A Marketing Plan is Essential for any Business to Succeed – but not just any marketing plan…
If you’re working on your marketing plan now, stop for a moment and read this important information:
Before you create a marketing plan, you must be aware of the most effective marketing strategies you can implement. Don’t be afraid to try something new once you have done your homework on it. Sadly according to recent study, CEOs in Australia’s mid-market sector overwhelmingly believe that their marketing is failing to increase market share and revenue growth – and they don’t believe this can be measured or changed.
They ‘re comfortable with their old methodologies and are unaware of or unwilling to try new strategies. Business owners and CEOs who market their products usually keep doing it the same way they’ve always done, (and the way that every other business like theirs is currently doing) – and their returns continue to diminish.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that only 18.8% of Businesses had introduced any new or significantly improved marketing methods in the 2012/2013 financial year. Even more disturbing is the fact this has fallen from 19.9% the previous year. All this in a time of increasing competition and diminishing returns from traditional marketing.
Ask most small business owners where their customers or clients come from and they’ll tell you “word of mouth”. But while referrals are an excellent source of leads and they usually have a high conversion rate, they should be just one of a number of sources that your inquiries come from.
As competitors come in using new and innovative strategies that technology has made possible, local businesses are finding that even these “word of mouth” inquiries diminish as prospective clients are attracted to marketing savvy competitors.
The internet has also allowed a wave of overseas companies to start competing for local business in many industries, and for new local competitors to enter the market with little or no capital, operating from their spare room or garage!
So it has never been more important for Australian businesses to look seriously at their marketing strategies and where they can be improved.
Make sure you understand the difference between Image advertising and direct response advertising
There are two types of advertising strategies, “image” advertising and “direct response” advertising. Image advertising is meant to remind consumers of your brand and the products and services you offer. If you’ve seen Nike or Pepsi commercials, you’ve seen image ads. Some 95% of all advertising you see on television and in print is image advertising.
Direct response advertising, on the other hand, is meant to evoke an immediate response and compel your prospects to take some specific action, such as picking up the phone and calling for more information, or placing an order. Most infomercials are good examples of direct response advertisements.
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One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is running “image” ads on television, on the radio, in print or in their direct mail campaigns.
There’s no question, image ads are effective at building brand awareness. The problem is, it takes time – time most small business owners or operators don’t have.
The blind rush to online marketing strategies
Everybody has heard of the incredible, almost unbelievable results online marketers boast about. They are certainly possible, but for every one marketer who gets them, there are thousands or even hundreds of thousands who don’t.
Online marketing is a science and you either need to learn it properly or get advice from somebody who knows it.
If you just throw up a web page and run a pay-per-click campaign pointing to that website, you’ll probably find that your cost of acquisition per lead is actually higher than traditional outbound marketing – You will have just discovered a new black hole for your money to disappear into.
A carefully implemented online strategy is important for every business, but consider this: The more your competitors drop their offline strategies and blindly rush to the internet, the less competitive offline marketing will be.
Offline direct mail for instance when used correctly, will get up to 100 times the response rate of email marketing. It’s so easy to press the delete button on the computer. So don’t let go of your offline marketing just yet, but make sure it is effective, direct response marketing!
A combination of well-thought-out, effective offline and online marketing strategies is important
Usually when a business decides to try an online activity like social media, they do it in complete isolation from the rest of their marketing – with a different person implementing it.
Even if the strategy in itself is effective, you won’t get a maximum ROI unless it is coordinated with the other activities in your marketing plan.
Some online platforms are more suitable for brand recognition while others are great for direct response so when used in isolation, they can sometimes be completely ineffective!
A number of effective marketing strategies, with the right people to implement them, coordinated together into a marketing plan will almost guarantee growth of your sales and market share!
Don’t forget to include follow-up activities in your marketing plan
With all the focus on lead acquisition, the sales funnel is often left out of marketing plans.
The fact is you won’t make every sale the first time a prospect visits your office, or on the first appointment you have with them. It takes repeated exposure to your marketing message – sometimes up to seven exposures or more before a prospect becomes a paying client or customer, so getting leads is only half the battle.
What you do with those leads is as important as how you get them.
You must establish a SYSTEMATIC follow-up marketing process that includes a SEQUENCE of communications with your prospects.
These communications should be a combination of direct mail, phone calls, and email and this must all be part of the marketing plan.
Important – Before You Start
But before you start identifying and scheduling marketing activities, you should be clear on the marketing strategies that will work best for your business – strategies that will increase your sales quickly and give you a good ROI.
To help you with this, we’ve compiled a special complimentary report containing 4 fundamental principles you must understand when writing your marketing plan. These principles will ensure your marketing strategies give you a large and speedy return on your investment.
These pillars or principles are the result of our 35 years of marketing experience and are the basis of marketing strategies we have personally used to great effect.