Get serious about your marketing plan!

Follow me

Audrey Isbell

Speaker and Author of "100 Simple Truths All Virtual Assistants Should Know"
Audrey Isbell
Follow me

Latest posts by Audrey Isbell (see all)

With so many avenues to market your business, it’s time to get serious about writing and maintaining a marketing plan or strategy. Small business owners and entrepreneurs put this off far too long or take a “by the seat of the pants” approach, and then all too often wonder why sales are down. Here are some basics to think about when you’re ready to get serious about your marketing again:

  • Messaging
  • Channels
  • Tracking
  • Revising

The last two will be addressed in a future blog post. Onward to Messaging and Channels…

Messaging

Is your message clear and powerful at a glance? If it is, you’ve already identified your target market and what you’re selling to them. After reading your marketing copy, a person should know immediately if it was intended for them or perhaps that it doesn’t apply to them at all. When the message doesn’t apply first hand, that person should be able to identify who it would apply to so they may refer their friends, family, co-workers etc. to your company for additional information.

Take this Snickers promotion as a simple example:

Target: Someone feeling hungry. This either applies to you or doesn’t in this moment, but when you get hungry or know someone who is, you might seek out the product or refer/gift others with this product, simply because the message is clear and unmistakable.

Channels

Nail down your marketing channels. Placing content willy-nilly across the internet, in hopes of attracting people doesn’t constitute a marketing plan. You will see best results by selecting your marketing channels and determining how and when they will be best utilized. List your channels, and build a schedule being specific and detailed in your notes. Don’t worry about getting everything right the first time, your plan must start somewhere. Here are some channel ideas you might consider:

  • Websites/Blogs
  • Social Media
  • Video/Vlog
  • Radio/PodCasting
  • Email
  • Direct Mail
  • Networking/Events

And, here’s what it would look like if you were being specific about your channels, detailing the strategy:

  • Company Blog
  • Twitter, Instagram and Facebook
  • Vimeo Channel, Periscope Vlog
  • iTunes PodCast
  • MailChimp Email Campaign
  • SendOut Cards Direct Mail Campaign
  • Toastmasters Meeting

…Getting Serious (and more specific) with Channels

Next, get detailed about your channels. Be reasonable about your marketing schedule and get the schedule into your work calendar right away so you can test this over the course of several months. Here’s an example with arbitrary details that also demonstrates how we can get specific with what we’re doing…

  • Company Blog (weekly)
  • Twitter (daily post), Instagram (3x/week – M W F), Facebook (2x/day)
  • Vimeo Channel (every two weeks), Periscope Vlog (weekly)
  • iTunes PodCast (monthly)
  • MailChimp Email Campaign (quarterly)
  • SendOut Cards Direct Mail Campaign (twice per year)
  • Toastmasters Meeting (weekly – as scheduled)

Act on your detailed marketing strategy and commit to yourself that you will keep a good record as you go. Enable Tracking methods for each channel in order to review the results of your efforts and revise the plan when the time comes.

More on Tracking and Revising your Marketing Plan in a later post, but for now… take some time to develop your crystal clear message (this alone could take a while and some ingenuity), and detail your marketing channels.

For awesome business planning & forecasting software, I recommend LivePlan, a great tool for planning your approach to business.

Are you getting serious now? Share this article with a friend/colleague. You can do so much more together than you would “going it” alone.