Personal marketing plans are the perfect go-to resource if you’re looking to be ahead of the game in your career.
Helping with this article is CEO of Bright Ideas Only, Kim Kaupe. She was previously named as Forbes 30 Under 30 and is the perfect person for a personal marketing plan!
Personal Marketing Plan (Definition)
A personal marketing plan, or PMP, is a document that communicates ideas and goals related to a job search, marketing strategy, or new career path. A personal marketing plan is a future-oriented document that highlights your personality, professionalism, and what makes you or your brand stand out.
Brand (n.) – A concept that helps people identify a company, product, or individual.
Why Are Personal Marketing Plans Important?
Among a few key reasons why personal marketing plans should top your to-do list is that they showcase your skills, pump up your productivity, and help you get organized.
Let’s take a look, starting with…
Personal Marketing Plans Showcase Your Skills
Instead of having a plain old portfolio like everyone else, personal marketing plans are like the Rolex of portfolios.
They show that you’ve not only gathered all your resources in one place and know yourself but also that you’re highly diligent and have done your research.
So, if you show your PMP to other professionals, businesses, and potential clients, they’ll get to know your successes and unique work style that much better.
Personal marketing plans are like an elevator pitch – but in paper form.
Personal Marketing Plans Pump Up Productivity
A marketing plan keeps productivity flowing like a river because it contains step-by-step instructions about how you’re going to achieve and execute your career and professional goals.
No more “I’ll just wing it” plans—PMPs are detailed and give confidence just by creating them, since you’ll have your own step-by-step plan.
And who doesn’t like a well-structured plan?
Science proves that they work. A 2016 study revealed that having a functional system increases productivity.
Systems like planners or project management software help by ensuring consistency, which, in turn, makes your efforts repeatable to obtain the same or even greater level of productivity in the future.
In other words personal marketing plans are like having your own J.A.R.V.I.S. to keep you on track.
Personal Marketing Plans Keep You Organized
As we can relate, organization is key to having a well-oiled business. You can think of marketing plans as seeds—they make the products and profits grow!
Without a PMP, how do you know which factors drive your business or personal growth? And more importantly, how are you going to showcase that to others?
With a personal plan, all the stresses dissolve, leaving the seeds you planted to take root.
6 Easy Tips for Making a Personal Marketing Plan
Now, you may be wondering… What goes into creating a personal marketing plan?
In short, you need a brand identity, a summary of your values, target audience, industry, experience, and relevant skills.
Here’s how to do that.
Develop A Personality
Think of Red Bull, Tesla, and Harley Davidson, and you’re going to find people who either love the brand or hate it with a passion.
Because these brands have a strong personality – and they’ve amassed fans who love them for that.
Using a brand strategy plan, you too can create the characteristics of your own professional personality that make people love you or hate you (it’s a part of business!).
A brand strategy plan outlines three major factors:
- Heart: Purpose, vision, values
- Message: Personality/tagline
- Identity: logo/colors
Try this fun brand strategy exercise called “The Comparison Game.” Ask yourself, “If your brand was an animal, which would it be?”
You might think of your business as a tiger, for example. Tigers are courageous, bold, and smart.
Now, you probably don’t want to go proclaiming your business is like a tiger, but let’s break it down:
- Take the main characteristics of what makes your chosen animal so special. If it’s a tiger, they may be bold and courageous. Or if it’s a raven, it might be clever and knowledgeable. This is your heart factor that covers your purpose and/or values!
- Use these traits to envision how your brand would look if it had these characteristics. This is your message factor and the personality of your brand. You can even add a snazzy tagline that includes animal elements (see mine below).
- Finally, you’ll want to get the design aspect down as part of your identity. What logo and colors does your personal brand represent? Can you tie it in with your chosen animal to get the message across? Take a look at Science of People’s front page for an example on how we use colors to our advantage!
In the end, you’ll have a personal message that goes something like this:
“My purpose is to spread courage in the world. My motto is ‘Be brave and roar.’” (with yellow/black colors throughout the plan)
Now write down your own personal message! Once you have your personality in check, the next steps become much easier.
Let’s move on to…
Identify Your Target Market
Once you’ve got your personality down, it’s time to cater towards your target market.
And you might be wondering what the difference is between a market and audience.
The target market is the whole group that you’re attempting to persuade, while the target audience is a particular type of individual from the market.
Imagine this… your goal is to be the best shirt salesperson out there, and you’re selling blue shirts through the phone and on the computer.
Your target market would be “online clothes shoppers,” while your target audience would be “individuals searching for blue shirts.”
In other words, your market is a broad, general category or group, and your audience is the actual customer or individual you’re targeting.
Markets are simply used to define your customer (aka how you’re going to make money).
Yours can be singular or multiple markets.
Target markets can be based on several factors including:
- Location. Are you primarily targeting audiences in London or America? Typically, your location is the same location you’re located in. For our blue shirt example, lets say we are primarily targeting US-based online shoppers.
- Distribution channels. Even if you’re based in one location, you can be online or set up shop in a brick-and-mortar store. In our example, we might be distributing through Amazon.
- Type of product. What are you actually trying to sell or provide? Is it a physical product or a service? Informational, educational, or entertainment?
If you’re stuck trying to find your target market, here are a couple techniques you can try:
- The Network Effect. Of course, asking your friends and close ones might be the way to go! But better yet, actually having them buy your product or service is an even better bet. After all, your friends and family might not want to hurt your feelings, or they might be just a little biased… Like those American Idol contestants whose friends say they’re “amazing.”
- Survey it Up! The next technique is to ask people on the internet! You can do this by going to Amazon Mechanical Turk or SurveyMonkey and creating a survey for others to take. This does require some money up-front though, so you’ve got to have a good idea of what you’re going to ask.
For a list of questions to ask, check out these questions by Alexa:
- How likely are you to recommend our brand to a friend?
- How long have you been a customer?
- What problem does [product/service] solve for you?
- How does the [product/service] fit into your daily workflow?
- How well does [product/service] meet your needs?
- What do you wish the [product/service] had that it currently does not?
- What do you like [most/least] about [product/service]?
- What made you choose us over a competitor?
- How would you rate your last experience with us?
Find (or Create) Your Niche
A niche is a focused area within a broader market.
If it helps you visualize, imagine the market could be broad like “meat” while a niche of that market would be “vegan meat.”
Carving out a niche in the larger market, according to Business and Branding expert Dr. Charlene Walters, “differentiates your business from the competition and allows you to excel in your sector.”
And it makes sense – if you were looking for a blue shirt yourself, would you look in the general store or shop at a store that sells exclusively blue shirts?
Exclusivity is the goal here, so you can thrive with nothing in the world to stop you!
Oh, except for your competition, of course.
Which is why determining what makes you different from your market adversaries is vital to your personal marketing plan—and your business—becoming a huge success!
From the most practical to the silliest ideas you’ve ever heard of, there are niche markets with untapped business potential that could assist you in developing a specialized marketing plan worthy of applause.
Check out this video to help you pinpoint your niche:
Locate Your Target Audience
Now that you know your target market, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.
Here are 3 helpful tips I’ve used to create a target audience for a personal marketing plan.
- Determine ideal client demographics. Unlike the target market, you’re going to break it down to the individual level. Include traits like:
- Age. Is there a specific age your product would be effective? Our target age for individuals looking to buy blue shirts would be between 25-50.
- Gender. What gender does your target product attract the most? We could say we are targeting primarily men with some women.
- Economic status. Are they low, moderate, or high income? We’d mark moderate for this one.
- Industry. Is there a specific industry your target audience is in? We could market our product to be any professional, or niche down to IT professionals.
- Educational status. Did they graduate school? Get an advanced degree? Our target audience has graduated with a bachelor’s degree or higher.
- Family. Are they married or single? We could say our target demographic is married.
…And any other attributes that take them from an ideal to a real-life client.
This will give you a clearer and more exciting perspective on the audience that you’ll be serving and solid ideas on how to attract your personalized level of clientele.
- Identify the needs of your target clientele.
- How does what you’re servicing heal their “pain points”?
- Are your prices within their budget?
- What concerns might they have that might prevent them from buying your service?
- Locate your clientele. In the game of marketing, cordially stalking your customer IS necessary! So, ask yourself easy questions like:
- “Which social media platforms do customers hang around the most?”
- “Are there any blogs or groups that my clients frequent?”
- “Which piece of content really caught their eye?
You can even go all “digital ninja” and do a keyword search or two to find startup and small business leads looking for your service.
Remember, the goal is to find them and reel them in!
And once you do that, you’re one step closer to bringing your audience to life…
Create a Plan of Action
Create your marketing plan of action with implementation strategies!
An implementation strategy consists of techniques used to employ information for a social or clinical outcome.
A 2013 Washington University at St. Louis’ study reported how specifying, defining, and operating within a structured system significantly improved outcomes, especially in the clinical setting.
In other words, the more you can structure your plan, the better the outcome will be.
Luckily, the concept applies in both the clinical and business setting.
Sounds simple enough, but how do you create a marketing implementation plan?
Here’s the how-to:
Set realistic expectations and time frames. Like I said before, find that sweet spot between being too relaxed and overly stressed.
- Collect your necessary resources. Before sitting down to do business, what exactly do you need for your business? Write down what you have before listing what you need.
- Write down your marketing strategies and goals. OK, now we’re getting there. What do you want to achieve out of your plan of action? Write that down, too! For example, I might want to get 10% more sales from my efforts.
- Create activities for completing each goal. For my above example, if I want 10% more sales, I might try implementing Facebook ads or promoting more on my website.
- Measure your results. This is key. At what level did you achieve your goal? Did you blow your expectations out of the water, or are you barely floating?
Check out this cool example about how “Mark” used his implementation plan.
Mark wants to sell his designer cupcakes to children and families.
- Mark gives himself one month to find his target audience.
- He collects the locations of where children and families can be found and buys the ingredients for his cupcakes.
- Mark creates a plan to sell his cupcakes at birthday parties & school functions and to create a website for his bakery.
- Mark speaks to school administrators four times a week and adds special keywords to his website, and he gives free samples to the neighborhood children to build his brand awareness.
- At the end of the month, Mark tallies how many schools and parties agreed to his service and finalizes his sales.
“Marketing activities” are your action stages and play a major role in accomplishing your micro goal. They can also be measured by small objectives that lead to success of the larger goal.
The best way to implement this is to break down each goal into 2 to 4 smaller goals that can be achieved within a fair amount of time. In due time, you’ll realize that your marketing message is being received by the public bit by bit.
Wise words were once said: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”
Get Fancy and Professional
One of the best things about being an entrepreneur is buying the “business stuff” like:
- Web design
- Business cards
- Accessories (mugs, pens, and other knick-knacks!)
While these items make us ready on the outside, do you know the one thing most people miss out on when making their personal marketing plan?
Creating a unique design for yourself to stand out!
Whether you’re on a job search, an independent contractor, LLC or S Corp, developing a fully designed brand identity will make your ideal clientele feel safer about working with you and present you in a more established, professional light.
But if you’re still an entrepreneur struggling to get by… feel free to skip this step!
On the other hand, if your business is taking off and you’re ready to take a leap:
- Determine a business structure type (sole proprietor, partnership, corporation, LLC).
- Create a corporate design (logo).
- Set up your company mission and objectives.
- Decide on the corporate communication you want to use to get the word out (press releases, social media, search engines).
Don’t forget! Re-evaluating your company on a monthly or quarterly basis is important at this stage.
Can I See an Example of a Personal Marketing Plan?
One of the leading online job-hunting curators, Career Sherpa, has devised an effective personal marketing plan to show how our independent contractors or entrepreneurial friends can make it all fit on one page.
Entering out on his own, our buddy Franco Rinaldo highlights his brand identity with his almost two decades of services and millions of dollars that he’s brought in. He recruits his clients by illustrating his competencies and specifies his target market and companies.
Small business personal marketing plans are more detailed and specific.
There are different types of marketing plans to choose from, like:
- Advertising plan
- Content marketing plan
- Direct marketing plan
- Social media marketing plan
- Branding plan
The plan that you use is based on the outcome that you desire.
If you want people to know your company exists, a branding plan may be your best fit. Or perhaps you want people to check out the latest edition to your gallery? That’s where a content marketing plan comes in.
Any Personal Marketing Templates Out There?
But of course! You weren’t expecting to do all that work and not actually put it somewhere, were you?
I highly recommend creating your own personal marketing plan. After all, your goal is to be unique here, right?
However, you can still take inspiration from these personal marketing plan templates to help you execute your marketing goals:
Keep these valuable tips in mind while developing your personal marketing plan and you’ll have more success sooner than later.
Bonus Tip: Prioritize Your Strategies
There are plenty of marketing strategies to fuel your business growth and you’re probably already using some of them.
Advertising on Facebook or Linktree? Or perhaps you’re blogging and making resource videos?
Whatever method you’re using, you’re going to need to prioritize.
Here are some ways you can prioritize your work and marketing strategies:
- Create a list of all your tasks. For example, I like to keep a handy journal next to my work station at all times. Whenever I have a new task that pops up, it goes straight into my planner to complete for the day (or later in the week!). The goal of my journal is so I don’t lose track of all the tasks coming my way—which is easy when you’re an extremely busy business person!
- Identify and highlight your important goals. Of course, not all goals are equal. What are your A tasks? These are the tasks that need to be completed soonso bad things don’t happen. Complete your A tasks first before moving onto less urgent ones. You might want to create a system like starring or creating letters to identify your top-priority tasks.
- Set realistic dates of completion for each task. Trying to squeeze your brain to write a 10-page blog post in one night might not cut it. However, give yourself too much time and you might not be optimizing your productivity.
- Structure your workload. This might mean planning your day ahead of time. Keep in mind your optimum energy levels throughout the day and plan to tackle your hardest tasks during this time.
- Focus and complete one goal at a time. I get it; multitasking can be fun and you might “feel” great doing it. But several studies show the dangers of multitasking and how it can really hamper your productivity. Go the old Brian Tracy method and eat that frog instead.
- Keep a log of your completed tasks. OK, this one’s kind of personal, but I love reviewing all the things I’ve done at the end of the week. It really helps to visualize all that I’ve done and feel like those grind times were well worth it!
Try out these helpful tips and let us know if concentrating on the tasks you set for yourself worked. With each completed goal, you’ll be a lean, mean, marketing machine!
Bonus Tip #2: Start With LinkedIn
- Have an updated profile picture. Get rid of that old embarrassing highschool profile picture and replace it with a professional one—you can even take one using your phone with the right setup!
- Write a (simple) description. Ideally, you’ll want to use the same lingo as your target companies. If they use words like “leverage” or “synergizing,” you might benefit from adding these words in. Keep in mind you’ll probably want to write in an easy-to-read format and keep it under college-level writing (writing more technically does not equal writing better). Use the Hemingway App and check for readability levels.
- Connect with 5 people. If you’re introverted or just getting started networking, you might want to start small. Aim to connect with 5 individuals—that’s it! These people can even be high school friends, relatives, former colleagues, and other people you already know.
Personal Marketing Plan Takeaway
There you have it! Follow these key steps to create your very own personal marketing plan:
- Develop a personality. Every personal marketing plan should include your own unique purpose, vision, values, and personality. Brainstorm a list of what you want to convey through your brand.
- Identify your target market. Ask people you know, or create and distribute surveys to find your ideal customer. These are the individuals you will be marketing your products/services to.
- Create your unique factor. Find the niche you belong to and gear your personal marketing plan to cater towards your chosen niche.
- Think like your customer. Who is your ideal customer? Create a list of what your ideal customer is like and how you can heal their pain points with what you have to offer.
- Get actionable! Create an action-packed strategy that includes your marketing goals and aplan to measure those goals. Break down your larger goals into 2-4 smaller goals.
- Get fancy. Top it off with logos, web design, business cards, and accessories to make your ultimate personal brand stand out.
And if you really want to step up your branding, learn about your unique personality first by heading over to our free personality test: Big 5 (OCEAN) Personality Test