Let me get right to the point. The single most powerful small business
marketing tool on the planet is a marketing plan. Now before you roll
your eyes and run for the hills let me clear a few things up.
When I talk about a marketing plan I am not referring to those
academic exercises found in college marketing books, or the
templated mumbo jumbo found in business planning software. I
will not be asking you to determine your share of the market
today. Give me a break, share of the market, most small business
owners just need to figure out to get ten more customers.
A [url=http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/free_marketing_plans.htm]marketing plan[/url] is a simple (in many cases one page) document
that specifically answers who you are, what you do, who needs it,
how you plan to grab them by the throat, when you plan to do it
and how you plan to pay for itâ€¦in a way that everyone in your
organization, network, and client base can clearly understand.
Now that was a mouthful so let me back up a moment. Small business
owners are doers, not planners. While doing is better than, say,
mildewing, without direction, it leads to “marketing idea of the
week” syndrome and stunts any chance a small business has for
Take one day, follow these 7 simple steps to creating the most
powerful small business marketing tool on the planet, and your
life will become a much simpler affair. Flowers will grow where
weeds had previously resided, your children will say thank you
at the top of their lungs, and your favorite baseball team will
finally make that run for the pennant.
Well, maybe none of that will happen but you won’t be as
irritated when it doesn’t.
Step 1: Narrow your market focus
Look at whom you are currently doing most of your business with.
Figure out why they do business with you and what it is about
them that is unique. Write one paragraph that describes what
they look like and what they want out of life. Take a good hard
look at the rest of your clients and customers and decide if
they fit that description of your best client. Start saying no
when the phone rings and it’s not your target market calling.
Step 2: Position your business
Figure out what it is that you do best, figure out what your
target market longs for and tell the world that you do that
like no one else ever thought of. Maybe it’s serving a niche,
maybe it’s a form of service, maybe it’s a way you package
your products. Here’s a hint: you probably don’t know what it
is. Call up 3 or 4 of your clients and ask them why they buy
Step 3: Core messages
Create several very compelling benefits of doing business with
your firm and find ways to work them into everything you say
and do. Just remember it’s not a benefit unless your clients
think it is. Your clients don’t buy what you sellâ€¦they buy
what they get from what you sell.
Step 4: Marketing materials
Recreate all of your marketing materials, including your website,
so that they speak only of your core messages and your target
Step 5: Never cold call
Make sure that all of your advertising, including yellow pages,
is geared to creating prospects and not customers. You must find
ways to educate before you sell. Your target market needs to
learn how you provide value in a way the will make them want to
pay a premium for your services or products. You simply can’t do
this in a 3 x 4 ad. Your ad needs to get them ask for more
information–then you can proceed to selling.
Step 6: Expect referrals
You must create a referral marketing engine that systematically
turns clients and referral networks into 24 hour marketing
powerhouse. The first step in the system is to make providing
referrals a condition of doing business with your firm.
Step 7: Live by a calendar
After you complete steps 1-6, determine what you need to do to
put them into action and then schedule them on a calendar. Whatever
it is that you need to pick a month and pledge to get it done that
month. The mistake most small business owners make is to get
overwhelmed when they realize how much they really need to.
If you can begin to schedule one or two activities each month you
will look up at the end of six months and find that you have a
fully developed referral system, new website, and a lead generation
system. Slow and steady wins the race tortoise.
So tell me, what’s going to change if you don’t create a rock
solid marketing plan?
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