The World’s Simplest Marketing Plan

Note: Selling Sucks! Marketing is Sexy!

A client once told me she was a “marketing idiot.” What she really needed, she said, was the “world’s simplest marketing plan.” So I set out to create one for her. Here’s what it looked like:

1. Make a list of everyone you know.
2. Tell those people about your business.
3. Ask if they’d like to find out more about it.
4. Tell the interested people more and create advocates to refer you.
5. When you get to the end of the list, contact everyone again.

6. With anyone who fits your client profile, ask if they’d like to work with you.
7. With anyone who doesn’t fit, tell them what the profile is, and ask if they know anyone who fits.
8. Add any new people to your list and repeat steps 2-4.
9. When you get to the end of the list, contact everyone again. Update them on your latest work or provide them with useful information.
10. With anyone who fits your client profile, ask if they are ready to work with you yet.
11. With anyone who doesn’t fit, remind them what the profile is, and ask if they know anyone ELSE who knows people that fit.
12. Add any new people to your list and repeat steps 2-8.

We never got any further than step 12 in her plan, because by the time she got there, several things had happened:

• With a plan in front of her, she knew what to do, so she set aside time for it, and took action.
• Because she was taking consistent action, she was also following up with her contacts on a regular basis.
• By telling another person about her plan (me, in this case), she created accountability for herself.
• Because she was setting aside marketing time regularly, following up with contacts consistently, and reinforcing her commitments with outside accountability, she began to produce results. Enough results in the form of new clients that we never needed to continue her plan to step 13.

If you’re skeptical that a marketing plan as simple as this one might work for you, consider the following:

• You may be able to add to the list of “everyone you know” from more sources than you think.
Consider all your former co-workers, people you went to school with, members of your professional associations, people in your social media networks, neighbors near your office and/or home, members of clubs and activity groups you belong to, and your personal friends and relatives.
• As your list grows, you can refine it by eliminating people who are neither appropriate prospects nor likely referral sources. Just don’t do this too soon, as some of your contacts may surprise you with their interest.
• Telling people about your business and asking them questions can take many different forms. You can call them, email them, write them a letter, send them a postcard, or interact with them on social media.
• Updating contacts about your latest work or providing them with useful information can take many different forms also. You can call them, email them a note, mail them a newsletter or postcard, email them an ezine (if they’ve agreed to subscribe), share a social media update with them, or let them know about an article, case study, blog post, podcast, video, or event.

As you can see, a simple marketing plan can become quite sophisticated, especially over time. You can begin with phone calls and emails to your inner circle, then both expand your list to include more people, and expand your range of tools for contacting and updating them.

Why not give this simple marketing plan a try? Adapt it to the size of your list and the tools you already have. Make sure you follow all the steps faithfully. For example, don’t leave out the step where you “ask if they’d like to work with you.”

Be sure also to set aside time to work your plan, and create some accountability for yourself. Share your plan with a friend, colleague, coach, or action group, success team, support group, or mastermind group.

As you have time, resources, and the need, add new tools for contacting and updating your contacts, such as a newsletter, blog, podcasts, videos, events, or social media channels. Just don’t let the time and effort it takes to create those tools detract from faithfully working your plan with the tools you already have.

You may just find, like my client did, that this simple marketing plan is the only one you’ll ever need.

Good Hunting!

Mark James
Hire Consulting Services
San Diego, CA
760-230-4301
www.HireConsultant.com

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