plan Summary of the E-book as well as the worksheet that goes along with it. 

These tools will help you think through this and many other topics that are all part of the business plan. They’re yours for the taking. Print them, download them, pass it along to others. It’s all good to me. 

The more people that get help with these kind of tools the better as far as I’m concerned. 

Friends… stay encouraged, follow your dream and don’t give up!


For more tips and tools to help you on your small business journey, just go to the Resources page. There, you’ll find some FREE, helpful downloads that will help give you clarity and a strategy as you plan your new small business launch. 

If you’d like some help in determining your path to self employment, I’d be glad to assist. Send a little information through the quick contact form at the Contact page. 

“Success = Finding the best solution to a real problem.”

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