Marketing Plan

9 Steps to create a Simple Marketing Plan

Posted on November 28, 2014. Filed under: Business, Business Development, Business Planning, Marketing, Marketing Plan, Small Business | Tags: , , , , , |

9 Steps to Create a Simple Marketing Plan
Having a Marketing Plan to grow your business is important, but sometimes creating the plan can feel overwhelming.  This Blog Post simplifies the creation of your Marketing Plan, by breaking it down into 9 questions.  When you answer these questions, you will create a simple marketing plan for your business:

  1. WHO is your target market?
    You have to clearly define who you are trying to reach with your products and/or services.  When you understand who your audience is, you are better able to market and promote to that target audience, so clearly define you target market including the demographics (age, gender, income, etc.) and pyschographics (beliefs, personality, hobbies, etc.)  and this will help you to effectively market and promote your product or service to your target audience.
  2. WHAT is the problem that your target market has?
    You have to clearly identify what problem or issue your target market may have.  Most, if not all, products or services offer a solution to some type of problem.  It may be a direct problem or an indirect problem, but your target market should have some type of problem that your product or service will help to alleviate.
  3. HOW does your product or service solve these problems?
    After identifying the problem your target market has, now you have to show how your product or service solves that problem.  It is important to not only identify the features of your product or service, but more importantly to identify the benefits of your product or service.  People identify better with benefits rather than features.  Saying your product is “light weight” is a feature, mentioning that your product is “easy and convenient to carry with you because it is light weight” is showing how that feature is a benefit.  Taking the time to identify how you solve the problem and clearly articulating that in your marketing material will work to your advantage.
  4. WHERE is your Target Market?
    The next step in your Marketing Plan is locating the target market that you have identified.  The key is to find the places that your target market exists in large quantities.  This is where you are going to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to your marketing activity.  The more people you can reach who are in your target market and are located in one place (an event, conference, workshop, etc.) the better results you will be able to get from your marketing activity.  You can find your target market in various places both online and offlline.
  5. HOW Do You Reach your Target Market? 
    Once you have located your target market, then you need to plan how you would like to reach them.  What activities will you do to reach your target market.  There are over 1,000 ways to reach your target audience (networking, advertising, email, video, speaking engagements, books, etc.)  so you have to decide what method works best for your industry, your company, and your audience.
  6. WHO are your ideal referral partners?
    Referrals can be one of the best ways to grow your business, so including in your marketing plan who your ideal referral partners are and working to build relationships with your ideal referral partners can really help you to grow your business.  If you are able, including some type of incentive for referrals works really well.
  7. WHAT differentiates your company from all the other companies in the marketplace? 
    It is important to not only identify who your competitors are, but to identify how your company is different from the others in the marketplace.  Once you clearly identify what makes you different than your competitors, then you are better able to articulate that in your marketing material to your clients and prospects.
  8. WHEN do you reach out to your target market and how much do you spend?
    Planning your activity is a very important step that many small business owners and entrepreneurs neglect to do.  The key to planning when you are going to reach out to your target audience and how much you are going to spend is to create a marketing calendar.  This calendar will allow you to plan out when you will be doing certain marketing activities, what that marketing activity will be, and how much you plan to spend on a weekly, monthly, or yearly basis.  Taking the time to do this activity can make a huge difference in the growth of your business.
  9. WHAT headlines will you use to catch the attention of your target audience
    Thinking about the words that you are going to use to catch the attention of your target audience is very important, so taking the time to think about relevant keywords for your audience and your company will help you to craft the appropriate headlines for your marketing material.

Have you created a Marketing Plan for your business?  If so, are there other aspects of your Marketing Plan that you include?

If you need assistance with creating a Marketing Plan for your business, we offer Marketing Plan Coaching for entrepreneurs and small business owners contact us to learn more.

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Do You Have a Business M.A.P.?

Posted on November 11, 2014. Filed under: Business, Business Planning, Email Results, Marketing, Marketing Plan, Small Business | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Blog Image-  Business MAPDo you have a business M.A.P.?  Wondering what a business M.A.P. is, and why you would need one?  It’s a Marketing Action Plan (M.A.P.), and you need one in order to take your business from one place to the next.

When you need to go somewhere, and you are not sure how to get there, you need directions.  You can use a map to get the directions, now a days that map is within your GPS either in your smartphone or in your car.  Well just like the map in your GPS, you need a M.A.P. for your business that is designed to take your business from point A to point B.  The destination may be different for each business, but the need to have a plan and take action is always necessary to get your business from point A to point B.

Similar to when you are following the directions in your GPS, you may at times need to make a u-turn or change routes, but the overall map in the GPS is there to guide you and get you to your final destination.  In fact, after we have made several miss steps or u-turns we love when we hear the words, “you have reached your destination“.  With a business MAP, you may not hear a GPS system say, “you have reached your destination”, but you know you have reached your destination when you achieve the business goal that you set out to achieve.

For example, if your business goal is to increase your sales by 20%, you need to create a M.A.P. on how to get there.  Instead of turns on highways and streets, the M.A.P. includes turns you can make in your marketing activity that can help you to reach your destination, so in the case of increasing sales, a M.A.P. could look something like this:

Point A-  Sales are 50 units a month

Step 1-  Increase leads by doing the following actions:

a.  Attending more networking events

b.  Placing ads on Social Media

c.  Creating an email campaign

d.  Creating an AdWord campaign

Step 2-  Increase referrals by doing the following actions:

a.  Joining a referral networking group

b.  Looking for referral partners

c.  Creating a referral partner program

d.  Having a referral incentive

Step 3-  Increase sales conversations by doing the following actions:

a.  Having monthly webinars

b.  Having monthly teleseminars

c.  Having monthly in-person events

d.  Having more one-on-one meetings with prospects

Step 4-  Increase your conversion rate by doing the following actions:

a.  Creating sales pages with good  content and strong calls to actions

b.  Creating emails with good content and strong call to actions

c.  Creating  videos with good content and strong call to actions

d.  Adding testimonials to your website and sales pages

Point B-  Measure the increase in sales

So as you can see the action that you take in your marketing action plan will determine the outcome of the destination of your business.  You can create a plan for each business goal that you have and make adjustments to the actions when necessary.

Have you created your business M.A.P.?  If so, what marketing activities do you include in order to reach your goals?

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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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