Why You Need a Marketing Plan As a Solopreneur

Most solopreneurs, creators, creatives, and freelancers have no clue about marketing - let's change that!

This piece initially appeared on the Bye, Social Media! website. I republished it here.

Why You Need a Marketing Plan

Let’s start this with a bold statement: most solopreneurs, creators, creatives, and freelancers have no clue about marketing whatsoever.

And how would you know? Unless you have a degree in business or marketing, worked in those fields, or have a friend who does, how would you?

When you start your business out of a passion or necessity, you just very likely don’t have any marketing expertise on hand.

‘Doing’ Marketing is Hard

Marketing is something that should feel innately easy, no? You make or do cool things and then the world shows up at your doorstep. Not true.

Marketing can be simple, but executing it isn’t always easy. And unless marketing is something you’re innately talented at (looking at a certain Ms. Swift here), you need and can learn how to do it.

Which brings us back to the marketing plan.

Before we dive into that, let’s look at all the things that aren’t a marketing plan:

  • I’ll just post on Instagram and see what happens

  • Maybe I’ll go viral on TikTok with THIS video

  • Well, my cousin’s brother’s girlfriend’s hairdresser made a ton of money from an ad he put on Facebook, maybe I should try that, too.

  • The ✨Secret Instagram Hack Marketing Magic Formula✨ course you buy from a coach on Instagram (where else? ;))

What Is a Marketing Plan?

A marketing plan is something you set up in advance and that answers the following questions:

  1. Who is your customer?

  2. What do they need and how can you solve that for them?

  3. Where can you find them?

  4. How can you bring them into your world?

  5. How and when do you pitch them what you do, once they’re in your world?

  6. Bonus question: What happens after you sell to them?

The marketing plan you create answering these questions becomes your roadmap for business building and outreach.

This is a typical example for marketing’s trickery. Sounds simple, might not be 100% easy to do. Knowing your customer sounds trivial, for example, but isn’t always the case. Who are those people, really?

Repeat, Track, and OMA

A marketing plan also means that there’s an element of repetition and tracking to what you do. It doesn’t mean sending out an email once every blue moon and then complaining about why nobody buys from you.

Instead, you OMA:

  1. Observe (your customers and their behavior)

  2. Measure (clicks, engagement, open rates), and

  3. Ask (your audience or buyers, for example)

If you think about OMA, you can see that there’s a system and pattern to this. It’s more than just doing and hoping for the best.

Make a Map For Your Marketing

A marketing strategy is like your map for marketing. It tells you which actions you’ll take repeatedly and at which frequency to get and keep things going. It also helps you understand how you’re doing by measuring the impact of your actions.

None of this has to be super technical or overly complicated. You can write a marketing plan on one page and be good with it - as long as it answers the questions above!

Bring a Method to the Madness!

What matters is that you move out of spaghetti-meet-wall-mode and shift into a mental frame where you’re starting to make controlled experiments.

If you can answer the questions above and do O-M-A, you’re a step ahead. You’ll have a frame to see what’s working and what doesn’t. Based on that, you can tweak things or decide what to keep or stop doing.

Don’t Buy a Course On Instagram Before You Do This!

A secret Instagram mega engagement formula magic course will usually not teach you this, which is why that type of marketing input is unsustainable and a waste of your money in most cases.

Only when you’re clear on why you want to use a certain platform or channel (SEO, newsletter, blog, socials, podcast, etc.) does it make sense to invest in upskilling in Instagram, etc.

Get Started on Making Your Marketing Plan

If you’ve never made a marketing plan before,

  • Start by answering the six questions in the text.

  • Ask yourself where these points of connections with your customers and audience are, for example on a podcast, etc.

  • Make sure that you choose a manageable amount for these points of connection. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself thinking you need to run a blog, newsletter, social media, and have a podcast. One done well can be enough.

And lastly, remember that marketing is about people. How would you want to be treated and spoken to? Let that inform how you speak to others.

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