5 Reasons Why You Should Create a 2015 Marketing Plan Even If You Don’t Want One

No doubt with the new year quickly rolling around in just around the corner, your company is preparing to tighten up its business plans.

As much as you’re tempted to just stick with the same old business and marketing plan, with hopes that it will help to increase profits, it’s time to go back in the saddle and update your marketing strategy for 2015.

Here are a few ideas to help you…

1) Taking advantage of new technology will help you win the race.

We can all agree that technology is here to stay, with new web trends, mobile phones and tablets, marketing tactics should accommodate emerging tech.

To generate more profits in the upcoming year, figure out fresh ways to deliver content and your service through these new mediums.

Ask yourself, has your company delved into the mobile app development industry?

Is your online presence strong?

These are just a couple of things that should be apart of your planning when developing a 2015 marketing plan.

2) Top brands are boosting ad spending.

According to Ad Age major auto brands such as Audi and Chevy have announced their plans to launch more television advertisements. While you may not have a Fortune 500 marketing budget, such moves from top brands inspires ideas you can borrow for your marketing, on a smaller scale.

Create a new marketing strategy that allows you to advertise on emerging platforms, if it can be measured for ROI.

3) What worked and what didn’t work?

As great as some of our marketing ideas seemed for 2014, you have to admit that not all of those supposed “great” ideas worked. Understanding where you went wrong with past efforts will help you determine where things fell apart.

Also, it provides concrete evidence that supports continuing or changing your marketing strategy. This is one of the most important things you should think about when creating or updating your marketing plan for 2015.

4) New products and services deserve fresh planning.

Has your company added new products or services to the product mix? Perhaps you’re launching a new product or service soon?

Using the same marketing tactics for new products and services may not work as well as past marketing for your existing products and services. You want to get consumers hyped about the latest things you have in store. This requires a change in marketing focus.

5) Move a level up on your competitors.

You can bet your last dollar that your company’s competitors are brainstorming different ways to surpass you and to stay on top. This means that they are creating fresh and maybe innovative marketing tactics that will entice clients, customers and patients.

You may want to do the same if you want to stay a step ahead. Including innovative tactics on your marketing calendar will help make your upcoming year profitable.

Even though last year’s plan may have worked fairly well for you, why not shoot for better results with an updated marketing plan for this upcoming year?

Marketing Plan Schedule Implementation – Scheduling Your Home Business Workload

Marketing plan schedules are important in any business, and a home business is no exception. In fact the way that you implement a marketing plan schedule is even more important with a home based business, either one that you run by yourself or with only your family, simply because of the limited number of people actually doing the work! So here we take a look at the best way to plan your marketing schedule for every week, and also look at the websites and services you should be using.

Your marketing plan schedule should ideally fit in around your work and family commitments, yet still leave plenty of time to adequately complete all of the tasks you need to each day, week in week out. Of course in the real world that is easier said than done, and it sounds great when you read it in an article, but how do you actually implement such a schedule?

Firstly you need to start by taking a moment to analyze your day to see when you have quiet periods of time that you can actually get some work done without being interrupted. It’s no good starting a complicated task if you are not going to have the free time to finish it without being called upon to do something else.

You actually need to do this for every day of your week, so that you can see what free time you have available, as it is likely some days will be busier than others. If you are still working whilst running your own home business, then your days off will contain the most free time available to you and the days you have in work will contain the least, obviously.

A smart marketing plan schedule will allow you to do most of your work on your days off, and some of your promotional work should be setup to automatically complete whilst you are in work. This will give a more consistent feel to your promotional efforts, and will help to avoid the feeling that you absolutely must get something done even after a hard days work, because you will already have done it in advance when you had the chance!

To better visualize your marketing plan schedule we will take my own personal schedule as an example. This schedule was originally based upon my 4 days on 4 days off shift pattern in work, giving an interesting 8 day week plan (8 day weeks previously only existing in Beatles songs) which had the added benefit of my work never appearing in the same place on the same day each week. This meant people could not simply visit once per week for content, they would have to visit more often than that to find my updates.

I would do most of my promotional work (things such as writing blog posts, articles, press releases, classified ads etc.) on my 4 days off, and schedule as much of it as possible to be posted during my 4 days on. This would have the appearance of me working away and being consistent despite the twelve hour shifts, and look to all as though there was a constant stream of content coming from my website.

My marketing plan schedule worked quite well for me, at least as long as I stuck to it, which was until circumstances changed beyond my control, and yours will work well for you provided you implement a schedule you can actually stick to, hence the earlier reason for analyzing quiet periods in each day of the week. So do this now before reading any further!

In this section of the article we will look at the websites and services you should be using. Which service you use, and even the particular day that you use them is entirely up to you. No doubt there is extensive research on the particular day of the week to complete certain tasks, but that is beyond the scope of this article. You can always adapt your schedule later if you experience better results on different days for the individual tasks in hand.

Adapting my marketing plan schedule to your own.

(Please note the difference between the major tasks and the minor tasks as we go through my schedule below. A major task, for me at least, was one that required more time and research to complete, the minor task version was one that could be done without any research at all and on only a moments notice)

FIRST DAY ON

On my first day on I would look into posting a Yahoo answer (a minor task). For those that don’t know Yahoo answers are a wonderful place to post questions others can answer usually in minutes. The fact that they can answer them in minutes is excellent, because this means that Yahoo answers gets indexed by the search engines very quickly indeed. You can get links back to your own website once you get enough points built up by answering questions. You can also get quite a lot of traffic this way, provided your answers are good enough.

The truly great thing about Yahoo answers is the fact that it is usually placed very highly in the search engine positions if individual keywords matched. So if you work it well enough, you can get your answers to be displayed at the top of Google for a search, and get most of the people that find your answer over to your website! Yahoo answers should be part of any successful marketing plan schedule implementation strategy.

In addition to Yahoo answers I would also send out an email through AWeber (another minor task) to my email subscribers. The AWeber email archive page is indexed by the search engines, is a good source of traffic in itself and also helps to improve the positions of pages linked to it from there. The email could be about anything I was planning to do with my website or other announcements. Sending out a simple email and answering one question doesn’t take up much time, and so that’s the reason for including it on a busy work day.

SECOND DAY ON

On my second day I would upload a video to YouTube (another minor task). Usually the video was largely completed on one of my days off and simply needed some tweaking before uploading. YouTube is an excellent source of traffic and the videos are again indexed extremely quickly. Commenting on videos was another quick and easy way of getting traffic over from popular videos.

Additionally I would also make a small post on the Yearn2earncash.com blog (another minor task). This would be nothing special, often only something as simple as stating the fact I had uploaded a new video to YouTube, and rewriting the description of the actual video slightly. The reason for making small posts is to keep the search engines robots coming back to the blog as often as possible. (By the way, always use free services to “Ping” your blog, unless your blog already automatically uses ping services like WordPress.org self hosted blogs do)

Again both the uploading of YouTube videos and posting of small blog posts are something that could be done even after a busy day in work.

THIRD DAY ON

On my third day on I would create a classified ad (another minor task), usually through Craigslist and also a website called USFreeads. The search engines really like classified ads and they index them very quickly. They can be a very good source of traffic; they get placed quite highly in the search engines results, and are really quite easy to write. Choose good keywords as your ad title.

FOURTH DAY ON

On my fourth day (the last of my 4 on, 4 off work schedule) I would simply find some do follow blogs to comment on (another minor task, with the right software). For those that don’t know do follow blogs give you SEO benefit, and so they are they best blogs to comment on. If you comment on blogs then make sure that you don’t spam them, simple leave normal helpful comments on subjects you are interested in. In addition to getting SEO credit from do follow blog comments you can also get some traffic if your comment is good enough and helpful enough.

Additionally on my fourth day I would create another short blog post, usually just about how good one of the other do follow blogs was, or something I had just discovered on one of them. Again, just something quick and easy would do to get the search engine robots back to the blog.

So now we are halfway through my own personal marketing plan schedule, and hopefully you are now well on your way to implementing your own schedule. This is where the work really starts though; because once I was on my 4 days off I had to really start creating the work in order to have some that could be scheduled to post even on the next set of work days!

FIRST DAY OFF

On my first day off I would write an article (a major task), usually to be posted on EzineArticles although occasionally posted on Isnare for massive article distribution. Although articles have become slightly less important in the search engines eyes of late, they should still form a major part of any successful marketing plan schedule implementation strategy. They still draw a lot of traffic over to the websites linked to from them.

Not being the best writer in the world I would find writing the article to be somewhat time consuming, due to the amount of research often required, and it was for the best that I did this on a day off.

SECOND DAY OFF

On my second day off I would research and create my main weekly YouTube video (a major task – lesser ones can be created and uploaded anytime, but I always like one important one each week) plus make a forum post (another major task, requiring some research on the subject matter). The forum used was often warrior forum, although any popular one will do.

The warrior forum is perhaps the most important forum for internet marketers and can be an excellent source of traffic. I have also noticed some good SEO benefit from having links coming from forum posts and signature links, and so ideally you should use more than one forum. Google really approves of forums, and the posts get placed quite highly in the search engines results. So always make time for forum posts in your marketing plan schedule.

Additionally I would make another small blog post, this time a rewrite of my forum post answer so that I could effectively use the same content twice, but hopefully get even more traffic by implementing different keywords.

THIRD DAY OFF

On my third day off I would write a press release (a major task, not so much because it required any research as such, but mostly because it really requires writing in the “third person” – which was a skill I never really got the hang of). I have only ever used PRlog for my press releases because I have been amazed by the speed with which traffic was generated by them. I had hundreds of views very quickly (within minutes for my best efforts!) and could get indexed by the search engines quickly too.

Given that press releases can now contain images and also videos they should be the most important factor in the implementation of your marketing plan schedule. If you are prepared to pay for it, you can even have the extra feature of keyword anchor text in the links back to your website – One of the most vital link types you can get.

Again writing press releases for me was time consuming, and so best left to one of my days off.

FOURTH DAY OFF

On my fourth day off (my last day off work, sadly) I would create my major blog post. This would be the most important blog post of the week, and would contain the sum of my discoveries and experiences online during the week. It would also contain any announcements I wanted to make to my visitors. As Google loves blogs you absolutes must have one and post to it regularly, regardless of the home business you have or the type of content you plan on posting.

Thus completes my marketing plan schedule. It is important to note that although some tasks were only mentioned once per week, they were actually repeated more often than that. For example, my yahoo answers postings were sometimes made more often than once per week. The schedule above was only the minimum number of times I would do it per week. Often I would try to post on yahoo answers more often than that, but never less.

Additionally as partly mentioned earlier in the article you should note the minor tasks. For example I would create small blog posts as often as I liked, even every day if I felt like it, provided I had made one at least every other day that was fine. I also made smaller YouTube videos that required no research and simply contained my reactions to something that had happened that day. Provided I made at least one major YouTube video in the week, again that was just fine.

In the implementation of your marketing plan schedule you must attempt to reach a happy balance between not getting enough done, and having so much on your schedule for the day that you feel overwhelmed and decide not to do anything! Try simply to create a minimum schedule of work that contains all of the tasks you want done each day/each week, and then do more if time allows.

One good option would be to print out copies of your marketing plan schedule so that you can tick off completed tasks each day, then after the week is complete start again on another copy. Better still, have a whiteboard so that you can write on it and wipe it off after the week is complete.

The final area to be covered is the sharing of your own content through social media. I would share through Facebook and twitter all of my posted content from the week before. I would also click on the Facebook like button, and any other sharing buttons available in order to get more of my marketing content out there. You should be sure to share your own content through as many networks as possible, usually a week later in order to give it time to be scheduled, indexed and seen by a few people. Plus that avoids the issue of having all of the same subject matter appearing in your status updates in the same few days.

Now its time for you to implement your own marketing schedule. Whatever work schedule you have simply adapt my plan schedule above to suit and use all of the mentioned websites and services, plus as many more as you have time for. Get going!

Marketing Plan: Why All Small Businesses Need A Solid Plan!

“Good plans shape good decisions. That’s why good planning helps to make elusive dreams come true.”Lester R. Bittel

Recently, I offered a marketing plan review as a door prize for a local business group. When I approached the winner to exchange information, she whispered that she didn’t have a written one; she had it stored in her head. She then asked it a marketing plan was even necessary.

Should Your Small Business Have A Marketing Plan?

Absolutely! In fact, as a small business consultant, I’ve encountered numerous clients who repeatedly make the same mistake… failing to have a plan ‘business or marketing’ in place.

In a recent survey, I asked 200 respondents, ‘of the many issues facing their businesses, what common road blocks hindered their business growth.’ An overwhelming 32% said ‘No Marketing Plan’ was a potential reason for lack of sales and growth.

Why Marketing Plan?

Well, a marketing plan is a road map that details a route you should take to successfully promote and expand your business. It is critical to the success of a business, in fact, to all businesses! If a small business wants to achieve its potential, a marketing plan must be implemented!

Marketing is more than just ordering business cards or creating a flyer, it’s how you communicate with your current and potential clients. It is important to get your name out in the business community and differentiate your products and services from that of your competitor. If you don’t market your products or services, how will people know that you are a serious business owner or worse, in business? With a marketing plan, you will have a game plan in place.

A marketing plan is an integral and valuable tool for determining success of your business and the overall direction that your product or service should be taking. It should:

  • Clarify the impact and results of past marketing decisions.
  • Elucidate the external market that a company is competing.
  • Include deadlines for meeting those targets.
  • Prepare a budget for all marketing activities.
  • Set objectives and provide path for future marketing efforts.
  • Require accountability and measures for all activities.

6 Key Components of a Marketing Plan

Market Research

Gather information about your target market to include competition, business and industry environment.

When researching, answer the following questions:

  1. Who are your customers?
  2. What do they want or need?
  3. What is important to them?
  4. Who are your competitors? What are their strengths and weaknesses?
  5. What is your businesses environment, locally, regionally, and nationally?
  6. Is your industry doing well?

Target Market

Potential customers who have issues that or problems which your products or services can fulfill. Generally, people in this segment possess common characteristics and a relatively high tendency to purchase a particular product or service. Included in a target market are demographic, geographic and psychographic characteristics.

Executive Summary

A brief summary which includes the main points of the plan; generally shared with people you approach with your plan, such as investors or lenders who may want to read a synthesized version to determine if they are interested in it before taking the time to read it in depth.

Situation Analysis

The evaluation of operations to determine the reasons for the gap between what was or is expected, and what has happened or will happen.

SWOT Analysis

A formal outline to identify and frame a company’s’ growth opportunities; SWOT is an acronym for an organization’s internal Strengths and Weaknesses and external Opportunities and Threats.

Marketing Strategy

A process that allows a company’s to concentrate its limited resources on the greatest opportunities to increase sales and achieve a sustainable competitive advantage.

Budget

Estimates tied to specific allocation of revenues. A budget is required to have a successful marketing plan.

  • Yearly marketing budget
  • Expected return after investment
  • Breakdown of expected expenditures

In conclusion, as you can see, a marketing plan serves as your roadmap. It is critical for the success of your business. If writing a marketing plan seems a little intimidating, click here for FREE tools to help you.