Marketing your business has four stages: plan, execute, track and measure.
If you haven’t had a marketing plan in the past, we’ll start with a review of last year so we can see how you did. Can you directly attribute revenue to your marketing activities? If so, which ones gave you the highest return? Don’t know? That’s ok – we’re looking forward to the New Year, not into the past. From this point on you will plan, execute, track and measure on a regular basis so that there are no more year end surprises.
Create a simple plan for your business
Having a great marketing plan is critical to its success. You absolutely must do it before you begin marketing. It’s not difficult or time consuming to write a marketing plan – just a few hours is all you need. Register for a simple worksheet to help you get started. If you download this worksheet, I’d appreciate your feedback in the comments section.
Execute the activities consistently
A great marketing plan is done to guide you in your marketing activities. The plan helps you understand how each activity works in synergy with your other marketing activities and it ensures you give a consistent message throughout. But the real key to success in marketing is the ability to execute the plan, working each activity until you have attracted more clients than you can handle. I’ve seen many businesses put together a plan but then don’t follow through with the plan, wasting so much time and missing real opportunities to build a successful business.
Develop a system for tracking marketing effectiveness
Determine now how you will track sales against the activities. Make sure you always ask how someone find you. Put it on your web site as part of the contact form. Have your office manager ask everyone who calls. Use the online tracking mechanisms available with Google Adwords and Yahoo Search. Knowing what’s working and what’s not will help you make budget decisions when you get an opportunity and you need to “find” some money in the marketing budget.
Review at least quarterly to see how your activities are working. I wrote a more lengthy post on this subject a few weeks ago so I won’t go into great detail. However, it’s important enough to remind you to be aware of where and how you spend your marketing dollar.
Make a resolution this year to plan, execute, track and measure on a regular basis. You’ll find that your marketing becomes more effective and you can make adjustments along the way. Being flexible with your plan helps you take advantage of opportunities without wondering how you will fit it into your budget.