Wouldn’t it be great if your overall marketing plan was streamlined and got the results you wanted? To get to this point requires effort and sometimes, we just can’t motivate ourselves to move forward.
If you’re suffering from a lack of mojo, apply a bit of focus to the task and work out which of the following ideas may help to get you into the marketing groove:
- Commit to reading one new marketing book per month.
- Start learning about how to market online.
- Make a list of people whose businesses inspire you, and carefully study their marketing techniques. How many of these are you using?
- Make a list of successful people in your industry and check out their marketing strategy. Why not offer to take one of them out for coffee to learn more about how they got where they are. What’s the worst that could happen?
- Revise your marketing budget. Look at your previous investment in marketing and ask yourself if this is the amount a truly successful business would be spending.
- Review all of last year’s marketing activities. Work out which ones brought new business in the door, or were successful in some other way, such as building credibility, for example. If you can’t quantify how successful the outcome was, stop spending the money!
- Implement an ongoing ‘keep in touch’ program with existing customers, such as a newsletter.
- Ask ten or more of your most loyal customers for a referral.
- Stop doing those marketing activities that you know don’t work, but you do them anyway.
- Market research – ask 20 of your customers what value you provide to them. Use what they say in your own marketing materials
Once you are ready to move forward again, it’s time to take your new-found knowledge and create a meaningful marketing plan.
Five steps to your marketing action plan
Every client I ever talk to recognises the importance of having a marketing plan, but many people don’t know how to create one. Here’s a tried and true method that doesn’t require any software or forms. Just a blank sheet of paper and some of your time.
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Take a blank sheet of paper and draw four columns on it.
Column 1 will be titled ‘Marketing activities’
Column 2 will be titled ‘Goal’
Column 3 will be titled ‘Tactics and Actions’
Column 4 will be titled ‘When?’
In column one make a list of all the marketing activities you want to include for the year. Here is a list to get you started. Leave plenty of room between each one.
- Networking – in person and online
- Referrals – using a deliberate and planned strategy
- Writing – for online or offline publications
- Direct mail
- Internet marketing
- Your own ‘keep in touch’ strategy – regular newsletter, telephone contacts, VIP nights etc
- Strategic partnerships or alliances
Complete the Goal for each activity. Here are some examples:
- Under the heading of writing, your goal might be to get two articles published every month.
- Under referrals – your goal might be to get five hot referrals each month.
- Under direct mail – to achieve a 2.5% response rate
Complete column three – the tactics/actions needed to achieve the goal. If you are unsure what steps are needed, make sure you find out.
Now finish off with column four – when each action needs to happen. Make sure your timeframes are realistic and that you sequence things in the right order.
Once you have the actions and timing mapped out, schedule them into your diary or calendar. If you have activities that are required regularly, then schedule time to complete them on a weekly basis. Setting aside the same regular time for marketing activity helps to maintain momentum and ensure things get done continually.
Now print out and stick your Marketing Action Plan in a prominent place so you keep it front of mind.
That’s it! Pretty simple, but very effective.