6 questions to answer before you spend a dime on marketing in 2010

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in Career Management,Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills,Workplace Communication

If you’ve never had an official marketing plan, 2010 is the year to get one!

The key to growing your business in a tighter market (and against tougher competitors) is to create a solid marketing plan and put it into action month by month.

But how do you put a good plan into action given the constraints on your time and budget? Start by answering these six effort-focusing, money-saving questions:

1. What didn’t work last year … and why?

The best investment you can make in 2010 marketing is to review what you did (and spent) during 2009. What worked and what didn’t? Obviously, do more of what worked. But don’t toss out the “dogs” until you know why they didn’t work.

For example, don’t conclude that ads don’t work until you’re sure you placed the right ad in the right medium with the right offer and enough frequency. Dive a little deeper and you may find that those so-called flops are actually diamonds in the rough that can be polished up and tried again with brilliant results.

2. What could I do in 2010 at low or no cost?

Could you ask every existing client for a referral? Could you begin to build your own in-house e-mail list? The more you brainstorm, the less you may have to spend on great marketing!

3. Could I focus on a niche?

Take a look: Who’s on your client list? Could you position your business as specializing in a certain niche—serving start-ups, baby boomers, service professionals, etc.—and then market that specialty to potential clients in that niche?

4. Do I know people who can help me?

Do you know local business or community leaders? You could partner with them to put together a seminar on an industry-related topic that benefits the community. Do you know local journalists or bloggers? Reach out to them and offer advice-based content related to your industry.

5.  What am I good at?

If social “schmoozing” isn’t your forte, why make networking functions part of your marketing plan? Instead, use your time and money where you do shine. You’ll have greater success if you build your marketing around your “comfort zones.”

6. How can I help?

Instead of focusing on selling your product or services, redirect yourself toward solving problems. What specific challenges are prospects facing? What keeps them up at night?

Answer those questions and you’ll find it’s far easier to come up with the right marketing tactics and messages.

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