Is Your Marketing Plan Good Enough

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Ask small business owners what they are afraid
of most in their businesses and you typically get
one of two responses: marketing and
bookkeeping. We’re going to tackle just the
marketing side today and leave bookkeeping for
another day.

It’s all too common for small business owners to
avoid marketing their businesses until
they “need” to. “Need” meaning that they need
more money and, therefore, additional clients.
In reality, small business owners are no different
from larger companies in that they should be
marketing themselves all the time.

Despite that fact, I often hear the following from
my clients:

“I hate marketing.”

“I don’t like the thought of having to sell myself
to people.”

“I’m not comfortable cold calling.”

The above all boil down to the same thing:
a lack of understanding about what
marketing can and should be.

Marketing is not about opening the phone book
and calling everyone to see if they want your
services or spamming every email address you
can get your hands on.

Marketing allows you to get the word out
about your business. It allows you to tell
people who you are and what you do so that
when they need you and your services, you’re
there. You’ve already established
a “relationship” through your marketing, even if
you’ve never actually spoken with them before.
Studies show that it takes a person
seeing/hearing about you 7 to 10 times before
they remember you. Consistent marketing to
your target audience is critical.

Developing a marketing plan that fits not only
your business, but you personality is a critical
part of being a successful business. Maybe
you’re the type of person who loves networking
meetings, running a trade show booth and
participating in lots of public events.
Conversely, you may detest networking events
and shun anything remotely related to the
public. It doesn’t matter. The important thing
is to know yourself before you write your
marketing plan.

Are you an extrovert?

If so, go to the networking events; arrange to
have a booth at your target audience’s trade
shows; host teleclasses. Work these types of
campaigns into your marketing plan.

Are you an introvert?

Send newsletters (online or offline), participate
in online forums (such as Yahoo Groups or
Ryze), do direct mail campaigns to your target
audience.

You get the idea – make your marketing plan
and activities work with you rather than against
you.

The overall goal of your marketing plan is to
create campaigns and action steps that reflect
your personality while insuring that
your marketing funnel remains full at all
times. A full marketing funnel has all of the
following:

   1. Prospective clients who have just heard about you.
   2. Prospective clients who recognize your name when they hear it.
   3. Prospective clients who feel they know you and that you’ve developed a relationship with them.
   4. If the time is right for you both, prospective clients who become clients.

It will take some time to get to this level –
particularly if you are just starting out. And
that’s okay.

Just remember that marketing
your business is a full-time activity and should
reflect you – just as performing your service
does. Have some fun with it!

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