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Very few creatives go into their field with a solid business or marketing plan. Most creatives ‘fall into’ their profession from dabbling in a skill as a passion or a side project that eventually organically evolves.
If this is you, well done on making a career out of your passion! But if you’ve got the ability to generate a higher income by charging more, attracting more clients, automating some of your processes or monetising elements of your business, why wouldn’t you?
Don’t be put off thinking you need a complex 10-page document outlining every little detail and strategy. Nobody’s got time for that. I like to keep it simple, so instead let me introduce you to the 1-Page Marketing Plan.
The one page marketing plan
It’s exactly what it sounds like - a clear understanding of what you’re offering, to who, and how you’ll get it in front of them, summarised on one page. This means you can stick it on your wall or somewhere prominent and easily remind yourself with a glance what you should be focused on.
Who it’s for
In short, anyone selling a service or product. For those of you who work under your own name, make no mistake - you are a business. If you’re not already thinking this way, this is a fundamental shift in mindset you need to make first.
If you work for someone else, this is still relevant to you too. Your employer sees value in you that they’re willing to pay for, and having a plan around how to maximise this value can be hugely beneficial for your career.
Let’s dive in with an example of one for a completely made up business running art workshops for kids:
Above: An example one page marketing plan. Download a free template PDF
As you can see, it’s made up of 10 simple boxes for you to fill out:
This is about what you’re selling in the simplest form. Keep it short and sharp, with only a few words maximum.
Who’s actually paying for your product or service? This might be different to who your product or service is for. In the example above, the service is for kids, but the audience is actually their parents because they’re the ones paying.
If you can pinpoint the deeper reasons why your audience is seeking out your product or services, you’re onto a winner. This will help you write benefit-focused copy that speaks directly to the problem they have.
What is it that makes you and/or your business truly different? What sets you or your product apart? You might have a significant amount of experience in your field, or your product is handcrafted locally. Whatever makes your product or service special, put it here.
I’m not talking about Instagram influencers here, although they could factor in. Consider who might influence your buyer’s decision. In the example, teachers and the kids participating in the workshops would be strong influencers on whether their parents enrol them or not.
Think of it this way: if you were chatting to someone while ordering a coffee, what’s the one thing you’d want them to walk away knowing about what you offer? Keep this short and sweet - our human brains simply can’t retain too much information so if it’s long-winded, people don’t remember anything at all.
Write down every free channel you can think of that you could reach your audience or their influencers through - both online and offline. Now go back and highlight the ‘quick wins’ that are likely to have the biggest impact.
This is the same as the free channels box except, you guessed it, paid. This will often refer to advertising, but it could also be things like competitions (because giving away product costs you money) or paid partnerships and collaborations. Be specific here - instead of ‘Instagram’ you might write ‘a collaborative competition with brands X and Y on Instagram’. Come up with as many ideas as you can, then highlight the channels likely to have the biggest impact.
Time is money, so consider both the financial and time implications of focusing on the free and paid channels you’ve listed. Consider whether this is something you can truly commit to.
How are you going to measure whether all this time, effort and potentially money has paid off? By writing a SMART goal in here of course! This could be anything from a particular number of bookings, sales, a specific return on investment (ROI) or adding people to your email list.
Whatever makes sense for you, write a maximum of three here and make sure they’re specific and timebound. I recommend not looking more than three months into the future to keep you focused
I strongly recommend reviewing this at least once every few months to keep you focused on one thing at a time. For example, your goal initially might be to increase subscribers on your email list, and the rest of the page is also focused on this. Then the following month might focus on converting a percentage of these subscribers into customers or clients.
Most of all, this is designed to be completely flexible so I encourage you to download the empty template and find what works for you.
Courtney Goes is a Melbourne-based digital marketing and brand consultant with experience across a range of industries in Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Since leaving the corporate world in 2016, she’s been on a mission to help women make smarter marketing decisions to elevate their businesses and personal brands through simple, effective strategies. Working mostly with creatives, freelancers, and female-owned startups and small businesses, she provides clarity, structure and accountability to get real, tangible results. She has also launched Marketing Emporium, a resource hub designed to provide simple and straightforward marketing advice. Contact her at courtneygoes.com.