This is a guest post from Anni Metz, founder of Ethica Collective.
When talking to prospective clients about the services I offer, I often notice that the words “digital marketing” can make them get a bit fidgety. I get it. Solopreneurs wear a lot of hats and are juggling dozens of tasks each day, and stopping to figure out the best way to market your business can be time consuming, stressful, and an exercise in patience.
What if I told you it doesn’t have to be this way? That in just a few hours, by sitting down, focusing, and putting pen to paper, you can DIY a quick, easy plan to find your ideal customer and effectively market your business online in the coming year?
Don’t believe me? Here are three steps to get you started.
01. Identify your ideal customer
First, take a moment to think about who you’d actually like to reach. You probably have thousands of followers on social media, but who are the people actually buying your product?
Jot down some demographic details, list a few important qualities about this person (Where is (s)he likely to live? What does she do with her free time? Where does she hang out on the internet?), and – just for fun – try to come up with one or two people you know IRL who fit this description.
When you’re feeling lost in your messaging, come back to this description and remind yourself who you’re supposed to be talking to.
02. Analyze your social media reach & web traffic
Take a look at your 2017 numbers. What’s working? What’s not? What do you want to work on in the coming year?
Make a note of what Instagram posts were most popular, which blog post(s) saw the most visitors (bonus points if they were still seeing heavy traffic months after they were originally posted!), and which Facebook posts drove the most traffic to your site.
Do you see any consistent themes? Make a note of what themes and tactics are working, and try to replicate that next year.
03. Map out your sales year (loosely)
You can do this month by month, quarter by quarter, or season by season, depending on how much your business fluctuates. When are things OMG-so-busy? When does business slow down enough that you can take a breath and do some biz maintenance tasks?
Put together a calendar so you can plan content in advance for the busy times, and schedule time to focus on planning and scheduling future content during the slower times. We want you to work proactively with the ebb and flow of your business, not reactively in the midst of the mayhem.
So get started!
I’ll admit: this process can be a little intense the first time you try it. That’s why I clear my schedule each October and November to coach my clients through it. But by answering a few key questions and analyzing the data from their past year, they manage to pinpoint who they would like to reach and how to tailor their messaging for that audience, what content is most effective (and what’s falling flat), and have a blueprint for content-creation to carry them through the year ahead. And you can, too.
What are you waiting for? Grab a thumbtack and go hang your marketing plan on your bulletin board!
Anni Metz is the founder of Ethica Collective, a creative consulting agency for ethical and sustainable businesses. She works collaboratively with her clients to help them craft their companies stories, reach new audiences, and grow their brands — including walking them through the process of building successful digital marketing plans each year. When she’s not working, you can find her watching Project Runway reruns, doing political advocacy work, or, more realistically, running after her one-year-old son at one of the parks in her Chicago neighborhood.