What Magic Happens When A Business Marketing Plan Comes Together?

For most business owners the key to success lies in a solid marketing plan with strong marketing tactics.

A marketing plan is a blueprint that outlines a company’ overall marketing efforts.

There are a ton of plan templates readily available on the internet.

Taking advantage of these plan templates and marketing calendars can help determine the success or failure of your business in 2015

Now, what happens when a marketing plan comes together?

1. You will discover who your best most important audience is and what your clients want from you

Hopefully you are creating and offering products and services with a specific target audience in mind.

However, you may find that clients, customers and patients other than your targeted audience will also been able to benefit from what you have to offer.

Understanding who your audience is a key component in marketing, sales and improving your services and/or products.

2. Increases awareness of your company

Most people won’t pay any attention to your company, unless they need you. They only care about themselves, it human nature.

A marketing plan enables you to formulate a way to help future clients see the benefits of using your product or service. When done right, this establishes your credibility in the marketplace and hopefully solidifies your business as a reliable source.

3. You will be prepared.

When you have a good marketing strategy you’ll be surprised at how fast your company will be able to respond to unexpected marketing and developments from your competition.

A well-written plan that covers all bases will include a projection on possible threats and detailed ways you can respond or capitalize off them.

4. Obtaining Finance

Companies, including small businesses often need to acquire extra financing.

A well-thought out business plan along with detailed marketing is evidence of good planning which could be extremely helpful in obtaining loans.

Without a solid business plan and marketing strategy, even the most profitable business would have a difficult time getting financing. Free sample marketing plans are readily available online, they can serve as good examples while saving you time creating your documents.

5. Save Money

One of the biggest benefits of a marketing strategy that your business is more likely to save money.

The average marketing plan includes a set budget that will be used in your marketing efforts for the year.

Yes, by outline your marketing plans, and specifying how much money is going to be used to support various marketing efforts it helps your company save a lot of money on unplanned marketing campaigns.

If you and your team hasn’t sat down to develop a marketing plan for the year, it’s time to do so now.

Start off with a marketing template to help outline your company’s marketing strategies the expand from there.

There are so many benefits from having a marketing plan that it would be insane to start 2015 without one.

The Essential Marketing Communication Tool

There are so many marketing communication vehicles available to us as marketers, but none more important than the NEWSLETTER. Every company should have one. Whether it is used to stay in contact and top-of-mind with current customers, or to build credibility within your prospect pool, the newsletter is your most powerful marketing tool.

Still, many companies do not use newsletters for communicating to their prospects and customers. They see the amount of work to produce and deliver a newsletter regularly as a major roadblock they simply cannot break through. And, some of those who do use newsletters in their marketing mix are missing the boat by not implementing some of the best practices of successful newsletter marketing.

Whether published in print or email, the key to taking advantage of this essential marketing communication tool is to effectively manage the content, structure and format, subscription process, delivery tools, and metrics of your newsletter process.

  • CONTENT. Do not use your articles or tips to promote your products or services directly. Make sure your article content is relevant, educational in nature, and VALUE-ADD. The presumed time commitment to build valuable content often paralyzes the most well intended marketing team. This is often the roadblock to a company successfully launching and maintaining a newsletter strategy. Yet, there are many ways you can provide content in a way that best meets the needs of your prospects and customers. Specifically, you can solicit content from your partners, experts in your industry, or simply write the content yourself (using the various expertise amongst your staff).
  • Let’s focus on content you can provide:

  • Determine frequency of your newsletter (minimum 1x per quarter, maximum 1x per week, recommended 1x per month) and create an editorial calendar that scopes out what topics you want to cover over the next six months.
  • Assign topics to the people in your organization who best know the topic for that issue and give them the deadlines for submission. If there is one writer, I’ve found it is most efficient to have that writer sit down and write as many as three at a time to “prime the pump” with articles.
  • Start small with one article or 1-page tip. Newsletters do not have to be multi-article masterpieces. If the topics are relevant to your audience, a short abstract or 2-page feature might fit the bill of the busy prospect even better.
  • Assign no more than 20% of your newsletter content to product or company promotion.
  • STRUCTURE AND FORMAT. Today’s newsletters can be produced in print or email and I do recommend you consider publishing both. Even if you don’t want to print and mail thousands of newsletters, consider having a small quantity printed to use in your collateral kits, give to prospects you meet, or handout at conferences or tradeshows.
  • Let’s focus on the email version:

  • Make sure the “from” line is from a person or brand that the recipient can trust.
  • Use the subject line to identify the newsletter name and feature article (show the value).
  • Use the email format to introduce the topics, but link to your website for the full articles or tips.
  • Keep most of the newsletter content above the fold and relegate the small amount of promotional material to the bottom.
  • Include your company name, physical address, copyright statement, and opt-out process.
  • Send your email in both HTML and text formats. Even though HTML emails yield a much higher response rate, many of your target’s email programs may not accept HTML emails.
  • SUBSCRIPTION PROCESS. Hopefully you have an email list you can start with (your current customers perhaps), but if not it’s time to implement a subscription process. I recommend three avenues for building your opt-in list-a) use your traditional marketing pieces to advertise your newsletter, b) purchase an email sponsorship from a publication that specifically targets your audience, and c) use your website!
  • Let’s focus on your website:

  • Make sure you have your subscription process visible from EVERY page on your website.
  • Use a space on your home page (if not on every page) to actually PROMOTE subscription.
  • Make past issues available to give visitors a taste of what they’ll receive.
  • Consider adding an “email to a friend” on each newsletter page to encourage viral subscriptions.
  • DELIVERY TOOLS. There are many options for delivering your eNewsletter, including your own email system, an Internet-hosted solution, or dedicated email campaign software that integrates with your own database.
  • Let’s focus on the following solutions:

  • Hosted Solutions, make it easy and affordable to build and manage permission email lists, create and send eye-catching HTML email newsletters, announcements and promotions, and track results through an online, hosted solution.
  • Dedicated Email Software that implements and manages personalized email projects from any browser, anywhere in the world.
  • ENEWSLETTER METRICS. When your newsletter has been running for a few months, you will want to use metrics to measure its success and determine what, if any, changes you want to make to structure, lists, frequency of delivery, etc.
  • Let’s look at the minimum items you should track:

  • A good email newsletter should achieve at least 30-40% open rate and 2-3% click-through rate.
  • Also, your unsubscribe rate should be less than 2%. If your unsubscribe rate is higher, you will want to reconsider the relevancy of your content as it pertains to the audience needs and/or whether you have the right list or have reached list fatigue.
  • If you don’t have a newsletter as part of your marketing plan, it’s time to add one! If you already produce a newsletter-good for you! Please use the information above as a checklist audit to help make your newsletter process even more effective as a marketing communication and lead generation tool.

    How to Create an Effective Marketing Plan

    Marketing is the soul of your business, it means anything you do for the promotion of your business comes under marketing. However, without a plan or strategy your marketing campaign will not deliver the desired results. Therefore, creating marketing plan for any business is vital.

    Now the question arise; how to create an effective marketing plan for a company? We all know the format of a marketing plan. Whether you make a formal or informal proposal, a plan should be such which touches all the essential points to deliver the targeted goal.

    To make an effective plan, there is a famous rule called 4P’s. Here, P’s stand for Price, Product, Promotion and Placement. In this another P is added called People. Today while doing digital marketing or the traditional marketing one should understand people or the customers you are dealing with. It’s important to figure out what is significant for the business, and later make a plan accordingly.

    Generally, in a marketing plan the following points are considered –

    • Market Analysis: First analysis your broader market, where are the opportunities that you can look for? What are the scopes in the current market? After analyzing the broader scope of the market; target on the niche values.
    • Identify the Target Customers: Unlike the broader analysis of the market; here you aim on the targeted customers. You look for the scopes where you can promote or market your product to get the higher returns and acceptance. Here from targeted customers to clients, you also find out the needs and demands of the audience. Once you know, who all are your customers and what exactly they are looking for then you can jump to next step.
    • Marketing Plan: In this you perform, precise activities which helps in achieving the goals and objectives you are targeting at. Here, you plan how you will promote the product/service? What are the specific areas of promotion? What would be the budget of this plan execution? Etc. Plus, you also estimate the ROI of this marketing strategy.
    • Competitive Edge: It’s important to define your competitors too. One should know, what strategies are being used by the competitors to reach to the potential customers. If you know what your competitors are doing, you will be able to modify the plan and maybe your marketing analyst will come with something more innovative that can capture the mass attention.
    • Sales and Strategy Forecast: If you have a target to achieve you can plan out your work according. It’s just like keep the figures real and amenable. Unrealistic figures would not help you ever to get the target on time. Secondly with these forecast, you can compare your marketing strategies and come up with the best solutions for future activities.

    These above tips are vital or the stepping stones for any business, but in reality, companies need to incorporate multiple web channels for their business marketing plans. Below are popular web channels that business uses for their planning and strategies:

    • Social Media Marketing: One of the most promising way of marketing in today’s date. From LinkedIn to Facebook and from Twitter to Google+, companies use these platforms to target the right set of customers. From a survey by social media – 93% of marketers use social media for business.
    • Mobile Marketing: Another most prompting way of marketing which is used in today’s digital world. The acceptance of smartphones and tablets has helped to change the way companies used to target their customers earlier; these days they implement strategies that reach customers on their devices itself. From a survey via Our Mobile Planet, 89% of smartphone users notice mobile ads.
    • Email Marketing: The marketing plan via email is quite an old one. It is an effective and popular way of promotion for many small business owners. Get the email data of your possible customers and send them your customize business emails to let them know what you are offering.
    • Blog Marketing: Blogging is a big focus when it comes to content marketing. Blog provides a personal touch and advantage to your social media marketing too. Here you have a freedom or control over the product or service you are marketing for. Companies are hiring full-time bloggers for this job. Although, 62% of marketers blog or plan to blog in 2013, only 9% of US marketing companies employ a full-time blogger.

    These are the points you should remember while making plan and strategies and how to reach the customers for a booming business.