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3 Jul 2015

Create a Marketing Plan

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To achieve the best sales, you need to do appropriate marketing.

To do a good cost-effective job of marketing, you need to have a plan.

I doubt many business owners would argue with these points, yet surprisingly few businesses actually have a marketing plan.

Why is that?

Like many aspects of running a business, few business owners have ever had the opportunity to learn other than from what they have worked out for themselves. If they’ve never experienced the benefit of creating and using a marketing plan, it’s not going to be an urgent priority.

“I didn’t get where I am today by having a marketing plan!”

(Sure, and to get any further you need to have a marketing plan!).

Whole books have been written on this subject so naturally I can only provide a very brief insight, but enough to get you started.

  1. Work out what your objectives are for a period of time, eg for 90 days.
  2. Break down the objectives into marketing objectives, ie related to generating leads from new prospects or existing customers.
  3. I recommend making a list of 10-20 ideas that are each likely to generate some leads. For inspiration, look to what you’d successfully done before, what others in similar businesses do, or get a copy of “Instant Cashflow” by Brad Sugars (or email me for a list of strategy ideas).
  4. For each idea: a) Estimate the cost to implement it b) Estimate the number of leads and the number of sales it will generate c) Estimate the Gross Profit (GP) you’ll gain from each sales within your target time period d) Calculate the ROI (total profit divided by total costs) and show as a percentage, eg 250%
  5. Now sort the list into order, best ROI at the top is the simplest way. You now have a list of marketing ideas for your business and the best return at the top.
  6. Now here’s a part that few people, including marketing experts, actually do (and hence often fail) - add together the GP from the various ideas. Does the total exceed the goal you set? If it doesn’t - you need to keep working at the ideas because so far you don’t have enough good ones!
  7. When you have enough ideas that they’ll generate your target GP within the timeframe - get started on the best one first and work through them.
  8. Set up each activity so that you can measure the results. This helps you know what the ROI really is... and in future you’ll know whether each was a good idea to use again or one to dump!
  9. Before the end of the period, eg the calendar quarter, start planning the next quarter’s marketing so that you can start on day one.

I didn’t say marketing was easy!

Most people think marketing is really creative, and some of the ideas can be. But most of all it’s a numbers game and all about planning, calculating, testing & measuring. If you want some help with your marketing plan, feel free to ask questions here or get in touch on alansmith@actioncoach.com or 07972 310997.