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Build a Marketing Plan Guaranteed to Increase Your Business

Posted on 13 April 2016 by cradmin

By Grant W. Hicks

Marketing Objective

There is nothing better in marketing than surpassing your targets and growing your business as you planned. On the flip side, there is nothing worse than finishing a slow month and starting a new month with few prospects and little potential business other than a desk full of cold calls to make.

We all have financial goals and targets. Now we need a blueprint to start making those goals a reality. As an advisor, I know that the ups and downs happen. But I also know that with a consistent marketing guerrilla-attack program, you will smooth out your production and be more consistent in your approach.

Marketing Strategy

How do you sit down and write a marketing plan? Budget at least half a day to one full day, grab a pad of paper and a pen and start writing. Sound simple? Well it is, so make it simple. Unless you’re running the marketing for Proctor & Gamble, why do you need an exhaustive written plan?

Try these simple steps:

1. Write down all of the marketing that you are doing now, the frequency and the annual and monthly costs.

2. Write down all of the marketing ideas that you were thinking of pursuing in the next year. Write or collect a list of ideas. Don’t discard anything until you have examined it further. At this point, write it down. If you are looking for ideas, conduct a routine search of the Internet. Ask your manager or marketing wholesalers for ideas. Visit the library to find a book that serves as a guide to marketing ideas. Just write them down.

3. Write down what your competition is doing for marketing. At the same time, write down who your competition is.

4. Write down what your peer group and some of the business owners you admire or respect are doing in terms of marketing and their costs.

5. Create an annual and monthly budget. Exclude the cost of personnel. The final marketing budget should be between 10 to 20 percent of your gross income. Remember, marketing is an investment in your business and not an expense.

The second part of budgeting is time. Your time and the time staff spends on marketing both need to be allocated. How much time will you devote to developing your marketing? How much time during the day do you spend on marketing? Now, how much time should you spend on marketing during the day? I always schedule a half day per month to work on my marketing and client communication strategies. This scheduled time is very productive time in my practice. If you don’t have the time now, how will you have time in the future to grow your business?

6. Identify your ideal client profile, and write it down.

7. Decide what marketing mix will work for you. What will work and what won’t work depends on your commitment. This is where you make decisions based on projections of growth that you want to achieve. For example, if you want to increase revenue from $300,000 to $450,000 per year, your marketing budget is $6,000 and you have no major plans for marketing, then how are you going to achieve that growth?

Although some advisors say that their business grows by referrals only, what do they do to generate those referrals? Perhaps they provide exceptional service, which costs money and may be defined as an excellent communication program. Well, guess what, their dynamic communication program is part of their marketing strategy. What is your ideal marketing mix?

8. Once you have decided on what you are going to do in the next year, break it down into a monthly marketing calendar. Decide which months you are going to do what.

9. Decide on costs and put annual and monthly costs down on paper. At this point, make sure that you can afford your program. If you cannot, consider the consequences of borrowing to invest into your business. That is solely your decision. I remember once when I first started in the business, I borrowed money on a credit card to attend a conference. I didn’t think I could afford to go, but after I returned, I realized I couldn’t afford not to. I learned that I was investing in myself and not just spending money on my business.

10. Put the plan into a working document. Share it with other executives, managers and your staff. Then, commit to completing it, revisiting it on a monthly basis and measuring the results.

Bonus Tip

The simpler your marketing plan, the easier it will be to complete successfully. The marketing plan should be easy to execute once you have put enough thought and effort into it. The most challenging part of your marketing plan may be time and timing.

For example, I know several financial advisors who start a marketing plan only to stop after a few months because they are too busy. The plan depends on a constant time commitment to complete. If you plan in advance and schedule times and dates and pay in advance, then you are committed. However, don’t put your marketing eggs into one basket. Have multiple marketing ideas in different avenues working for you simultaneously.

Each quarter, I take one day to review the success of the marketing plan, look at future ideas that I may implement into my plan and set a course of action for the quarter. I also write a mini-marketing plan for the quarter. That way, I can review it with my team and plan the next quarter’s marketing events and ideas in advance.

Another key element of your marketing plan is to look back and look forward. First, look back to what marketing worked for you and what didn’t work. Then, project a vision of how you want to position yourself in your marketing messages. For instance, I manage retirement assets, so my title is not Financial Planner. Rather, it is Retirement-Planning Specialist. Positioning means determining exactly what niche you’re intending to fill. I live in a retirement community, so it is natural to work in that niche.

Finally, if you’re happy with and expect average service, then that is what you are probably giving. But if you expect world-class service, then bring that element to your business. The Ritz Carlton motto is this: “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.” Look to first-class organizations with a high degree of service and attention to detail, and implement that type of philosophy into your business. This will help your marketing efforts when thinking about attracting new clients.

About the Author

Grant Hicks, president of Hicks Financial, is one of Canada’s leading authorities on marketing. He is a dynamic and entertaining speaker with an amazing ability to motivate audiences to achieve more. He co-authored Guerrilla Marketing for Financial Advisors with Jay Conrad Levinson for Trafford Publishing in 2003.

Copyright© 2016, Grant W. Hicks. All rights reserved. For information, contact FrogPond at [email protected].

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