Most small business owners do not have marketing plans. This means that their marketing tends to be inconsistent, ineffective and inefficient.
Some service professionals do have marketing plans for their business, but fail to actually put it into practice. This really isn’t much better than having no plan!
The secret to consistently marketing your services and products is to have what I call a “Marketing Action Plan”. A plan saves you time and money, brings in more prospects and clients, helps you keep customers, and helps you run a successful and profitable business.
As soon as someone mentions anything with the word “plan” in it, business owners usually cringe and most run for the hills! Marketing action plans do not have to be laborious and minutely detailed. In fact, if it’s too complicated, none of us will follow it.
Creating a marketing action plan and putting it into practice daily does require some thinking, time and commitment. However, it doesn’t have to be the overwhelming task that many business owners fear.
I strongly believe that the way to tackle anything that appears to be too big and unwieldy is to break it down into smaller steps or chunks. The same applies to a marketing action plan – break it down into individual mini marketing action plans.
Marketing encompasses several different areas and corresponding activities – each of which can have a mini marketing plan built around it. Examples of areas are: publicity, public speaking, publishing articles, referral, joint venture, direct mail, promotional, advertising, internet (website, ezine, blog), automated email communication, networking, social media, and so on.
Each of these marketing areas can be looked at as a mini plan – with action-oriented steps and activities for you to follow.
Here’s a simple and quick process to create your marketing action plan, by completing several mini plans:
1. take a blank piece of paper and draw a line down the center
2. write “Marketing Areas” on the left hand side
3. write “Action Steps” on the right hand side
4. list the marketing areas you want to focus on down the left column – leaving a few lines between each one
5. in the right column write your overall goal for each category
6. list each action step needed to achieve your marketing goals
7. put dates against each action step
8. transfer these dates into your Outlook, PDA or wall calendar
9. put the completed marketing action plan somewhere visible and DO IT!
To give you a better idea, below is an example of a couple mini marketing action plans:
Marketing Category: Publicity
Goal: send out a monthly press release
* identify online press release services
* identify online and offline publications/newspapers that appeal to my target group
* find out the necessary contact information of publications
* figure out newsworthy stories or business events (product or service launch, new location, special event, etc.) and write a press release
* submit one press release each month using online and offline avenues
* keep track of whether or not your press releases are run
Marketing Category: Networking
Goal: attend a weekly networking event
* choose a couple groups or associations that appeal to your target market
* look into ways that you can be a part of these networking groups: volunteer on board, host meetings, help out with newsletter, attend monthly breakfast meetings, etc.
* identify key contacts in each group and develop strong connections with them
* send out at least one thank you card to someone you meet at each meeting/event
* schedule time in your schedule after each networking event to do any follow up phone calls, send out materials and put contact details into your prospect database (or get your Virtual Assistant to do it)
The next steps would be to assign dates for completion for each marketing action step and transfer these into whatever system you use to keep track of your to-do lists and daily/weekly activities.
Start with about 4 – 6 mini marketing action plans and once you’ve got these up and running smoothly, then start adding additional marketing activities one at a time. Or you can also make each mini plan more comprehensive by adding additional goals.
For example, your internet mini marketing plan could consist of several goals like: do 2 blog postings each week, create and build a subscription list for an online ezine, add 4 new articles to your website monthly, and so on.
Remember, the idea is to do your marketing consistently and easily – so make sure you keep the number of mini plans manageable and be sure to take action on the steps you’ve identified. This is the only way that you’ll continue to get new and returning clients on an ongoing basis, and ensure success and sales.
Web Marketing Photo
By afra32 from Pixabay