By Kevin Oldham, Diffactory

Marketing can be overwhelming and confusing. These two feelings can disappear by having a simple roadmap that increases your confidence and sales. The Remarkable Marketing Roadmap will help you to reflect the business you’ve built, attract and keep ideal customers, increase your sales, and simplify your marketing. Here are five key elements for developing your business’ marketing roadmap.

1. Elevator Pitch

When someone asks you what you do for a living, this is a marketing opportunity like no other. It is you and another person breaking down the walls that surround all of us. Make sure you use this opportunity to leave a lasting impression that isn’t boring or confusing.

Use the power of storytelling to get them to say, “that’s interesting; please tell me more.” In every brand story there is the following plot line:

“¢ A character (aka hero of the story). This is your customer.
“¢ The problem
“¢ The hero meets a guide (This is your product/service/
“¢ Who gives them a plan
“¢ That results in success

Here’s an example elevator pitch utilizing that plot line: “LexLaunch helps entrepreneurs form their LLC in 90 seconds so they can focus on launching their businesses.”

“¢ Character: New business owner
“¢ Problem: There is a lot to do when you start a new company and legal stuff is confusing
“¢ Guide: LexLaunch – an online legal solution
“¢ Plan: Form the legal part of the business in 90 seconds
“¢ Success: The new business owner can work on more important things such as sales, manufacturing, service delivery, hiring, etc.

2. Crystal Clear Lead Converting Website

Some of the most effective websites are the ones with the fewest words and links. I want you to think about the business purpose of your website. Why does it exist?

Here are some common business reasons to have a website:
“¢ Reinforce what the sales team says (this is popular in B2B)
“¢ Sell products online (this is popular for e-commerce)
“¢ Generate exclusive leads
“¢ Provide proof that other customers have experienced success with the company
“¢ Reduce friction in managing customer relationships
“¢ Build authority and establish expertise

Now here are some things you can do to drive results and clarify your message on your website:
Offer: Have an offer above the fold.
Call to Action: Create clear calls to action such as “buy now,” “schedule a consult” or “get a quote.”
Success: Portray your customer (the hero of their story) experiencing success. You can do this through photos of customers winning the day because they hired your company to solve their problem.
Use fewer words: Remove all corporate or industry jargon. Anyone should be able to look at your site for six seconds and be able to tell what you offer and what they should do to learn more.

3. A Way to Collect Leads

Let’s say a prospect visits your website, but they aren’t ready to do what you want them to do (buy your stuff, schedule a consultation, etc.). Since you were successful in getting them to your website, start building a relationship with them until they are ready to buy.

Create a valuable information piece for “lead generation.” If you aren’t doing it today, you are missing out. When potential clients visit your website, they can enter their e-mail address and boom… get something that is of interest to them. An e-mail address, provided by someone in your target audience, is a high quality lead.

What valuable thing can you give away in exchange for their contact information? Some favorite freebies you may consider:
“¢ A helpful PDF
“¢ A short video course
“¢ A contest
“¢ Software trials
“¢ Free samples
“¢ Coupons

4. Automated E-mail Campaigns

Once you have e-mail addresses, you need to do something with them. Sign up for a lightweight e-mail marketing program such as MailChimp. Once you have the software selected it is time to write a series of e-mails. I suggest 3-4 short and helpful e-mails, then one e-mail that serves up an offer for your e-mail list recipients. Writing e-mails can seem overwhelming if you aren’t accustomed to it. This is why you always begin an e-mail campaign with the result in mind.

If I owned a landscaping company, here’s what I would send to my e-mail list so I can start booking contracts for fall and next year. Assume I’m sending my campaign during the hot Lee’s Summit months of July and August:

E-mail 1: What time of day should I water my grass and how much?
E-mail 2: The optimal lawn length to thrive this summer
E-mail 3: Why some people put holes in their yard? (this would be about aerating)
*E-mail 4: More time with your family

*E-mail 4 is the offer e-mail where you share your company’s problem solvers with the recipient. Since you talked about mowing and aerating, offer a special for pre-booking aeration or mowing services next year. Then go back into a sequence of 3-4 value-packed e-mails plus one offer.

5. Build a System for Increasing Customer Retention

So many companies focus on earning sales, and they fall short on retention. Research from Harvard Business Review tells us that retaining as little as 5 percent more of your customers results in a 25-95 percent boost in profit. Why not create a system that makes sure your existing customers are happy?

This element is one of the more time consuming and challenging strategies to put in place. Here’s the summary for consideration on how you can do this in your business. After the sale, outline the journey you want your customers to go on. This will vary based on the type of business you operate.

1. Determine how your company will add value to their journey.
2. Apply automation to as much of the journey as possible. You can use your e-mail platform to send regular e-mails that help your customers and remind them they are important.
3. For anything that is done manually, such as handwriting
thank you notes, have a system in place, so these things happen every time.
4. Survey your customers and ask for reviews and referrals. We use a platform called Rocket Referrals to automate this part of our business.