Wednesday, October 17, 2007

24 hour Marketing Plan--Part 2

I have given you enough time to complete the first few steps of the plan, now here is the remainder of the steps:

(Step 5) HOURS 9 to 18: Planning the Action
This is the heart of your game plan.
For each goal you've outlined, create a strategy; complete with your key messages and steps that will help you accomplish the goal. The good news: You have many tools at your disposal.
Consider the best vehicles for your message.

You may decide to use direct marketing programs, including postcards, sales letters, fliers; or public relations elements such as publicity, events, speaking engagements, sponsorships and NATURALLY NETWORKING (the number 1 way to grow your sales).

Online promotional opportunities are more abundant than ever, so consider designing a Web site or uploading information into a news group or special interest forum.

Write out each strategy, and beneath it, list key messages and tactics. Here's a sample:
Strategy: Position myself as the market leader in home inspections in my community.
Key messages: Homer Wright Home Inspections is a reputable, trust-worthy name in home inspections.
¨ Approach local community colleges about teaching a home-buying class.
¨ Propose a feature story to a local paper about "10 Things to Look for When Buying a Home," with me as the expert to be quoted.
¨ Create a brochure entitled "Secrets of Buying a Home." Offer it free to people that call.
¨ Issue a press release about the free brochure to local media.
¨ Send informational brochures to real estate agents and mortgage brokers who refer homebuyers to home inspectors.

For each step you plan, keep asking yourself, "Why should I do this?"
Don't decide to do big, splashy promotions if you really can't afford them. Smaller, more frequent communications are much more effective if your budget is limited.

(Step 6)HOURS 18-21: Develop Your Budget
Marketing expenses should be given priority, especially in times of slow cash flow. After all, how are you going to attract more business during the slow times if you don't tell customers about your business?

ACTION: Take a realistic look at how much money you have to spend on marketing. While you shouldn't overextend yourself, it's critical that you allot adequate funds to reach your markets. If you find that you don't have the budget to tackle all your markets, try to reach them one by one, in order of priority.

ACTION: For each of your tactics, break down each expense and outline the estimated cost of each. For example, a brochure includes writing, photography, graphic design, film, printing and delivery. From there, you can beef up or pare down your plan, depending on your financial situation.

(Step 7) HOURS 21-23: Set Your Time Frames
ACTION: Now that you've broken down the steps involved in each activity, allot a segment of time and a deadline to each.

Again, make sure you're not overextending yourself, or you may get burned out. It's better to start with smaller, more consistent efforts than an overly ambitious program you'll have to discard a few months later.

HOURS 23+: Go For It!
What you now hold in your hands is probably the most effective "to do" list you'll ever write.

You have prepared a document that can help you reach your market segments from a position of knowledge and expertise instead of from shoot-from-the-hip hunches.

Don't put your marketing plan on a shelf and forget about it.

It should be a living document that grows and changes over time. As your business reaps the benefits of your initial strategies, you may want to increase the scope of your marketing. If you find something is not working, change it.

Consistency and continuity, delivered with a dash of creativity, give you the formula for successful marketing.

Carole DeJarnatt
Alliance Advisors, Inc.

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