Everyone talks about marketing plans. But what does a marketing plan actually look like?
I like to think of a marketing plan in two ways.
The first is as a recipe. You take a number of ingredients and mix them together in a certain way and cook at a certain temperature for a certain length of time. And if you follow the recipe correctly, the dish turns out every time.
The second is as a machine. A machine is a device designed to accomplish a particular job. When you turn on the machine, you can expect it to reliably produce the same result, every single time, with little variation.
With both a recipe and a machine, you are counting on consistency of results. Only results matter.
But is that how most businesses, especially small businesses design and implement their marketing plans? No. In fact, most of the time, it's just the opposite. And too often the recipe never gets made or the machine never gets turned on.
What is more common with marketing plans is that they are implemented randomly, inconsistently, and with little precision. Information is communicated. Sometimes there is a response. Rarely are the results measured so things can be fine-tuned.
Early in my days as a self-employed professional, I was always looking for marketing recipes and machines that would work for my business. I read a lot of books, took courses, and talked to anyone who could help me.
Over the years, I discovered that giving presentations was one of the most overall successful marketing plans I could implement. So, after giving a number of talks, I worked at fine-tuning the process until I had a real recipe or machine that produced consistent results. I've given talks that have generated up to $72,000 in new business.
I've also transitioned my talks into teleclasses, mostly to promote my membership program, the Marketing Club.
In this article I give you a step-by-step breakdown of a marketing action plan for a teleclass that was very successful. No theory or speculation here, just very specific action steps that I implemented to get results.
The first part of any marketing action plan is to outline what the plan is about and what objectives one intends to produce.
Name of Plan: Monthly TeleClass Outreach Plan. I plan to implement this every month—at least as long as it produces consistent results.
Target Market: My existing subscribers and social media contacts. Right now I have a pretty big list—about 40,000 independent professionals who have opted in from my website over the years. If you don't have your own list, your option is to work with affiliates who do. I also have close to 5,000 on Facebook and Twitter.
Services Offered: Marketing Club Membership. My membership costs $29 per month. People can belong for as long or for short as they like. Average retention is about four months. (A retention plan is just as important as a marketing plan.)
Primary Marketing Objective: Get a minimum of 20 new Club Members per teleclass. So, if this goal is achieved, I'd earn $508 in the first month and $580 on average for four more months, or $2,300.
Intended Results: These are all the sub-goals or objectives I intend to get from my plan. After all, not everyone who attends a teleclass will sign up. So, I want to also produce results that will bring me a return in the long term. These are the ones I listed:
Special Offer: This is the offer above and beyond membership in the Club. For me, an offer that's worked quite well is a copy of my new book Marketing Ball—Lessons from the Marketing Coach. Essentially, I'll give everyone who signs up for the Marketing Club, a free hard copy of Marketing Ball. This offer is enticing, as I'm offering something that has a $49 value for a $29 commitment to check out the Club for one month. Even if my results are not spectacular, I'm not losing any money because the fixed cost of book, plus shipping, is about $15.
Resources (time, money, people): The time to put it together is a few hours. It turns out it took about 10 hours in all. I also got feedback from a fellow marketing coach, George, who helps poke holes in my plan.
Calls to Action:
1. Write the online sales letter for the teleclass (http://actionplan.com/monthly-teleclass): This took me a couple hours with the help and feedback from my friend George. The plan is to keep this pretty much the same for future teleclasses, so the time was well-invested.
2. Write the confirmation page: This was simply a web page that included information about the date, time, teleconference number, etc. This didn't take long.
3. Set up the list in Aweber: Set up the confirmation email and reminders. In my elist program, AWeber, you can set up unlimited lists, so every time I do a teleclass I set up a different list. For future lists I just need to change the list code on the form on the website. The confirmation email says pretty much what the confirmation web page says.
4. Put a blurb for teleclass in my June 19 ezine: I write a new version of my weekly ezine More Clients every Monday and send it to my list on Tuesday morning. The short blurb gives a "heads-up" for the teleclass. This got me 17 signups.
5. Write the promotional email to go to my list and send it on June 21: The promotion email for the teleclass is where things really start to happen. Between the June 21 and 25, 240 more people signed up. One of my signature approaches is "marketing without hype." I communicate what the teleclass is about, but I never go over the top. The value is clear, but it's never too loud, blatant, or obnoxious.
6. Announce the teleclass on Facebook and Twitter on June 21: This probably got me a few more signups. The thing is this is hard to measure unless you send people to a different web page with a coded sign-up form for social media.
7. Mention the teleclass again in my ezine on June 26: This got a few more signups.
8. Work on the teleclass presentation, and practice it and the close: I worked on this for about six hours. It seems like a long time to prepare for a teleclass, but again I'll be doing pretty much the same program each month, so the time was well spent.
9. Create a complete outline of the teleclass to send to people who registered after the class is over: This was essentially my script for the teleclass. It was a total of 27 pages.
10. Send one more short teleclass announcement on June 27: By the time of the teleclass the next day I was up to 425 signups.
11. Conduct the teleclass on June 28: The teleclass went extremely well. I happened to be "on" that day, which certainly makes a difference. I gave the presentation, made the pitch for the Marketing Club with the Marketing Ball book as the bonus, and then took questions for an hour—a record for me. Ultimately about 160 people tuned in for the live call. That's about 37%, which is above the industry average.
12. Send follow-up emails to all participants to remind them of the offer: This is when things got fun. A total of 65 new orders came through. I made Friday, June 29, at 6:00 p.m. the cutoff date for signups with the special offer. I may extend this to Saturday next month. We had about five people whose credit card did not go through, which is about par for the course.
13. Gather orders, and send out the hard copy book bonus: The following week we packaged and shipped out copies of Marketing Ball to everyone who joined the Club.
14. Celebrate! After all, I more than tripled the targeted result. The question is how well I can do in subsequent months. I'd like to do pretty much the same teleclass. There are a lot of people on my list, so I think there's the capacity for at least a few months.
This is not necessarily the right plan for you, as it depends on having a big elist. However, a similar plan can be executed if affiliates send out emails for you or if the program is sponsored by an organization who hosts teleclasses or webinars.
The main point I want to demonstrate is the success of a plan like this depends on a lot of preparation, a very specific strategy, and flawless execution. This kind of approach will increase the success of any marketing action plan.
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Since 1984, Robert Middleton of Action Plan Marketing has been helping independent professionals such as management consultants, business coaches, and corporate trainers attract more clients. Go to Robert's site—actionplan.com—to get a complimentary copy of his "Marketing Plan Workbook for Independent Professionals."
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