A while back, I wrote a blog on creating a strategic business plan as a way for the freelancer to help him/herself go forth and get established as a going concern. However, in the last month or so it’s become clear to me that I needed a marketing plan. There are several of them out there, and quite frankly I just looked up “marketing plan template” in my search engine. The model I chose came from Forbes (it’s here if you want to use it yourself).
Here are the primary differences between a business plan and a marketing plan:
- A business plan is for helping you identify what your business does, who your customers are, and how you fit within the marketplace.
- A marketing plan is for helping you identify how you’ll make your business known in the marketplace so that your self-selected customers can find you.
Creating a marketing plan is a great exercise for helping you identify the specific, concrete steps you need to take to advance the marketing activities you need to do to get your message “out there.”
However, using the Forbes model as a example, a marketing plan has seemed insufficient. Somewhere in your business plan and marketing plan, you need to know what you’re going to say about your services when reaching out to your customers. In the Forbes marketing plan, Section 3 is titled Unique Selling Proposition. That’s as good a place as any to answer some of the following questions:
- What are your unique value propositions?
- Why should customers in your specific market want to hire you?
- How do you talk about your products/services?
- What language will you use in your various marketing outlets (web, business cards, brochures) to fascinate your audience?
The trick is to avoid a ready-fire-aim methodology where you start developing marketing materials, elevator pitches, and contact lists without first asking, “Wait, what do I plan to say?” you’d be surprised how often it happens. Take the time to know your answers.