Preparation is key. Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Whether you are chopping down a tree or executing an integrated marketing plan, the steps you take ahead of time to lay out your plan and ensure you have all of the proper (and optimized) tools, are crucial to your marketing success.
Marketers have a saying: “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” Without planning and a sound strategy, how can you know where you are going or what you need to do to get there? Here are five steps to develop your marketing plan. For a more detailed reference, check out our ebook, Preparing Your 12-Month Marketing Plan.
Having a job that pays and allows you to have brain surgery without a lifetime of debt is a luxury many of us take for granted. Taking the leap of working for yourself has a list of risks so long that it could make for separate blog post. What mitigates a lot of that risk is actually developing the foundation for a business before making the decision to do it full time. I suggest doing some contracting work on the side for a period while holding down a full-time job for a variety of reasons, chief among them...
In addition to completing a SWOT for your overall marketing plan, it is often helpful to do a SWOT analysis for the different segments within your marketing plan. For example, as we will discuss further down in this piece, content marketing, social media and SEO will all be important parts of your overall inbound marketing plan and would benefit from SWOTs of their own.
With an enviable practice environment filled with luxurious elements, Dr. Ridha wanted a website that was, itself, a luxurious environment. His site properly reflects his diligent, cutting-edge nature, with a bevy of features that bring him firmly into the here and now. With beautiful form must also come beautiful function, and his site performs exceptionally well.
Dion Marketing, a strategic marketing firm, specializes in amusement, hospitality, retail and destination marketing with services including marketing, advertising, public relations, graphic design and website design. This Jacksonville advertising agency has over two decades of experience and several marketing awards of excellence for clients nationwide. Dion Marketing focuses on quality and results, with a responsive, hands-on approach.
Metric Theory is a San Francisco-based digital marketing agency. Since founding in 2012, they've grown to over 60 employees with experience working with over 230 clients. They have experience with every type of marketing issue for clients that range from small business to large e-commerce firms. They specialize in PPC, digital strategy, social media marketing, conversion optimization, and mobile marketing.  
Thanks Asim! I know agencies still list themselves on local directories even though they are providing services nationwide or globally. So even if you don't have a physical store or place that customers go, that can still be listed to get those directory listings. If you have no address at all, it would be better to focus on niche-specific directories as opposed to local directories. But I'd only go for those that appear in search results for keywords that you are targeting or ones that are linked to reputable organizations in your industry.
All of this advice stems from starting an agency by yourself. If you have a partner or two that want to do it with you, then it changes things quite a bit. With that being said, the profits are going to be split and you’re going to have to either charge higher rates or take on more clients to make it mutually beneficial to the point where it’s better than having a normal day job. Just something to keep in mind.
Blue Corona is a marketing analytics and optimization company with offices outside Washington, DC in Maryland as well as in Charlotte, North Carolina. We provide marketing analytics and optimization services that help business owners measurably improve their marketing performance and return on investment (ROI). You can’t maximize your marketing results without accurate tracking (and “no”, asking people how they heard about your company doesn’t constitute accurate tracking!). For this reason, every client engagement starts and ends with marketing analytics. This means tracking every single advertising and marketing strategy a company employs – even if your only marketing strategy is your company’s website. Better information drives more meaningful insights and improved performance. Many digital marketing companies in the USA don’t seem to get that, or they focus on the metrics that don’t matter to your bottom line.

This role acts as a subject expert in player experiences and utilizes innovation as well as practical and professional knowledge of marketing and game development for scratch and win tickets when promoting the BCLC entertainment experience to players, stakeholders and the public as well as acting as an internal resource and liaison within the organization.
As expected from Kristi, great way to utilize keywords in digital marketing. I particularly like the part featuring Social SEO as far too often brands forget that people search by keywords on social media, especially sites like Facebook and Instagram ( Facebook in my opinion is the best search engine that isn't called a search engine ). It would be great to further explore social optimization in posts, not only by using keywords, but link type, search correlation due to images vs video, etc.
"Most people don't believe a five star review or think it originated most likely by the friends or family of the business being reviewed, but I give a five star review to Marketing1on1 for SEO services without reservation or hesitation. The reason is simple: results. Marketing1on1 is the fourth small business SEO firm I've used over the course of five years. The others provided mixed results and one was even a con artist, IMO. Marketing1on1 staff have proven over a variety of circumstances that not only do their high-powered backlink combos work but they are safe and applied in such a nuanced and careful manner as to comport with Google's potentially bad temper."
Whether it’s growing your email marketing list or selling more products through your eCommerce website, our team brings the dedication and experience for all your digital marketing needs. Our headquarters is located in Arlington, Texas, but our clients can be found nationwide. Our capabilities encompass everything in the web design and digital marketing space, including web design and hosting, SEO, social media, PPC, content writing, email marketing and more.
Crowd is a global communications and design agency headquartered in San Francisco with multiple locations in the United States, Toronto, Shenzhen, London, and Dubai. The 30-person team offers comprehensive communication and marketing capabilities, including full-service web design and social media campaigns. Clients of Crowd vary widely in terms of industry and scale, demonstrating the small firm's versatility in providing digital solutions.  
QNY Creative is a creative agency located in New York, NY. The team of about 15 employees specializes in brand development and packaging design for luxury, retail, and lifestyle brands. Founded in 2008, QNY Creative crafts modern, unique marketing campaigns that aim to resonate with clients' target audiences and stand out in a congested, competitive market. Other services offered include web design and social media marketing.
The purpose of a marketing plan is laying out how a company will achieve its stated business goals, and providing a framework to ensure that activities stay true to the vision and mission of the company. When starting the process of developing a marketing plan, there are five critical areas for consideration – positioning, objectives, strategy, tactics and execution. Our intention is to help prime the thought process prior to creating a marketing plan.

Essentially the Advertising and Promotion section of the marketing plan describes how you're going to deliver your Unique Selling Proposition to your prospective customers. While there are literally thousands of different promotion avenues available to you, what distinguishes a successful plan from an unsuccessful one is the focus - and that's what your Unique Selling Proposition provides.
Google Trends is a great tool that provides a list of related keywords and phrases based on Google’s own search topic data. The comparison feature is especially helpful because it allows you to compare different keywords side-by-side. In addition, the tool allows you to see keywords that are rising in popularity, view changes in interest for a specific keyword over time, and see how a keyword performs by region.
HUNTER is a digital marketing and online optimization agency located in New York, NY. Founded in 2010, HUNTER is expert in SEO, PPC, social media marketing, digital strategy, and conversion optimization. The team of nearly 10 employees works with businesses ranging from e-commerce retailers to start-ups to established brands. They're committed to supplying clients with the digital marketing techniques that get the results they need to succeed and stand out in a crowded, competitive environment.
Savage Global Marketing worked with a restaurant to increase its digital presence and garner more online traffic. Savage Global Marketing created a new website with updated UI/UX, created a custom menu layout, and produced SEO-optimized content. Through its partnership with Savage Global Marketing, the restaurant has experienced significant growth in online traffic and a surge in its rate of visitor click-through. 
Cardinal Digital Marketing partnered with another full-service agency in need of SEO, web design, web development, and digital marketing support. They assisted the full-service agency's clients with a range of services, including social media marketing, web design, reputation management, and analytics. Their work has allowed the full-service agency to serve more clients and achieve significant growth.
Here you want to demonstrate that you know your customers inside and out, including their expectations and their whims. Your profile should include basic demographic portraits that paint a clear profile of your clients. Look at characteristics such as age, sex, profession or career, income level, level of educational attainment and geographic location.
In most cases, a firm’s site content is the heart and soul of its keyword strategy, the place that attracts the most traffic and generates the most leads. using your own resources or an outside firm to perform an audit of your site’s keyword effectiveness will make it clear whether you are capturing significant online demand ... or leaving leads on the table for your competitors to pick up.
Equipped with all of this knowledge you will be able to craft an effective positioning statement, USP and brand. Creating a style guide and specs for your marketing and branding to keep everything consistent may be a part of this. It can certainly help to keep a unified image. Just don’t let it slow you down, as things are bound to change as you test, grow and raise money from new investors.
Content is all of the written words used to convey your brand, from the copy on your site to the landing page users arrive at, to the blog posts, newsletters and emails you write. But it’s not just having content that matters, it’s having quality content that is consistent. Content marketing is about providing useful information to your customer base. It’s not about selling but about informing.
Email marketing is huge, too. Billions of people use email and billions of messages are sent on a daily basis. The vast majority of retailers identify promotional emails as their primary mechanism for customer loyalty. Those who buy stuff through email promotions spend more money than those who buy stuff through other means. Most importantly, the ROI on email marketing is great: $44 per $1 spent.

And the best part of the services above? You can prove the value of your work to your clients. As an agency professional, you know having clear analytics that show the ROI of your efforts not only helps you improve your strategy but also helps you illustrate your agency's value to your client. By offering inbound services you can guarantee that your leads are tracked through to sales.
Mitosis Consulting provided full-cycle marketing support for an enterprise analytics platform. They developed marketing automation and sales CRM solutions to diversify their marketing approach and grew their in-house marketing team with strategic hiring suggestions to encourage self-sufficiency. The project achieved 305% monthly revenue growth over the course of the partnership.
I have one question for you Kristi! You talked about “Directory Listening Discovery”, point is all these sites will be business listening directories like Yelp, Tripadvisor, Foursquare etc that we mostly use for local business listing (earn new citations). It is necessary to have business physical address to list your business on these sites, so what you think about those businesses that don’t have their physical address as they are just providing online services?
If your marketing plan from last year doesn’t really distinguish from this year’s plan, the first option is definitely a possible route. Is this your first year, or is it difficult to compare your new plan with last year’s plan? Go with option two. It’s more effort, but it will ensure that you’re creating a reliable forecast. This projection allows you to calculate a potential ROI, and gives you a reason to pursue your plan.
Preparation is key. Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Whether you are chopping down a tree or executing an integrated marketing plan, the steps you take ahead of time to lay out your plan and ensure you have all of the proper (and optimized) tools, are crucial to your marketing success.
Marketing plans and strategies are often used interchangeably. This is because a marketing plan should not exist without the overarching strategy as a framework. In some cases, the strategy and the plan may be incorporated into one document particularly in smaller companies that may only run one or two major campaigns in a year. However, the plan outlines marketing activities on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis. The marketing strategy outlines the overall value proposition.
For example, if one of your goals is to provide five free initial consultations within three months, your promotional plan may include focusing on targeted leads through a cold calling campaign, a social media outreach plan, and a direct mail campaign. You can get some idea on specific activities by browsing lists of 101 small business marketing ideas.
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