Creating your start-up program can be as simple as these 8 steps:
Set a budget
Get started with your marketing plan by setting up a budget for your program. Keep your marketing goal, niche market and branding in mind; always being aware that cohesiveness is the key word for any marketing program.
Find your niche market – Once you’ve determined your niche market, the majority of your marketing dollars should focus on your niche and the strategies and tactics that will help you reach that segment of the population.
Focus on your market – You’ve identified your niche, pinpointed the best ways to reach your niche customers, decided on your branding to help overcome obstacles – so focus on your designated market and the message you’ve determined that you want to get out to that market. Keep your marketing plan concise.
Compile a database of current and past customers – If you don’t already have one, start compiling a database of customers. There is software specifically designed for client databases. Find one that works best with your computers and with the technical savvy of your staff. It doesn’t matter what software or program you use, the most important thing is to have a database that gives you pertinent information about your customers so that if your marketing plan contains mailings – you’ve got their addresses; if it uses emails – you’ve got their email addresses, etc.
Work the free marketing angles – Connect with someone at your local newspaper or community magazines and offer to be their expert on home improvement. Find someone in your organization who is a good writer and see if you can get one of the local publications interested in a monthly (or weekly) column.
Design an email newsletter and send it out on a monthly basis giving customers or prospective customers information on the latest trends in remodeling/construction. Set yourself (or your company up) as experts.
Seek out the free networking events in your community. Then go and mingle and start gathering business cards. Almost everyone has an email address. The next day, send out an email talking about what makes you stand out from the competition. Plant the seeds in their mind. They might not be ready for remodeling now, but they might know of somebody who is or they’ll keep your card for future reference. If they fall into the customer niche that you’re concentrating on – Realtor, etc., put them into your database of prospects to receive your mailings or newsletters, etc.
Send out press releases about newsworthy topics in your company or in the construction industry. If you haven’t been able to get hooked into a local publication as a contributor, you can consistently send them well-written press releases. If you’re not a writer or there is no one in your company who is, there is a website, Elance, on which you can hire good writers for very reasonable costs.
Plan for the more expensive marketing angles – Put them on your marketing “wish list” and as your company and profits grow, if these angles still work for targeting your niche market, add them into your marketing plan as the budget allows.
Once again, remember to make your message consistent – if your message isn’t consistent, which develops an understanding in the mind of the consumer as to what exactly you do, your marketing dollars are wasted.
Streamline all of your current materials – If your current materials don’t have a consistent look and message to them, your marketing plan should have a timeline in which you will develop that consistency. We know it’s unrealistic to take on the expense of changing everything from letterhead to brochures to even a logo all at one time. But a good marketing plan will have a timeline and budget of when each item can be done so that the overall purpose of one look and message is accomplished within a designated time period.