Tag Archives: marketing plan

Inbound Marketing Machine

How To Build A Better Inbound Marketing Machine

Inbound marketing can be an extremely powerful tool in any business’ marketing plan. In order to see results, just like any other strategy, you must pair these with other efforts to see a direct effect on your bottom-line. Marketo partnered with Column Five to take a visual approach to explaining how to build a well-oiled inbound marketing machine.

Does your company use inbound marketing in your marketing mix, and if so, how?

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Infographic Credits, courtesy of Marketo:

Source: Marketo
Designed by: Column Five Media


Attracting Investors

How Can You Make Your Business More Appealing To Potential Investors?

The reality is more and more companies are competing for a limited supply of funding, so much like in the dating scene you want to appear attractive and engaging. Whether your business is seeking financial support from a bank, a private investor or a venture capitalist group, it is crucial that you make the right impression from the onset. When you are approaching bankers for funding, this includes putting together all the necessary documentation for a loan package, but when you are seeking investors the approach is slightly different.

In addition to the financial documents you’ll need to gather, there are other things you can do to make your business more appealing to potential investors.

Update the business plan

The business plan provides detailed descriptions of the way your company works. By developing instructional materials and documenting information on the “how to” for the operation, investors can get a strong sense of the company and how it operates. The creation of a company manual should include everything from detailed major operation information and key vendors to an organizational chart of employees and the small day-to-day tasks.

Gather financial figures

Investors are called investors for a reason. They are looking to invest their money in a business, not just give it away. Business owners need to make sure all financial information is up-to-date and ready share. This includes current and projected sales figures as well as what the company expects to need for operating costs and marketing.

Understand your financials

Just having the financial information isn’t enough. Be prepared to justify and explain where every penny comes from and where it goes. Investors will want to know what their investment will be going toward.

Reasonable compensation

Make sure the owner’s salary and compensation is reasonable. If the salary is too low, the investor will be concerned that a replacement will cause a serious cash flow issue. If the salary is too high, the investor will feel they are funding the owner’s lifestyle. This also goes hand-in-hand with making sure that you have the most competitive price for goods and services you are buying. You don’t want to overpay for goods that can be negotiated for a lower price.

Create a marketing plan

More often than not, simply opening the doors to your business does not drive traffic. A marketing plan will show how you plan on increasing awareness and traffic to your business. For the marketing plan, you’ll need to describe what you’re doing and the results, as well as the return on investment.

Develop a strong team

Most investors will want to meet with the key players at any organization. They will be looking to see that the management and key employees are professional, qualified and the right person for the job. This is also the time when the potential investor will get a real feel for the company, the flow of communication and the chemistry between the potential investor and the employees.

Beware of online profiles and posts

Investors will do a thorough due diligence of the owners and the key players. With the technology available, that also means researching the company on social media sites. Make sure that your company Facebook and Twitter pages are active and engaging toward the individual audiences. It is equally as important to look at the personal profiles of owners and employees. This may mean deleting inappropriate posts and comments or adjusting the privacy settings.

Go into the transaction with a realistic value of the company

If you undervalue, you will give up too much of the company for nothing. If you over value the company it can kill the deal. Hire an expert to get a real valuation — it will be worth the money spent.

Partnering with investors can be a great way to give your company the financial boost it needs. For many small companies, it may also be the best alternative to helping the business develop and succeed. Like any relationship, finding the right investor for your company can be challenging, but the better prepared you are, the greater chance for finding the best match.

For more information on how to make your business more appealing to potential investors, visit fswfunding.com.

Creating a marketing plan

Why Creating A Marketing Plan Matters

A lot has been said about the importance of creating a marketing plan, but the task at hand often appears so daunting that many business owners and executives never get down to the business of tackling this challenge. Instead, they choose to simply approach things on a day-to-day basis, functioning in reactive mode rather than proactive mode. While this may seem to work for awhile, ultimately operating without a plan can hurt the bottom line — one way or another.

Start with a budget

Before putting pen to paper to create a marketing plan, business owners and managers need to set aside a budget for marketing.  The general rule of thumb is anywhere between 3 and 10 percent of gross revenues. For a new business, the budget should be closer to 10 percent (or more), as in the early stages of business you will need to invest more money to establish your brand and attract customers or clients. As you become more established, you can actually consider cutting back, as word-of-mouth will hopefully kick in. Once you know how much you will have to work with, you can determine how to best allocate both your time and your money.

Setting goals

The planning process need not be overwhelming or enormously time-consuming, but it does require some thought about what the company’s goals are. What is it you want to do? What are the top three to five things you would like to achieve this year? Goal setting should actually occur all year; and everyone in the organization should know what the goals are and their role in contributing to the company’s success.

Where to invest

Next, identify what marketing and/or communication efforts will directly support your goals, what they will cost and who will implement them.

Technology has opened the door to many new tools in our marketing mix. Choosing what to include should begin with who you are trying to reach. Where do your customers get their information and what do they like to do? Marketing action items can include print, radio or TV ads, direct mail, e-mail and newsletters, trade shows, sponsorships, employee contests, customer-referral programs, giveaways, events, website, social media and SEO.

You can keep things simple by putting together a spreadsheet showing the months of the year at the top and the marketing activities you wish to do in the far left column. Then, mapping out the activities of the year and the investment required allows you to quickly see what needs to be done and how much you will need to do it.

Adjustments required

Before making any changes to your plan, keep in mind that it takes time to build momentum. That said, throughout the course of the year, it is important to review and evaluate the results in order to determine if any adjustments are necessary. You may also want to consider adding something to your marketing mix to enhance something else you may be doing — like a seasonal event.

A clearly outlined marketing plan gives you the planning power to integrate what might have been individual communication tools into a complementary plan where activities work together, helping you increase overall effectiveness and truly get the biggest bang for your marketing dollars.

Spending money without a marketing plan can make the difference between seeing your business flourish or closing your doors.