7 Reasons to Create a Simple Marketing Plan

A simple marketing plan can effectively outline all the important areas that you need to successfully and consistently market your business. Every small business should create a marketing plan. Here are 7 reasons why your business needs a realistic, yet simple marketing plan.

  1. Create a vision for your business
  2. Solidify your mission (and mission statement)
  3. Outline your goals and what you want to accomplish
  4. Describe your ideal client
  5. Articulate what makes you different (your unique value proposition)
  6. Provide a road map for achieving your goals (this means create a plan)
  7. Track your progress

3 Reasons You Need A Social Media Call-To-Action

A Social media call-to-action is an integral and often overlooked element of an effective social media strategy. Social media gets prospects, customers and the public primed to want to find out more about your offering or to engage with you further but you must lead them to the next step in your sales or other conversion process. Here are three reasons to use a social media call-to-action.

  1. A social media call-to-action ties social media activity to your business or marketing objectives. Generally, this refers to your social media goals such as building your brand, expanding your reach and generating sales leads.
  2. A social media call-to-action drives participants into your conversion process. Consider what’s needed to move participants to the next phase of your sales funnel. Ensure that you have processes and systems in place to meet their needs.
  3. A social media call-to-action enables you to measure social media effectiveness. This is crucial to prove that social media supports your business goals because social media tends to be most effective early in the purchase cycle and difficult to track.

The Main Components of an Effective Business Plan

  • Executive Summary: It is a page that highlights the the business plan.
  • Company Description: Legal establishment, history, start-up plans, etc.
  • Product or Service: Describe what you’re selling. Focus on customer benefits.
  • Market Analysis: You need to know your market, customer needs, where they are, how to reach them, etc.
  • Strategy and Implementation: Be specific. Include management responsibilities with dates and budget.
  • Management Team: Include backgrounds of key members of the team, personnel strategy, and details.
  • Financial Plan: Include profit and loss, cash flow, balance sheet, break-even analysis, assumptions, business ratios, etc.


4 Ways to Get Customers to Open Your Emails

If you want to be a successful digital or email marketer, it’s important that your subscribers open your emails. If your audience isn’t opening your emails, they won’t be able to take action. Ideally, you want your subscribers to continually open your emails and on a regular basis.

Here are 4 tips to help make sure your emails are being opened and read:

1. Solve a problem. 

2. Save them money (provide value).

3. Educate as a thought leader.

4. Entertain.

Market Forces & Access to Capital

  1. Need to have an incredible product or service. This is number 1 for a reason! Without this you have nothing. It’s the honest truth.
  2. Market validation is key. This helps to make your product, service and business tangible for validation and to increase credibility. Utilize customers, opinion leaders, partners, networks, stories and blogs.
  3. Understand Risk & Return. This is a trade off! You need to know the difference between a homerun vs. a blow up. Ultimately it’s hard to deal with multiple unknowns.
  4. Do you have someone to build and sell it? These two are the keys to longevity in your market. You will need to decide if you need to raise capital or find partners and/or investors.
  5. Hard to sell and position change. This is never easy to do. It’s best to over prepare. Industries, markets and investors need to be convinced that change will be substantial and long lasting.
  6. Utilize those online blogs and product reviews. These are your best critics and a free focus group. This mainly relates to technology companies and products, but blogs can act as an influencer.
  7. Networking is paramount. This is the best and easiest way to obtain guidance and learn from expertise and industry leaders.
  8. Nothing beats knocking on doors and making phone calls. Get out there and ‘pound the pavement.’ No one is going to find you customers, partners or investors, but yourself!
  9. An idea is worth nothing unless it can be commercialized. This is the cold, hard business truth.
  10. Execution is greater than strategy. The business needs to run efficiently and effectively.
  11. Sales and financial stability is needed to gain investors or to raise capital. Financial statements, sales forecasts and market assessments are required to raise capital or receive funding.

Advocacy Strategies

Advocacy is an important tool for brands to leverage and build strategies around.  Companies should strive to mobilize their customers, employees, and influencers, and turn them into highly productive and powerful brand advocates. These advocates can influence and support your established sales and marketing channels.

Here are 3 reasons why advocacy strategies are a critical channel to build.

1.       Credibility and Trust

Consumers trust their fellow consumers and what they say. While your brand should still communicate your products and services, advocates can help consumers learn information quickly and they will help build your credibility and transparency.

2.       Influence and Powerful Voice

 Advocates can reach potential buyers and partners quickly and easily. Advocates can do many things on a brand’s behalf including referring friends, writing testimonials, forwarding content, and sharing new products and promotions.

3.       Advocates Extend your Sales Force 

Advocates know when friends and acquaintances in their networks are available or “in the market.” This is information that brands don’t have. More importantly, the more people that are talking about and marketing your products or services will help increase your chances of success. Your social brand advocates can even drive results that are better than you than traditional methods.

Your potential brand advocates, customers, influencers, and employees, are an invaluable source of market and sales support. Business leaders can identify and mobilize their advocates to help increase brand awareness, generate high-quality leads and increase customer engagement. Companies need to create strategies and tactics set up to generate, track, and manage brand advocacy.

Adopt a Lean Approach to Strategy

By creating an agile strategy, your company should be able to drive actionable insight and develop an informed plan. When executed effectively, a lean framework approach to strategy should focus on three interrelated steps. These steps will design an informed road map, which should achieve results quickly.

  1. Investigation 

Understanding the current marketplace trends will help to access the competitive landscape facing your organization. An understanding of customer personas and their engagement journey, as well as stakeholder and market interviews will prioritize key criteria of the value, which should be aligned with the objectives of the business.

  1. Formulation 

This involves exploration of the existing and future strategic plans while harnessing market trends, a customer experience audit, and a competitive analysis that identifies unconsidered opportunities.

  1. Activation 

The final step is to combine all initiatives that have passed the internal strategic audit and aligns with the overall business strategy and opportunities. These opportunities should then be evaluated through the value to your target audience and to your business. Ultimately, your organization must have the ability to execute the strategy effectively and consistently.

The prioritized opportunities with the highest value will form the basis for your lean activation plan. Lastly, your lean strategic plan should have a properly crafted business case, which includes a cost-benefit analysis, technological assessment, projected ROI, and a multi-phase road map for ongoing innovation.

Adopting lean principles for strategy ensures that complexity, rigidity, and friction are replaced with simplicity, adaptability, and speed. Accelerating market demands can only be combated through accelerated road-mapping developed through actionable insights and informed planning.

Marketing Strategy 101

While most companies may have a document or presentation labelled marketing strategy, they probably missed the mark. Here are some helpful tips on creating a proper marketing strategy and avoiding a few common mistakes.

Create a strategy not a goal

“We want to be number one or two in the market” is a goal not a strategy. Goals can help inspire a company, but a strategy is how you plan to accomplish it. Ultimately, strategy is about making choices. It is also about outlining who is your ideal customer, what are you going to sell and how are you going to deliver a unique value proposition.

Don’t keep strategy a secret

All employees (or at least managers and decision makers) should be aware of and be able to explain your marketing strategy. The strategy should be a coherent plan that outlines the unique value proposition and how you will target the correct group of customers. A successful strategy helps to change and drive an organization. If no one knows what the strategy is, than it won’t influence action or change in your company.

Strategy is a new plan

When creating a new strategy, it can be easy for companies to build off of what they have done in the past. Just because you’re doing it doesn’t make it a strategy. If you have a consistent plan that delivers consistent results, this could be a strategy, but I would recommend building on it. 

You Need an Online Strategy

If you or your company havent considered creating an online marketing strategy you should. Not only because your competitors are online, but consumers and potential clients are as well.

A recent report from economist Todd Hirsch has pointed out that:

“according to the most recent survey by Statistics Canada, Albertans had one of the highest Internet usage rates in 2012 and outpaced the nation. About 85.3% of those aged 16 and older used the Internet for personal use, up from 83% in 2010. That compares with 83% of Canadians who accessed the Internet for personal use, up from 80% in 2010.”

If this doesn’t convince you to create an online marketing strategy I don’t know what will. Companies will also need to take mobile into account and create a mobile marketing strategy as well since consumers are increasingly accessing the internet from mobile devices.