By Shelley Plemons, President/CEO Strategic Sales Solutions

Getting noticed and separating your company from the rest of the pack is a common problem for employee assistance programs. EAPs that succeed have a sharp focus on their customers, and leverage all of the many channels available to attract business. You can create a marketing plan by following some critical steps – several of which I will describe in this article. The other steps will appear in the second part of this article.

* Create a target market analysis. A target market analysis helps you determine which industries and markets for which you are best suited. You’ll want to create an ideal customer profile, which is essentially the minimum requirement your customers must meet in order to benefit from your product. An example profile for your EAP might be health care companies that have a minimum of 3,000 employees and $1 million in revenue.

* Build a distribution list. Once you’ve determined your ideal bustomers, build a databse that includes all the pertinent contact information for your potential clients. Maintain it and update it frequently.

* Develop a marketing campaign. The most effective marketing campaigns plan a year in advance on how to best reach target audiences using several different methods multiple times.

Summary – Marketing isn’t an exact science. What works for one company may not work for another, but planning ahead and tracking your methodology will help you get ahead of the competition. Avoid making marketing decisions based on desperation or emotion by developing a program based on your customers’ needs and a long-term plan.

Shelly Plemons has more than 25 years’ experience in the behavioral health industry. During that time she worked for several success companies such as Charter Medical, MHN and Life Care. She founded Strategic Sales Solutions in 2003, and assists clients with strategy and training. Her website can be found at   Author’s note: This article will appear in its entirety in the November 2011 issue of Employee Assistance Report. To find out more, go to the “EARN” link at