Creating a Marketing Plan for Your Business

Marketing, promoting, exposure, whatever word you use to describe how you get your message to the world is an important piece to any puzzle. Most companies scrap their marketing budgets and plans when things get tough. In speaking with a friend of mine the other day that produces a local trade magazine he is seeing big changes in the way companies are advertising and spending their marketing dollars. With the economy on the edge at times since 2009 everyone is watching their dollars in a desperate way of trying to not only keep a float, but keep the message continuing forward. The ones who do this successfully will win while the others with no plan will simply fall by the wayside. So how do you keep your message moving to the masses without blowing the wall out of the bank? Planning is the first thing, knowing who your customer is key, and knowing your budget is the other piece of the puzzle. I also believe in one more piece that most people don’t think of, your strengths, what are you good at, what comes of ease to you that can help send your message to the world?

Many times as I coach small businesses on their marketing efforts I encourage the person to write blogs or articles about themselves that can be used to get their message out. You can see the change in their faces as I finish my sentence. “I am not a writer” is the response often replied. I had an owner that went through the exercise and did manage to get out an article for my magazine Collar to Collar. He sweated over it for months, and when it was produced asked me never to ask him to do that again. Okay so I don’t want you getting a heart attack writing an article, but it can be a great way of letting people learn about you and your company.

When setting up your marketing plan you have to take all of your clients, products, and services into account. How are people seeing you is it the web, network meetings, print ads, how do they see your message? Decide how many dollars you have in your budget for marketing and which avenues are most important to you? Take into account online promotion, offline promotion, local promotion, and national promotion. Now look at the best methods under those areas and figure out the lowest cost, but best method for reaching the people in those areas. You may have to break it down into product or service segments depending on the nature of your business. Don’t just jump on the online bandwagon and forget about the offline marketing or you may find your business actually goes down. The plan works as a whole so make sure the whole plan is included.

About the Author

Bruce Outridge is a business and leadership consultant. He helps many business small and large with their marketing and social media programming. For more information visit his website at www.outridge.ca