The new year is here and its time to get your marketing plan of attack into gear. Market planning has a lot in common with financial planning. You must first decide what your goals are, who your target market is, how you will reach your targets and set up a long-term plan to reach your target markets.
What are your goals and who is your target? Before you can begin a marketing campaign, you need to know what your goals are and who your ideal client is. How many ideal prospects would you like to add to your client base?
Let’s say that you want to add 35 new clients to your roster this year. You have decided that the ideal client has a yearly income of $100,000 and $500,000 in investable assets. This is a broad look at the type of client you want to attract. What other traits can be added to help decide who your ideal prospect is. Do you want a prospect who you will have to spend a great deal of time educating on benefits of financial planning? Do you want a client who wants full details of their financials on a quarterly basis, or someone who just wants to know if they are on target to meet their financial goals?
At this point you have decided that your ideal client is someone who has a household income of $100,000 per year. The client has investable assets of at least $500,000, married, planning for college education of two or three kids, also planning for retirement for both partners. They have an understanding of the need for financial planning, implementing the plan and needs to be kept informed but not educated. They also do not need a detailed report on their finances, but an overview of how their finances are being invested and whether or not they are on target to reach their goals.
Deciding where your market is and how to reach your market: You know that the type of clients you are prospecting for lives in affluent neighborhoods, children attend prestigious private schools and belong to certain country clubs and civic organizations. You quickly decide that cold calling will not reach this group of prospects. You think about the marketing activities you would like to do and are most likely to do.
Through careful thought and research, you have decided to use a combination of networking, referral partners, writing articles, brochures, writing reports, seminars, speeches, newsletters, postcards, company website, and community involvement.
Now that you have decided what kinds of marketing activities you want to pursue. You decide to do a breakdown of how often you will do each activity for the year. Your breakdown looks something like this:
Networking events: Attend one per a week
Cultivating Referral Partners: Host a breakfast or lunch meeting twice a month
Writing Articles: Write and publish an article once per month
Brochures: Create brochures once a year
Writing Reports: Write an in-depth report once per month
Seminars: Host a seminar at least eight times a year
Speeches: Give at least six speeches a year
Newsletter: Create a monthly newsletter
Postcards: Send out postcards every three weeks
Company Website: Update your website with articles, reports, white papers or case studies twice a month
Community Involvement: Become a sponsor in two large events per year Press Releases: Sending press releases to tell of news concerning my business or a free booklet that is being offered.
Creating your long-term plan to reach your market:
You have figured out who your market is, how you will try to reach your market. Now that you have a plan on ways to reach your market, you have to decide on a schedule to implement the plan. You start by creating a spreadsheet with each month listed. You then break the month down by weeks. You start placing events into each month, trying to place at least four events in each month.
Weeks 1 through 4 - Develop company brochures
Week 1- Send newsletter to current email list
Week 2 - Send Press release offering a free booklet geared toward my ideal prospects.
Week 3 - Write article for publication
Week 4 - Go to a networking event
Week 5 - Host a seminar on a topic of interest to your ideal prospects, give away a copy of my free booklet to attendees.
Week 1 - Send newsletter to current email list, follow up with seminar attendees.
Week 2 - Host a lunch to cultivate
Week 3 - Send out a postcard to prospects reminding them of a service that I offer that would be especially helpful to them and referring them to my website.
Week 4 - Give a speech at a local civic group
Then you continue to create your plans for the rest of the year. You can also add much you feel you may need to budget for the activities. Your plan should be flexible, it is a guideline. It will help you know what you should be doing at any given time. Don't hesitate to change it when it needs to be changed, but don’t change things to quickly. Make sure you have an idea of how the activity is really working before you change things.
Tracking results and hitting your goals:
It is also important to track your results. If you do a press release and offer a booklet, track how many people call and request the booklet, find out how they found out you were offering the booklet. Track how many invites you send for your seminars, how many people sign-up and how many people actually attend. Track how many prospects that you contact throughout the year that actually becomes a client. How long did you have to contact the prospect before they became a client? What was the deciding factor that made them decide to become a client? Track how many people visit your website. How many people downloaded your reports, signed up for your newsletter. Constantly tracking your results will let you know what activities are bringing you business and what activities are a waste of your time. When it comes time to do next’s years marketing plan, you will know what activities to continue and discontinue.
Marketing is a cycle. You must first understand what you marketing activities need to do for you. Are you trying to increase your prospect base, follow up with prospects, get a meeting, close a sale? Gear your activities to what you are trying to do and focus on those things. When you increase your prospect base, move onto following up, then move on to getting the meeting, then move onto closing the sale, then start all over. NEVER stop marketing, if you want to keep doing business.
Jennifer Woodard is a freelance Marketing Communications Consultant offering a full range of communication services including but not limited to marketing, public relations, and book marketing. She specializes in working with Professional Service Firms, Professionals, Authors and Publishers. Visit her website at http://www.jenniferwoodard.biz and her blog at http://jenniferwoodard.blogspot.com