5 Steps To A Powerful Marketing Plan
We all believe that we have the best product or service we can offer. We spend much of our time making sure that we stay abreast of the latest innovations and trends. Revising, refining, and re-inventing to stay on top of the hill.
The Best Kept Secret
So how are you letting the world know you are ready and available to solve their problems? Having the best-designed mousetrap does nothing for your pocketbook if no one knows about your mousetrap. Add to the mix the ability to find the right someone’s that could benefit from your mousetrap.
Enter the world of MARKETING. From Wikipedia, “Marketing is the process of communicating the value of a product or service to customers.” Be sure that you pay attention to the word value.
When was the last time you made a purchase of service or goods just because the price was right? I’m not talking about game shows here. I’m talking about handing over your hard earned cash for something you did not need or want simply because of price. (There is a TV show about those types of people whose house is overrun with stuff.)
You make a decision to buy based upon the value you place on the benefit of your purchase. Realize I said benefit, not feature. Features are worthless unless I can see a benefit for me. Your mousetrap painted in my favorite color red (feature) means little when it is destined to be thrown in the trashcan after it catches that pesky mouse.
Telling me that it is designed to be quick enough on the snap to catch even the craftiest rodent or you will personally come and eradicate the varmint is a definite benefit to me. Send me two please.
Hey You, Look Over Here!
Isn’t that what you are trying to accomplish? Unless you are communicating your message to those who may see benefit in your product or service, you have no sales. No sales, no business.
There is a right way and a wrong way to get the word out. It has little to do with the vehicle you use, be it newspaper ads, postcards, radio, Internet, email, or any other method. It has more to do with saying the right things, at the right time, to the right people.
It Is Called a Marketing Plan
Every business needs a current, actionable marketing plan. Big or small, home based or enterprise, without a marketing plan you are doomed to failure. You will be jumping at the next golden opportunity that is parlayed to entice you to spend your money with them.
I believe that there are 5 key components to having a good marketing plan. Here they are:
The Right Marketing Message.
There are three questions you must answer for your prospective client:
1. Why do I need it?
- Does it solve a problem?
- Will it make me feel/look better?
- Does it save me time/money?
- You must first and foremost answer this question before moving on.
2. Can I trust you?
- Do you have any testimonials?
- What is your background/experience/time in business?
- Do you have any references?
- How can I feel assured/guarantees
3. What will it cost?
- This is the place where you must deliver value
- No one wants to spend money, they want to… see #1
- People buy value no matter what the price
I put them in this order because that is the order of importance. Notice that price is the last thing I think about. A good marketing message will answer these questions in a compelling way. Once you write your marketing message you can package it and communicate in many channels.
If you are not good at writing copy, then hire someone! You will lose much more than you save by trying to do it yourself. My suggestion is find a copywriter that can write 80% about #1 and 20% about #2 & #3. Most businesses that do it themselves have it backwards. No wonder they lose.
Know Your Best Marketing Channels.
There are 100 or more ways to market your business. However, not all channels perform equally well for every business. You need to experiment and find the 5-10 channels that work best for your business. This will be the focus of activity in your marketing plan.
If you have the right message, you can adapt it to fit any marketing channel.
Here are just a few to consider in no particular order; Radio, Television, Web Site, Blog, Direct Mail, Local Magazine, Email, Local Networking Groups, Billboards, Auto Wraps, and the list goes on. The key is to see how your competitors are doing it and do it better by focusing on getting the right message out there.
Set Your Marketing Budget.
How much can you spend on acquiring new customers? Businesses must create and operate by a marketing budget. How much you spend can vary by business category, but a good rule of thumb is 8-10% of your gross. My goal for businesses I coach is to get a 10X return on marketing dollars spent. If you are consistent in doing this, every month, your bottom line will grow.
By setting a budget you are more likely to discipline yourself to spend more wisely and effectively. Do you know how much it costs you now to get a new customer? How much do you want your business to grow this year?
You can get a better idea of these numbers in my book “You Learned Business Math in Grade School” available at Amazon Kindle.
Create a Marketing Calendar.
Marketing experts agree, “Consistency is Key”. Studies have shown that it takes from 5-14 repeated messages to convert someone to a customer. That is if you have a good message.
Once you know your best channels/mediums and have your best message, you should schedule your marketing activities on a timeline or calendar. Plan what you are going to say and where you are going to say it, each week/month/year. If you are not comfortable doing this, please hire an expert. You will be glad you did.
Create and Monitor Your Dashboard.
The biggest mistake I see business owners make is not tracking and measuring the performance of their marketing efforts. You must have a “Dashboard” that identifies your activity and tracks to result of every thing you do. You must track every new lead that comes your way. Where are they coming from? Which version of the message did they respond to?
Evaluate every channel each month. Smart businesses know where every piece of new business comes from! Spend more time and money on the marketing activities that generate the most and best leads.
To be successful you must have a powerful lead generation system. That’s what a good marketing plan does for you. Plan it, track it, measure it, and refine it. You can read more on this in my earlier post “It’s All About MEI” by clicking here.
By all means, learn what you can. Be it from our resources by signing up for our newsletter, asking other businesses what they are doing that works (be sure they can prove it), research on your own, or hiring a qualified professional.