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Marketing Plan For Small Businesses

Everything in business is done better when there is a plan; well that most definitely includes marketing. For a small business there are many different ideas that need to be included. It is best to refer to it monthly, and make sure you mark the sales/manufacturing so you can track how you are doing with the plan every month. For small businesses, the marketing plan should cover one year because the business is constantly changing whether it is the economy, customers, or employees. Most of your plan should concentrate on the current year and what you want to accomplish, but you should also include some goals for the next two to four years also. The planning part may be the hardest part of marketing, but when executing the plan has its difficulties, the planning will help when the marketing plan is precise and easy to follow.

Everyone in the company needs to see the marketing plan so you can receive feedback. This is crucial because in order to put the marketing plan into action you need all the departments of your business involved. You can ask ‘What’s achievable?’, ‘How will our goals be reached?’, and ‘Any potential marketing opportunities?’ Thus, it will create a better, more well-rounded plan. It is also important to include everyone in the marketing plan because it really rallies the company, makes everyone feel involved. You want to make your employees to be committed to the company so it is crucial to include them on the vision of the company in the next few years.

Your marketing plan needs to follow the vision of your company from your business plan. They need to be consistent not only financially but the dos and don’ts of the company as well. Have you ever thought to just go without a marketing plan? And just go with the flow of the company? Well then you and your company are doomed, you will just be aimlessly trying to market your company.

Here is a simple guide to your marketing plan and what you need to include:

Target market: including demographics, age, sex, ethnic groups, location
Niche Trends: how your industry is doing in your niche
Goals: everything you want to accomplish that year, or the next couple years to come
How to accomplish: the strategies on how you are going to achieve these goals financially and technically
Budget: how this all fits into your budget
Competitors: you always need to keep your competitors in mind but it is easier to lower it down to 2 to 3 top competitors and how you are going to beat them
Monthly Strategies: the tactics you are going to use every month to reach those goals you have presented.

All in all, a marketing plan is simply goals and how you are going to reach them. You can find more marketing strategies and solutions at NLprofits.com. Check out video tutorials and blogs with timeless information!

The Bank Won’t Back Your Business Because You Don’t Have a Marketing Plan

“Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all-time thing. You don’t win once in a while, you don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.” – Vince Lombardi (1913-1970) American professional football coach.

I started this article about marketing plans with one of my favorite quotes on winning, because in today’s world, where the average person has the attention span of a gnat, I believe that marketing is a lot like winning – “it’s an all-time thing”. If you aren’t marketing your products and services to your prospective clients almost literally every hour of every day, you can bet that at least one of your competitors will be.

Many businesses neglect this crucial aspect when they put together their business plan because they feel like they don’t have the expertise required to come up with a marketing plan. But businesses that want to live, thrive and survive in a modern marketplace will have to come to grips with marketing. Very few businesses can afford to sit back and wait for customers to beat down their doors. And even the few that are in that enviable position will see their customers drawn away to their competitors without some form of marketing.

Marketing, at its core, is about creating and managing opportunities for your business to grow its sales to both existing customers and to new customers. Having a marketing plan is about capitalizing on these opportunities and also about making your business more bankable. If you can’t show the bank that you have a marketing plan that will lead you to more customers and more customers to you, you’ve given them a good reason not to back your business.

In order to create an effective marketing plan, there are a few things you will need to know. Listed below are 8 things you need to know to create a great marketing plan.

  1. Know your marketing budget. It doesn’t matter if you have $500 or $500,000, setting a marketing budget is more about knowing what resources you have available to go out and “buy some customers”. (OK, I admit, the actual amount you have to spend does make a difference, but even a modest marketing budget spent wisely will reap benefits.) The key is knowing how much you have to work with and then actually doing something with it – don’t convince yourself that marketing is only for companies with a lot of money lying around. Treat your decision on how much to spend as an investment decision as opposed to an expenditure decision. Remember, it’s about how much it will cost you to “buy” each new customer and comparing that cost to how much you stand to make in sales to that new customer over their lifetime.
  2. Know WHO your customers are. The old cliche of target market. Well, it may be cliche, but it’s 100% spot on. If you don’t know who you’re trying to reach with your marketing efforts, you might as well be throwing your marketing budget away. It is critical that you get as precise as possible with this – try to narrow down your ideal customers’ demographics to the greatest extent possible. Then try to identify WHERE this group of people are most highly concentrated – that’s where you should be concentrating your marketing efforts.
  3. Know WHAT message you want to communicate to your target market. Good marketing makes your prospective clients “an offer they can’t refuse”. Your message should literally drive customers through your door armed with the knowledge of what they want to buy and why they want to buy it. Your marketing message should illicit a response.
  4. Know what works. To effectively craft a marketing message, you will need to know what works and what doesn’t work. Therefore, measurement is crucial to pinpointing your marketing messages. You can’t manage what you can’t measure – so keep careful track of the minute details of all your marketing efforts and regularly review the results. Then you can refine the message to make it more and more effective over time while relegating the bits that don’t work to the scrap heap.
  5. Know your strategy. Marketing strategy is about the exact methods you will use and actions you will take in order to effectively communicate your message to your target market. Will you use television advertising, radio, print, online, referrals, dropping leaflets from a helicopter? Marketing strategy is the “HOW” of communicating your message to your target market. This is the area where it is most likely that you will want to employ some expert advice. There are a lot of choices out there, and unless you’ve got an unlimited marketing budget, you will need to be convinced about which delivery channels are going to give you the most bang for your buck.
  6. Know how your marketing message and your marketing strategy fit in with your overall business plan. Remember that a critical part of any business plan is to establish your “school of thought” or your philosophy for doing business. Make sure that your marketing plan has the same “WHY” as your overall business plan. It’s not going to work if your marketing is at odds with your “school of thought” – the vision and the brand you’re trying to establish.
  7. Know WHEN you should be marketing. As mentioned before, in today’s marketing hurricane, it’s a good idea to be out flying your kite any time the wind is blowing. You don’t ever want to give customers the impression that your business has shut up shop by not marketing regularly, even continually. But every business will have its own unique business cycle to keep in mind. By addressing your particular business cycle with a marketing plan that includes different amounts and locations of strategic messages you can smooth out the business cycle and reduce the likelihood of wasting valuable time and effort.
  8. Know what your competitors are doing. Know what your enemies are up to, but resist the temptation to imitate everyone else in your industry and simply “go with the flow”. Marketing is, after all, supposed to differentiate you from your competition, not prove that you can be as boring and predictable as the rest of the herd. Marketing is about drawing attention to your business and its unique attributes that will draw new customers to you. Think of the marketing ideas that have most caught your attention and made you want to do business with a particular company. Chances are, those marketing ideas weren’t run-of-the-mill or mere carbon copies of what everyone else was doing. You should constantly look to innovate, update and reinvent your approach to marketing your business. Ask yourself, “What can I deliver to my clients today that is completely different from what I was offering a year or two ago, but that is still consistent with my “school of thought”.

One final word on marketing. Along with cutting staff, cutting the marketing budget is one of the most commonly resorted to tactics companies use to save on expenses in an economic downturn. This is despite the overwhelming evidence that companies that do so inevitably suffer in the long run in terms of sales revenues and profitability. While a marketing plan should take into account the certainty of change in today’s marketplace, a business that takes the attitude that they cannot afford to have a marketing budget when times get tough or when things begin to get more volatile than usual is fooling itself.

No business can afford not to market itself. Intelligent business managers will use calculated marketing efforts in bad times to keep delivering their marketing message to their target market while everyone else slips into a state of hibernation. Think about using the reduction in marketing message traffic during a downturn to make your message as visible as possible and drive even more business through your door while everyone else boards up their windows and waits for the storm to pass. How you handle tough times will differentiate you from your competition – you can choose to shut up shop and wait for the storm to pass with the rest of them, or you can set up a side business selling electrical generators. I’ll finish this article with a quote that makes my point about what your marketing strategy should be aiming to accomplish in the “downturn”.

“Use the economic slowdown to prepare your business for the upcoming market showdown.” -Alan Blair, The Bankable Business Builder.

Fitness Marketing Plan Profit Power

Most personal trainers fail because they simply fail to have a fitness marketing plan. If you are a fitness professional, and do not have a written marketing roadmap to profits, then you are making a big mistake!

The fact is most fitness pros are lost when it comes to the marketing, and sales of their services. Most professionals are never taught about marketing, let alone the importance of creating a well thought out fitness marketing plan. The failure of acquiring this mandatory roadmap leads many personal trainers to mediocre, or below average income. It doesn’t have to be this way! It shouldn’t be this way.

Marketing for fitness is the missing link for most passionate education based personal trainers. If a fitness pro wants to make more money, they should not run out, and get another certification, but, instead, invest time in understanding how to market a fitness business.

After the understanding is gained then it is important to create a well thought out, focused personal trainer sales and marketing roadmap.

The ability to attract new clients from marketing equals greater personal trainer income. However, why create a marketing plan for fitness? Isn’t knowing how to market all you need?

Reasons Why You Must Have A Personal Training Marketing Plan

1. To possess a well thought out action roadmap for acquiring new paying clients.

Instead of just flying by the seat of your pants it is always best to have a winning profit plan to increase your personal training income. Being prepared is much better than not! We write exercise plans (programs) for our clients. Right? Then why wouldn’t we write fitness marketing plans to help us generate more income?

Following a clearly focused roadmap to training riches is the best way to go! Just as in an exercise program you will have a clear, focused direction to follow.

2. You take a close look at how you stack up in relation to your competition.

By planning you will be aware of what is clearly going on in your market. What services do your competitors offer? How are yours better? What can you do that your competitor doesn’t in order to gain market share?

These are just a few of the many questions you will have the opportunity to answer. Without a marketing plan for fitness you probably wouldn’t be thinking about these important questions.

3. Having a written training roadmap makes it real.

If it is written down on paper, and you can see it, then it is real. You are preparing for your success, not just wishing, or hoping. Having a fitness marketing plan will give you extreme focus on what you need to accomplish.

4. Planning keeps you organized, and helps get things done.

Once you have your personal trainer marketing plan you will have action items placed on your calendar. Success is all about a roadmap powered by action. Without action your fitness profit plan will never succeed.

5. Increased risk of personal training business failure by not having a roadmap to riches.

There are many stats showing a marketing plan increases a businesses odds of success. Why not do whatever you can to increase your chance of success?

I can not stress enough how important it is for a personal trainer of any level to have a well thought out, focused fitness marketing plan. Your overall success, and profitability will depend upon it. Do not make the same silly mistake that other trainers make. Plan for your personal trainer success today!