We have another Guest Blog post for you. This one is on an extremely important topic that is sometimes overlooked by small businesses - marketing, and making sure that you have a good marketing plan. The post comes to us courtesy of Joan Marcus of Joan B. Marcus Communications. Enjoy!
Guest Blog: Plan for Successful Marketing
Don’t look now but we are already halfway through the first month of 2010. If you resolved to rev up your marketing this year to build your brand and grow your business, it’s time to get going. Follow these quick tips to get started and stay on track. Next New Year’s Eve, you will be happy that you did.
• Develop a written marketing plan. Even if you have never written a marketing plan before, resolve to do it this year. Get it on paper. A plan in your head is no plan at all.
• Consider your business goals. Your marketing plan should support your business goals. If a strategy does not further a business goal, it’s not a good strategy to use.
• Don’t plan in a vacuum. Consider what worked in 2009 and what didn’t. If a particular strategy was successful, is there a way to make it even more successful this year?
• Determine your marketing budget. Be realistic. If you have $5,000 to spend on marketing but develop a plan with $20,000 worth of tactics, you are going to be sadly disappointed in the results.
• Have a memorable message. Your marketing message (usually no more than 25 words) should succinctly tell your customers how you address their pain points, your solution and what makes your solution different. If you don’t have a message, develop one now.
• Use free promotion to supplement paid marketing. (Hint: Contact Lanita Lum at the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber for paid and free marketing opportunities.) For example, is your listing in the Chamber membership directory up to date? Are you using social media to reach out to customers and prospects? The only cost is your time.
• Target your marketing. You can’t reach everyone with your marketing, especially if you have a low budget. Decide who are your most important publics, how best to reach them and then invest in the most effective strategies.
• Hold yourself accountable. When you develop your plan, determine who is responsible, due dates and expected results.
• Evaluate. Review your marketing efforts on a regular basis. If necessary, tweak your plan for even better results.
Here’s to a great 2010!!
Submitted by Joan B. Marcus, president of Joan B. Marcus Communications, where we help you build your brand through the power of words. Find us at www.joanbmarcuscommunications.com, on Twitter at twitter.com/marcuscomm or on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/joanmarcus.