Friday, January 30, 2009

Your Marketing Plan for 2009

Have you created a marketing plan for 2009? If you haven't yet, take some time to do so before another month goes by.

Your plan doesn't have to be long and complicated. It can be one page and address a few items such as:

1. Your marketing goals
2. The purpose of your plan
3. Your target market
4. The specific marketing weapons you will use
5. Your marketing budget

Then create a marketing calendar. Again, keep it simple. Create a simple spreadsheet with 12 rows, one for each month, and four columns. The four columns will be:

1. Each month of the year
2. The marketing weapon you will use
3. How you will implement your marketing weapon
4. A grade - yes give yourself a grade to see how effective that specific strategy worked.

Once you do this you'll have a plan in place and an easy way to see at the end of the year what worked and what did. You'll be well on your way to an even better plan for 2010.

What's your marketing plan for 2009?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Do Your Clients Feel Important?

Are you trying to grow your business during these difficult times? What can you do to retain your clients? In fact, you want to make them so happy with your services that they recommend your business to everyone they know.

The most important thing you can do for your clients is to make them feel important. Make sure you use their name and get to know them personally. If you come across an interesting magazine article or website you know they would find interesting, let them know about it.

Your client feels important when you respond to their inquiries in a prompt manner. Don't wait two or three days to respond to their voice mail message or email. Get back to them immediately if at all possible.

Send a card at a random time just to thank them for their business. If you can't provide what they need, help them find it somewhere else.

What do you do to make your clients feel important?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Better Business Communication Day

Yes, today is Better Business Communication Day. What does that mean to you?

As solo professionals it is important to be able to communicate effectively with your clients and others. Yet I often see small business owners create marketing materials with spelling and grammatical errors. It's obvious they have no sense of how to communicate their message effectively.

I suggest that you have someone proofread everything you plan on using to communicate with others. If your writing style needs a little work, get some help.

What will you do to improve your communication in business?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Choose Your Clients

That's right. Choose who you do business with. Not just those that provide services, but also your clients and customers. You'll find that you have clients that rave about you and your business. You want more clients like that.

On the other hand, there are times when your client or customer is not the right fit. You've done all you can to help them and they still aren't satisfied. These clients may deliver the wrong message to yet others. These are the ones you don't need and should let go. It's not always easy; but it's the right thing to do.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Customer Service Day

Saturday, January 17, 2009 is Customer Service Day. Of course every day should be customer service day. But what can you do to make your customer feel extra special in the next few days?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Where do you come up with your blog ideas?

Recently someone asked me where I come up with my blog ideas. It can be very challenging to create fresh blog content regularly. Here are some of the ideas I shared:

1. Subscribe to newsletters and blogs about your industry to get ideas.
2. Read - books, magazines, blogs, newsletters.
3. Write down a list of words that describe you and your business. Then create a blog post for each word describing in more detail what you and your business is all about.
4. Go to for ideas.
5. Keep a notebook with you at all times. You'll be surprised the ideas you come up with while sitting at a meeting, networking with others, and just driving down the road. Jot them down in your notebook and then go back to create a blog entry.
6. Use questions (such as this one I received) to create a blog entry.

Remember, blog posts do not need to be long. In fact I think a short, one paragraph entry is just fine.

Where do you come up with your blog ideas?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Tell a Story

Good marketers tell a story according to Seth Godin. People love stories. So how do you go about telling a story to market your services? Read Seth's blog post.

So what story are you telling?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Market to Their Wants

Seth Godin says that people don't buy what they need; they buy what they want. Therefore, you need to market your services to people's wants. Create your marketing strategy in such a way that people want what you offer. When a customer wants what you have, pricing isn't the most important factor.

Read more words of wisdom from Seth at his blog.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Marketing - An Expense or Investment?

Many small business owners view marketing as an expense. Good marketers realize it is an investment. When small business owners view marketing as an investment, all of a sudden they realize the many options set before them. It becomes, not a matter of money, but a matter of investing in time to produce long-term rather than short-term results.

Marketing is not just buying an advertisement in a newspaper. Good marketing includes every aspect of your daily business - from how your invoices appear to how clean your store appears to your customers.

Is your marketing an expense or an investment?

Friday, January 2, 2009

Begin With the End in Mind

In the miniature edition of Stephen R. Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People he speaks of setting goals and the application of 'begin with the end in mind.' You start with the picture of the end of your life. Where do you see yourself once you've accomplished your goal? By keeping that picture in mind, you can make sure that each step of the way your actions contribute in a meaningful way toward reaching your goal.

This requires having a clear picture of where you're going. As Covey says, "it means to know where you're going so that you better understand where you are now and so that the steps you take are always in the right direction."

How do you picture yourself in a year, five years, ten years....?