As we reflect on the current state of our world and are trying to figure out how to navigate Post Covid (whenever that is) and the shift to doing more in a virtual business and digital selling environment, there’s never been a better time to look at your marketing strategy and plan.

I just went through my entire marketing plan and realized that one of best ways one can market their business, product or even themselves is by using social media. For those serving the wastewater, water and civil infrastructure fields, we are essential, yes, but we still need to remain visible and top of mind. Social Media and in particular LinkedIn will be an absolute must and a tool to help us survive and I believe THRIVE in a digital selling world. This method is almost free, has a broad reach and helps get in touch with possible clients instantly, now who wouldn’t like that.

If you don’t have a plan, now is an excellent time to chart your course. It takes a little work but can be a very rewarding experience and will help you focus on what’s important and keep on track to meet your goals. If you’ve never developed a plan, not to worry, it doesn’t need to be the size of the great American novel. You can keep it very simple. It is just important to get your goals out of your head and organized into one paper document.

Start with the basics—make a list of your goals and then develop some ideas of how you’d like to achieve them. Set up a timeline (be realisitic when it comes to the workload) and what you will accomplish, how and by when. If you are going to delegate or outsource tasks, list who will be responsible and what their deadline for completing those tasks will be. Also make sure to budget an appropriate amount to properly execute each marketing initiative or promotion and create a method for tracking how each of your strategies is working (ROI – return on investment): inquiries generated, leads converted to sales, sales amount generated, time investment from inception/inquiry to sale.

If you already had a plan in place, before setting up your Virtual World Marketing Plan for 2020 and beyond, reflect carefully on the prior year and use it as a guide or benchmark for developing a well tuned strategy going forward. A lot can be learned from the not too distant past to help make the near future much brighter.

Here are a quick tips for reviewing and updating your plan:

  • What initiatives did you implement?
  • What strategies worked the best?
  • Which were the most cost effective?
  • What marketing initiatives/campaigns created the best response and what do you think created the reaction?
  • What successful initiatives can you repeat or recreate?
  • Did an increase in marketing expenditures result in an increase in sales and if so, what was the ratio?

Make note of what didn’t quite work as well as you had hoped and make adjustments to your plans for the coming year accordingly.With the rapid shift in how we are receiving our information these days, it isn’t unusual to find that the traditional forms of media that always seemed to work well in the past aren’t performing like they once did so don’t hesitate in eliminating the duds and focusing your investments on more of the top performers. i.e. we have a client who after careful examination is making a shift in 2020 to more web based marketing initiatives vs. traditional print because that’s where their client base is looking for information now and they are also streamlining event participation, looking at alternative methods for meetings such as webinars which proved an excellent investment.

Other items to consider:

  • Was your follow through inconsistent?
  • Did you begin a campaign and cut it off mid-stream due to budget constraints or other issues?
  • Were there leads or prospects that weren’t nurtured as well as they could have been?
  • Did marketing get put on the back burner so you could devote your time to doing other things?

If you answered yes to any of these, you may want to consider incorporating some outside help into your marketing plans to manage or implement your marketing initiatives going forward.

If you feel like you may need assistance developing a plan or reviewing an existing strategy objectively, there are free consulting resources available for small business sponsored by the government. The Women’s Business Development Centers sponsored by the SBA (WBCD)  in conjunction with local universities is just one such option. The centers offer a wide variety of free services to help businesses succeed at whatever stage they are in their life cycle. Don’t be fooled by the name, they work with men too. It’s your tax dollars at work so don’t be shy about taking advantage of these great resources for your organization.

So, good luck to all in the coming days and creating a clear path for a prosperous future. Happy marketing trails!