Develop Your Unique Marketing Action Plan
in 5 Easy Steps

By Cyndy Bolton

Let me guess. You're sitting there, reading this ezine, wondering what do about advertising for your business this year. Am I right? If I'm close with my assumption, then we need to get you right to work on it.

First of all, don't feel bad. You may already be ahead of your competition just by putting a bigger priority on creating your marketing plan. You are correct in thinking that a few of your colleagues completed their plan last year. As of January 1 it began working for them. On the other hand, quite a few more of your competitors have no plan at all. By implementing a plan now, you will automatically be ahead of them.

Here five main points to help you start the easiest and most basic plan:

Point 1: Buy A 12 Month Calendar

This will be your best tool to help organize your plan. Since we are already into the new year, you can find the perfect calendar that will suit your needs. Budget-minded business owners will also appreciate the fact that they are now 50% off too!

Point 2: Set A Practical Budget

How much did you spent on advertising last year? The answer to this question may be as simple as calling your media sales rep and ask for an annual statement. Set a realistic amount for your advertising. You could purchase a monthly add in the local newspaper, or set up an account on Twitter. Both time and cost will vary.

Point 3: Choose Your Media

Take a bit of time to factor out what advertising vehicle works best for your business. If you are somewhat of a Branded Personality, then you may want to consider setting up some of the newer options that will enable you to build solid relationships directly with your market. A monthly ezine or scheduled webinars may work better for you. Don't forget to incorporate traditional media. Newspaper ads and radio spots help direct clients to your online presence. If your budget is tight, simply place a n ad in the local newspaper. Most of these publications have trade related areas that are quite affordable.

Point 4: Roll It Out

After putting your plan on paper, be sure to take the next step and appoint it. Call for advertising details and pricing, deadlines and build a relationship with a graphics person who you can trust. The time you spend talking to an advertising professional may be the best investment you make. If you can manage the campaign conceptualization yourself, great! Just be sure to make it relative. It should make sense to you and your client.

Point 5: Commit To Your Plan

Once you have your advertising contracts in order, monitor your sales. Look for patterns that will tell you when something is working, or not. Steer the month's campaign with the ideas from your calendar. Modify the next session (week, month) in relation to your sales. If you see that something works, weave it into the future plan. The overall unique annual marketing plan that you have committed to should not change.

You can get it together. Being a small business owner is a challenge. Are you up for a new market plan? It just may be the thing that gets you ahead of the competition.