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.

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