Working Your Marketing Plan in 2020

Most likely your business has a new budget starting fresh in January of 2020.

Many companies create the marketing budget as a percentage of revenue, or a percentage of desired revenue. The marketing team works closely with the sales team and uses the forecast to anticipate how to reach potential new customers, convert quotes into orders and build the pipeline. This then allows a company to set its sights on expanding the business. An accounting firm looking to expand, for example, might focus its marketing strategy on its growth. They may be looking for an accountant practice for sale to add to their portfolio, and their marketing may reflect this.

Dividing the budget up into company awareness building and product/service advertising can help build the steps needed to build inquiries.

Deciding where to put the effort and expenses in media depends what influences your customers and how you can best attract potential customers.

If most of your customers come from referrals, perhaps your marketing plan rewards those who bring in new business with a discount on their products or services… or with a value-added product. Making it easy for your existing customer to share your contact information is a great way to help customers to refer new business to you.

How do you reward your referral network? Do you even know who your best referral customers are?

Do you know what they say when they refer your business and how they referred it? Is it via social media, a business card, sharing a contact from their phone?

Do you always ask “How did you hear about our business?” and “What have you heard about us?”

Both of these questions seem elementary, but the answers can provide a helpful key to where to spend your money.

“I saw your phone number painted on one of your trucks… on a yard sign… it popped up on my social media feed… I googled and your ad came up…. My buddy texted it to me.”

Does your marketing plan for 2020 include keeping track of how the leads reached you?

Preparing Your 2016 Marketing Plan

2016 marketing planHave you been keeping up with your 2015 marketing program?

Perhaps your plan called for posting weekly in social media for your company and sending out a press release quarterly.

Are you on track with the plan… or did it get derailed?

I’ve seen companies put together a very aggressive marketing program at the beginning of the year with many trade shows, print ads, keynote speaking engagements, and other expensive or time intensive tactics.

Much like many January New Year’s resolutions, those over-achieving plans can get derailed when reality of the day-to-day, month-to-month workloads take hold.

And just like those resolutions, you shouldn’t just throw in the towel because things haven’t worked out the way you wanted them to. Now is the time to take stock of your 2015 marketing plans, get done what you can for 2015 and update your plan for 2016.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What worked? What didn’t get done but would have worked?
  • Do you need to have your 2016 marketing budget set? Now is the time to get quotes and estimates for next year.
  • Does your 2015 marketing budget disappear if you don’t use it? Don’t waste the opportunity to get your business off to a strong start in the New Year.

Take time today to review the 2015 plan. Look for the activities that will set you up for a strong 2016.

Preparation now will provide rewards down the road.

Taking Baby Steps in Marketing: Or Eating the Elephant One Bite at a Time

Today’s post is for the small business owner who manages under 5 employees:

If you run a small business and are trying to juggle many tasks, trying to write an entire marketing plan in one sitting can be daunting. Unless you’re just updating an existing plan, it just doesn’t make sense.

And implementing a marketing program doesn’t happen overnight either!

Put together a system to create your marketing program. Figure out a way to execute it and measure it. Who was it who said “A journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step”?  Or “eating an elephant begins with a single bite?”

Here’s one way that might work for you:

  1. What are you trying to accomplish with your marketing (build awareness, generate inquiries?) These are your marketing goals.
  2. Identify your target market. Who exactly are your trying to reach?
  3. What matters to them? 
  4. How can you help them?
  5. What methods of communication influences them?

Make a chart by clicking on the image below. Print it out for your one page implemention plan. Write 1,2,3,4,5 under the calendar and jot down your answers to the above questions.

Now ask yourself these questions:

  1. What’s the one new marketing tool that will most help our business this year?
  2. What’s the easiest new marketing tool to implement?
  3. What’s our most effective marketing tool to date?
  4. What should be working but isn’t because it needs “tweaking”?

Write another 1,2,3,4, on the  bottom of the page and list your answers.  Now you’ll plan to do:

  • the most effective tool first quarter (and second and third and fourth!)
  • the easiest tool to implement second quarter.
  • the tool that will most help your business third quarter.
  • tweak the broken tool during 4th quarter.

Write this in the boxes. Break down the steps needed for each tool, assign one person of your group (including yourself) a step along the way.  Your goal: Each month of the quarter forward motion in your marketing.  So many people don’t do anything because even starting feels overwhelming.

How will you know that the task is accomplished and the marketing is working?  Here are some ideas for making sure it gets done and is working:

  • Create a checklist
  • Hold a marketing meeting for 15 minutes each week to track progress
  • Have a status report of results easily accessible on the shared drive
  • Use a white board to track progress

Each small company operates differently.  What works for you?