Eleven Must-Have's for Your 2011 Marketing Plan

1.  A clearly defined value proposition that can be tested and measured against your business objectives.
Your value proposition should be reviewed once a year. You measure your business value based on the value your customers receive from your product or service. As you deliver over a 12 month period, the incremental value of your offering grows. Taking an annual assessment means you have new messages and themes to communicate to the marketplace based on your customer’s perception of your value. Note: Need help discovering your value proposition? Here’s help to get started.
2. A website that clearly articulates your value proposition and starts the buying process online in a self-serve manner.
No one can ignore the fact that a search for anything begins online. Your website is the beginning, middle and end of the buying process. Websites that are nothing more than a corporate product brochure or a “contact us” button, will lose out to websites that have value-added content, actions on the site to learn about the product or service and articulate the business problem that people are trying to solve.
3. Content that people can use to help them solve a business problem.
It’s true – content has eclipsed technology. Just look at the most-used platforms in the world: Google, Facebook, YouTube, iTunes, LinkedIn, etc. They are all about useful content not features or functions. Forget the product conversation and talk about what clients are doing with your product or service and how it helps them. Serve it up in new and interesting ways and you will instantly have a winning marketing strategy for your business.
4.  An online mechanism for distributing content such as a content management system for your website, an email marketing tool or social media engine.
Getting found is everything but people don’t come just because you built it. Think about the tools you need to drive regular traffic to your company storefront – your website. If you aren’t managing your site monthly, you won’t be found.
5.  An analytics tool that tracks everything that hits your website.
The rich depth of information provided by Google in their free analytics tool is truly astounding. You can see who came to our site, where they came from and what they did while they were there. No more guessing about whether a tactic worked. Now we know for sure. If you have not added Google Analytics to your website you are flying blind.
6. 7. & 8.  A social media strategy for your business.
Whether or not you believe in social media as a B2B tool, it’s hard to ignore that the most powerful search engines next to Google are Facebook and YouTube. If you want to maintain a high search engine ranking, you must be there. 6.  Facebook– you can set up a company fan page. There are other ways to use Facebook other than posting your Christmas holiday snaps. 7. YouTube– there are videos that explain everything and they aren’t hard to create. A Flip Video from Cisco and a clever take on something in your business that needs explaining and you have content for your YouTube channel. 8. LinkedIn – every employee in your company should be on Linked In. People want to know who they are dealing with and LinkedIn is easy and free. A corporate page on LinkedIn also helps you with search engine ranking.
9.  A mechanism for tracking your search engine page ranks over time and benchmarking it against the competition.
Page rank is something you can’t get on Google so having an SEO management tool like gShift Labs, really helps the process and tells you month over month how you are progressing. You need to make it to Page One and tools like gShift not only track your progress but provide recommendations on how to get there.
10.  Monthly analysis to adjust your web presence.
If you have multiple activities going on online every month, you need to use the data you have available from Google, your email marketing tool and other online products to see what is working and what is not. Fail fast and adjust. Create a report that pulls it all together to tell you immediately what to dump and what to keep.
11.  A marketing guide to help you set it up and manage it monthly so it gets done and gets better.
In many small and medium sized businesses, the last position to fill is marketing. But it should be the first. If you are nervous about hiring a fulltime resource in marketing becuase you are leery of the results, why not rent a part time marketing consultant that can help you figure out the strategy and get it done. Your investment will be lower than a full time resource and the results will be better.
Our prediction for 2011 – competition in every industry and sector will grow online as more businesses leverage online tools and platforms. The new business model is leveraging content across platforms to drive prospects to your business. This is the price of entry today for any business. Your online strategy is your business strategy. If you don’t have one, follow our 11 Steps. Or better yet, get Marketing CoPilot to help.

Marketing CoPilot