The idea of putting time into a marketing plan isn't the sexiest thing you may be thinking about as you go about your day working in your business. But what you have to also add is the "working on your business" aspects.
If you are like me, I conduct very little business between Thanksgiving Day and New Years Day. This means that now is a good time to start thinking of my marketing plan for the upcoming year.
If you are reading this post, I am assuming that you have done the work to discover who your market is, what problems they have and how your service/product solves those problems. If you have not taken the time to do that yet, make that your first priority. If you cannot answer those questions, your marketing is most likely going to be bland or confusing. So make sure you keep refining and refining until you have those answers down pat.
For your marketing to be effective, you need to have a plan. Too many business owners create a spray and pray approach without any strategy or idea of how all the parts fit together.
These are the key factors in marketing and business building. The stage of business you are in will determine which activities you will need to do, so let's cover these first, then I will show you how to create a marketing calendar:
This is where your #1 focus is on growing your database. You should have a website that captures email addresses in exchange for some piece of information you will share. For an example, my `opt-in offer is a weekly training program entitled: Savvy Steps to Get Your Online Business Booming. In exchange for this training, I get the permission to email/market to people who sign up.
You must make your website a data capturing one, otherwise it is wasted. List building is also a state of mind in that you are always thinking of new ways to grow your list.
This is looking at ways to get you more in front of your ideal market. No one will buy something from you if they cannot find you. Following are some of the best ways I know of to gain visibility:
- Writing articles
- Radio interviews
- Social media: Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/Pinterest
- Joint Ventures
This is where you are seen as a credible expert. Of course, this builds on visibility, because once you have a following, the more people you can help, the more buzz that gets created about you. Adding testimonials or case studies to your site is helpful here. And part of credibility just takes time. The more you market, the more people assume credibility. If you have to see a few people for free or give some free talks to establish your name, do it. It will pay off in the end.
Now that we have all this in place, how do we get you out marketing?
Create a calendar
At a minimum, you should be sending an email at least twice a month to your audience, but weekly is better. That may be shocking and you will bump into the "but what if that upsets someone and they unsubscribe" discomfort. Trust me….you will get far more money much more quickly if you are `top of mind,' so this is a place that you can transition into.
Now look at what you have to promote. Grab your calendar and you can do it one of two ways.
If you have products or services, you will want to see how they piece together. The goals is to have your clients take baby steps to your bigger services (we call that an upsell) so that they in essence learn how to buy from you. The theory is that you give little pieces first, and then add more and more in the mix so that the people who are ready to take the next steps with you can.
The first thing you want to do then is to look at what you have (or could create) so that you stagger your price points and offerings. You do not want to constantly be promoting, so factor this in when mapping out the year of launches.
The second way to look at your marketing calendar is to choose monthly themes. If you do not have products or services to sell frequently, map out ahead of time what you will be talking about in your marketing.
The goal is to choose a theme, so all your writing, speaking, focus would be on the topic. And of course, when giving great content, make sure you do not forget the 80/20 rule. Give content 80 percent of the time and sell 20 percent of the time. That might be a bit conservative, but that is a place you can start. Look at where your expertise is and map out 12 months of themes ahead of time so you do not have to wonder what you will be talking about.
The trick of marketing is just to market. Consistently. No marketing plan is going to be effective if you do not make the commitment to get your business in front of your market as often as possible in as creative way as possible. So this year, block out a set time each week to work on your marketing.