Marketing – Five Ideas on Putting Together a Marketing Plan

Most owners of service businesses fail to put together any sort of marketing plan. Instead, they randomly and occasionally take some action that they characterize as marketing, but there’s not actually any plan to it. When they panic because they don’t have enough clients and their revenue is dropping, they desperately seize onto some sort of marketing activity.

However, there is no plan to it. There is no continuity. There is no clear messaging to their marketing writing. Also, they get few or no results. The next time your business is in such a situation, here are a few things to consider about how to put together a marketing plan.

1. Put together a marketing plan.

Set aside some time and put a few hours into deciding how you will market your business over the next year. What will you do? When will you do it? How will it work? What will you say? What will your marketing writing say? Where will you go? Who are you targeting as clients? Plan all the details in advance. Some of this will likely be projections rather than actual and detailed, but block them into a calendar anyway. You can do the research later.

2. Create a marketing plan that “plays to” your strengths and preferences.

Don’t plan to do public speaking if you’re not good at it and won’t do it. The same is true of writing or any other method. Create a plan around what you are good at and enjoy doing. Don’t expect that you’ll be able to force yourself to do something you hate doing. It won’t work.

3. Understand what outcomes you intend to get from your marketing efforts.

Of course, you’ll say, “more sales, more clients”, but often this is not a realistic short-term outcome. In the short term, your more realistic results would be things like:

* Being contacted by prospects

* Getting inquiries for information

* Being asked questions by curious and interested prospects

Of course, you must still go through the sales process with these potential clients, but realistically speaking, these are the typical responses your can expect from your marketing plan. It’s your job to turn interested prospects into clients.

4. Have a clear target market. You can’t put together an effective marketing plan without clarity on your target market.

If you don’t know who they are, you don’t know where they are. If you don’t know where they are, you can’t know where and how to access them. Don’t skimp on putting together a robust, completely clear, and detailed target market. This is critical to the success of your marketing plan.

5. Be prepared with effective written business materials and a web site.

Be sure that your marketing writing and website writing clearly brand your business and deliver all the needed information. As prospects respond and inquire, they will want to know more. You must be ready to supply them with what they need to know so that they will choose to move closer to being your client. Think about it. How impressed are you when you ask a potential provider for more information and they mumble and apologize for their poor written materials? You don’t seriously consider them as contenders for your business.

Plan your marketing and execute the plan. That is the only way to be sure that your service business has a steady flow of clients and revenue. Random “marketing” will not do that for you.