Published on Monday 20 April 2015 in The Shoestring Marketing Blog
How you'll profit from a practical marketing plan. Guest blog from CIM Fellow Dee Blick, the UK's No 1 bestselling small business marketing author.
If you're keen to grow your business you have to do more than just deliver an expert and attentive service to your customers. Of course this will notch up your sales but it won't build your business to the dizzying heights you deserve. You need to spend a little time on a regular basis away from your business, creating a simple but powerful marketing plan. Look upon your marketing plan as the engine that fuels your sales and saves you money. Without one you're more likely to make dodgy marketing decisions. The phone rings and it's a salesman promising you an army of new customers provided you part with a tidy sum that is. Before you know where you are....
So set a few hours aside. Put the kettle on and find a space where you're not going to be disturbed. The only tools you need? Pen and pad!
1. Who do you want to sell to, aka your target audience and, what will you promote to each group?
Are you targeting key influencers - people that can recommend you to an army of potential customers? This includes non-competing tradesmen. Make a list of each group that would benefit from knowing about your services including your lapsed customers. Score them. Which groups do you really want to reach without delay? Your time is precious...
2. What are the benefits for each group of doing business with you?
When did you last perform a benefit stock take of your business? Make a list of all the benefits you offer customers including your qualifications, accreditations and customer service ethos (not forgetting all the small touches you provide at little or no cost). I reckon when you've finished this list you'll see that you're guilty of serious underselling...
3. Audit your literature and website.
Do they need a radical overhaul either because they're out of date or they're not doing your business any favours? When you compare them against your new list of benefits can you see how they fall short? Don't be afraid to call in the professionals - a good designer and copywriter can work wonders provided you give them a clear brief on the services you want to promote, the benefits you offer and the groups you're planning on targeting.
4. Set realistic and attainable sales goals.
As the philosopher Seneca said: "If one does not know to which port one is sailing then no wind is favourable." How many new customers are you aiming for in the next 12 months? How much do you want to increase sales by?
Set a weekly target for the number of prospects you're going to contact, how you're going to contact them and when. If you can reach 10 cold prospects every week that's great going and the momentum will soon build.
Have you created your marketing plan and if so, how has it benefited your business? Tweet us @vanarama to tell us. You could win a Vanarama mug!
Our guest blog writer is Dee Blick, a Chartered Marketer and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. Fellowship is the highest status awarded by CIM, the World's largest marketing body.
With 30 years' marketing experience, Dee has extensive experience in new product development and marketing strategy, with a track record of planning and delivering exceptional campaigns on a shoestring budget.