Marketing Plan?! Oh No! Often just the words send chills into the bones of many small business people and freelancers. But ask yourself: how can I make people aware of who I am and what I do? Answer: Marketing! Many people just don’t understand what “marketing” means, and often procrastinate because they feel they don’t know how to successfully market themselves.
Devising a Marketing Plan
Marketing is simply putting you and your business in a position to solve the problems of others. When you understand what the challenges and problems your potential customers or clients face every day, then you can craft a plan that focuses on how your products or services can help them to solve those problems.
Developing a marketing plan doesn’t have to be complicated. A marketing plan is simply a way to communicate with people how you can be of service to them.
- In what ways can you and will you contact people who may need your products and services in the future?
- How often will you create a contact, make a connection, advertise or announce the unique benefits of your business to others?
- How will you track your marketing efforts?
After you’ve outlined the “big picture” for your marketing efforts, it’s time to plan some of the details.
- Contacts: do you have a contact capture form on your website? Do you have website?
- Social media: are you focused on maximizing at least 1-2 social media outlets where you can offer valuable information about your business? Twitter? Facebook? LinkedIn? Google+? Pinterest? Email? Start with one method, and then expand your outreach as you get more familiar, comfortable, and experienced with each method.
- Traditional advertising: depending on your business, the tried and true traditional advertising methods such as radio/tv ads, newspaper ads, and the telephone business directories just may work for you.
- Networking: face-to-face business networking provides a great opportunity for you to meet potential customers and clients and meet and greet people with your elevator pitch.
- Referrals: the best time to ask your current customers and clients for referrals and testimonials is as soon as you have made a successful sale of your project or provided them with the perfect service offering for their needs.
Your marketing plan is a separate, yet integral part of your business plan. It can be as simple as a list of activities you do every day or every week to communicate with potential customers or clients. Design an easy-to-use tracking system and also keep track of the costs of each type of marketing you do with your business accounting software.
Once you have a developed a written marketing plan, followed your plan regularly, and tracked the success of each of your activities, you will soon find that you actually enjoy marketing. The key is to have a plan and do some kind of marketing every day.