Does your company’s leadership share its business goals each year? If so, do they also share them in a way that you can quickly identify what service line you’re focusing on; who the target market for that growth would be; and how you plan to get there?
If so, then you are off to a great start at connecting the dots. If not, then you may need to start back at the beginning to ensure your marketing efforts are supporting the end goal.
Where to Begin
Begin with the first dot – business goals. Identify three to five business goals using the S.M.A.R.T. goal formula to ensure they are attainable and measurable. In some cases it may be firm growth in a service line, sector, industry vertical, niche, or geographic area.
Second, identify the people you plan to engage with to help you reach that goal. Who are they? How old are they? What level are they at within the business? Where are they located? Those are some of the questions you would ask to begin developing a buyer persona about the target market you want to focus your marketing efforts on.
Third, consider the type of assets your firm already has that may be leveraged for a marketing plan, such as images, blog content, tips, whitepapers, slide decks, interviews, video, and more. Make an inventory of all your assets to reduce the time to market you will need.
Fourth, determine how you plan to reach your target market by identifying the best communication channels based on age, gender, industry, technology, and interest.
Fifth, begin formulating the marketing plan based on your goals, target market, asset medium, communication platforms, and timeline.
Finally, measure the effort against the firm’s goal to determine how the marketing effort made an impact.
Connect the Dots
Now that you have the steps, it’s time to put the plan into action. Keep the firm’s current business goals in a place you can view them each day. Everything you should do will be tied to one of those goals. If it is not, then stop doing it. One effective way to do this is to keep each goal in a circle, like the one below.
When you begin a marketing effort, answer these questions:
- How does this effort support our business goal?
- Who will this effort target?
- What mediums should we use to draw in the target market?
- Where should the message(s) be posted?
- When do we post the information?
- What metrics will we use to determine success?
Step 1: Identify the Business Goals
Our hypothetical CPA firm’s goals are to:
- Increase manufacturing business clients with a net value of $5 million by 10 percent within the next 12 months.
- Increase our current client base’s online portal use by 50 percent within the next six months.
- Decrease the number of audit clients in the medical field by 5 percent over the next 18 months.
Step 2: Identify the Target Market
I’ll use the manufacturing goal through the rest of the example.
We are looking for manufacturing business owners in the mid west United States area with a business net value of $5 million or more. Business owners are predominantly male, between the ages of 40 – 60. They have between 50 – 100 employees locally. Their personal interests lie in sports and family. Their preferred method of communication is email and video.
Step 3: Our Assets
We already have several slide decks we can quickly turn into videos. Plus, we have email responses to questions past clients have asked that can be made into tip sheets, blog topics, and how tos.
Step 4: Best Communication Channels
After doing some research, we’ve determined for this age group and gender, our best communication methods would be events, email, and video.
Step 5: The Plan
Craft a series of emails (one or two per month), featuring a single piece of our content, to be distributed to our target market. Make sure we’ve asked them complete a task, e.g., watch a video, download a tip sheet, register for a webinar, etc. Use landing pages with forms to capture first name, last name, email address, phone number, and company name.
Post content on their social media channels of choice, in this case, YouTube. Tag the content with the appropriate hashtags, e.g., #ManufacturingTips #ManufacturingNews. Then share the information on our secondary channels, like LinkedIn and Twitter.
Step 6: Measurement
Review the website analytics to determine how many people have consumed the video content, clicked the email links, downloaded the tip sheets, etc. Share the completed form information with the sales team to follow up and invite people to learn more, attend events, and to schedule a consultation.
Now that you know the dots, what steps will you take to connect them?
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