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Saturday, December 29 2012
 

Do you have a folder full of marketing ideas sitting on your desk? Or are those ideas still rattling around in your head?

Either way, putting them into a concrete plan forces you to evaluate whether they make sense or not.

A clear plan helps you channel your energy into routes that give you the best chance of reaching your goals rather than scattering yourself by doing a bit of this and a bit of that as the fancy takes you.

It does take time and effort to put a plan together but once it's done, your life will be easier and your activities more productive - with less effort.

Here's what a marketing plan helps you do:

  • Get your dreams out of your head and onto paper.
  • Define what you want your marketing efforts to achieve over the next year.
  • Do all your thinking at the beginning of the year! When you consider your strategy for the whole year, you'll see how your marketing methods can support and feed off each other so you use your time and resources more efficiently and you get better results with less effort.
  • Understand what your audience wants and how you can satisfy them.
  • Figure out how to attract and retain your clients, and how to reinvigorate old clients so you make more money with what you already have.
  • Keep your focus only on the activities that will bring the results you want.
  • Measure the results of your efforts so you can make adjustments if necessary.
  • Evaluate whether the latest, seductive new marketing method fits in with what you are trying to achieve.
  • Become more effective at handling problems because you'll have a foundation to make decisions from.
  • Reach your financial goals.
A well-designed marketing plan is a step-by-step program for success because it guides your actions: you'll be clear about what to do, how to do it and when to do it; you'll stay intentional and focused on getting where you want to go.

This doesn't mean that you don't make adjustments as you go through the year but the plan sets the direction.

"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail."
Benjamin Franklin

The most important step is the first one: getting started. Go for it!

I know how daunting this can be: drop me an email to Maggie@MyMarketingMessage.com or give me a call at 805 965 9173 if you need help putting your plan together.

Copyright 2012 Maggie Dennison

Posted by: Maggie AT 06:34 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, December 04 2012
 You can have the best product or service, the best price, the best website, the best language, and you can still fail. Why? Because the most important part is your ability to connect with your audience. That's where you lose or win.


How do you connect?


One of my marketing mentors said that you have to join the conversation that's going on in their heads. That means you need to understand the pain, problem or predicament that they think about constantly, and that your product or service can resolve for them. Then you can empathize with them - and they'll feel you understand what they're going through. That's the first step.


How do I know what are they thinking?


Put on your research hat and find out.

Research doesn't sound exciting. But how fired up can you get watching workers dig a hole for the foundation of a house. It's much more thrilling to watch the walls go up and see the house take shape. But without the foundation, the walls won't stand.

The picture of your ideal client is your foundation that the rest of your marketing is built upon.

You need to know as much as you can about your ideal client. What are her highest aspirations? What are her fears? What does she despise? What does she admire? What is the problem she's facing that your service offers a solution to? What does she expect from the solution?

These are just a few of the questions I ask when I help my clients with their marketing or writing.

It may take some time to get a clear picture of who you're talking to, but if you take the time to do this excavation work up front, everything you say and write will be clearer, more focused, and more effective because it will land with the people it's meant for.


Some quick ways to do your own informal market research

Research doesn't have to be intimidating or expensive either.

·  Review your past clients and see if there are common threads that link the issues you want to help them with.

·  Pick people who would be ideal clients and interview them. Most people like to talk about themselves: usually it isn't a problem getting this information. It doesn't have to be in a formal setting. A 5-minute conversation at a networking meeting can be enough. You're not asking for intimate details of their personal lives, you're simply wanting to find out what makes them tick.

Mostly people want to help; many people are starved of attention and are glad to have the chance to talk about themselves.


How does this help?

When you understand your ideal clients, you can easily tune into how they think and what they believe. Then you can present your message, whether written or verbal, in a way that resonates with them. It may mean that some people will love you and some will not. That's the risk. But why would you want to appeal to those who aren't ideal clients anyway?

Try it. You might be surprised at the response you get.

Copyright 2012 Maggie Dennison. All rights reserved.

 

Posted by: Maggie AT 09:05 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
 

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Maggie Dennison, M.A

My Marketing Message
Writing and Coaching Solutions For
Independent Professionals and Small Businesses

 

27 W. Anapamu #295,
Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA

Phone: 805-965-9173 
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