I get a lot of calls this time of year to help business owners develop their marketing plan. But one common theme is beginning to stand out as I speak with more and more business owners – they don’t have a vision for their company and they haven’t determined their short term business goals. To develop a sensible marketing plan, you need to know what you want to achieve with your business and how you are going to get there.
Knowing what you want your business to be in the long run (5 year vision is a good target) helps you keep an eye on the direction you sometimes get forced to take in order to make money. John Jantsch has an interesting post about What’s the picture of your business when it’s done? that keeping an eye on your vision. Is everything you are doing in your business helping you move toward your vision?
But once you have your vision, knowing what you want to achieve in the next 12 months helps you focus your marketing effort.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What is your revenue goal for the year?
- How do you want your business to look at the end of the year?
- How many new clients you need?
- How many current clients you need to sell more to?
- What new services or products do you need to offer to achieve your business goals?
For example, you have a service that you sell for $1000. If you want to make $60,000 from this service in new business in 2008, you need 60 new clients over the year. Now break it into months and you need to close 5 new clients a month. Now your marketing plan can focus on getting you 5 clients or more a month, right?
Now let’s determine what will that take. How many prospects do you need to have in order to close 5 new clients a month? 10? 20? 50? Look at your history – for every 10 prospects, how many do you close? If you are not closing many, take a look at your:
- Target market – are you trying to sell to everyone and anyone? Have you selected your target and focused on your ideal client?
- Marketing messages – are you not communicating your value appropriately?
- Marketing strategy – are you wasting money on inconsistent activities that are not focused on your ideal client? If you know your ideal client, you should be able to figure out how to reach them with what marketing activities.
From this effort, you should be able to come up with what you need to do and how much it will cost. Lay it all out in a spread sheet in at least a quarterly format (revenue goals, marketing activities with associated marketing budget by quarter), and there you have it – a simple marketing plan.
Now do the same thing with revenue from current clients. What is your strategy to upsell current clients?
By breaking your marketing planning process into smaller pieces, you have a more manageable marketing task ahead of you. Even if the plan is simple, it will help you focus your efforts and know what it really is going to take to achieve your goals.