Developing an Annual Marketing Plan
“One way to sell a consumer something in the future is simply to get his or her permission in advance.” – Seth Godin
Marketing is a critical and ongoing aspect of your business. It is an investment in future sales. As a business owner, you must always be looking into the future and towards the next sale or client acquisition. Potential clients need to know about your company and what you have to offer. Marketing is the way in which you gain those potential clients.
It's important to develop an annual marketing plan within your overall business plan. This will help you figure out when you need to spend resources (time and money) on a new product launch or special event.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself, thought starters and quotes from the experts to help you outline your marketing plan.
What's unique about your business idea?
“Give them quality. That’s the best type of advertising.” - Milton Hershey
Who are your target customers? Who buys your product or service now, and who do you really want to sell to?
“More contact means more sharing of information, gossiping, exchanging, engaging – in short, more word of mouth.” – Gary Vaynerchuk
Who are your competitors? What are their strengths and weaknesses? What are yours?
“An army may be likened to water, for just as flowing water avoids the heights and hastens to the lowlands, so an army avoids strength and strikes weakness.” Sun Tzu
What positioning message do you want to communicate to your target buyers? How can you position your business or product to let people know they are special?
“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.” – Jeff Bezo
What's your distribution strategy? How will you get your product or service in the hands of your customers?
“No sales, no company.” – Mark Cuban
The bottom line is that marketing will help you generate more sales. If your marketing campaigns are pulling their weight, you’ll start to see an increase in sales soon after you get started. You will also increase awareness about your company to the general public. Your best potential clients may see your ads and outreach (Newsletters, blog posts, Social Media engagement) hundreds of times before they choose to buy anything.
Raising awareness plants your business’s brand, its product, and its benefits in the mind of your target audience. By raising awareness through marketing, you’ll build a huge audience of potential clients who know, like and trust you.
You’ll learn your marketplace. When you first start your business, your target market can look as vast as an ocean. Once you start marketing, you dive below the surface start to see different communities, subcultures, and a huge network of potential connections.
Marketing opens your eyes to the reality of your industry. Once you start your own campaigns, you begin to notice what your competitors are doing. This information helps you perfect your own campaigns, learn more about your target audience, and get a better feel for your industry. You also start to learn why customers chose you. By polling your customers, you can learn what drove them to your product.
You'll build trust ...
“People share, read and generally engage more with any type of content when it’s surfaced through friends and people they know and trust.” – Malorie Lucich, Facebook
Building trust isn’t something that can be done overnight. The earlier you start marketing your business, the longer your target audience will have to get to know you. Start early and build a relationship with your target market that forms an image of reliability, and honesty and people will respond by trusting your business to live up to its image and deliver on that promise.
You’ll discover what works. There are hundreds of marketing tactics you could use to find customers. From old-fashioned direct mail to holding Social Media contests; experimenting with different marketing methods helps you find the ones that work and focus on them.
Stay focused on acquiring data, keep moving forward to fine tuning the process and be looking to ever increase your results!
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Kim Peterson, Keynote Speaker, LinkedIn Expert, Teaching Teams To Increase Increase Opportunities By Building Relationships Online
Kim is the Founder & CEO of CommonSenseHealth, a health-conscious, Colorado-based digital marketing firm,
CommonSenseHealth has provided top-notch digital marketing & social media services for the health & wellness industry
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