A lot of our clients find us because they feel like they have some sort of gap in marketing that they’re hoping to get some help with. Whether they are looking to hire a marketing person, assess their existing marketing program, or for ongoing consulting services, everyone needs a plan they can execute on.
Do you have a gap in the marketing arm of your org chart? You may be asking about when you should hire a marketing coordinator, whether you should evaluate your team to see if someone has the skills to take on some of the marketing work you have, or whether you should outsource certain marketing activities to experts who specialize in it.
Are you frustrated with your current marketing agency for not providing you with enough leads? You may need to evaluate arrangement with them, realign around your company goals and focus your efforts around a new strategy. Maybe you are looking for leads, but your marketing agency is working on something else, like keyword rankings. Establish a common goal or metric to work toward.
Do you have the marketing agency and marketing people on your staff, but it feels disjointed?
You may need to take a step back and develop a cohesive plan to get all the pieces working in conjunction to move the needle.
While there may not be definitive answers to any of the above questions, the one thing that will help you find clarity and guide your decision making is a plan.
Why do you need a plan?
A plan is important for three specific reasons.
Getting your team on the same page
A plan is important for the alignment of your teams — both external and internal. Whether you are the sole marketer in your organization, you have a large team or you are working with external vendors, having a plan means that you know you are properly delegating, utilizing everyone’s skills appropriately and you aren’t doubling up on any work.
Knowing how to fill the gaps
When you know that you think you need to hire someone, it’s best to have a plan for what this person will be expected to do. It’s possible in the creation of an overarching plan that this role changes quite a bit from what you initially thought. Having a plan first means that you know where your true gaps are and have a general idea of what this person should be doing. You can then take this to a recruiter or team analyzer to determine the best way to fill the gap — hiring or reassigning someone.
Knowing what you’re working toward
In the creation of an overarching revenue growth plan, you’ll define specific company goals and highlight the areas to optimize to achieve those goals. Having this roadmap and being aligned around these goals gives everyone — not just your marketing team — a trajectory and common vision to work toward. This is crucial before making any decisions, whether hiring, reassigning anyone or outsourcing work.
Before answering the question of whether you should hire a marketing person, it’s important to have a plan to guide your decision making.
Our clients often ask how they can create or write content that their buyers actually want to read. In truth, you can spend a lot of time reading articles on how to craft the perfect headline, how to structure your content or how to write so that busy people can get the gist without being completely focused. I won’t be diving into any of that in this blog because I think there is something even more important than anything I just mentioned, and that is around the subject matter itself.
How can you write content that your buyers want to read? How can you make people read your content?
It’s simple. Write content that addresses questions they already have.
When we meet with our clients to consult and help them launch a content creation process, we start by thinking about the outcomes our prospects and clients hope to achieve and what the common questions that these people are asking. We’ve written about the outcomes before, so let’s focus on the common questions.
The best rule of writing content that people will actually read is to place yourself in their shoes.
Think about what they are experiencing.
What led them to browse the web? Make a search on Google? What led them to your social channels? To your blog? To your company?
Chances are that they had a question around a specific topic, they wanted that question answered, and they went out and found someone who had the answer.
These buyers know they have a problem or some unanswered question and they need an expert to solve it for them or answer it. If this is something that you can help this person with, wouldn’t it be nice if they arrived at your website and not your competitors website? Once your blog is filled with answers to a lot of typical questions that your ideal client has, your visitors will find an engaging experience on your website that will be more likely to generate trust faster.
To be found in search engines for specific questions your buyers have, you need to produce great content that answers that question.
Knowing that you need to write content around your buyers’, prospects’ and clients’ questions, you may be asking yourself how to get started.
How do you know what people are asking?
Spending some time brainstorming as a team — with sales, marketing, and operations working together, you’ll realize that there are a lot of questions that are frequently asked. Maybe your sales reps are being asked the same questions when they initially engage with a new prospect. Or maybe your account managers are getting the same comments in their quarterly reviews. Or maybe your marketing team is finding a common thread in the testimonials and reviews they get.
This is a great starting point for gathering questions. Compile a long list, see what overlap there is and where you should prioritize your efforts! Once you organize these questions, you can determine the best format for delivering the content — from social media copy to emails for sales sequences and from blog content to the slide deck for your QBRs.
Good luck in your writing!