EasyChair Media
Call us today! (970) 686-5805

Developing a Marketing Plan 

If you think of some of the biggest events and successes in your life, you’ll realize few were spontaneous or purely due to luck. Your wedding, buying your first house, paying down debt, starting a business – they all began with a plan. Plans are what help you decide on a goal, determine how to get there and know when you’re making progress (or not). Ditto for your marketing plan.

The Details

Assuming you have a small business (vs. a huge corporation), your plan should cover one year. Plan to write several pages, maybe up to six or eight, depending on your business. You’ll need input and feedback from everyone involved in your business: your accountant, your employees, your partner(s), your marketing person, etc. Make sure your marketing plan is cohesive with your business plan and/or vision statement. Plan to review it every month and take notes on how reality is matching up with your marketing plan.

The Components

Everyone you ask will give you a different version of what to include in your marketing plan, but here are some basics that most experts advise:

1.      List and describe your products and services.

2.      Explain your geographic coverage.

3.      Who is your target market? (e.g. income level, gender, age)

4.      Who is your target persona? (This is a more detailed description of your “ideal” customer – a character sketch of sorts. A target persona for a bicycle store might be someone who is comfortable with technology, recycles, knows famous names in the cycling industry, plays hard on the weekends, hangs out on social media, etc.)

5.      What is your positioning statement in 40 words or fewer? (i.e. One or two sentences that tells your type of business, what you offer, who you target, why you’re different than your competition and what value you provide)

6.      What are your supporting statements to back up your positioning statement?

7.      What are you experts in?

8.      Who is your competition?

9.      How are you different than your competition?

10.  How do you market, sell and distribute your goods/services?

11.  What positive and negative changes in your industry do you foresee?

12.  Will your target market or persona be changing?

13.  What is not working in your business right now?

14.  What upgrades/changes will you need within the next year to be successful?

15.  What opportunities should we be seizing? What are our roadblocks?

16.  What are your big and small goals for the next 12 months? (e.g. hire more employees, open another location, add new product/service, expand territory, raise/lower prices, buy a building)

17.  How can you reach these goals?

18.  How will you measure success?

The Breakdown

Let’s say one of your larger goals is to double your profits within one year. Your sub-goals might include:

• Cut expenses

• Get more work from existing clients

• Get new clients

• Increase prices/rates

• Drop clients who are too high-maintenance

• Start collections on clients who haven’t paid

Under each of these sub-goals, you’ll detail your plan of attack. For example, to cut expenses you could put:

• Lease a smaller space

• Downsize the staff

• Start doing our own collections rather than outsourcing

• Work from home

• Clean our offices ourselves

Sample Marketing Plans

Here are some samples of marketing plans:

• http://www.morebusiness.com/templates_worksheets/bplans/printpre.brc

• http://www.slideshare.net/leerendlem/sample-marketing-plan

• http://inventors.about.com/library/bl/toc/blmarket.htm

If you’d like help creating your marketing plan or other segments of your business, we can help! Contact Kristie Melendez at (970)686-5805 or via k.melendez@easychairmedia.com.

Are you making a list and checking it twice?

You should be, because list building is about quality more so than quantity. In fact, you should be thinking of  opt-outs as positives, not negatives. They keep you from annoying people (which helps you avoid or decrease detractors), and they raise your open rate.  (According to Lyrisopen rates are about 15 percent.)

Photo credit: tungphoto

Buying a list is usually a waste of time and money. Email addresses change so frequently nowadays that you’ll get a lot of bounce-backs (undeliverable messages), which may cause the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block you as a spammer. Besides, you want people who are interested in what you have to say. Opt-ins are there by choice. Recipients on a purchased email list might have zero interest in your products or services.

So how do you get people to sign up for your email-marketing list who WANT to hear from you? Consider these 10 ideas.

  1. If you have an ecommerce site, have a box at checkout that allows customers to subscribe to your newsletter or other promotions. (Some companies use the reverse tactic: you will be subscribed unless you check the box to unsubscribe.)
  2. Hold a contest. Even if the prizes aren’t worth much, people will enter if the contest seems fun or gives them notoriety (or discounts on future purchases).
  3. Offer promotional codes on popular coupon sites like RetailMeNot.com and MyRetailCodes.com. The only “catch” is that they need to sign up for your newsletter to use the discount code.
  4. Include a request to subscribe in all confirmation emails (e.g. after a customer makes a purchase).
  5. Swap blurbs (or short articles) with another company that uses newsletters.
  6. Use a direct link to your sign-up page in all your promotional material.
  7. Take sign-up sheets to business expos and other events (or have a bowl that people can drop their card into with the understanding that they’ll be added to your newsletter list).
  8. Write great content for free article sites around the Web and post a direct link to your subscription page for those who want more great content.
  9. Use social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to invite people to subscribe.
  10. Set up an automatic response to friend/connection requests that come in from LinkedIn or Facebook asking people to subscribe. Be sure to include a direct link to a landing page with an EASY sign-up form.

Most importantly, do some spring (and summer and fall and winter!) cleaning. Track your list members’ responses and tighten up your list every quarter. Who hasn’t opened one of your emails over the last three months? How many click-throughs are you seeing – and for what?  Send a re-engagement email to your most inactive subscribers. If they don’t respond, cut them loose.

The framework of your email list can be built on a foundation of four principles:

  1. Make it easy to subscribe.
  2. Provide great content (or discounts or new products).
  3. Make it easy to share content (with an easy way for the people they’re sharing with to subscribe).
  4. Make it easy to unsubscribe.

Need help building a solid email list? EasyChair Media can help create, use and monitor this important marketing tool.