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A sales and marketing plan for your business blog?

There’s a well-known marketer, Rick Page who wrote a book called “Hope is not a strategy”. You can’t just pick any old marketing strategy and “hope” that it will work. Trust me, I've tried it and I'm still waiting for it to work. If I'd had put as much energy into a real marketing plan, as I did the “hope marketing plan” then I'd be a billionaire. It's a waste of energy.

Put hope to one side if you can't ditch it altogether.  Instead, put together a detailed sales and marketing plan where you lay out your tools and resources for meeting your business blogging objectives. Without the sales and marketing plan, you'll struggle through the ups and downs of marketing your business.

This isn’t a comprehensive list of daily tasks although it's a good starting base. It’s a breakdown of each marketing tactic you might want to use and the process you’ll put in place for its implementation.

Start With Your Business Model

Not all marketing strategies work with every business model. You’ll hear all sorts of wild ideas and “proven” tactics, but that doesn’t mean they’re the ones for you. The best one I hear all the time is how we are missing a trick by not advertising our transport business on our vans. Forget that our high-end clients want their goods delivered in unmarked vehicles. If you only listen to the popular marketing conversations you'd think I was missing out.

Look at your own business model first and outline some of the characteristics of that model and your target market, including:

  •  A description of the key features of your target customers
  • Where customers will come from, such as organic search, paid search, joint ventures, offline sources, affiliates,
  • What are prospects’ buying triggers? (In other words, where or when do they usually make a purchase decision?) Do they tend to buy from a product review, a personal recommendation from an expert they trust, through surfing content sites, through email suggestions, etc.

Remember, your business model may not be the same as someone else's. You may be high-end, they may be budget.

What Are The Most Popular Marketing Strategies for Business Blogging?

Now, look again at your business model and the most popular marketing tactics used by your competition. How do they convert from prospect to customer?

  • Individual landing pages that lead to freebies that funnel prospects into an autoresponder series
  • Regular free teleseminars/webinars that include a special offer at the end
  • Straight SEO and traffic generation
  • Multiple joint ventures with other bloggers and  the recruiting of affiliates

Which marketing strategies will you focus on?

If you try to do several marketing campaigns at once, you will fail at all of them. You’ll need to focus on one to start with and keep laser-focused. Test it out, see if it’s working, and then add in additional strategies. There are endless methods to pick from and by adding in extra ones you'll work out what is working for your audience and what isn't.

Try selecting the easiest marketing strategy so you can put it in place and get moving straight away. You should always have at least one easy tactic you can use that doesn’t require a lot of thought and planning. For example, you can create an autoresponder series that starts every time a person signs up for that list. It’s a passive form of marketing that requires very little attention. Once in place, you can start mapping out more campaigns.

Begin with the end in mind and work backward

In order to put your marketing plan down on paper (or computer), start by looking at all the steps involved. Start with the end result (the sale) and work backward.  What are the activities you need to complete in order to implement and maintain each strategy? What do you have in place already? What tools and techniques do you need to learn in order to complete the process?

Now put those steps into priority order and create a process you can follow.

  • Which steps are dependent on others?
  • Which ones need to be completed first?

You can even use a mindmap to lay out a visual of the process, which makes it very easy to move things around. Freemind is a great, free tool for creating mindmaps on PCs. iThoughts HD is another one that works really well on iPads. You can export any of the mindmaps to a pdf so that you can print them and post them by your computer or even use them as an ethical bribe or email in your autoresponder sequence.

Make sure you set deadlines for achieving each step in your sales and marketing plan. The success of some marketing strategies is dependent on a specific timeframe, such as the length of time between emails or follow-ups. Put it on your calendar and set those dates in stone.

Your marketing plan dictates what actual tasks you'll need to do from day to day.

If you know that your emails need to be set up in daily intervals, then you’ll need to put the outlining and writing of those emails down on your to-do list every day. If posting and promoting blog posts is part of that strategy then add it to the list.  Just don’t make the mistake that many impatient, ambitious bloggers make by trying to do everything at once.

Focus on one strategy at a time, set deadlines, and implement it to success.

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