By Shelley Plemons

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. Part one of this article outlined three of them; we will examine the remainder in this article.

* Implement the marketing program. It is not enough to depend on one newspaper advertisement or mailer. You must tell people about your product creatively using different methods frequently before they gain awareness of your product or service. There are many different options and some of them are even free. Email blasts, blogs, Facebook, direct mail pieces, and cold calls are all examples of relatively low-cost ways to reach your audience.

* Follow-up calls. One of the best ways to gain business is to simply follow-up with a contact with a phone call and an email. If you met someone at a trade show or networking event, add him or her to your distribution list and reach out to this individual within a few days after meeting.

* Tracking and reporting. The great thing about developing a yearlong marketing plan is that you can track your results and make adjustments as needed. Be sure to ask new people how they found out about you. Create a spreadsheet so you can track which methods are working.

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.

Shelley Plemons has more than 25 years’ experience in the behavioral health industry. During that time she worked for several successful 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 is:

Author’s note: Shelley’s column appears monthly in Employee Assistance Report, available from Impact Publications, Inc. (“EARN” link at