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  • Writer's pictureGeorgina

Building your 2021 marketing plan - step five: Channel strategies

Updated: May 3

As we enter the final months of 2020, it is time to start planning for 2021. Over the next several weeks, I’m going to be taking you step-by-step through building a marketing plan. Feel free to check out the full list of steps we'll be taking at the bottom of this blog.

Now we're getting to the fun bit! At least, I find it fun. To me, working out marketing strategies and campaigns is like solving a puzzle. We have all the pieces: the brand strategy, the audience personas, the business and marketing goals, the current context - and now we have to fit everything together. The puzzle picture at the end is your marketing strategy.

At this point, I’m going to recap the work I’ve already done laying out my business and marketing goals so you can see the follow-through.

Business goal: Increase revenue from new clients

Business strategy: Target potential clients directly

Marketing goal: Attract inbound leads through raising awareness of my company among prospective clients

Marketing strategies:

I will attract inbound leads by:

  1. Having a strong online and offline presence for potential clients who are searching for services I offer

  2. Engaging with relevant networks and becoming known to their members (who are my target audience)

  3. Building up an engaged community of potential clients

  4. Creating useful content that potential clients can find and share among themselves

I know what I want to do with my marketing, so how do I know if I want to use Facebook vs Instagram? At this point, you have lots of information that will inform which channels you use.

I find it most helpful to start with the audience personas. Thinking about who you’re talking to will help you find them. It might be really clear where your audience is, particularly online, but if it isn’t, use the research you’ve already done into your context and maybe some more into the specific channels you’re thinking about to determine if they’re right for you.

In my case, I’m looking at my Small Business Sally persona and thinking about how I’m going to carry out the marketing strategies.

  1. Search Engine Optimization (ie how easy it is for people to find me online) and a strong website is important to me so that Small Business Sally finds me when she’s looking and so that she likes what she finds.

  2. I want to interact with professional networks in the Golden/Lakewood/Wheatridge/Arvada area to become known to their small business members. Networks like the Golden Chamber of Commerce, or the South Jeffco Business Association have a lot of small business owners as members and many are established businesswomen in their 40s and 50s, like Sally. I should make joining and engaging with these kinds of networks a priority.

  3. I want to build up an engaged community of potential clients to who I can add value so that when they need my services, they know about me. How can I do that?

    1. I can write a monthly e-newsletter so that potential clients get to know me and hear from me on a regular basis. Sally is on her desktop computer a lot and tends to operate mainly through email.

    2. I can start a Facebook page to create a community of people interested in marketing and share tips and advice – adding value. I know Facebook is a solid channel to reach Sally because it has a wide demographic reach and increasingly skews older - it is no longer the social media platform of choice for teenagers. Sally is likely to have a Facebook account and engages with local groups and businesses on it.

    3. I can start blogging to create useful, shareable content that potential clients can return to again and again. Sally wants information quickly available online. She wants to be able to find it easily and then skim it for the details that she needs. She doesn't have time to wade through things that are irrelevant to find the good stuff. And also because writing comes easily to me and I enjoy it.

Once you’ve teased out your ideas, it can be helpful to group what you’re doing by channel so that you can create campaigns and put in more specific detail. However, always taking the time to think about it in the context of your overall strategy rather than jumping straight to – “what am I going to put on Facebook”, ensures that you understand what you’re trying to achieve with each channel.

Facebook strategy

  • I will create a company Facebook page and share useful and educational content around small business marketing on a daily/every other day basis, aiming to reach as many small businesses on the platform as possible

  • I will share my blogs and use Facebook as a platform to drive traffic to my website

  • I will use Facebook adverts to target small business owners and drive traffic to my website

Blog strategy

  • I will regularly produce blogs on marketing for small businesses, giving useful advice on different areas of small business marketing

  • I will ensure that my blogs employ good SEO tactics, to help boost my website’s presence and help small businesses find me online

  • I will share the blogs through all the channels I can, to reach as many prospects as possible

Earlier in the year I wrote a whole blog about blog strategies. Check it out for more detail.

Search Engine Optimization strategy

  • I will ensure that the backend of my website is optimized for SEO, so it’s easily found and crawled by Google

  • I will use SEO best practices on all the content on my website, so it is found online, and I build organic traffic to my website

  • I will create company profiles on online directories like Google My Business and keep them up to date to help my SEO

  • Keep SEO in mind with my social media efforts

What content should I put in my marketing?

The great thing about building it out in this logical way is that half the time the content you want to put up becomes obvious. If you want to be educational then advice articles, tips, “how to” columns, and things like that are helpful. And it’s really here that your context research is a sense-check on what you want to put up.


To help you navigate round this series, here is the full list of blogs.

  1. Remind yourself why – Remind yourself why you’re in this game and what you're trying to do – this is at the heart of everything

  2. Who are you talking to? – Creating your audience personas/customer avatars is part of the foundational work of any business plan, but as your customers change over time, they need to be revisited and updated regularly to make sure that they’re still relevant.

  3. Set your business goals – Marketing is pointless if it doesn’t help you move your business forward so we need to establish what you want to achieve

  4. Aligning your marketing goals and overall strategy – How to set up solid marketing goals and strategies

  5. Reviewing your context - How to look at the trends going on around you so that you don't approach marketing in a tone-deaf way

  6. Channel strategies – Now we get into the fun bit of working out which marketing channels are best for you

  7. Creating content - You now know who you're talking to and how you're going to reach them, but what are you going to say to them?

  8. Managing through measurement – How do you know it’s working if you’re not measuring? We’ll look at how to set helpful metrics that help keep you on track, without bogging you down in admin

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