Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Start NOW: Your 2011 Marketing Plan! (Part 3 of 3)

So, last week I shared some key points I learned from a webinar hosted by Ilese Benum, co-founder of Marketing Mentor, entitled "Start NOW: Your 2011 Marketing Plan!" First, we focused on key factors that should be determined prior to developing a marketing plan. Next, we discussed marketing tools and tactics to consider as part of your overall plan. Now, let's move on to how we'll carry-out our marketing plan—we'll break it into daily, weekly and monthly tasks.

Daily Tasks:
1. Prospecting Hour: Set aside an hour each day to reach out to a few of your prospects.
2. Social Networking Break: Set aside time to network via your social media channels, 30-60 minutes per day is suggested by Ilese Benum.
3. Research: Spend a little time each day researching potential prospects.

Weekly Tasks:
Weekly tasks are divided into two groups—beginner and advanced. See the handy-dandy chart I made for you below…

1. Marketing Monday: OK, this could be any day, really, but "Marketing Monday" has such a nice ring to it. Basically, set aside a day each week to work on your own marketing efforts.
2. Networking Event: Try to attend one in-person networking event each week.
3. Follow Up: Follow up with any outstanding proposals or projects.
4. Online Discussion: This is a great opportunity to write your own blog posts, comment on other posts, or join a group forum.
5. Thought Leadership Efforts: Work on ideas for articles, speaking engagements, white papers, etc.

Monthly (or Quarterly) Tasks:
Finally, we come to your monthly (or quarterly) tasks. Again, these tasks are broken down into a Beginner and an Advanced section. You determine where you should fall. Another handy-dandy chart to the rescue…

1. E-Newsletter: Some may opt to send a monthly newsletter, while others prefer quarterly. Pick a time frame that works best for you and stick to it. (Ummm, I'd better take my own advice here, my enewsletter is WAY overdue!)
2. Web Updates: Make sure to update your website on a monthly basis so your information is current and up-to-date. This is also a great opportunity to check your web stats through programs like Google Analytics
3. Direct Mail: If your business permits, send out a direct mail campaign on a monthly or quarterly basis. This could involve a special coupon or promotion, or just a basic self promo piece.
4. Case Study: Chose a specific topic to write a case study about. For instance, in my profession, a case study may entail a detailed description of a client's overall branding and identity system. What would a case study mean for your business?

There you have it! These past three posts should give you most of the insight, tools, and tasks you need to write (and stick with) a successful marketing plan for 2011. Remember as a business owner, NOW is the time to start focusing on next year! Good luck and please let me know how you do!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Start NOW: Your 2011 Marketing Plan! (Part 2 of 3)

Earlier this week, I shared some key points that I learned from a webinar hosted by Ilese Benum, co-founder of Marketing Mentor, entitled "Start NOW: Your 2011 Marketing Plan! We first focused on three key factors that must be determined prior to event starting your marketing plan—goals, target audience, and the tools you'll use to keep you on track. Hopefully over the week you've thought about these factors.

Now, lets focus on some of the actual marketing tools or tactics you should consider as part of your overall marketing plan. Ilese Benum suggests the following:

1. Networking: Some may not consider networking as a marketing tool, but it IS, it actually is a BIG one! If done correctly, networking can set you up to build lasting working relationships. Try to include both online & in-person networking as part of your plan. Personally, I try to attend at least one in-person networking event per week, plus utilize social networking tools such as Facebook or Twitter, or even more specific social/business sites such as Savor the Success (a business networking site for women business owners).

2. Website: If you don't have a website, you may want to think about getting one to use as possibly one of your most effective marketing tools. (If you don't have a site for your business, um, call me!) Your website is where potential customers can learn more about your company, it's a place to include all the pertinent info about your company...the meat and potatoes of your business. 

3. Email Marketing: Consider sending out an email newsletter on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis (whichever works best for you!). I recommend using a company such as MailChimp to host and send your email campaigns.

4. Direct Outreach: This includes direct contact with potential customers, such as phone calls or in-person meetings. Don't disregard how important some direct face-to-face contact with a potential client can be.

5. Thought Leadership: Ilese Benum defines thought leadership as speaking and writing outlets. It's a way for you to present yourself as an expert in your field. Speaking engagements can include your local civic organization or a national conference (and anything in-between). Writing gigs may include your own blogging, or guest blogging (or both). White papers that you include as resources for your existing and potential clients will also help define you as an expert.

For a well-rounded marketing plan, you really should utilize each of the above tactics. How will you use the above 5 marketing tools for your business? I'd love to hear some of you ideas!

Also, be sure to tune in next week as we conclude this 3-part blog topic with a list of suggested daily, weekly and monthly tasks of your marketing plan.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Start NOW: Your 2011 Marketing Plan!

It's hard to believe it's already November and the holidays and end of the year are quickly approaching. (personally, my mind is still back in the sunny, summer days of August, but I digress…). As a business owner, the end 2010 means focusing on the beginning of 2011—including next year''s marketing plan.

Last week I participated in a webinar hosted by Ilese Benum, co-founder of Marketing Mentor, entitled "Start NOW: Your 2011 Marketing Plan! Over the next three blog posts, I'll share with you some of the key points I learned.

First things first, before you even start your marketing plan, you must decide a few key factors including goals, target audience, and which tools you'll use to keep you on track. So, begin thinking about your goals for next year. Be detailed and specific, including as many dates and figures as possible. Download a worksheet provided by the Marketing Mentor to help you think about your goals. At the same time, start thinking about your ideal clients, who you'd like to focus your marketing efforts on. Here's another worksheet to help you brainstorm who those perfect clients will be. And last, how will you keep track of your efforts. You may choose to simply input all due dates into your calendar (check out a sample Google calendar below), or use a To-Do List such as Things, or a project management program like Paymo (more to come on this little program later!)

Sample Marketing Calendar Task Tool
So, let's get started on the above three key factors: Business Goals; Target Audience; and which tool you'll use to stay on task. Let me know how you do!

Later this week, I'll move onto the different types of marketing tools you may consider using for your 2011 Marketing Plan! Plus, coming Soon: Part 3: Daily, Weekly and Monthly Marketing Tasks!