9 steps to planning your marketing

It’s not complicated to pull together the pieces of your marketing mix. You’re probably already using the tools. You just need to take the time to understand how each one works, both singly and as part of the mix.

Here’s what you can do to prepare an integrated marketing plan:

  1. Lay out all the marketing tools in your toolbox before selecting the ones you will use (social networking, print advertising, direct mail, permission-based email, online catalogs, telemarketing, events, etc.).
  2. Profile the buyer. Are you selling to end-users or another stop on the channel? How knowledgeable are they about your products? What motivates them to make a decision?
  3. Determine the desired end result (call to action) and how best to achieve it. What do you want your customers to do? Call? Go to your website? Click? Mail in a response card?
  4. Take action based on what has worked best for you in the past and how you want the potential buyer to respond. If you want them to call, set up a branded toll-free number so you can track results. If you want them to subscribe to your blog, give them one-click ease. If you want these prospects to go to your website, prepare your landing page with a consistent message, and keep your graphic images relevant and updated. And don’t forget to remind buyers of the values they’ll gain when they respond!
  5. Once you have their attention, offer your prospects information on how your products work and give examples, tutorials, and demos.
  6. Remember that saturation is the key to successful marketing. One small attempt will cost you, but numerous ongoing attempts will pay you. Repetition builds recognition. Don’t skimp!
  7. Track responses in real time, using marketing triggers so that you can get responses from your best prospects to your sales team fast. Or respond to them with focused, powerful messages and offers.
  8. Use analytics to find which of your online attempts is bringing you the most success. Create and disseminate reports to management and your team, showing the effectiveness of your campaign, and use them as tools to make adjustments.
  9. Train employees how to respond to the increase in volume you’re going to enjoy from these efforts. The best-laid plans can be destroyed when a spot-on delivery system is not in place!

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