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Posts Tagged “Marketing Plan”

86 Common Sense Marketing Ideas for Startups

When starting a business, marketing is (or should be) the business owner’s biggest priority. Yet many startups have no clue about marketing.  With that in mind,  I thought who better to learn what works in marketing than from those who have gone before? I reached out to established business owners across all industries to see [...]

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30 Ways to Make Your Business Stand Out From the Crowd

Let’s face it, starting a business can be very easy, but staying in business can be very difficult given that our customers have too many choices on where to spend their hard-earned cash.  So the question I posed to small business owners was “How do you make your business stand out from the crowd so [...]

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5 Tips for Using Email Marketing to Boost Your Business

Every small business owner understands the value of building relationships with customers.  But many of us get lost when it comes to building relationships with potential customers. As a business owner, I’ve learned that success in marketing is all about timing. The optimal time for a business to sell a product or service to a [...]

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5 Tips For Writing Your 2012 Marketing Plan

2011 is almost over and planning for the next year can get lost in the business of the of the holiday season. However, the best way to get 2012 off to a great start is to put some thought into your 2012 marketing plan outlining where you want to go and how you plan to get there.

For small business owners, your marketing plan can make all of the difference in your success. As you get ready to leap into the New Year, taking the time to develop a marketing plan will help keep you on track, ensure you are spending your marketing dollars effectively, and give you the focus you need to succeed.

I asked other small businesses for their thoughts  on how to build a successful small business marketing plan for 2012 and received many responses. Small businesses are taking a hard look at what worked and what did not work in 2011 so that they can focus their marketing dollars in the most profitable places. Others are looking for creative and innovative ways to expand their reach without expanding their marketing budget. To help you build the best marketing plan for your business, I pulled together the most consistent themes, sprinkled them with a bit of my own experience, and let the small businesses speak for themselves.

1. Begin at the End

In order to ensure you pick the best tactics and strategies to meet your marketing goals for 2012, you need to be clear about your goals. What do you need marketing to do for you in 2012? Are you looking to expand your market presence, bring in more customers, generate more leads, or break into a new market?

Beth Walsh from Clearpoint Agency, Inc. explained how they develop their marketing plan for the coming year.

We have several methods that we use to plan our marketing tactics, including a news release schedule and blog schedule, both of which are set-up as Excel spreadsheets. However, first, we are having a planning meeting with our staff of five where we will do a workshop on our key messages for the upcoming year. We plan our key messages based on what is true about our company culture and the services we deliver for clients and then we look for ways to differentiate from the competitors. We review competitors, look at their websites, marketing activities and press-pickup, and then we review our own in comparison.

2. Learn from Last Year

Look at your marketing plans for 2011 and compare them to actual results. Where were your marketing dollars most effective? Where were you unsuccessful in achieving the results you expected? What lessons can you learn from last year that will help increase the effectiveness of your marketing spend next year?

Catherine B. Ahles from Premier Aircraft Sales explained how experience dictates their marketing strategy.

Today, most aircraft purchasers do the bulk of their “hunting” online, rather than at their local airports. In 2012, we will be doing even more online advertising as well as creating more landing pages and other web-based tools. Incentives have become more important too. We will be offering things like free fuel for a year with purchase of a new aircraft. Also, we are still figuring out how to use Facebook to aid our customers in keeping up with new developments of interest. Our print advertising will go to bare minimum, and we will cease doing open houses and any trade shows except the very largest.

3. Stop Doing What Doesn’t Work

Understanding what worked and what didn’t is the first step, but in order to use that information effectively, you must also stop doing those things that aren’t working. For some small businesses, this can be difficult, especially when what isn’t working is one of those “marketing things” that every business is supposed to do.

Chris Tobias from School Skills shared this with me.

In 2012, we will no longer pay for advertising that does not directly drive sales. We will only pay for results. This means affiliate programs and partnering with publications to pay them based on the sales an ad produces rather than just paying for ad space. It means no more pay per click or pay for space. After spending a year and a half attempting to optimize click through conversion rates, design high quality marketing communications and locate appropriate advertising vehicles we have discovered that we are not advertising experts. We have also discovered that the risk for advertising success lies entirely with us. If we buy media space in a publication that does not produce results we lose both time and money.

4. Be Specific

It is always easier to hit the bull’s-eye on a target if you can see what the bull’s-eye looks like. Imagine you are shooting an arrow at a target that only has the giant red circle around the outside. It would be pretty hard to hit the center of the bull’s-eye without any other point of reference. Now think of that target as your 2012 marketing plan. If your marketing goal is to expand your social media presence, you only have a giant red circle to aim at. By planning out specific activities and actions as part of your marketing plan, you are effectively adding the other circles to the target that enable you to zero in on the bull’s-eye.

Leanne Hoagland-Smith from Increase Sales Coach talked me through the specific actions she included in her marketing plan for 2012.

Since 2005, I have been engaged in education based marketing with a primary component of article marketing. I plan to continue those efforts through at least 1 new article per week. Currently, I secure two new clients from inbound marketing activities each month and want that to double that in 2012. Continually updating the website is also critical as trends change keywords. Each morning I invest 1.5 hrs into marketing, the goal is to increase marketing activities by 20% as I have a new solution that will be offered in the summer of 2012. Blog posting must remain at an average of 5 per week. As I have expanded into Facebook through business pages, daily postings must be maintained on these pages as well.

5.  Just do It

One of the biggest mistakes that I see businesses make when it comes to marketing is that they don’t take the time to put together a marketing plan at all.  Their marketing plan consists of following the latest fad just because everyone says it’s the “thing” to do, without really taking the time to analyze if it’s the right marketing strategy for their business.  So take some time now at the end of the year to put together your 2012 marketing strategy based on these tips and your experience. You’ll be rewarded with better results.

Are you in the process of writing your marketing plan for 2012? What are your tips?  Share them here along with the link to your website.  We always love hearing from you!

Want to get more inexpensive and practical small business marketing ideas, grab a free ebook called “Build Buzz for Your Biz, 23 Creative and Inexpensive Marketing Strategies That Will Get You Noticed” at http://23kazoos.com.

Wendy Kenney is the bestselling author of How to Build Buzz for Your Business available on Amazon.com, and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Newsday.

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2011 is almost over and planning for the next year can get lost in the business of the of the holiday season. However, the best way to get 2012 off to a great start is to put some thought into your 2012 marketing plan outlining where you want to go and how you plan to [...]

Continue Reading

How to Become a Marketing Superstar

Wendy Kenney is the best selling author of How to Build Buzz for Your Biz, Tap into the Power of Social Media, Publicity and Relationship Marketing to Grow Your Business, available on Amazon.com.  She has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Newsday. For more information go to http://23Kazoos.com.

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What is the biggest marketing challenge that you have in your business? According to a survey by Marketing Sherpa, 78% of businesses say that their biggest marketing challenge is generating high quality leads. In my work as a contract Marketing Director with small businesses I see this challenge on a daily basis. Interestingly enough many small businesses make the [...]

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4 Crazy Myths about Marketing

Before I will work with a company on their marketing strategy, I need to make sure that they are of the right mindset.  Unfortunately too many business owners have taken to believing certain crazy myths about marketing.  Sorry, but I’m here to debunk those myths.  Here’s the top 4. 1.            Marketing is all I need [...]

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Marketing Planning Part II: Give Them What They Want

Give ‘Em What They Want, When They Want It Now that you’ve formed a better idea of who your ideal customers are, you need to identify how you can meet their desires. So let’s look at a few examples of businesses that have profited by aptly answering to their customers wants. Joe’s Real BBQ: Known [...]

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Marketing Planning For Your Startup Business


So you’re getting ready to start your own business; have you thought about your marketing plan?

Your marketing plan doesn’t need to be 100 pages of graphs and charts; it can be as simple as a one-page snap shot of all the strategies that you plan to implement to get the word out about your business.

Every business needs to have a marketing plan.     Here’s a simple way to put one together that I call the “10 Minute Marketing Plan TM.”

1.          One an Excel spreadsheet, write the 12 months of the year in a column down the left-hand side leaving about 10 spaces between each month.  This will be column 1.

2.         Create a second column to the right of the months, label it “Highlights.”

3.         Create a third column to the right of the highlights; label it “Marketing Activities.”

4.         Create a fourth column to the right of “Marketing Activities” and label it “To Do’s.”

I can make this even easier for you, email me at WNKenney@23Kazoos.com and ask for the “10 Minute Marketing Plan TM spreadsheet.

Marketing Planning

Now it’s time to fill it out.

For this exercise, I’m assuming that you already know who your ideal customer is.  Now you will need to do some research.

  • Highlights: For the “Highlights” column, you need to research events, holidays, or happenings in your industry, and even seasons because these will help you create marketing promotions that will help create excitement and tap into the mindset of your clients.  For example, for January, highlights could include; New Year’s Resolutions, White Sales, certain sporting events, winter, New Year’s Day, etc.
  • Marketing Activities:  In the Marketing Activities column, write down the marketing activities that you plan to implement each month.   Don’t spend all of your marketing budget on just one marketing activity.  You should do a minimum of 3-5 marketing activities monthly because your customers are every where.  Furthermore, it takes time for marketing to work.  The marketing you do this month will pay off next month, next quarter, and even next year!  Always be marketing!
  • Some sample marketing activities could include: email newsletters, daily Twitter and Facebook updates, blogging, website optimization, direct mail, networking groups, newspaper or television advertising, publicity, contests, door-to-door canvassing, etc. (Note:  You don’t need to do each marketing activity every month.  For example, you could decide to send out an email newsletter once every two months.  The idea of the calendar is for you to write it down so you have a schedule of when the activities are going to occur.)
  • To do’s: In this column write down activities you need to do to make your future marketing activities occur.  For example, if you have decided to do a direct mail campaign, then in the “To Do” column you could write down “Contact Direct Mail companies.”

Questions:

How much should I spend on marketing?

The answer is: It depends.  What are your revenue goals?  What kind of business do you have?  For some companies, it might be appropriate to spend more than others.  The key is to have a budget and use it wisely.  For many smaller companies, low cost and no cost marketing strategies such as networking groups, social media, publicity and direct mail can be very effective.

What marketing strategies should I use?

Again the answer is; it depends.  Strategies will differ based on what your business is, who your customers are, and where they are, and what your revenue goals are.

Survey what other companies in your industry have done that has worked and hasn’t worked.  Ask your CPA to help you with a budget, and then stick to it.  And most importantly, measure the results of your marketing efforts to you can understand what is working and what is not.

For a list of 101 Marketing Strategies, email me at WNKenney@23Kazoos.com.

Are you a new startup business?  We would love to hear from you.  Post your business website and your favorite marketing strategy here!

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Wendy Kenney is a nationally known Buzz Building Expert and the Founder and CEO of 23 Kazoos, a marketing firm specializing in inexpensive and creative small business marketing strategies.

She has honed her marketing skills through over 26 years of entrepreneurship and business management.  She fell in love with marketing with her first marketing at Showbiz Pizza Place.  Since then she has gained experience marketing for several industries including restaurants, legal, insurance and financial services, independent retail, nonprofits and more.

Wendy is about to release a new book called “Buzz: How to Tap into the Power of Social Media, Publicity and Relationship Marketing to Grow Your Business” based on her knowledge of what works and what does not work in small business marketing.  This book features practical and low cost marketing strategies, such as “How to Grow Your Business Using Social Media,” as well as valuable links, resources, and tips.

Wendy frequently speaks to organizations about marketing for small business.  To get more information or to schedule Wendy to speak go to:  Business Marketing Speaker

Claim your free download (no email necessary) on Wendy’s website:  23 Kazoos

How to Build Buzz for your Biz:  23 Creative and Inexpensive Marketing Strategies That Will Get You Noticed

Wendy lives in Mesa with her husband Mike, and three teenage sons.   Her personal goal is to visit all of the Major League Ballparks in the US before she turns 49. So far she has been to 12.


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So you’re getting ready to start your own business; have you thought about your marketing plan? Your marketing plan doesn’t need to be 100 pages of graphs and charts; it can be as simple as a one-page snap shot of all the strategies that you plan to implement to get the word out about your [...]

Continue Reading

Why you should pay for this content

Weird that I’d write a blog post about paying for content in a free content world, isn’t it?! Weirder yet that StartupNation has for years on end been a STRICTLY free content site and hosts many tens of thousands of pages of free content and features. So why have we recently launched a paid content [...]

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Ant or Grasshopper?

Do you plan for a crisis? Of course not. But you can plan yourself out of one! Let me weigh in here with another question: Who do you want to be? The person who goes on a hike  prepared with the Ten Essentials? Or would you rather be the one that blindly walks along and [...]

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The Scheherazade marketing plan – 1001 Arabian nights

The ultimate customer retention strategy can be found in the story of Scheherazade & 1001 Arabian Nights. Do you know the story? King Shahryar decides that all women are inherently unfaithful, so he has each wife murdered after the wedding night. This goes on for three years. The king’s wazir (the guy who beheads the [...]

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Free beer – an outrageous viral marketing idea

Did your mood just pick up? Are you smiling? We have an “Outrageous” board here at the StartupNation office where all of our team members are encouraged to write ideas on how we can better deliver fantastic value to our community. It’s called the “Outrageous” board because we’re supposed to write down anything that comes [...]

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Are you reactive or proactive?

It occurs to me that most of the success I have had in life has been in spite of any discipline or focus on tasks. This is beginning to create problems at my new company, and I am determined to fix it. Not only does Charisma Sciences have our coaching service, but we are also [...]

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Start With A Plan

Over the Memorial Day weekend, we built a wooden play structure from a kit. It is very hard work and I learned a couple of important things: 1) Carpenters and landscapers probably don’t have very nice fingernails or soft hands. 2) You really need a plan. Without the instruction manual, we would have had no [...]

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