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Creating a Marketing Timeline That Works: 17 Simple Ideas for Marketing Your Small Business

"Goals are dreams with deadlines." -Diana Scharf Hunt

When clients come to me for marketing help, the first thing I ask is, "What's your plan?" If I'm greeted with a blank stare, then I know we have work to do!

In order to set up a great marketing strategy, you need to write it out in black and white. I highly recommend a 12-month plan, which you can set up in your favorite spreadsheet program. Using a computer will allow you to easily move tasks around as the months progress, and add new ones as you think of them. Simply create columns for "date" and "proposed marketing activities." You might also include a column to check off when you accomplish each goal.

Some of the items to include in your plan might include:

? Seeking PR in your local papers (perhaps revolving around a national organizing holiday, a seminar you're giving in your community, a contest you're holding, time you've donated to a local charity, etc.)
? Creating a referral program for current clients
? Writing/updating your business cards and brochure
? Creating/updating a web site
? Getting listed in the Yellow Pages
? Writing your "60-second commercial"
? Investigating advertising opportunities
? Investigating networking groups
? Investigating partnerships
? Investigating new partnerships/alliances
? Developing seminars/workshops
? Developing new products
? Writing tips booklets or a book
? Participating in expos/trade shows
? Investigating speaking opportunities/improving skills
? Creating new ways to stay in touch with clients (newsletters, postcards, etc.)
? Investigating ways to thank current clients for past business

You might also include business goals such as creating a follow-up program, researching business insurance and liability issues, improving business skills, reviewing your expenses and revenue, and finally, etching out time for creating next year's marketing plan.

Sound simple? It is! With a plan, you can get all those ideas out of your head and onto paper. You'll sleep better! It's easy to rearrange, redistribute, add, and delete with a tap of the keyboard. Go for it!

Copyright 2005 Time to Organize. All rights reserved.

Sara Pedersen, author of the FREE e-zine "The Marketing Fairy's Guide to Simple Self Promotion," is a professional organizer and marketing specialist. She helps small business owners make their marketing dreams come true. Sign up today at http://www.time2organize.net to receive your FREE monthly subscription.

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