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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Steps to Creating a Marketing Plan

With the start of the new year, you're probably thinking about how to grow and market your business. It's important to develop a plan that will lay out how you will get there. Before you just start spending money on advertising, you need to make sure you're advertising the right message to the right people.

There are many steps and research that should go into your company's marketing and advertising plan and strategy. It's important to define who you're trying to market to, what you're trying to achieve and what you need to do to get there. Make a plan, evaluate it to make sure you are on track and (if needed) make changes to make sure you will reach your goals.

Target Audience

Who uses your products or services? Who are they? What do they like? What are their demographics? How do you reach them? Take some time to research this by engaging with customers on social media, sending out surveys, making phone calls and monitoring the demographics of your website visitors on google analytics.

USP (Unique Selling Point/Proposition)

What makes you different? Why should customers buy from you? You need to focus on your advantages and what you do well, and make sure your customers know that. This is what separates you from your competition. What are some features and benefits they have when using your product or working with you? Your unique selling proposition can be based on price, product line, service, support, or whatever else makes your brand/service unique. Your USP should also focus on the features and benefits of your products or services.

Goals & Objectives

S.M.A.R.T. Goals & Objectives

Goals and objectives need to be clearly defined and they also need to be measurable. Sure, we all would like to quadruple our sales, however, that may not be realistic. Look at where you are now, where you’d like to be and what it will take to get there. Your goals should be broad and general while your objectives are specific tasks to achieve your goals. The objectives specify what you need to do and when you need to do it. Your goals and objectives need to be S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, relative and time-bound).

Objectives specify tasks and timelines of when everything will happen to meet your goal. It’s very important to stick to those timelines and follow them to make sure you meet your goals. If things don’t go as expected, take some time to re-evaluate and make changes as needed.

Examples of goals and objectives:

Goal: Increase repeat customer purchases by 30%.
Objectives: Implement an incentive program that provides greater discounts and rewards the more frequently customers purchase by May. Directly market and provide quarterly specials & promotions to existing customers.

Goal: Grow website traffic by 25%
Objective: Research and develop keyword strategy of top performing and most important keywords by March. Optimize your website for those keywords. Implement a PPC campaign by May targeting those keywords.

How will you measure your goals and objectives?

It is very important to be able to measure your goals and evaluate them quarterly to make sure you’re on track. If you’re not on track, why? What can you do differently? What’s working and what isn’t?

For the first example above, you can measure it through purchases from existing customers. When they purchased and what they have earned through the incentive program. The second goal would be measured through monitoring your web traffic and what keywords brought customers to your site. Did you choose poor keywords? Is there too much competition? Things are always changing, so it’s very important to monitor your success and progress.

Marketing & Advertising Strategy

Now that you've determined who you want to market to, your goals and objectives to achieve them, it's time to determine how will you reach these customers. How will you retain your customers so they repeat purchases? It's important to define what your marketing strategy will be. Are you going to do everything on the internet to push sales to your website? Perhaps you prefer face time with your customers and would like to host a customer appreciation event. Depending on your clients, target audience and budget the solutions may be different. You want to make sure you're able to have a large reach and a high conversion rate with your marketing.

  • Online Marketing Strategy – Keyword Strategy, Search Engine Optimization, Ad Words, Social Media, Email Marketing, Blogging
  • Marketing Materials – Do you have all the information customers may need readily available? Booklets, Brochures, Letterheads & Envelopes, etc. If not, perhaps it's time to invest in them. GH Printing offers printing and design services for your custom marketing materials.
  • Direct Mail
  • Customer Appreciation Events
  • Guerrilla Marketing – Get Creative to Create Brand Buzz and Exposure. Products like Event-Trac are a great way to market in a unique way.
  • Outdoor Advertising – Billboards and advertising outside your business helps bring in extra traffic and make it known what your company does. GH Imaging offers many large banners, flags, billboards, signs and more for your outdoor advertising needs.

Please feel free to comment with any questions or comments. If you'd like to learn more or how GH can help you, please visit our website: or submit a QuickQuote.

That's all for now. Stay tuned for more marketing, design and production tips and tricks to help you be more successful! Happy New Year! May it be filled with much luck and success!
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