Archive for March, 2014

Learn How to Create a SIMPLE and EFFECTIVE Marketing Plan

Posted on March 31, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Marketing Essentials by Nadine Mullings

marketing-strategy-plan You may have heard that all small businesses should have a marketing plan, but did you know that very few actually take the time out to create one.  The task of creating a marketing plan may seem daunting and intimidating, but you can create a simple and effective marketing plan by answering the following 8 key questions about your business:
  1. Who is your target market?

    You’ve probably heard this before, but it is VERY important to understand exactly who your target market is for your product or service.  When it comes to understanding your target market, it is not limited to just knowing the demographics like the age range, gender, geographical location, income level, etc., but also knowing the psychographics of your target market.  This includes items such as belief system, personality traits, attitude, etc.  Once you understand the demographics and psychographics of your target market, then your marketing effort…

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Do you have a business MAP?

Posted on March 25, 2014. Filed under: Business, Business Development, Marketing, Marketing Plan, Small Business | Tags: , , |

Blog Image-  Business MAPWhen you’re planning a road trip, it is important to map out your route and decide the best way to reach your destination.  In the old days, when people went on long road trips, they would use an old fashion map to plot out the best roads  to take, and to decide which route would be the shortest, the most scenic, or would have less traffic.  Now a days, in the technological society that we live in, people have GPS systems in their cars or on their smart phones.  These GPS systems help to guide them to their next destination.  No matter whether you are using an old fashioned MAP or a GPS, it requires that you take action (drive) in order to get to your destination.

Similar to a road trip, navigating where you would like your business to go requires a MAP that will help you determine the next step to take, and the best way to go.  I consider a MAP for your business to be a Marketing Action Plan (MAP).  A MAP shows what action you need to take daily, weekly, monthly or yearly to get your business to your destination (whatever that destination may be for your business).

So how do you create a business Marketing Action Plan (MAP)?

Step 1-  Determine where it is you want to GO.

The key to this step is to be specific in what you want for your business.  For example, do you want to reach a certain amount of sales for the month?  Do you want a certain amount of qualified leads?  Do you want to have a certain amount of referrals per week?  You need to be clear on exactly what your business goals are, before you can put a plan in place to reach it.

The key here is to set your goals before you start your trip!

Step 2-  Determine the ACTION required in order to reach your goal

Sounds simple enough right?  Now that you have determined what your goals are, what necessary steps and action do you need to take in order to reach your goal?  It could be as simple as two prospect meetings a week, three follow-up phone calls a day, four networking meetings a month, etc.  You have to work out the numbers that make sense for your business and take the necessary ACTION to reach those numbers.

The key here is once you know how many meetings, events, phone calls, etc. that it takes to get a closed sale, then you need to take the ACTION in order to achieve those numbers

Step 3-  Create a PLAN

Ok, I know I say this a lot, but you really need to have a plan for almost everything you do in business, and this includes having a plan for the action you are going to take on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis.  Your plan is something that is forever changing, but you MUST have it in place in order to be successful and reach your destination.  A Marketing Action Plan is different than a Marketing Plan.  Check out my last post about creating a Marketing Plan.  An action plan is more like your daily, weekly, or monthly “To Do” list that helps you to move forward to reach your ultimate business goals.

The key here is to have it in writing!  It’s amazing what will happen when you take the things you have in your head as to what you need to do and put it on paper.  Once you put it on paper, you are bringing it to life!

So in conclusion, much like when you go on a trip you make sure you have directions, a map, your GPS, etc. the same applies for your business, you must have a business MAP in order to successfully reach your destination.  Once you have taken all the necessary ACTION, you can say, “I have reached my destination!”

Do you have a business MAP?  What do you do to make sure you are taking daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly ACTION in order to reach your business goals?

 

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Are you practicing RAM in your business?

Posted on March 7, 2014. Filed under: Business Planning, Marketing, Marketing Plan, Small Business, Uncategorized | Tags: , |

When-you-fail-to-PLANWhen it comes to marketing, most people know it is an important part of business, but not everyone takes the time to fully understand and implement their marketing activities.  Therefore, they practice what I have heard referred to as “Random Acts of Marketing” (RAM).  This is when you try this marketing activity and see if it works, then try that marketing activity, and so forth, and so on.  This is the worst type of marketing effort, in fact, it reminds me of the saying when you fail to plan, you plan to fail and that is why having a Marketing Plan and someone who will keep you accountable to execute that plan is very important for a small business owner.

The first step to stop RAM in your business is to create a Marketing Plan.  When I casually talk to various business owners at networking events, I ask them if they have a written marketing plan and most of the time people do not have a written plan.  It’s good to have an idea of what you want to do for your marketing, but a written marketing plan will help you to get clarity in several key areas of your marketing including your target market, the solution that your product or service offers your specific target market, and how you can successfully reach and convert members of your target market into paying customers.  When you have clarity on your marketing, then you have clarity in your business, so let’s look at each section in more detail:

KNOW YOUR TARGET MARKET IN DETAIL

The biggest thing I hear a lot of business owners say is,  “anyone could use my product or service”, but “anyone” is not a specific market that you can reach out to and create a strategic marketing campaign.  The smarter thing to do would be to pick a specific group or groups of individuals who are looking for a solution to a specific problem that your product or service offers a solution for.  Get to know that market inside and out.  Not just the typical demographics of age, gender, income level, etc., but know the psycho-graphics, what they tend to believe, what hobbies they tend to like, the places they like to go, etc.  This is smart marketing and helps a company to achieve better results.

KNOW WHY YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE IS THE “IDEAL” SOLUTION

Once you full understand the needs of your target market, the next step is to let your target market know why your product or service is the ideal solution.  Unless you live in a bubble, there are probably other people out there who do what you do, so you have to be very clear on what makes you different and ultimately what makes you better, which will encourage people to use your products or services instead of your competitors

KNOW WHERE YOUR TARGET MARKET “HANGS OUT”

Now that you know your target market, you know what their problems are and you know why your company is the ideal solution, now you need to let them know you are available to help!  The best way to do this is to find places where your target market hangs out in large quantities and to stand out as the ideal solution for their needs.  This can be done in both online and offline.

KNOW THE NECESSARY TERMINOLOGY TO CONVERT YOUR PROSPECTS TO CLIENTS

A lot of marketing involves psychology.  It involves getting in the mind of your target audience, understanding their needs, desires, fears, etc. and showing up as a solution through varies marketing activities and using the appropriate terminology to attract your prospects to your business, product or service.  It’s one thing to be at the right place at the right time, but it’s a whole other thing to be at the right place, at the right time, saying the right things!

The second step to stop RAM in your business is to have accountability.  When I say accountability, I mean someone either internally or externally that is responsible for making sure that your marketing plan is executed successfully.  In most medium to large companies a Vice President of Marketing, Chief Marketing Officer, or Marketing Director is the person that is held accountability for the marketing activity of the company, but for smaller businesses that don’t have various departments or the person who is a Entrepreneur or a one man show, he or she tends to add the role of Marketing to the many additional titles and roles that need to be done in the company.  The problem with this is that it can be overwhelming at times to manage all the marketing activity and the day to day management and operation of the business, and sometimes the marketing activity falls to the side.  That’s why outsourcing some marketing activity to individuals who can assist you can be useful.  This could include getting help for some of the strategic marketing planning from marketing experts, and outsourcing some of the marketing activities to individuals who can assist you including:

HIRING A MARKETING COACHING

A marketing coach can help you go through the necessary steps you need to take to write your marketing plan and help you to put together a marketing calendar to make sure you schedule out your marketing activity.  A coach can also help you to get clear on who you really  need to be targeting since most people feel they should be targeting everyone (WRONG!).

HIRING A MARKETING CONSULTANT

A marketing consultant can assist you with looking at your overall business and determining the best type of marketing strategies, systems, and support you will need to accomplish the goals that you would like to achieve.

HIRING A MARKETING ASSISTANT

A marketing assistant can help with getting those marketing activities done.  Let’s face it there are only a certain number of hours in the day and having someone available to accomplish those necessary daily, weekly or monthly tasks needed to execute your marketing can be very useful.

So in conclusion, in order to stop practicing Random Acts of Marketing (RAM) you must put together a marketing plan and execute your plan!  If you are unable to execute all aspects of your marketing it may be a good idea to get some help from a coach, consultant or assistant.

How do make sure that your company is not practicing RAM?

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