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It is your commitment to paper, your route to success.

It is a common practice among many small business owners to spend a lot of time doing the opposite of their planning. You may have a plan in your head that you have not yet committed to paper. Getting out there and making things happen is important for the success of any small business marketing.

You can spend a lot of time and waste a lot of energy doing things the wrong way or simply just doing the wrong things. A simple marketing plan that you can create yourself using the ideas in this blog will keep your business marketing on the right track.

HERE ARE NINE STEPS TO A SUCCESSFUL PLAN

Each step contains a set of questions that you will need to be able to answer to complete your plan.

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Step 1 – Setting your direction

A. From where you are to where you want to be ?

  • Define what you are selling.
  • Where do your revenue streams come from?
  • What is the most profitable?
  • What is your capacity?
  • What is working well and what isn’t?

B. Your existing customer base ?

  • Who are your customers and how many?
  • Who are your best customers?
  • How long do customers stay and what is their value?

C. Where do you want to be?

  • What is your longer-term vision for your business?
  • What is the purpose of your business?
  • Which revenue streams would you like to grow?
  • What are your specific business goals?

Step 2 : Understanding your market and your competition

A: Your market

  • What is happening within the market place in which you operate?
  • What is the size of the market you are in or entering?
  • What is the potential demand for what you are offering?
  • What are the trends, hot issues, and gaps that need filling?

B: Your competition

  • Who is your competition?
  • What are their strengths and weaknesses?
  • What is your competition not offering that the market needs?
  • What benefits do you o¡er that your competition doesn’t?
  • What can you learn from your competition?

Step 3 : Understanding your customer

A : Your target customers and strongest niche

  • Who are the‘right potential customers’ for you to focus on?
  • What are your ideal client criteria?
  • Who is the best, most enjoyable, and profitable clients to work with?
  • What are the main problems and needs your target client has?
  • What do your target customers most want?
  • Is there a good strong niche group of people with problems you could focus on?
  • Where can you and these customers?
  • How do your potential customers buy what you are selling?

Step 4: Creating your solution

A: Creating your value proposition

  • What is the solution you are proposing?
  • What are the key elements of your service?
  • How does this solution solve your client’s problems?
  • What are the biggest benefits you offer your customers?
  • What is unique about it?
  • How are you going to package and price it?
  • What can you guarantee?

Step 5: Creating a path to your business

A: Attracting hand raisers and building a list

  • How could you and attract those with an interest and need for your services?
  • What would attract your potential customers to take the ¢rst step with you and register their interest?
  • What could be the steps up your sales ladder from initial interest to long-term customers?
  • What could be the path of o¡ering step by step to your business?
  • How can you build your list of potential customers with an interest?

B: Getting your sales systems in place

  • What systems do you need to have in place to list-build?
  • How can you capture and record potential customers’details?
  • What do you need to set up to communicate with those on your list?

Step 6: Creating your marketing message and materials.

  • What is the brand image you want to create?
  • What is the right brand for your target market?
  • How do your name and strap-line communicate what you are offering?
  • What are your key messages?
  • What marketing materials do you need?

Step 7 : Choosing and planning your marketing methods

  • What marketing methods do you know that your successful competitors use?
  • What has worked for you in the past? What has been your return on investment?
  • What has not worked?
  • What canyoudotoraiseyourpro¢le in the marketplace?
  • Which methods can you use to attract new customers?
  • What potential value does the following marketing method shave for your business? PR, radio, TV, vehicle, bus, posters, billboards, newspapers and magazines advertising, internet, direct mail, sales letters, direct sales, telephone marketing, window displays, personal contact, referrals, host relationships, and joint ventures.
  • What is most likely to work best for you?

Step 8 : Developing your budget and return on investment

  • Which marketing methods have you chosen to implement?
  • What is it going to cost to utilize your chosen marketing methods?
  • What resources are going to be required to implement these methods?
  • What will you need to invest in each segment to achieve your goals?

Step 9 :Planning your strategy and actions

  • How are you going to progress each element of your plan?
  • What needs setting up?
  • What are the priorities?
  • What special practical actions need to be taken to make it happen? By whom and by when?
  • What are the steps?
  • What are the milestones and deadlines?
  • How will you monitor, evaluate, and review your strategy?