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1-Page PDF Summary of The 1-Page Marketing Plan

The purpose of a business is to make money and grow—and for a small business, the surest way to make money is to have a simple, clear marketing plan defining who you’re targeting as prospects and customers and how you’ll reach them. However, many small businesses fail to market effectively.

In The 1-Page Marketing Plan, business coach and entrepreneur Allan Dib tells small business owners how to create a marketing plan using a simple template that guides you through three customer-focused phases of marketing: awareness, familiarity, and enthusiasm. The plan defines a process or “customer journey” of interactions that you’ll walk your prospects through. They’ll start out not knowing anything about your business and ultimately become superfans who will drive your business growth. This guide explores Dib’s method and compares it to other templates and marketing strategies.


  • Who need [top-quality styling products]

  • [Acme Beauty Supplies]

  • Is [the leading distributor of brand-name products]

  • Providing [the widest range of popular products delivered overnight].

  • Unlike [other suppliers using dubious sources],

  • [Acme Beauty Supplies] is [the only salon products distributor in North America that guarantees our products are authentic and will meet your standards].

In addition, here are examples of unique selling propositions, including from The Economist, HelloFresh, Ben & Jerry’s, and Robinhood.

2) Create a compelling offer: Once you know your niche and USP, you need to structure an offer that will excite your target prospects. Don’t go the lazy route of just offering a discount, or customers will default to an apples-to-apples price comparison. Dib identifies several essential elements of a compelling offer:

  • Add customer value by bundling additional benefits and bonuses (the way infomercials do).
  • Justify your offer (for example, overstock) so prospects don’t fear it’s too good to be true.
  • When a customer is in a buying mood, add on a high-margin item like a service contract.
  • Offer no-hassle payment options that work for the customer.
  • Offer an extraordinary guarantee that eliminates the customer’s risk that the product won’t meet expectations.
  • Suggest scarcity (for example, a limited supply or sale expiration).

(Shortform note: In addition to these often-quoted basic elements, being extra creative with your offer can significantly boost your response rate. For example, a car dealer might offer an exclusive preview of its newest models to high-end clients—including catered food and a limo ride to the event. The key is to make your offer entertaining and unique (“May I send a limo to pick you up?”) Ask yourself whether the offer you’re contemplating would motivate you to act if you received it. This marketing website provides additional examples of compelling offers for various types of products.)

3. Choose the Right Medium for Your Message

The third step in the awareness phase of marketing is choosing the right advertising medium to communicate your message to your target prospects.

Because advertising is the most expensive component of your marketing, Dib recommends choosing and managing it based on ROI, or how many leads and customers it generates versus the cost. By tracking results, you can drop ads that aren’t effective and boost the ones that work. Tools for tracking ad response include toll-free numbers, web analytics, and coupon codes.

To choose a medium or channel (such as direct mail/print, TV/radio, email, social media, or web/SEO), identify and go where your target prospects spend their time. Dib cautions that marketing via social media, while popular, has downsides: It’s time-consuming to monitor and you’re at the mercy of the platform, which owns your social media profile and page.

(Shortform note: As Dib notes, each medium has advantages and disadvantages. Some questions for small businesses to weigh in choosing media include: What do I want this marketing effort to accomplish, where do my target prospects go for information, what information do I want to convey and when, and what’s my budget?)

For affordability and effectiveness, Dib’s recommended media for small business marketing are email and direct (snail) mail.

Email Marketing

Email is an inexpensive, direct, personal way to reach prospects and customers, which also can be automated. Dib notes that with email, you can:

  • Capture the email addresses of website visitors with an email opt-in form; those not ready to buy but interested in more information are future customers you can nurture.
  • Develop relationships with your customers (so your email database grows in value).
  • Test and launch new products and services.
  • Generate instant cash—create a compelling offer with a response mechanism, send an email to your list, and you’ll get an immediate response.

Dib recommends using a commercial email marketing system such as MailChimp, ConvertKit, or ActiveCampaign (rather than trying to send mass emails via Outlook or Google mail). They meet compliance standards and work to improve delivery. Also, they automate sending.

How to Create an Email Campaign

According to marketing strategists, key questions to answer when planning an email campaign include:

  • Identify the outcome you want.

  • Identify a niche target.

  • Determine what matters to these prospects and how you’ll address it (what value you provide).

  • Decide on a timeline for the campaign.

  • Plan your emails and follow-ups.

  • Write subject lines that compel clicks (by promising value and personalizing).

  • Include a strong call to action.

  • Provide a way for recipients to opt out,

  • Test your email on multiple devices to make sure it looks right.

  • Track your metrics.

Here’s a planning template for email marketing plus examples of successful campaigns.

Snail Mail

Despite the allure of social media and email, Dib recommends that regular or snail mail also be a part of your marketing strategy. Direct mail works as a marketing medium because:

  • People connect emotionally with physical things. Unlike emails, people save USPS letters and cards.
  • Direct mail has a longer shelf life and takes more effort to dispose of than email—which can immediately be deleted and forgotten.
  • Postal mailboxes are becoming less cluttered (allowing your message to stand out), while email inboxes overflow despite many sorting methods.

The key to messaging is to use a mix of media appropriate to the prospects you want to reach, avoid relying too much on any one channel like social media to generate leads, and track the ROI.

(Shortform note: Surveys continue to show that direct mail has a higher response rate than email (4.4% versus 1.12%, according to the Direct Marketing Association). A study by The NPD Group Inc. found that 30% of recipients read email and 16% took action, compared with 47% who read direct mail and 27% who bought something as a result. Specifically, 44% of millennials in a Valassis survey said snail mail is their preferred way to receive offers, while slightly fewer—40%—cited mobile; this underscores the value of using a blend of tactics, including direct mail.)

Phase 2—Build Familiarity

The second marketing phase after creating awareness focuses on developing or nurturing sales leads—people who have indicated interest by responding to your message—and turning these leads into customers.

Dib’s three steps for increasing leads’ familiarity with you so they buy your product are:

  1. Capture leads in a database.
  2. Cultivate leads—increase their interest with offers that build in value.
  3. Convert them into customers (get them to like/trust you enough to buy from you, moving into the third phase of the marketing process).

1. Capture Leads

The first step in increasing a lead’s familiarity with you is capturing their contact information in a database so you can follow up.

This is important because only a small percentage of the people who express initial interest by, for example, downloading a free report or video, will be ready to buy immediately. But if you don’t capture their names and contact information, they’ll forget about you soon after viewing your ad, and you’ll lose the opportunity to turn them into customers later.

Dib notes that capturing them in a database allows you to develop their interest over time, so a sale follows naturally.

Your marketing infrastructure (direct-response ads and database) is an engine that will keep generating sales for the future—Dib claims that while only 3% of leads may buy now, 40% may buy in the future.

To manage your marketing infrastructure, he recommends investing in a CRM system, or customer relationship management software that allows you to organize, track, and analyze customer data.

(Shortform note: In New Sales. Simplified., sales coach Mike Weinberg offers his own three-part method for generating new business: Strategically select prospects to pursue, create effective sales tools, and plan/execute. To generate leads, he explains how to create a list of likely prospects using online research and referrals. For instance, he recommends using LinkedIn to research an industry, identify leads by checking out your best customers’ LinkedIn contacts, initiate relationships, and share useful information. He also emphasizes meticulously planning your approach to the prospect, creating a well-crafted “sales story” and a scripted sales presentation.)

2. Cultivate Leads

After a prospect has expressed interest and you’ve captured them as a lead in your database, the second step in the familiarity phase is continuing to develop their interest. You want to move them from being interested in your product to wanting it—and wanting to buy from you. Do this, Dib says, by making a series of contacts with the lead in which you:

  • Deliver increasing value (for example, a newsletter, book, seminar, and/or free audit).
  • Position yourself as an expert in your field.
  • Build a trusting relationship.

These contacts will predispose leads to buy from you before you ever try to sell them. Most salespeople follow up on a lead only a few times—however, Dib recommends a multistep process in which you contact them 10 or more times. Your CRM can help with the follow-up work by sending automatic monthly emails to leads, alerting you when it’s time to make a follow-up call, and so on.

In traditional pressure selling, Dib notes that a dozen contacts would be unwelcome. But in a relationship built on trust and value, leads will welcome your contacts rather than feeling pressured or angry, and you’ll sell effortlessly and ethically.

(Shortform note: Along the line of building trust, many sales experts advocate a consultative method of selling, in which the salesperson asks questions about customer needs and concerns and helps create a solution to the customer’s problem. A version of this method is described in SPIN Selling.)

3. Convert Them to Customers

In the third step of the familiarity phase—conversion—turn interested leads into paying customers. Dib contends that the key to conversion is positioning yourself the right way, so that buying is the natural response.

He claims that most salespeople, who haven’t established a relationship of trust, position themselves as either beggars or adversaries pushing for sales by using high-pressure closing techniques. However, pressure tactics only engender more distrust. (Shortform note: In To Sell is Human, Daniel Pink argues that because most people have negative views of salespeople from the outset, pressure sales tactics following the ABC, or “always be closing,” mantra are increasingly ineffective.)

In contrast, because you’ve used this phase of marketing to build value and trust, Dib says conversion should be almost effortless. In addition, he offers the following positioning tips to convert leads to customers:

1. Be an educator, advisor, and problem-solver. This starts in step 2, cultivating your leads, where you offer something, such as a free report or webinar, that educates them about a problem they have. Dib notes that continuing contact, while delaying a sale, further strengthens your position as an expert and advisor acting in the customer’s best interests to help you solve her problem. (Shortform note: The Challenger Sale approach positions salespeople not only as experts but also as teachers, challenging their thinking about their market and providing customers with new insights into their problems.)

2. Eliminate the risk: Every buying decision carries a risk or fear of loss from choosing something that doesn’t pan out. Offering an extraordinary guarantee eliminates the risk. Dib says this guarantee should go beyond a simple refund to something specific and truly attention-grabbing—you’ll deliver the promised results or else. Determine the customer’s fear—for instance, that you’ll leave their house a mess while performing repairs—and promise that you’ll not only fix the problem forever, but also leave the house cleaner than when you arrived, or you’ll pay for a cleaner. Another way of eliminating risk is to allow the customer to try before she buys.

(Shortform note: In Traction, Gino Wickman recommends making a guarantee part of your marketing strategy. To come up with one, start by identifying your customers’ biggest frustrations and concerns, then develop a guarantee that will bring you more business by addressing those concerns. He also suggests calling your guarantee a pledge, commitment, or promise to give it added weight.)

3. Charge a premium price. Most businesses set prices based on their competition, or they calculate their cost and add a markup. This positions your product as a commodity, forcing you to compete on price, which is a downward spiral. Instead, Dib argues you should position yourself above competitors by charging a premium. This facilitates buying in several ways: A few customers will pay for the best, boosting your bottom line and attracting more high-end customers; and a high price for your main item will make other items seem reasonably priced.

(Shortform note: In New Sales. Simplified., Mike Weinberg cautions that if you charge a premium, you need to differentiate yourself to justify it—that is, you must sell the customer on the value you create for the price. The way to do this is to create a compelling sales story.)

Phase 3—Build Enthusiasm

The final marketing phase after creating awareness and building familiarity focuses on turning customers who’ve bought from you at least once into enthusiastic superfans who keep buying from you and make referrals.

Dib’s three steps for turning customers into superfans are:

  1. Give them an extraordinary experience.
  2. Get them to keep buying more from you, increasing their value to your business.
  3. Get them to make referrals.

Dib notes that most businesses stop marketing to a customer once she buys something—however, this way of thinking limits business growth. Developing customers into superfans generates ongoing revenue and can help you launch new products because superfans will test the products and evangelize for them.

1. Give Them an Extraordinary Experience

The first step in building customer enthusiasm is delivering a standout experience that helps turn them into superfans. Dib recommends several strategies:

  • Ensure the customer gets results from the product. Customers often don’t use a product as intended, then conclude it doesn’t work, and never buy from you again. To retain them as happy customers, walk them through the products’ setup and use; anticipate problems they’ll have and provide solutions. For example, help them set up a new laptop and install software, and show them how to use the key features.
  • Innovate to make your product or service entertaining. Customers want to be entertained as well as serviced, so Dib suggests innovating in some aspect of the customer experience—the way it’s delivered, packaged, or supported. For example, when a customer picks up a new car, take photos or video of her in the driver’s seat, which she can share on social media.
  • Have effective business systems in place so you can deliver on your promise of a standout customer experience. (Shortform note: In Traction, Gino Wickman explains how to create systems and processes that keep your business running in your absence and make it more valuable if you decide to sell it, because it performs consistently and measurably.)
  • Use technology to smooth the customer experience rather than creating frustration—for example, the process of placing an online order, paying, and receiving confirmation and delivery information should be flawless. (Shortform note: Technology problems with customer service are a major source of customer frustration. They include confusing phone menus, long wait times, and dropped calls.)

Creating a Customer Experience (CX) Strategy

Many business consultants recommend creating a customer experience or CX strategy that lays out your approach to creating the best possible customer experience for your product or service. To develop a CX strategy:

  • Create a “customer journey map” of customer interactions with your business.

  • Determine customer expectations.

  • Determine how to solve problems for the customer.

  • Provide self-service options.

  • Train your customer service employees.

  • Regularly collect feedback.

  • Track your performance.

Customer experience is a major differentiator for businesses. Further, customers who have great experiences are more likely to forgive a company when there’s a problem, are likely to buy more, and have a higher level of trust in the company.

2. Get Them to Buy More From You

After delivering a memorable experience, step 2 in the enthusiasm phase is to get customers to buy more from you. Dib repeats an often-quoted statistic that people are 21 times more likely to buy from a business they’ve already bought from than one they haven’t bought from. So you’re leaving money on the table if you don’t tap into their potential long-term value.

(Shortform note: Dib recommends calculating customer lifetime value or CLV—how much money a customer will bring to your brand throughout their time as a paying customer. The basic formula is: average order value x purchase frequency x average retention time in years. However, there are different formulas and variations, and it gets complicated. Although Dib recommends calculating CLV, he doesn’t explain how to apply these numbers in your marketing strategy. Other strategists say knowing your CLV can help you increase profits by identifying your most valuable customers, profiling them, and focusing on building that segment.)

Dib offers these strategies for getting more profit from existing customers (that is, increasing their lifetime value to your company):

  • Increase prices: Many businesses are afraid to raise prices. But Dib argues that if you’ve built a trusting relationship, positioned yourself as an expert, and delivered a great experience, most customers will accept price increases.
  • Bundle: Bundle additions with the primary product. For instance, with a new laptop, sell a mouse, chargers, keyboard protector, and a carrying case for a new laptop.
  • Upgrade: Get existing customers to upgrade by buying higher-priced, higher-margin products and services.
  • Automate: Get customers to buy more often by sending automated reminders for such things as vehicle servicing. Consider a subscription service. Or, get them to come back by offering vouchers or freebies for spending a certain amount or buying a certain quantity.
  • Restart: Get lapsed customers to come back and buy with a gift card or coupon.

(Shortform note: There are many other ways to increase customer lifetime value or purchases, including: Create unexpected and delightful surprises such as birthday coupons, give extensive product details (which increases the likelihood of buying), personalize the shopping experience, provide multiple ways to return items, reward loyalty, and create frequent buyer programs and exclusive offers.)

3. Get Them to Make Referrals

The final step in creating enthusiastic superfans is prompting referrals. Dib stresses that hoping for referrals isn’t enough—to get consistent referrals, you need a system for generating them. He recommends several approaches:

  • Actively solicit referrals from customers who’ve had great experiences with you. While businesses are often reluctant to ask for referrals for fear of sounding desperate, Dib says customers don’t view them as a favor to you—they make referrals to friends when they think it will make them look good. So along with asking for a referral, offer them a gift card or discount card to give to a friend or associate. To be more systematic, let customers know during the sales process that they’ll have a great experience and you’d like them to make referrals.
  • Set up a mutual referral system with a related business—for instance, if you’re a financial planner, an accountant or insurance agent could refer their customers to you and vice versa.

(Shortform note: Additional ways to generate referrals include: Make the experience so compelling that customers want to share it, leverage LinkedIn to identify effective referrals, create a customer referral program, and offer incentives for referrals.)


In summary, the three phases and nine steps of the 1-Page Marketing Plan are:

Phase 1 (Create Awareness):

  1. Identify your target market.
  2. Develop a compelling message for this market.
  3. Deliver the message through some type of direct advertising.

Phase 2 (Build Familiarity):

  1. Capture leads
  2. Cultivate leads
  3. Convert leads to customers

Phase 3 (Build Enthusiasm):

  1. Give your customers an extraordinary experience.
  2. Get them to buy more from you.
  3. Get them to make referrals.

Dib writes that while his plan is intended to simplify and explain marketing, its second purpose is to speed up implementation. But many small business owners fail to implement plans or take action due to analysis paralysis, failure to delegate, or a belief that their business is unique and a particular approach won’t work for them. However, knowing what to do is useless if you don’t do it.

(Shortform note: Analysis paralysis is also referred to as overthinking. Causes include fear of making mistakes and simply having too much information. Some antidotes are trusting your instincts, accepting uncertainty, and making small choices quickly.)

Dib emphasizes that the strategies and tactics underlying his marketing plan are proven, and they work for all types of businesses because they address human behavior, which is common across industries. (Shortform note: Critics of Dib’s book noted that it lacked examples of marketing plans for specific industries. However, on his website, Dib provides five examples of marketing plans created using his template: coach, medical office, e-commerce, software company, and real estate.)

Because marketing grows your business, Dib contends it’s a key business activity you need to do daily if you’re serious about succeeding.

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