All too often in business, our focus is directed toward the ever-consuming sales aspect; building your client base by pounding the pavement to get in front of as many faces as you can and shoving products down their throat, figuratively speaking. As an entrepreneur, it seems there are not enough hours in the day to build your brand properly. I am here to tell you there are when you build a marketing strategy.
As an entrepreneur myself, I understand the stress that consumes you. As a digital marketing strategist, I am here to discuss marketing and the development of a marketing plan and guide you through the process. A good place to start is your goals. Goals are a funny thing. Sure, it’s easy to know where you need to be, but how do you get there? A goal will never be met if there isn’t some sort of plan to attach to said goal, and the same goes for your marketing goals. Every marketing goal—no matter how big or small—must have a plan of action to ensure the achievement of that goal. To this end, one thing is abundantly clear: marketing plans are absolutely mandatory, and your brand needs them to flourish.
So, let’s discuss the different types of marketing.
As you are aware, or may not be, there are two types of marketing: outbound and inbound marketing. Outbound marketing is the traditional form of marketing wherein a company initiates the conversation and sends its message out to an audience. Outbound marketing examples include trade shows, TV commercials, radio commercials, print advertisements (newspaper ads, magazine ads, flyers, brochures, catalogs, etc.), cold calls, and email blasts.
Inbound marketing is a form of marketing whereby one attracts the attention of one’s prospects, via content creation, before said prospects are even ready to buy; it’s one of the best and most cost-effective ways to convert strangers into customers and promoters of your business. With inbound marketing, potential customers find you through channels like blogs, search engines, and social media. This is unlike outbound marketing, which fights for customer attention. By creating content designed to address the problems and needs of your ideal customers, inbound marketing attracts qualified prospects and builds trust and credibility for your business. Learn more about inbound marketing by reading our blog “Your Best Customer Service Tool? Social Media.”
Both types of marketing have their place and level of effectiveness. If you operate a local business, then a print ad campaign that caters to your niche is a wise choice for your marketing dollar; however, if you operate a global business, you are going to need to customize your inbound marketing so that your product and services reach a wider audience.
I want to give you a sample marketing plan for a coach who wants to market to affluent business people in her local market. She has a budget (notice the word “budget,” which is part of planning) of approximately $12,000.00 for the year. She researches her community and discovers the following with regard to her plan.
Print Ads: She knows that there are only two magazines, Business Magazine A or Business Style Magazine B. Magazine A goes to all businesses in her area. For a six-unit ad, the cost would range from $380.00 for a one time ad to $370.00 for three ads, which would be a total cost of $1,100.00. As for Business Style Magazine B, 20,000 copies go to businesses and affluent neighborhoods four times per year. They have a number of packages as well; one that has caught her eye is a plan offering one full page, one-half of a page, one-third of a page, and 12 months on the web. This package has a total value of $4,740.00, or a monthly fee of $395.00.
Partnerships: I believe strongly in the power of relationships. If you don’t already have a media kit, you need to have some print material on your products and services that you can hand out to not only clients but also potential partners who can refer business. In this case, our coach is a business coach. She probably wants to connect with business lawyers who can refer her to clients who are in transition in terms of their businesses, or maybe HR professionals in companies who value succession planning. Once our coach developed a mailing list, she would craft a very personalized introduction letter to these individuals; she would then mail this with her media kit and ultimately follow up with a phone call. This type of marketing costs about $500.00.
Speaking Engagements: I would recommend identifying appropriate places to speak. I think identifying a topic that is educational will go a long way in establishing your credibility in the marketplace. You do need to be able to speak well—and I would recommend that you invest in some training if you have never given a speech—but this is a great way to position yourself as an expert in your chosen market. A basic speaking course will cost about $1,000.00. Once our hypothetical life coach has taken a speech course, she would then identify places in her area to speak, such as networking groups, business tradeshows, or conventions.
Sponsorship Opportunities: Our coach identifies two affluent charity galas where she offers a free consultation along with a leather-bound journal and pen as a door prize. Her branding is, of course, embossed on the front of the journal as well as on her pens. Now, our coach needs to buy 50 pens and 10 journals that she will use throughout the year. Her total cost for this will be about $400.00. For branding of this type, you are required, at a minimum, to have your logo and phone number on it. So, you need to be strategic with this type of purchase; you cannot buy promotional material without having a concrete plan for it, or it will just sit in a closet.
Networking Groups: Our business coach finds two networking groups to join; one is a female professional group with a $600.00/year membership fee. She also has a monthly obligation to attend a dinner at a cost of $40.00. She joins another group which meets weekly. The membership fee is $300.00 per year, and the breakfast meeting is $36.00 per month.
Email Campaign: Our coach opts out of this as she runs a local business and has not developed a mailing list at this time. However, she does have her webmaster develop a landing page where people can subscribe to her mailing list on her website. Email campaign software that allows you to track and send emails normally offers free subscriptions for the first 100 emails. So, she just needs to pay her web developer to develop the landing page for about $120.00.
Social Media Campaign: She does decide to utilize social media. She believes that it would be great to have two posts per week with a small ad managed by a professional on Facebook. She will pay approximately $299.00 per month for branded graphics and pay-per-click ads for $20.00 per month.
Thus, her total budget is as follows:
The total of cost is $11,524.00.
This is a modest marketing plan, but it is basically where all of us start. Now, this plan was intended to illustrate a sample marketing plan and inspire you to develop your own plan. You may opt out of print. You may opt to spend three times this amount on social media if your research indicates that that is where your marketing dollars should go.
We all need to plan and test our marketing. If something isn’t working, then we need to be flexible enough to change it, but still patient enough to let a marketing effort take hold.
I have worked with plenty of business professionals and helped them create a marketing plan that fits with their needs. Let me know how I can you get moving in the right direction for your marketing needs. Contact me today.