Darn few businesses have marketing plans. Most businesses need one. Just like our simplified business plans and simplified online marketing, a simplified marketing plan for the real world helps guide you in growing your business.
Simplified Marketing Plan Outline
- Name and describe each market
- Tell what methods you will use to reach them
- Establish the cost in time and in money
- Mesh this with your business plan
Example #1 – Identifying your markets
Let’s take an example. Chris Brogan recently launched Grasshopper Factory as a creative content network. I see several separate markets:
- people who create and contribute content
- people who visit the site to view the content
- businesses that advertise on the site
- businesses that buy content to reuse elsewhere
- businesses that hire Chris as a consultant to help them create content
So what seemed like a simple business, actually has five separate markets! No one of them is the most important. During the beginning phase, all of them are important. Brogan needs a plan to reach each one of those markets effectively to make this work as a business. Each one requires different methods, different media, and different approaches. All of them require time investment. How do you keep up with all the details? Through your plan.
Parts 2 and 3 don’t require much explanation. My best advice is to be creative about the methods you use to reach your markets. Since you are online, I’ll bet you know some of the many ways to do that.
Example #4 – Tie the marketing to the financial goals
You bring marketing and business plans together by dividing your money goals into activities, or next actions for you GTD folks.
- Divide the total dollar goal into pieces. If the goal is $1000 in the next month, that means 10 ads at $100. Or 5 ads, 3 content sales, plus 2 consulting jobs. Figure out what you have to sell in your business to reach your total dollar goal.
- Estimate how many calls or email contacts you need, on average, to make those sales. A common ratio I’ve heard is 6 contacts for one sale. So 60 contacts to sell 10 ads. If you’ve blocked out 5 days to work on marketing this month, that’s 12 calls per day. When you get to this point, you may find that you need to adjust the dollar goals based on a realistic level of activity.
- Use the daily goal to make sure you follow through on the marketing. You can track this on your work calendar or a separate sheet or card.
Here’s an old telephone activity tracking system you can adapt for your own situation.
- Your goal for today is 12 calls.
- Make 20 empty spaces: o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o.
- Dial potential customer #1, and fill in the dot.
- If you just leave a message, put an M.
- When you speak to the actual person, draw a slash through your dot: /
- When the customer commits to the next step (appointment, sale, further contact, etc.), circle the dot: O
When you have 12 slashes for 12 contacts, you are finished for today! Over time, you can track your progress, like the average number of calls per sale.
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.