Halfway through January – already! In between the rush of holiday parties and family activities, did you sit down and do the business planning you promised yourself that you would do? If not, it’s not too late to make sure that 2011 gets off to a fabulous start!
The first key to a successful, long-term marketing strategy is to be flexible, but any plan is better than no plan at all, so here are a few tips to help you get started on your Marketing Campaign.
Define and Redefine Your Target Market.
Yes, you’ve heard it before, and if you’ve been in business any length of time, you’ve likely already defined your market. But now is an excellent time to take another look at that market. How has it changed in the last few years? The recession has changed business for everyone. How well do your current customers and clients still fit the profile you made several years ago? What new markets would you like to target in the coming year?
If you are thinking of approaching a new industry, now is the time to research that group. Find out all you can about who they are and where you will find them. How will you develop a list of these new clients? To which trade associations do they belong? What will your compelling message be?
Leverage Your Existing Clients to Find More Like Them. Create an Action Plan
Now that you have a plan don’t just put it in the bottom desk drawer and forget about it. Set up a schedule for each element of your plan and put due dates on your calendar for those marketing techniques to be initiated. Make sure you create action steps that you can measure – as the year progresses you will see what parts of your plan have worked and what parts need to be adjusted.
A little bit of time spent planning now will set you up for a profitable new year!
Here’s a great tip to get you started on figuring out how to leverage your existing clients: review your current client list. If you use QuickBooks then you can bring up a two year comparison list of clients if you have no other way of tracking current customers. Identify your top seven clients. Can you replicate that success nationally? Leveraging your current client base with others just like them gives you credibility and offers a compelling message in your marketing communications.
Set Up Your Prospecting Lists Now.
Do you have an organized prospect list in Excel or some other contact management system? At minimum, keeping your prospect list in Excel ensures the ability to view all your prospects in an easy-to-read format. Create a column called, “Notes” and “Last Results/Next Steps”. Excel allows you to sort your list on a whim, according to each field or heading you have listed. Phone prospecting becomes easier, and in addition, with a few key strokes, creates labels for direct mail.
Look at Current Customers.
Of course, while you are developing new markets, don’t forget your tried and true clients. Make a list of your top 25 clients. When was the last time you contacted them? Develop a schedule for checking in with your clients on a regular basis throughout the year. How about your lost accounts? Are there clients who you should be contacting that you have done business with in the past two years? Perhaps the decision maker has changed. This list is important to consistently revisit on a regular basis.
What Else Are You Doing?
The best marketing plans incorporate a variety of techniques. Yes, it is always important to make those appointment-setting calls, but what other ways can you keep in touch with your clients and prospects? Consider postcards or other direct mail marketing, a newsletter, search engine optimization, public speaking, and of course, networking and referral programs. Keep in mind that the more ways in which you reach out to your prospects, the more likely they are to remember your message. When you’re ready to think about follow up by phone and you are considering MarketReach, you will already have the kind of brand awareness that comes from a multi-channel, consistent marketing approach.