Posted by: thepersistentassistant | February 23, 2011

Creating a Marketing Plan

As printed in The Woodstock Independent: Minding Your Business 2.23.11

Creating a Marketing Plan

Month two into the new year and I’m sure some of you have let your business resolutions fly out the window. I’m back to keep you on your toes and focused.

“Promote your business regularly and consistently. Make promotion a priority. Hire a marketing expert, or take the time to create a marketing plan on your own and follow through.”

Business owners can often find themselves on a shoe-string budget, forced  into  a situation of trying to manage every aspect of their business themselves, including marketing, and sometimes they save that for last. This can be the first mistake. Instead,  determine your marketing budget and stay as close to it as possible. Hire a marketing expert to strategize with. If your budget is zero, think of dollars as hours, and write a plan on how you are going to spend them. There are low cost ways to promote your business regularly and consistently.

Networking. I am reminding you of it again, however, remember to cultivate relationships and give referrals. Qualify, not quantify.

Become an industry expert. Trade magazines, websites, and  e-zines are all hungry for good content.  Simply writing one good article per month and submitting it to hundreds of publications, could easily generate more traffic to your website if published.

Write a newsletter. Keep your name consistently in front of your existing clientele and prospects. Be sure to provide valuable information to keep them entertained and retained.

Present a seminar. Often Chambers, community groups and organizations are looking for speakers to present brief seminars that benefit their members. Don’t  give away all relevant information about your product or service.  Provide a taste that will keep them  interested enough to come back for more.

Offer a guarantee. Potential clients usually have their own network of “experts”.  However, even if they  may be somewhat interested in doing business with you, they may not want to take the risk. This concern is easily eliminated by simply offering a guarantee – no questions asked.

Go viral. Link your website to those that you do business with and trust. Submit press releases on a monthly basis to local and national publications that relate to your consumer. Many print publications now offer online versions where you can upload your content yourself. Use testimonials from clients and product photos to enhance your content. Create a social media presence when appropriate. Setting up an account without contributing content and communication on a regular basis is ineffective, and could be damaging. Use it, or lose it.

New ways to market your business in a low cost/no cost way are around you. When you do discover a few more, send them my way.

Laura A. Witlox is the Communications Coordinator of the Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce and Proprietress of The Persistent Assistant and can be reached at laura@thepersistentassistant.com.

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