A common challenge that we see many businesses make is this: ‘winging it’ when it comes to developing a marketing plan. We get it. It’s hard to know where to start – let alone be consistent and stay focused when you’re presented with so many marketing options like radio, TV, newspaper, email marketing, social media . . . and more.
It’s especially difficult when time and budgetary constraints come into play. So we thought we’d share with you the process we use in our own business (and with clients) to stay on track.
Make a List of Your Customers
There are lots of reasons to clearly identify who your customer is. Is your product or service for consumers, businesses or both? Knowing the answer will help you determine which marketing strategy is best for you.
Next, categorize your list. Is your target consumer a mom? Is your target business an auto mechanic? Do this for each of the customer types on your list.
Here’s what our list looks like. All of our customers are businesses and fall into three categories:
Identify Your Goals
The answers to these questions will help you figure out the method you want to use to market your business.
Notice how our goals are sales related? Your goals may be different. You might have a new product or service to launch. Or maybe your target customer has shifted. You might also have an internally focused goal like recruiting new employees or showing that your company is an awesome place to work.
Honestly Assess Your Resources
Up till now we’ve focused on the strategic part of your marketing plan. Now comes the hard part – making it happen. How much time, and money, can you or someone on your team consistently commit to marketing your business?
Also ask yourself about your skills and what you like to do. Do you like writing, posting on social media or working with media sales people?
We empathize with you when it comes to implementing your plan. We live in the marketing world and LOVE marketing our clients. We fell into a bad habit of letting our own marketing fall to the wayside.
We honestly assessed the time and resources we could commit to marketing taking into account the strengths of each of our team members. Some like to write so they’re tasked with blogging. Others like posting on social media. We also set aside a budget to drive traffic to our website and to take attend trade shows as a vendor to be in front of targeted customers
So you’ve made the commitment to market your product or service to your customer and set aside the time and money to make it happen. The time has come to make a plan.
Your plan should take into consideration where your customer is and the way you want them to interact with you. Let’s say that you’re a restaurant. Choosing a visual platform to show your food is important. Social media would be a natural fit.
If connecting with other businesses is important then LinkedIn combined with an email content marketing strategy might make more sense.
Your plan should also include the personality of your business. Is it fun, playful? Educational? This will help you determine how you want to convey your message to your customer.
Social media platforms, videos and even radio and TV commercials lend themselves to being fun and playful. It can be harder to pull off with content marketing, mailers or newspaper ads.
Map out a plan for the next three months. Looking at your calendar note any and all things you can leverage in your marketing – holidays, events, company milestones, trade shows etc.
Jot down the amount of time and money you’ve set aside for your marketing. Prioritize your resources with the important items you want to market. If you need to increase sales for the holidays, work bacwards from that holiday and begin listing all the opportunities you must take advantage of. This will help you prioritize your time.
Creating a plan using this high level approach will keep you from getting in the weeds and stay focused on your business goals and objectives.
Once you get through this part it’s a lot easier to come up with a weekly plan.
Put It Into Action
You’ve done your homework, and you’re ready to put your plan in motion. As for us, we’re working now to identify the best way to execute our plan, and you should too.
Reaching your audience, whether it me through traditional or digital marketing, takes time and effort. But you’ll soon be reaping the rewards!
If you need help, you can contact us to learn more about how we can move your business forward. Our team can take you from “winging it” to “WINNING IT!”