Most small and medium sized business owners/entrepreneurs have no idea how to prepare a successful marketing plan….heck they might not even know what a real marketing plan is! To often owners find themselves try one off ads or running ads based on who comes to sell them advertising.

That’s a recipe for failure. Heck, in today’s more fiscally conservative marketplace, it’s a recipe sure to put you out of business FAST!

How to Run A Successful Marketing Plan
Decide who are you trying to talk to? If you are trying to market to everyone, you’re marketing to no one. You have to decide who each marketing plan is targeting (and you should have more than one.) Are you trying to attract doctors or lawyers….car salesman or engineers? Certain ethnicities? Homeowners or renters?

Until and unless you decide WHO you want to talk to with a specific marketing campaign you can be sure you’re not talking to anyone. Sure you might be shouting in a crowd, but everyone is ignoring you.

Look at it this way, if you’re in the middle of time square shouting something everyone is going to ignore you. But if you say, “Hey you with the green sweater on…” that person will listen…at least for a short time.

Until you decide who you want to talk to, save your money. Or donate it to a charity, because you’ll be DOA as far as your campaign.

How are you going to reach the market you’ve chosen. This one is easy, you don’t want to try to find homeowners in a renters guide. Not going to find many college professors with an ad on Jerry Springer.

Once you know who you’re talking to you have to look for a media they read, watch, listen to, etc.

What are you going to say to your market. Don’t try to describe anything in detail to salesmen. You want to excite them.

Engineers you want to be slow and detailed with.

When talking to women, you had better be thinking about community.

Each market has a language and a style of speaking. Obviously the bigger the market the more variance, but nonetheless everyone in a market has similarities. You need to know their language, their habits, you need to know who they are so you can properly speak to them.

The ads. Whether you’re running print, radio, TV, online, or a combination all your ads should have certain things in common.

A. You need to get their attention. Think Billy Mays for TV. For an ad you need to find a good hard-hitting headline. In radio…you need to grab their attention before they change the radio station.

B. Describe their problem. You have to remind your market about the problem they’re having. People are amazing in their ability to ignore something. If you don’t remind them WHY they need your solution they’ll never be interested in it.

C. Agitate the problem. Sometimes one sentence…or even half a sentence and sometimes 90% of the marketing plan, if you don’t agitate the problem you just reminded them of you’ll lose most of your sales.

D. Present your product or service as the solution to your markets problem…the problem you reminded them of and agitated.

E. Specific call to action. Tell the customer specifically what to do. “Call Now!” not good. “Call 800-SOLUTION between 8am and 10:30am and ask for Cindy. If the lines are busy hang up and dial again, immediately. Keep calling back to back until you get through. Good!

Follow – up. Once you have someone who has responded…stay in touch! Sell them again, or if they didn’t buy… try to sell them again. Keep in touch with them until they “buy or die” as they say.

Synergistic Approach. A good marketing plan is like a fine Swiss Watch. Each gear and spring working in conjunction with each other. One gear strips or one spring unwinds and the watch stops.

Whether you’re marketing plan is just a small postcard sent to 100 prospects or a multimedia campaign including print, TV, radio, and the internet, you have to make sure you have all bases covered. Yes it’s more complicated than running an ad in the local Val-Pak because the Val-Pak salesperson happen to stumble into the office, but at the end of the year your sales and profit will show the extra work in spades!