When you run your own business, it’s important to get the word out about your offerings. In the simplest sense, that’s called marketing. The word marketing, however, is often enough to send a tiny business owner running for the hills, especially when it’s paired with the word plan.

Three markers

Marketing. Plan.

It’s OK to breathe now.

A marketing plan is simply an outline of the things you’re going to do to let prospective clients know you’re available to work with them. Creating a marketing plan can be relatively painless. No matter how simple or elaborate your marketing plan is, there are three things that are must-haves. With these three elements in place, you’ll be well on your way to having a steady stream of clients knocking at your door.

The three elements are …

Have One Solid Marketing Strategy

You likely have one marketing strategy that you love, which works well and connects with your ideal clients. The key is that you really enjoy it (you don’t get points for making marketing hard!), and that it reaches those you’d most like to work with. Whether it’s speaking to local entrepreneurial groups, writing blog posts, making sales calls, meeting with referrals, hosting events in your living room, or another marketing strategy, if you love it, and your potential clients can relate to it, you’re ahead in the marketing game.

Be Consistent in Your Tone

Prospective clients need to know who you are and what you’re about. Being consistent in your tone, and how you present yourself, makes a huge difference in establishing your credibility. This means the tone you use in your writing and presentations, the look and feel of the tagline on your business card, your picture and messaging across social media, and how you introduce yourself. Creating consistency allows people to recognize you, which helps build the know-like-trust factor — and that’s good for business.

Know Who You’re Trying to Reach

There’s nothing more frustrating than working diligently to get the word out about your services only to realize you’re talking to the wrong people. While it’s helpful to know who your ideal client is, if you’re not sure yet, it’s OK to start with a broad definition and refine the description as you gather more information. The more you’re able to be specific about who you’d like to work with, the more you can tailor your marketing to reach them, and the more effective your efforts will be.

While you may hear other self-employed folks talking about marketing plans, the truth is many people don’t have a solid plan like this that they regularly follow. With a tiny bit of time and reflection, and perhaps a great cup of coffee or tea, you can pull these three elements together. Make these the foundation of your marketing plan, and you’re well on the road to all the clients you’ll ever need!

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