Do you have a marketing plan?

By : Forum Moderator
Published 21st December 2015 |
Read latest comment - 6th April 2016

My background is working for larger organisations where marketing plans and budgets are taken extremely seriously and a lot of time and effort is spent on measuring results throughout the year.

But something I have learned quite recently is that smaller businesses have different priorities and pressures, where marketing plans may not be updated or even exist. 

Is it harder for business owners, especially where the business owner is the marketing, sales team and customer service, to try and find the time, but I would argue it's critical. With no marketing, the only way you can grow your business is on the goodwill of returning clients, unless you are in the very enviable position of generating all work through word of mouth referrals. 

So as most small businesses need to market themselves, how do you do this effectively and efficiently if you don't have a plan?

Marketing plans aren't static documents, but evolve and change as you learn what works for you, and gauge feedback for a particular campaign. But they do act as a great road map and plan for the year ahead. How will you spend your marketing budget? Looking at previous plans, you can see what worked, what didn't, or what was most effective at a certain time of the year.

Even those reliant on free marketing avenues still need to gauge the best way to spend their time and energy. 

The marketing plan can become an invaluable document to help you grow your business and client base.

If anyone wants a template marketing plan, let me know and I can send you one.

Does everyone here already use a marketing plan, and have clear objectives for the years ahead? Or do normal business pressure push this to the bottom of the queue?


Angela
My views & opinions are my own
Comments

I'd love to see what a template marketing plan looks like. 

I like to think I keep on top of what works and what doesn't and alter it according, never had anything written down in stone though .


Trena
Fitz2Kleen
Fitz2Kleen | Fitz2Kleen Website

, never had anything written down in stone though .”
 

We use paper in our office, my dear, maybe thats where you are going wrong 


Clive

I'd love to see what a template marketing plan looks like. 
 

I'll confess to being a grudgingly cynical convert 

I'll get Angela to send one over to you.

I've always one been for strategy/business plan and cost models rather than a marketing plan.

But now I've seen it being used in action, I couldn't imagine not using it. You don't have to follow it religiously, you can amend and change things. But if you have a clear idea of where you want to be in 12 months, then the marketing plan is your proposed journey how to get there based on your available time, budget and tools.

Of course if a business doesn't need any more customers, has no plans to grow or expand, then they have no need for a plan 


Steve Richardson
Gaffer of My Local Services
My Local Services | Me on LinkedIn

I've always though of them a bit like a business plan, all pie in the sky figures that we can only dream of, written down to sound impressive!

If I think something might work, I give it a try if not, then move on to the next bright idea.

I'm probably going to get eaten alive now and asked how I can expect to run a successful business with that frame of mind..... I often wonder that too! 


Trena
Fitz2Kleen
Fitz2Kleen | Fitz2Kleen Website

If I think something might work, I give it a try if not, then move on to the next bright idea.

I'm probably going to get eaten alive now and asked how I can expect to run a successful business with that frame of mind..... I often wonder that too! 

 

I know what you mean, have been guilty of it myself plenty of times.

Some wise Yoda type business myth that circulates on the interweb malarky rings true.

"if you do the same thing year in year out, you get the same results" or words to that effect.

If you decide on a course of action for the year, maybe increase clients by x, or revenue by y, then you need to a plan to make that happen. Otherwise you are just servicing existing clients or winning and losing the same number of new ones as you did last year.

Unless a contract lands in your lap from nowhere, in which case the growth strategy is reliant on luck, which has better odds than the lottery, but not as controlled as a plan


Steve Richardson
Gaffer of My Local Services
My Local Services | Me on LinkedIn

My problem is lack of marketing to our existing customers.

I have a mental block with following up and reminders etc, mainly due to the fact that I don't like receiving them, so assume my customers wont either.

I have a real issue with spammy emails and I think thats what it is. 

Shoot me now!


Trena
Fitz2Kleen
Fitz2Kleen | Fitz2Kleen Website

My problem is lack of marketing to our existing customers.

I have a mental block with following up and reminders etc, mainly due to the fact that I don't like receiving them, so assume my customers wont either.

I have a real issue with spammy emails and I think thats what it is. 

Shoot me now!”

 

Oh Trena, existing customers are your best leads!

You did our carpets years ago, so why haven't you emailed or contacted me since (as a business I mean)? I've gone cold now, forgotten who you are and not recommending you. Keep the contact, keep the relationship.

Nothing wrong with email, keep it professional, abide by the spam laws, have an opt out and don't spam!

We send the same old one out every month, everytime I tinker with it and modernise it, it breaks  So we go back to the same old one. But it works.

In your case have a newsletter, maybe bi monthly. Handy cleaning tips, make it informational and useful, with a X% off special offer as a loyal customer

If the content is useful enough, or refers to maybe a blog post, then your mail may get shared and you might get some new enquires.

Forget what you think about emails, done right, they work!


Steve Richardson
Gaffer of My Local Services
My Local Services | Me on LinkedIn

I know, I know and I beat myself up over it constantly.

 

Oh Trena, existing customers are your best leads!

You did our carpets years ago, so why haven't you emailed or contacted me since (as a business I mean)? I've gone cold now, forgotten who you are and not recommending you. Keep the contact, keep the relationship.

 

 

Stevie, you could never forget little old me, I always reappear! 


Trena
Fitz2Kleen
Fitz2Kleen | Fitz2Kleen Website

Stevie, you could never forget little old me, I always reappear! 
 

Obviously Trena I was talking metaphorically 


Steve Richardson
Gaffer of My Local Services
My Local Services | Me on LinkedIn

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