If you have ever seen a group of people suddenly start dancing in the mall, noticed a barrage of bumper stickers covering surfaces downtown, or been attracted to an unusual display in a shop window or on a street corner, you have experienced guerilla marketing. This strategy, which is touted as a low-cost, high-impact alternative [...]Continue Reading
Posts Tagged “marketing planning”
I’ve made many mistakes in business as a business owner the last 20 years. There was a time in the beginning when I thought that I had all of the time in the world. But now I feel like I can’t afford the luxury of wasting precious time anymore by making costly mistakes. If you’re [...]Continue Reading
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.
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
Have you ever spent a lot of money on a traditional (print, television, radio) advertisement for your business and have it not work? I have, many times. And then in frustration I would claim that “Advertising doesn’t work.” But if it doesn’t work, why do companies like Geico, Coca Cola and Macy’s spend millions of dollars on advertising every year?
The truth is that they wouldn’t spend money on something that doesn’t work. And for companies like these, it makes sense given the massive numbers of people they need to buy their products every day in order for them to be profitable.
The reason that they use these mediums is simple; because television, radio and print is a very effective way to reach massive quantities of prospective buyers on a consistent basis.
Reach and Frequency
The marketing concept we are talking about here is called “Reach and Frequency.”
Reach is the total number of prospects who hear your marketing messages. Frequency is how often they are marketed to.
Seth Godin uses a colorful and appropriate analogy about reach and frequency in his book Permission Marketing.
Think of it this way: Marketing is like planting a garden. Which is better? Planting many seeds and watering them only once, or planting fewer seeds, but watering them consistently over time?
Just like your seeds will die if you only water them once, so will your marketing messages die in the minds of your prospects if they only hear/see them once.
Frequency Builds Trust
When consulting with one of my clients recently I asked about how our marketing and advertising was working. The question was, “Why are more people calling? Is it because of our radio ad? Newspaper insert? Website? ” I was surprised by his answer. He said “It’s not just one thing; it’s everything.”
When customers call they say that they saw our insert in the paper, but then they had driven by a few times and seen our place, but then they also heard us on the radio, and they had seen us on TV too. And they had finally decided they needed to come in and see us.
My client says that it’s all about “Reinforcement.” Another term for this would be frequency; and frequency builds credibility and trust. All of the marketing strategies we use on a regular consistent basis work together to bring more customers in the door.
Your reach and frequency needs will determine which advertising media will work best for you. Just don’t do what I did and run only one advertisement and then give up. Plant an assortment of seeds, water them regularly and then harvest bushels of success.
Always be marketing.
- How to Become a Marketing Superstar
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- 5 Easy Ways to Turbocharge Response to Marketing Materials
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.
Have you ever spent a lot of money on a traditional (print, television, radio) advertisement for your business and have it not work? I have, many times. And then in frustration I would claim that “Advertising doesn’t work.” But if it doesn’t work, why do companies like Geico, Coca Cola and Macy’s spend millions of [...]Continue Reading
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.-->
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 [...]Continue Reading
I love writing. No, let me put it another way, I love words. Writing is the one skill that I am grateful for. Yet, I’m the first to admit that I’m not a great writer, but just an okay one. There are people who take the written word to a whole new level, and while I [...]Continue Reading
Part I in a Series: Marketing Planning My husband collects baseball caps and at one time had at least 50 in his closet. If I asked to borrow one, he’d look at me, shrug his shoulders and say, “Which one?” But if I asked to borrow a specific baseball cap, such as a red one, [...]Continue Reading
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.
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.”
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!
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
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.
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