Writing a Successful Marketing Plan

The key to any successful business is to have a business plan. Without a plan how do you know where you are going and what your goals are? The same can be said about a marketing plan. A good marketing plan will detail how you obtain clients and retain clients after the sale. The difference between a business plan and a marketing plan is a business plan is what you do and a marketing plan is how you get to do what it is that you do. If you don’t have a plan to obtain and retain clients how do you know where your sales are coming from? Here are a few tips to create a good marketing plan:

1. You must know your target market

Are you in the business to serve “everyone?” If you are, you may not be as successful as you would like to be. If you are constantly a catch-all for every type of consumer you will find yourself exhausted at the end of the day catering to every need of every consumer. Instead work smarter instead of harder. Take one or two target markets in your industry and focus on catering to their needs. Become an expert in that area and you will never have to wonder where the next sale is coming from.

2. You must know how you are going to reach your target market

Does your target market read the newspaper? Is there an industry publication that they subscribe to on a regular basis? Would direct mail help to get your name in front of your prospects? By doing some basic research on your target market’s buying habits and their needs you should be able to create an effective marketing campaign that will get your phone ringing in no time!

3. You must have a follow up plan after the sale closes

After the sale closes do you send out a Thank You card and hope the client will remember you enough to not only work with you, but also refer you to their friends and family? Business and profits are lost when you hope someone remembers you enough to work with you again. If you do not have a plan to consistently stay in front of your clients on a monthly basis you will be losing out on potential future business. Doing a good job for a client is expected, but don’t expect them to remember your phone number because of it. Stay in touch with your past clients; they are your greatest source of future profits.

4. You must implement the plan on a consistent basis

People want to hear from you, but they do not want to hear from you only when you have something to sell them. If you have done the work and are an expert in your target market cater your marketing to that group. Send them a newsletter of information that will be beneficial to them. Of course you can include that you are looking for their business, but don’t make that the sole purpose of every mailing. The key is to consistently implement a marketing plan that shows your clients you care about them after the sale. This helps continue the relationship long after the transaction is closed and it makes you referable.

5. You must measure your results monthly, quarterly and annually

Before you do any marketing determine what your goals are for your business and for your marketing efforts. Do you hope to receive 10 phone calls from a mailing with 1 new client from those phone calls? Then write it down and measure your results after you do a mailing. Ask clients and prospects when they call if they are calling because they recently received a marketing piece from you. Record this information and keep track of it on a regular basis. Set aside an hour every month and determine what is working and what isn’t working. Reevaluate your marketing records every quarter and every year to determine what is working and what isn’t working. When you are making your annual marketing plan the marketing records will guide you in preparing and implementing next year’s plan. Sometimes it can seem like your marketing isn’t working at all but in reality you haven’t kept track of the results so you don’t know if it is working. This is a great opportunity to determine where to spend your hard earned marketing dollars and to keep repeating a marketing effort if it has worked for you in the past.

By taking the time to do it right and create a marketing plan you can follow you should never have to wonder where your next sale is coming from!

Copyright 2010 Automated Marketing, Inc.