Working with social media and marketing, I try out and sample different plans, campaigns, social media platforms, tools and give recommendations on the who, where and why of what works. I advocate creating a marketing plan, it should not be an intimidating, anxious-ridden process. It can be simple. Creating a plan is like following a recipe for chili. Everyone defines good chili differently, (what? no beans?, no meat? no cheese?, 3 kinds of peppers? to add or not add rice?) and everyone thinks they have the ultimate recipe. It is the variety that makes chili cook-off’s fun; adopt the same attitude with marketing. Let’s stir up a batch of marketing chili for next year:
Marketing Chili Recipe (Your Marketing Plan): Yes, you need a plan. If you don’t have a plan, start by documenting and evaluating last year’s recipe.
1 Website (Current Content/Professional Design)
1 Pound of SEO (Title Tags, Meta Data, Pages Optimized)
1 Can of Blog (Good content, original thoughts; don’t go generic, get premium)
1 Can of Quality Copywriting
1 Bunch of accurate Business Communications Materials (Autosignatures/Invoices/Letterhead)
Finely Chop & Segment; Email and Direct Mail Newsletters & Campaigns
1 Bulb of Industry Tradeshows
1 Stalk of Public Relations
3 Cloves of Webinars/Training & Presentations
1 Can of Referrals/Testimonials
1 Handful of Location Marketing
1 Heaping Spoonful of Philanthropy (the LOVE in business)
Place website gently into your business pot (make sure your business can handle the marketing initiatives, you don’t want sales to boil over). Add SEO, blog and a pinch of business communications. Caramelize these together until they all are in sync and refer to each other. Then add the fragrant copywriting, email, PR, tradeshows, webinars, presentations, referrals, and location marketing. Set up your timer and alerts so nothing burns or dries out. Simmer together and share the love by “Paying It Forward.”
Let your plan cook and the flavors develop. Enhance your marketing chili with mobile, surveys, advertising and promotional items. Ladle into bowls and generously garnish with LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+ (not yet available for business, but should be soon), Facebook and Twitter campaigns. These toppings enhance the look and feel of how your chili tastes and may attract new people to your business. Finally, analyze your results; would you give this recipe a 5 Star review? Was it an “ultimate” or are there things to maintain, tweak and improve? Your marketing plan is a flexible recipe; if you don’t like one thing, use less of it the following year. Experiment, decide what to try and what ingredients are the base of the plan every year.
Remember quality ingredients and recipe makes phenomenal chili. Get the best you can, if you need help sourcing the basics or getting things out of season, contact Vivid Image. After all, variety is the spice of life.