In the first two articles about writing a simple one page marketing plan for small business, we compared marketing to fishing and covered the need to choose the kind of “fish” you want to catch, plus putting some strong “bait” on your hook.

Now in part 3 of 5 we’re going to make sure that we give you the strongest chance possible of catching some fish.  That means using lots of fishing lines so that more fish come across your lines.

Plus each fish may pass your “bait” on several different hooks, giving them more familiarity with your message and more chances to buy.

In Core Marketing, you’ll have several Marketing Channels running in parallel, so that your message is in separate places and getting in front of lots of people with your juicy offer.

Most people try out one or two ways of marketing over time and eventually give up because “it doesn’t work for my business”.

That’s a bit like dangling your worm in a big puddle and then going home after half an hour and saying that fishing doesn’t work.  It’s not the fishing, it’s the fisherman!

Your goal is to discover between 5 and 10 strategies that each produce good leads and sales for your business.  In this way you’ll prevent yourself from being vulnerable if one channel should fail.

And you do need to protect yourself from failure.  One of my clients is a travel agent/tour operator who generated a huge proportion of their leads via Teletext ads.

As the switchover to digital TV happened, the volume of leads fell away completely, leaving a big hole in their business that we had to quickly fill with other lead sources.

So how do you pick the right channels for your business?  That’s where experience and practice come in to a large degree.

In the Core Marketing System there are 132 different channels, including 99 offline and 33 online methods of winning more business.

Let’s take a look at some of them here…

1.  Networking Meetings – wonderful because you get to meet people and build relationships with them.  Over time this turns into business.  A couple of great ones are BNI and 4Networking.

2.  Direct Mail Letters – when you’ve got a clear niche and strong bait, direct mail is incredibly powerful.  For lead generation, my clients often get a response well over 10% from a cold list of names.

3.  Signage – turn your van or shop front from being a name plaque on the wall into a powerful magnet for new business.  State your “bait” on signs and see the leads come in.

4.  Website – most small business websites are just like a brochure – they don’t make a strong offer at all.  Turn your website into a powerful lead generator with well written sales copy.

5.  Competitions – run a free draw or a competition of some sort.  Give away a decent prize and let the papers, local radio and tv know about it.  Do everything possible to get wide publicity to generate more interest.

6.  Google Adwords – tried by many, understood by few.  Google’s pay per click advertising is incredibly effective and cheap to do when you’re doing it right.  The return on investment can be measured accurately.  It’s easy to get wrong, though, so make sure you’re getting advice from somebody who really knows what he’s doing.

7.  Blogging – write about topics that are relevent to your customers.  Let them comment back and get the word out via Twitter or Facebook.  Join in the social chatter and generate a buzz about your business.

Of course, once you’ve put a channel into action you need to make sure it’s working for you by measuring results.  There’s no point continually going to the same pool or using the same bait if you never catch fish, is there?

In the next installment, you can read about the next step of Core Marketing – something I call the Marketing Loop.  In that post you’ll learn how to stock your own pool with fish, so that you can fish there with confidence that you’ll land a whopper every time.