As an entrepreneur, I’m always on the go. It’s one of the best things about paving your own way. If you want to do something, you just do it–no red tape, no long meetings or boring presentations. Of course, that can be both a blessing and a curse as too often, I’m flying a bit blind with no eye on the end game.
I got my first true wake up call about three years ago, when a competing business of mine called me up and started asking me all these questions that I’d never put an ounce of thought into answering before. “Where do you see your business in five years?” “Have you ever thought about selling your business?” “What type of salary would you take if you were part of a company but still managing your business?” My silence and stumbling quickly gave me away. I had no clue. I was simply basking in the glory of my success, blind to the reality that there was an actual future ahead of me.
So after that phone call, I sat down to create my first business plan. What came out of that planning was a relaunch of one of my main sites, which is now one of the top sites in its category, welcoming over 120,000 visitors every month. In three years, it is now bringing in almost as much revenue as KMWeb Designs. I can guarantee you, if that company never would have challenged me to seriously look at where I was going, that site would have never took off the way it did.
Was it a marketing plan? Not really. But in all honesty, a marketing plan follows close to a business plan. They both establish where you are going and force you to envision your future and attainable, realistic goals. Without them, you are lost and treading water, whether you are successful or not.
So where do you start with an online marketing plan? My suggestions are to start as basic as possible and if it involves throwing huge amounts of cash at solutions, you’re taking the easy way out that will return very little. Instead of detailing what you should do, how about answering some of the following questions? This should get your marketing plan started and give you plenty to do in the coming weeks:
- What is bringing people to my website?
- What is keeping people on my website once they get there?
- What is encouraging people to return to my website after they leave?
- How are people finding me online?
- What are people saying about me online?
- Where are people talking about my industry online and am I part of the conversation?
- What social networks am I a part of (MySpace, Facebook, Twitter)?
- Who is my main audience?
- What audience should I be reaching that I am not?
- Are there local and/or national organizations that represent what I do?
- Where could my business serve my local community?
- What can I do to encourage people to talk about my business with others?
- How would my competition answer these questions and what are they doing that I am not?
Take a few minutes and answer these questions. The answers should give you quite a few ideas on how to build your basic marketing plan that should include your overall messages, your audience, your budget and your plan of attack.
Go start the conversation and I’ll be back soon with more weapons for your guerrilla marketing arsenal.No comments