How to Make a Small Business Marketing Plan

Hello from gorgeous LA!  I’m up early for once in my life (eh hem, because my body thinks it’s three hours later than it actually is here) so for the attendees of The Party Goddess Uncensored, and everyone else who will read this post, I wanted to write a quick follow up to my session on Full Circle Marketing yesterday.  Marketing may not be your specialty, but it’s absolutely essential to build your business.

Here are a few of my key points from yesterday….

Determine your Budget: Think about how much money you made this year, how much you want to make next year and take 10% of that number (which is generally 10% of your gross income) and go marketing shopping.

Determine your Client: You can’t know where and who to advertise with or even what SEO terms you should implement in your website until you know who your client is.  Who is he/she.  Where do they live?  What do they like?  Knowing this and targeting your message to this person will only increase the results your marketing has because you are speaking their same language.

Know your Market: Not all cities are created equally, and neither are the marketing opportunities within them.  What works in one city, does not always work in another.  Ask around, meet advertising representatives from all of your local medias and interview them.

Do the math: Compare your CPM (cost per thousand) and know the difference that each media brings to the table.  One publication might have a smaller distribution, but if it’s more targeted towards your key client, that may be a better route for you instead of spending more money on a media with a higher circulation that is less targeted.  Or the reverse, it may be appealing to buy into the cheap bridal show, but if it only brings 30 brides, you are better off investing in a higher prices show that delivers a higher number of attendees thus increasing your chance to put your business in front of more eyes.  Do your research.

Spread the love: Remember a cookie recipe isn’t just made up of one ingredient, it takes several for the perfect taste.  Same goes for you marketing plan.  Spread your advertising budget across several medias that are targeted directly towards your perfect client.  Those advertising efforts WILL cross promote themselves.  Print leads to web searches, blogging leads to better rank in organic searches, bridals shows deliver leads which fuel your email campaigns. I could go on forever!

Make a Plan: Do not make advertising decisions on the fly.  Begin two or three months before your fiscal year and do your research.  Interview local medias, re-evaluate your website and collateral material, review the advertising you’ve done in the last year and take all this information and map out how you intend to promote your business next year.  You will have a clearer vision of where you are going, what you are prepared to spend, and you can even pre-plan your follow up and sales strategies when those advertising methods start delivery new inquiries.

Make it Pretty: Friends don’t’ let friends have ugly websites.  But it goes beyond websites… business cards, thank you notes, media kits, advertisements.  If they look like they were made on your elementary publisher program, people WILL NOT take you seriously.  Invest in a professional graphic designer who will get to know your business and rely the exact message you are trying to get across to the public in beautifully design custom artwork for you.  Ugly ads are the devil and they will be counter productive to your overall marketing plan.

Remember, the advertising methods you choose for your marketing plan deliver impressions on your business, NOT new clients.  While you are interviewing those medias, don’t forget to take a GOOD look at you.  How polite is the girl who answers your phone?  How quickly do your sales reps return calls/emails from new client inquiries?  Does your staff know how to up sell your services?  If you cannot confidently answer a resounding YES to these questions, you need to invest time and money in your company too.

Now that you have a plan, you need to know how to track and understand how all of the ingredients in your marketing plan are working for you.  Next week I’m hosting  a webinar on Getting to Know Google Analytics and I hope you’ll join me.  Learn more here.