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    28 Replies Latest reply on Jan 29, 2009 3:16 PM by SBC Team

    Event: How to develop a marketing plan

    SBC Team Guide
      Before the tactics, you need a plan. It's not a long document of marketing super secrets. A small business marketing plan should be a concise document that will serve as your guide for all future marketing activities. It includes four essential spots: Branding, Experience, Conversation and Promotion

       


      Jay Ehret, President of The Marketing Spot, coaches, teaches, consults with locally owned businesses. He also conducts workshops and seminars to empower small businesses to market more effectively. For more information on Jay and The Marketing Spot, visit http://www.themarketingspot.com

       


      Jay can answer questions such as:

       

      • Where do I even start marketing?
      • What are the things I should add to, or eliminate from, my marketing plan?
      • What are some tips and best practices?
      • How do I tie the elements together into a cohesive force?

      Post your question for Jay here and then check back on January 29th at 2:00PM EST, or any time thereafter for his reply. You can post a question any time during the event hour. However, he may not have a chance to answer all of them.
        • Re: Event January 29: Developing a marketing plan
          SOHOguru Wayfarer

          We are looking to promote a new line of car batteries and car battery products sold online at http://www.ProCircuitProducts.com. Since this is a niche market with many established competitors, we are looking for fresh ideas for branding and marketing. Our testing shows that the Pro Circuit Products Battery is superior in cold-cranking situations than most of the major brands. We have done press releases, posted on several social networking sites that run articles, and are entering a marketing relationship on Shopzilla, Google and other shopping networks.

          We feel somewhat organized in the marketing plan, but given the niche market that these products are in and the competitive online community, we are looking for other things we could possibly be doing to add to an established plan of action.

          We look forward to the event.

          • Re: Event January 29: How to develop a marketing plan
            PitCrew Wayfarer
            How do Blogs and Social Networks like FaceBook, Linkedin, Twitters etc fit into a Marketing Plan.

            We've recently added Online Marketing to our Marketing Strategy. Can you comment and suggest strategies on how Blogs, and Social Networks like FaceBook, Linkedin, Twitters etc fit into a Marketing plan.

            We are an Auto Repair business. We are located at 910 N Bascom Ave, at the Chevron Gas Station corner of Bascom and Hedding in San Jose, CA. We invite you to learn more about us at http://womenautoknow,net or http://pitcrewautocare.com

            I look forward to the event.
              • Re: Event January 29: How to develop a marketing plan
                MarketingSpot Newbie
                The purpose of social networks in a marketing plan is to engage customers.
                Use tools like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Ning only if you want to have ongoing
                dialogue with customers. These are not marketing tools, but relationship tools.

                Whether or not you use these tools depends on the nature of your relationship
                with customers. Use these tools: if customers are passionate about a product or
                a business and like to sound off about it, if customers feel like they are part
                of your customer community and want to interact with each other, if customers
                want to have dialogue with you.
                Blogs are used to establish credibility and build authority. You can also use
                blogs to deliver consistent advice or information about your business and how to
                use your product. Yes, customers can comment on blogs, but most will not. Use
                blogs to create value and establish authority.
                Here is some information on starting a social media program: http://themarketingspot.blogspot.com/2009/01/starting-social-media-program.html
                1 of 1 people found this helpful
                  • Re: Event January 29: How to develop a marketing plan
                    furnace Newbie
                    Jay,

                    I am a home inspector... inspecting properties largely for the buyer prior to purchase.

                    In respect to the social networking tools... we've experimented and a large portion of our business comes from real estate agent referrals. Networking with agents and brokers online as well as in the field seems practical.

                    So in certain situations, like ours it can make sense?

                    Jeff
                    Campbell Property Inspections
                    www.MainesHomeInspector.com
                • Re: Event January 29: How to develop a marketing plan
                  caffeinated Scout

                  Hi Jay,

                   


                  Can you recommend any free resources that may be available when beginning my marketing plan? A template I could follow? Someone to review it?

                   


                  Thanks,

                   

                  caffeinated
                  • Re: Event January 29: How to develop a marketing plan
                    tashmaxx Newbie
                    Hi Jay! My husband and I will be starting a process server(Legal Document Assistants) business come 2010. We are using this year to prepare, research, and write our business plan so we get a good start. We will began with minor clients such as collection agencies, banks, etc....we don't want to get into legal docs for the court or residential yet until we've had more experience. We are also beginning this out of our home. My brother 'n law has his own business setting up websites so we will have that setup.

                    What other type of marketing strategies do you recommend?
                    We have thought of Fliers, cold calls, etc..
                      • Re: Event January 29: How to develop a marketing plan
                        MarketingSpot Newbie
                        I cannot recommend specific strategies without knowing your complete brand
                        picture and your buyer persona. Will you be marketing locally or nationally? If
                        national, then I recommend you set up a blog and begin posting regularly. I
                        recommend WordPress, which can be easily
                        integrated into your website. It will greatly increase your presence on search
                        engines and draw traffic to your site.

                        If you are marketing locally then I might suggest direct mail, probably
                        postcards. But don't use the mail as a sales piece. Use it as the first step to
                        encourage the potential customer to learn more. Create a landing page on your
                        website specifically for this postcard. Locally you also might want to volunteer
                        to speak at local civic organizations frequented by bankers and attorneys.
                      • Re: Event January 29: How to develop a marketing plan
                        TheDapperTie Newbie
                        Hi Jay,

                        I have launched an online store called the "TheDapperTie.com". As the name indicates, most if not all the neckties featured on my website will be of fine quality and also very appealing.

                        In regards to marketing, I have started off with family, friends, and colleagues. I also was going in the direction of online auction, but from my experience this seems to be very time consuming not to mention it is very hard to reach my target audience. I want to start running ads on websites to increase sales. I want to go in the right direction and not waste time and money. Any ideas??

                        Thanks,
                        Philip Baldwin
                          • Re: Event January 29: How to develop a marketing plan
                            MarketingSpot Newbie
                            I do not recommend running ads on websites as they rarely give good return on
                            investment. Instead I recommend you create a video blog with tie tips. For
                            example: How to tie a bow tie, how to tie various knots, how to match tie color
                            with shirt color, patterns or solids? Post a different video tip each week.

                            Then I would engage in a social network frequented by professionals who wear
                            ties. Those will be difficult to find, but create a description of your ideal
                            customer persona and discover where they like to hang out on the web. This will
                            create interest and traffic for your blog. It may also create word of mouth on
                            the web.
                            Check out the Trunk Club blog for some ideas on how to implement: http://thetrunkclub.wordpress.com/
                          • Re: Event January 29: How to develop a marketing plan
                            SBC Team Guide

                            Hello Community,

                            Jay Ehret from The Marketing Spot is joining the SBOC tomorrow January 29th @ 2PM EST. To ensure Jay has time to respond within the hour he's with us, ask your question today and then check back for his response.

                             


                            Don't be shy!

                            The SBOC Team
                            • Re: Event January 29: How to develop a marketing plan
                              SBC Team Guide
                              Hello Community,

                              Jay Ehret from The Marketing Spot is joining the SBOC today @ 2PM EST. To ensure Jay has time to respond within the hour he's with us, ask your question now and then check back for his response.

                               


                              Attention power users! Lead by example and ask a question on behalf of the Community. Others will follow your lead.

                              The SBOC Team
                              • Re: Event January 29: How to develop a marketing plan
                                SBC Team Guide
                                Community,

                                Please join us in welcoming Jay Ehret from The Marketing Spot. Jay will posting as MarketingSpot.

                                Jay, take it away!

                                The SBOC Team
                                • Re: Event January 29: How to develop a marketing plan
                                  MarketingSpot Newbie
                                  Marketing plans are typically thought of as documents. While it's good to
                                  have your plan written out, traditional marketing plans focus on the wrong
                                  questions. In building your marketing plan you want to avoid the product focused
                                  questions of "What?" & "How?" For example What are we trying to accomplish
                                  and how are we going to do it?

                                  Instead, answer the "Who?" & "Why?" questions. Who are you, and why do
                                  you exist? These questions form the foundation of your brand identity. I know it
                                  sounds strange, because as an entrepreneur, you want a list of actions to
                                  follow. But the actions will become self-evident as you answer your identity
                                  questions.
                                  Get more information here: http://themarketingspot.blogspot.com/2008/12/growth-strategy-2009.html
                                  • Re: Event January 29: How to develop a marketing plan
                                    MarketingSpot Newbie
                                    After branding, the most important piece of your marketing plan is mapping
                                    out the customer experience. The customer's experience is the number one
                                    determinant of whether or not that customer will do business with you again. Not
                                    your product, not your price, not your service: The experience.

                                    So take time to map out a remarkable customer experience injecting key "magic
                                    spots" at critical points. Magic spots are those memorable moments that
                                    customers can recall later on and tell their friends about.
                                    For more information on mapping out a remarkable customer experience:
                                    http://themarketingspot.blogspot.com/2008/07/customer-experience-theme.html

                                    http://themarketingspot.blogspot.com/2008/07/customer-experience-map.html

                                    http://themarketingspot.blogspot.com/2008/01/remarkable-customer-experience-power-to.html
                                    • Re: Event January 29: How to develop a marketing plan
                                      furnace Newbie
                                      I joined a BNI recently and despite the startup costs ($430+) I believe it will be an effective marketing tool... effectively having additional sales people out there looking to refer me out to their clients or acquantances... to date the results are mixed and a lot of committment and reciprocal referrals are required.

                                      What is your opinion of the BNI model?
                                        • Marketing to Realtors
                                          MarketingSpot Newbie
                                          You are on the right path networking with realtors. However, I don't think
                                          asking for testimonials should be your first choice because it seems
                                          self-serving.

                                          Let your website be a resource for realtors rather than a marketing tool. I
                                          would suggest adding a blog to your website and posting articles about common
                                          inspection problems, or even "hidden" inspection problems. then you might
                                          develop an information piece for realtors such as "prepping your listing for
                                          inspection." or "presenting the inspection report to the buyer." Making the
                                          realtor look smarter is a good way to get them to call on you, and depend on
                                          your service.
                                          • The BNI Model
                                            MarketingSpot Newbie
                                            I am opposed to the BNI model because it is based on exchanging "leads."
                                            Customers are treated as a commodity and a lead to be exchanged. That's not what
                                            a customer is. My model is to create value and desire and attract customers to
                                            you. Rather than you trying to sell someone on your services, think of how you
                                            can create enough value that potential customers will seek you out.
                                          • Re: Event January 29: How to develop a marketing plan
                                            MarketingSpot Newbie
                                            The most powerful form of marketing is often said to be word of mouth. If you
                                            believe that to be true, and you should, then it's time for you to integrate
                                            word of mouth into your marketing plan. It's easier than you think. First decide
                                            what you want people to talk about (based on your brand) then give them the
                                            opportunity to talk about it.

                                            Some effective means of getting customers to talk about you are:
                                            • Getting customer feedback through surveys and interviews
                                            • Cultivating your customer by giving them important information and \\ resources
                                            • Creating buzz by enlisting community leaders to try your product
                                            • Building customer communities such as user groups
                                            • Sample your product
                                            • Get involved with a cause
                                            Two excellent books on the subject are:

                                            Creating
                                            Customer Evangelists


                                            The
                                            Secrets of Word of Mouth Marketing

                                            1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                              • Re: Event January 29: How to develop a marketing plan
                                                furnace Newbie
                                                I recently donated my inspection services to a charitable cause (soup kitchen, shelter etc... outfit) to inspect their existing properties and potential acquisitions... while it is not a money maker for me, I see some potential for my associates (contractors). Now it is going well and I believe it will pay dividends for my business down the road..

                                                how can i best take advantage of portraying what I did with out patting myself on the back too much?
                                                  • Donating to a Cause
                                                    MarketingSpot Newbie
                                                    The best way to take advantage your donation is to not take advantage of it.
                                                    Do it from the heart and selflessly. Make sure you are either passionate about
                                                    the cause or it is aligned with your brand. If you donate to a cause without
                                                    expectation of return, the return will come. People will sense your
                                                    sincerity.
                                                • Re: Event January 29: How to develop a marketing plan
                                                  SBC Team Guide
                                                  Community,

                                                  We're have way through the event with Jay. Get those questions in before our time with Jay runs out.

                                                  Remember to refresh your browsers often to see the latest response.

                                                  The SBOC Team
                                                  • Advertising and Promotion
                                                    MarketingSpot Newbie
                                                    So what about advertising and how it fits into a marketing plan?
                                                    Surprisingly, you may not need to advertise as much as you think you do; and
                                                    possibly not at all. If you have built a strong brand identity and deliver a
                                                    remarkable customer experience, business promotion will take care of itself.
                                                    Customer loyalty, and thus repeat business, will increase. Word of mouth and
                                                    conversation will replace your need for a advertising budget.

                                                    However, if you feel like you do need to advertise, think message first,
                                                    tactics second. Create a message and courts the customer rather than clubbing
                                                    them over the head. Reveal personal and intimate traits of your business, don't
                                                    sell in your advertising.
                                                    To help you build your message use this resource: Courting
                                                    Customers


                                                    To help decide where to advertise (traditional) see the Media
                                                    Sporter Matrix

                                                    • Wrap Up: Build Your Marketing Plan
                                                      MarketingSpot Newbie
                                                      Marketing plans are too complicated and focus too much on tactics. Start by
                                                      answering the "Who?" and "Why?" questions: Who you are, and Why you exist. Then,
                                                      I encourage you to simplify your marketing plan and focus on four primary areas:
                                                      Branding, Experience, Conversation and Promotion. This is The
                                                      Marketing Circle of Life
                                                      for small businesses.

                                                      I have a complete free series posted on my blog on how to build your plan: Build
                                                      Your Marketing Plan
                                                      . Please feel free to contact me if you have any
                                                      questions about the information I posted on this forum today.

                                                      Thanks to Bank of America for the forum an this great small business
                                                      resource. Power
                                                      to the Small Business
                                                      !

                                                       

                                                      • Re: Event January 29: How to develop a marketing plan
                                                        SBC Team Guide
                                                        Jay, thanks again for your time today and your professional responses! We hope to see you back either as a guest expert or as a Community member participant.

                                                        Community, although our event with Jay has concluded, please feel free to discuss his responses amongst yourselves and implement them in your small business situation.

                                                        For more information on Jay and The Marketing Spot, visit http://www.themarketingspot.com

                                                        The SBOC Team