In case you missed the big announcement here it is --- December is National Write a Business Plan Month. All business plans should contain a marketing plan (and that includes a PR plan too). Since marketing is about creating want and selling something and PR leans to being well known, well thought of, and well remembered (in a good way is best); here are a few questions to ask yourself when developing a strategy for your marketing plan:
- What is my goal? What do I want to achieve? Be smart. Figure out what you want to have. then figure out what you have to do to have it. Once you work that out, it's easier to determine who you need to be to do what has to be done in order to secure what you want to have.
- When do I want to reach my goal? Set a timetable - a goal without a date is a dream. Dreams are great and are a doorway to what you want to achieve by whetting your creative sword but if you want to succeed set a date!
- What is my message? Your message needs to be more than “My product is great.” What’s the problem it solves? If you’re a professional, what’s the value you and your service offer?
- What makes what I have and do unique? Study your competition. What do they offer? Set up healthy alliances through networking.
- Who am I trying to reach? Who is my audience? Tip-- it is not everyone. Be specific. Unless you are only one of a few businesses that manufactures a specialized widget you need to know who will buy what you have. Surveys are extremely useful to determine your "who" and their "wants and needs." Example: a collapsible clothes hamper may be just the thing for a college student’s dorm room. That’s your initial target audience. If her family is helping fix up the dorm room, consider them. Maybe they’ve downsized and might want one or more for themselves, too. In fact, it could be great anyone living in a small space.
- How do I determine which media to use? Now that you know your audience you can work out what they’re watching, listening to, reading, and doing online, then work out your message for that medium and audience. Social media helps to build communities around common interests. Daytime TV talk shows tend to attract female viewers. Older audiences 55+ read newspapers.
- What about a website? Have a professional website that attracts visitors and makes it easy for them to learn more about you, your product, book or service — and equally easy to purchase what you’re selling.
- Do I have a budget? When you’ve answered these questions, determine how much marketing you can do yourself (if any) and how much you’ll outsource. Have a budget for time (if you’re a DIY'er) to keep update your website and blog (once or twice a week; post content on the right social media platforms; developing pitches and write press releases to get print, radio or TV interested. If you plan to pay a professional for marketing services, use your marketing plan to explore the costs and timetable, and budget accordingly.
As a publicist and owner of Batson Group Marketing and PR for 25+ years, Eileen works with individuals, business owners, authors, and artists to help them be well-known, well thought of, and well remembered. She consults, speaks on public relations, social networking, marketing and blogging. Her unique gift solutions for personal and business use help clients celebrate, motivate, and appreciate the people around them. She is currently on the Board of Directors for Women’s Power Networking and Co-Organizer for their Raleigh Crabtree Chapter. Martin Brossman and Anora McGaha selected her chapter on public relations for inclusion in their book "Social Media for Business." Eileen lives in Raleigh with her husband Jon Batson, an award-winning author, storyteller, and all-around great guy. Join Eileen on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter/@ebatson. ww.BGMPR.com