Prepare Your Marketing Plan for 2017 -Planning, Focus, Action, and Repetition.
Whether you are planning to start a new business or regroup and hit the ground running in 2017, now is the time to get your marketing plan together for the coming year. Remember there are four essential elements to marketing success.
When creating your marketing plan for 2017 it is important reflect on what you did or didn’t do last year. Determine what marketing strategies you should repeat in the new year and areas that were less than successful. Before eliminating last year’s strategies. determine if you are on the verge of success and just need a little push to make your efforts successful.
The four essential elements of marketing success in 2017 are:
- Planning- The old saying goes that failing to plan is planning to fail. This concept has many meanings for the super small business. Failing to plan results in no marketing at all or worse, marketing chaos. As a super, small business owner, a micro-entrepreneur must participate in marketing to build their organization. However, on the other end of the spectrum, failing to plan while participating in marketing wastes time and financial resources. Neither situation is positive for a small business looking for success in 2017. Many resources are available for marketing plan templates. Customize your favorite one for your business needs. Keep in mind that your marketing strategy represents your business and be realistic about your efforts. For example, if you want to be home every night for dinner, your marketing plan should not include evening networking events.
- Focus- An essential concept to super, small businesses is focus. I cannot reiterate this enough. As a micro-entrepreneur, you simply do not have the time or energy to work a multi-faceted, over-the-top marketing plan. The age-old saying-“Keep It Simple Stupid” rings true for small businesses. Simplicity is the key to making the plan work and getting things done in 2017. Pick a combination of two to three organizations, activities, or groups you want to work with more in 2017. When choosing, keep in mind your interests, your potential customers, and the vision you have for your business in 2017. For example, if you want to run a marathon, connect with other runners in your area. This way you are meeting people with common interests, and you will enjoy talking with them about topics other than business. Or become a bigger part of a local non-profit that is important to you and your community. Connect with potential clients on a personal level and get to know others in your town. Additionally, keep your focus inline with your business. Giving more time to your child’s drama club is a wonderful labor of love, but if your objective is to reach doctors, you will be unsuccessful in this endeavor. Make sure your efforts help you to meet one or more of your marketing goals.
- Action-The best plan means nothing without action. Many people create a great business or marketing plan simply to file it away and get to work building their enterprise. With decades of talk about the importance of planning, action is probably more significant to your super, small business success. It’s great if your plan includes meeting five new, potential clients each week. However, if you never leave the office this goal will be hard to accomplish. Additionally, if you pick an activity that you hate you will never want to do it. For example, one of my least favorite tasks is cold-calling. Not to say it is a bad task for various industries, I am not good at it, and I don’t like to do it. Setting a goal of cold-calling 10 advertising agencies each week will quickly become something I dread and try with all my being to keep from doing.
- Repetition- Have you ever heard the idea that you plant the seeds and need to water them to ensure that the grow into beautiful flowers. Take this one step further and think about a gardener that clears the weeds, preps the soil, and then finally plants the seed. Repetition is very important to show potential customers that you are reliable, consistent, and interested in knowing them. Not only repetition, but genuine repetition is a must. Going to one networking with 20 others will probably not result in much new business. But going to the meeting, remembering their name, seeing them at an event, and then running into them at a community fundraiser keeps you in the forefront of their mind. They see your commitment to the industry or community and want to work with you.