Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What Goes Into A Marketing Plan?

Some of you may be wondering what a marketing plan is...really. It's not a business plan...that is a much more complicated document that takes several weeks and sometimes months to prepare. I worked on my business plan for more than a year and it covers my company structure, operations and financial projections for the next 5 years. A marketing plan is generally prepared in 12 month blocks and includes action steps that will hopefully turn your efforts into paying clients. It is also an evolving document because as marketing activities succeed or fail, you will need to change your plan activities accordingly.

There are several sections to include in your marketing plan. One of them is describing your current company situation and what resources you have in order to implement your plan. Another important section is to list the goals and objectives you have. Make them measurable like the amount of money you want to earn or the number of clients you would like to work with.

There are several other important sections to include in your marketing plan however I'd like to concentrate on the actual activities that are included in the plan.

Choosing which activities to include in a marketing plan will depend on two important factors:

Availability to execute

There are some activities that are low cost or no cost...like blogging...but it requires a commitment of time. Some activities will require a large investment of time...like networking...but may not be right for you because you're starting your business as part time. You may not have the time to get out each week to networking events. Whichever ones you choose, setting aside the money and the time you'll need for each activity in your marketing plan will give you a road map for your marketing success.

Here's a short list of marketing activities you may choose:

Social Networking
Direct Marketing
Email Marketing
Partnerships and Joint Ventures
Public Relations
Referral Marketing
Search Engine Optimization
Speaking Engagements

Choose at least three to four activities for your plan. Map them out on a calendar weekly and monthly so you are always performing some sort of marketing activity.

(Download an example of a marketing calendar for a fictitious wedding planning company. You'll need Adobe Acrobat to view. Download Adobe Acrobat here.)

Having a calendar helps to keep you focused on what activities need to be done and when. It will also help when tracking results. This will come in handy when trying to determined whether or not to continue a specific activity. You'll be able to attribute the increase or decrease in business based on when you implement specific activities in your plan.

Consistency is also very important to the success of any marketing activity and it also creates legitimacy for your brand. Potential clients and vendors will see that you are serious about your business and care about its success. If you're going to blog, blog consistently...if you're going to publish a newsletter, send it out when you say you're going to send it out..consistently.

Developing a marketing plan is one of the many modules that will be covered in our workshop coming later this year. In the meantime, if you have specific marketing plan questions or would like more info on our workshop, email us at info{at} aspiretoplan {dot} com, and we would be happy to help.

Until then...

Aspire to Plan!


Monica said...

I have to thank you for this site. I discovered it today and have taken notes from just about every article.

I had a successful wedding planning business that I began in 1995 and worked for four years. I also worked for a wonderful retail company at the time and decided to relocate with them over a seven year period. Here I am many years later looking to help couples make a dream come true and the wedding industry is so much bigger and information much more accessible than in 1995.

Your assistance in developing a successful business is valuable and I hope that you will continue to post articles that will help those getting into the wedding industry for the first time as well as those of us who want to get back in.

Wishing you much success.


Jadana said...

Is there anyway that you could republish the sample marketing calendar? The link says that it is not available? I hope you are able to do so, the article was very interesting.

Wendy said...

Hello ladies! (and gents too!) I have fixed the link for the sample marketing plan. I apologize for the boo-boo...not sure how that happened! :)

Please be sure to send me an email and let me know who I can help you with YOUR marketing plan!

Aspire to Plan!

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