Marketing is what you do, each and every single day, to promote you, your business, and your brand. Even if you don’t have an actual marketing strategy planned out, you’re still marketing.
It might not be strategic or methodically planned, but all of this is marketing.
That said, strategizing and implementing a full, detailed marketing plan, and being proactive rather than reactive, is a much better way of doing things. Why?
A marketing plan generates better, more measurable results, every time. It allows you to set goals, and measure whether you’re able to meet them (or not).
A marketing plan details how you’ll achieve your goals, including your campaigns, your content, your platforms, and any software you’ll be using along the way.
So if you’re just randomly doing things and don’t have an actual marketing plan in place, here’s how to get started planning and implementing one:
Step 1: Define Your Focus
Do you have a mission statement for your business and brand? If not, you need one.
Your mission statement puts you on a direct path for success, and it can help you make decisions about your marketing goals.
You don’t even have to call it a “mission statement,” as it can be a “brand promise,” your “guiding direction,” your “commitment to clients,” anything. It’s basically your tagline, your elevator pitch, or your value proposition.
For example, at Artifakt Digital we have a few on hand:
Our Short Mission Statement: Driven by Strategy, Inspired by Great Design, Motivated by Results.
Our Long Mission Statement: We deliver comprehensive, modern, and well-thought-out strategies and services that push industry standards and help agents dominate their competition.
Our Team Mission Statement: We aim to make every day an enjoyable work experience, where each and every team member is encouraged, heard, and given the chance to do meaningful work that makes a real difference.
As you can see, having a collection of mission statements isn’t an issue. It’s basically a handful of clear, thought-out ways that we position our brand and define our focus.
It also allows us to see, quite clearly, if the decisions we’re making are in-line with what we want to accomplish as a business (and as a team).
In fact, everything we do needs to align with our mission. It should for you, too.
As a real estate agent, maybe you don’t need three, but you certainly need to have a clear message that outlines your values, your goals, and how you define success.
That way, you can keep your focus front and center.
Step 2: Set Some Measurable Goals
To measure the success of your marketing plan, you need to outline some of your goals.
What do you want to accomplish? How do you define the success of your marketing strategy? What would make a measurable difference to your business?
It’s key to set both long-term and short-term goals that are actually measurable.
For example, don’t say: I want to get more leads.
Rather, I want to increase the number of leads I get this year from 75 to 150. Or, I want to close 25% more deals this year than I did last year.
Measurable goals give you actual markers to hit and enable you to look midway through to see if you’re on track to hit them.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) help you measure the specific elements within your marketing campaigns. While there are many ways to measure them, one of the best ways is through your digital strategy.
For example, if one of your goals is to build more traffic to your website, your KPIs could revolve around your page views or visitors over time.
If one of your goals is to build your Instagram presence, your KPIs could revolve around your follower growth over time.
★ TIP: It’s often a good idea to set a range of goals that are bit easier to hit early on, and then more difficult ones later on. Hitting those easier goals early will help to keep you motivated.
Now that you have your goals set, how are you going to hit them?
This is where the real work of your marketing strategy comes in.
Step 3: How Will You Achieve Your Goals?
Your marketing strategy tells you what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. It should be an actionable guideline that outlines your entire strategy.
Consider this: let’s say that your Marketing Manager leaves your team. Once you have someone new in place, they should be able to flip through your strategy and immediately get a sense of the goals you’re looking to achieve (and how you’re seeking to achieve them).
It’s as simple as that, so let’s outline how that strategy might look. If we take a top-down approach, we’d likely see a marketing plan breakdown that looks a little something like this:
- Your Target Audience
- Marketing Channels
- Content Pathways/Funnels
- Lead Capture & End Points
First, you need to identify who it is that you’re trying to reach. This will typically be dictated by your goals. Whether it’s move-up buyers, first-timers, down-sizers, or anything in between, drill down who you want to target to make your goals a reality.
Then, depending on who you’re seeking to target, you need to define your channels. These are the places where you’ll push your marketing efforts to reach your target audience. There may be many, but there shouldn’t be so many that you lose focus.
Not every agent needs to be on every channel. If your target audience isn’t using Instagram, or if your audience on Facebook interacts at a low level, then you should likely refocus your efforts.
These first two steps are more structural. They help set the table for your marketing plan. Next, we need to think in terms of creation and execution to reach out goals.
Step 4: Build Your Marketing Plan and Your Marketing Campaigns
What’s the difference between a plan and a campaign? Your plan is what you’re working on right now. It’s a living, breathing outline of your goals and your efforts.
A campaign, on the other hand, is what comes out of your marketing plan. They are the smaller, more strategic efforts that make up your plan.
So, when we talk about content pathways, funnels, lead capture, and conversions, these are typically the work of campaigns, but your marketing plan will set the tone for how to achieve them.
It’s as simple as this: how do you intend on taking a potential lead from “Point A” to “Point Z”? Don’t think about your catchy headlines or copy just yet, but the real, nitty-gritty, step-by-step process of getting them to convert.
Based both on your target audience and how you intend to reach them, will they go from an ad directly to a landing page? Will they go to your homepage, then a content page, then a place to convert? Do you even have a page for them to go to?
It’s great if you have an idea. In fact, it might be the best marketing idea ever devised by humankind. That said, if you don’t have the vehicle to translate that idea into action, you don’t have much.
That’s why every marketing plan begins with understanding your audience and how you’ll access them, but it ends by understanding what you’ll want them to do and how they would ideally convert.
Step 5: Review, Revise, Rework
You might not love hearing this, but your marketing plan is never going to be finished.
It’s the truth. Your plan is a living, breathing, evolving document that will never be the same from one year to another (maybe not even one quarter to another).
That’s the beauty of it, though. It’s not set in stone, it can change, and it should change.
You have the opportunity to revise who you’re targeting, how you’re targeting them, and what you’re getting them to do when the time comes.
I can’t stress this enough. Your marketing plan is a guideline – it sets the stage for success, how you define it, and how you track it. While coming up with marketing ideas might sound like more fun, they won’t get the job done if you have no idea what you want them to do.
So, starting to write your marketing plan is as simple as this (and it’s exactly what we covered today). Ask yourself the following:
- What does your business stand for and promise clients?
- How do your goals line up with that focus?
- Ideally, who are your targeting and how?
- What will you have them do or how will they interact with you?
- How will changes in the market, or in your team, affect this plan?
Your marketing plan is essential. It adds clarity, focus, and meaning to what you’re doing (and how you’re tracking it). It also helps add clarity for the rest of your team and is the hallmark of just about any successful business.