Earlier this week a business associate asked me a very important question that I have been asked many times.
“Why do I need a Marketing Plan?”
At first I wanted to say, ummm, that’s kind of like asking me, “Why do I need wheels on my car?” To me, a marketing plan is just something you must have to make your business successfully work. It’s like putting on your shoes to go outside or placing toothpaste on your toothbrush … it is just something you do to complete the end goal, right?
Here are my Top Three Reasons You Need a Marketing Plan in Place.
- Your Road Map To Success. You wouldn’t begin a road trip to an unknown destination without at least looking at a map. Right? So think of your marketing and advertising journey in the same light. When you begin to plan your marketing tactics for the upcoming year (HINT: now is the time to start doing so, DEP can help.), begin with your end goal first. As you think about that goal, define where you want to be financially, how many qualified leads you plan to bring in each month/week and how much you plan to spend for the year to meet these goals.
- Target the Right Market. If you feel you were a little short this year in achieving your goals, reevaluating your marketing tactics, approach and execution are all good places to start. Many times I find my client’s aren’t “speaking” to their target market in a way that captures their attention and prompts them to act. Even more frequently, I see business owners lacking the understanding of who their target market is, much less talking to them. Every year I encourage clients to reevaluate their target market. Ask yourself the following questions: What do most of my clients have in common (i.e. all doctors, like to spend time with their kids, in a certain age group, spend X amount of hours on the road each week)? Where do they go to learn more about the products/services I offer? What is the number one thing they keep telling me is a positive aspect about my business?
- Set benchmarks for success. Just like a professional athlete sets personal achievement goals for their workouts each week, as a business owner, you too should be measuring your success and even your failures on a weekly basis. When you begin crafting your marketing plan, think about what goals you wish to achieve each week. Do you want to sell 25 new widgets a week? How many potential clients should you meet with each week to meet your sales goals? Have you charted where your referrals are coming from? Are you seeking more referrals from these sources? Bottom line, look for measurable items you can add to your weekly schedule and at the end of the week measure off to see your progress. I notice that for many business owners, this can be an eye-opening practice. For instance, I found that in my own business, I at one point was spending 10 hours a week working on my blog. While as a writer having a blog is important, it’s ROI (Return on Investment) wasn’t near worth the time I was taking. Think about what those things are that are taking time away from securing your sale.
As you craft your marketing plan or work with someone like Dog-Eared Pages to craft a marketing plan, be sure you remember the reasons why having a plan in place is so important. You might be shocked how it can change the way you do business. For more ideas on crafting stellar marketing plans, check out the following links.
Crafting Your Marketing Plan-from How Magazine
How To Create a Marketing Plan-from Entrepreneur Magazine
Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages