In this week’s business development clinic, we look in detail at the question of ‘what is a marketing plan’, and more importantly what do you need to include in your marketing plan.

What is a marketing plan?

You will probably be advised to build a marketing plan when you get serious about building your own client following. However, most lawyers, accountants and consultants are not marketing or selling experts – which is why the first question to be answered by most professionals is: What is a marketing plan? A marketing plan is often defined as: A marketing plan is a written document that details the necessary actions to achieve one or more marketing objectives.

What do I need in my marketing plan?

Your marketing plan will initially be focused on helping you find and win your own clients. The million dollar question here, is: How are you going to find and win your own clients? Let’s break that down a little, by answering these questions:

  • describe the right type of client for you?
  • how will you differentiate your technical expertise from other people in your firm?
  • why would these ‘right type of clients’ want to work with you?

There are plenty of worksheets contained in our membership library (free to download and join) which will help you answer these questions. (email required) Click here to sign up for the worksheets.  Then you need to think operationally and tactically. What will you actually do to:

  • get in front of these clients
  • demonstrate your technical expertise and credibility
  • show that your understand their needs
  • keep in touch with clients who are not ready yet to buy

guide to content planning copy 200pxFor example, you could decide to use content, e.g. PR, blogging, articles written and placed in on-line and off-line publications, to get in front of the right people. (Click here to download a free content planning guide, email required) guide to building personal networking strategy 200pxOr you could decide to use your network to generate referrals. (Click here to download a free guide to help you write your personal networking strategy, email required) Or a mixture of both, and other marketing methods. What you want to end up in your marketing plan is a number of objectives, which if all aggregated will mean you grow your client portfolio at the rate your require. For example, one of my marketing objectives is to secure at least one piece of PR in the trade or national press each month. (I then use this piece of PR to send to the key influencers in my network) guide to creating a marketing plan copy 200pxTo download our free guide to writing your marketing plan, which will take you step-by-step through the process to build your marketing plan, click here. 

Plan, measure and monitor

At this stage you may get slightly over-whelmed by the options available to you in your marketing plan. To help you think through your thoughts it may be helpful to know that: 80+% of most professionals generate all their new business via referral. Whether this is existing clients wanting more, existing clients recommending you to others, or recommendations coming from your network. Whatever you decide to do, the key here is to:

  1. plan your activity
  2. identify how you know your activity is working
  3. measure and monitor how well your marketing activity is achieving it’s objectives
  4. tweak and experiment to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your marketing activity

To download our free guide to writing your marketing plan, which will take you step-by-step through the process to build your marketing plan, click here.

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