The New Year is a perfect time to reset in all areas of life. It’s traditionally a time to reflect on the past year and the lessons that came out of it, while evaluating what we want to change moving into the new year. This being said, it shouldn’t be any different for your business! Using January 1st as a re-evaluation date for your marketing plan is a strategic method to ensure that your customers are engaged and that your sales are peaking. After all, a marketing plan is not a successful one unless it produces results. Here we provide guidance when revamping your marketing plan…
Set SMART Goals!
Without setting goals, we naturally lose motivation. In everything that we do, we need a direction or a target to move towards, otherwise we are running in circles. We also need noticeable progress to motivate us to achieve our highest potential, and this includes our businesses! However, we need SMART goals. Goals that are…
Specific – What is one thing you want to achieve and how?
Measurable – By how much?
Achievable – Can the goal be reached reasonably?
Realistic – Are your expectations too high?
Timely – In what amount of time?
An example of a SMART goal could be “we will increase our website traffic by 50% in the next five months via our new Facebook ad campaign”. You don’t want to make your goals so extreme to the point that you’ll never reach it. This just ends in disappointment rather than the satisfaction and motivation that comes from small successes! Including specific, measurable, and timely attributes that enable you to more easily track your progress, make your goals more tangible.
Do Audience Research
An important factor when developing your marketing plan is determining what currently is or isn’t working to capture your audience. There isn’t one marketing plan that works for everyone. You need to know your audience and customize the method of communication and marketing to accommodate their age, demographic and buying motivations.
The best way to assess this is to analyze your business analytics. This can be gathered from Google related to your business’s website or from social media platforms informing you on your customers’ interactions and impressions of the content. For example, Google Analytics reveal which marketing campaigns or channels are most successful in bringing in traffic and sales, if your site has an eCommerce store. Whereas, social media analytics, such as Facebook Insights or Instagram Insights, may reveal which posts gain the most interaction and traction with your audience.
This information is extremely valuable since you’re able to choose worthwhile marketing methods to capture your specific audience, increase traffic, and increase in sales. Meeting your goals become less time consuming, as you focus on a few methods proven to be successful, rather than a large quantity of unsuccessful ones.
Get Ahead of Your Competitors
Understanding what you provide over your competitors improves your power to sell your products, brand, and/or services. You will gain confidence and will be able to tweak your marketing plan to capitalize on your strengths. Examples of these strengths could be better prices, more ethically sourced/made products, higher quality material, experience in a niche area, better customer service and more.
A great strategy is to identify your top three competitors and to write down their strengths and weaknesses. Now from this, you can determine the need you can fill in your industry. Maybe the top three competitors you reviewed aren’t open convenient hours for your target audience, but you are! Capitalize on your strengths and promote those points.
Another method is to document your competitions’ methods of promotion, pricing, messaging, and media. Look at what have they done for a long time. Often, marketing strategies wouldn’t be kept over time, unless successful. Consider using some of those techniques to reach your audience!
Document & Schedule Your Marketing Plan.
In order to complete your goal, you need a clear marketing plan. Studies have shown that documented plans/goals are 42% more likely to be achieved1. Writing down a plan forces you to think through the processes to achieve it, as well as the potential barriers and what you’ll need to overcome them. Having a designated document with your marketing plan also helps facilitate unity in your team. It provides a tangible plan for your employees to revisit and refer back to, so that you are all working towards a common goal.
“You are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals, if you write them down.”
Dr Gail Matthews, clinical psychologist from the Dominican University of California.
Using timelines and setting schedules for your marketing plan is highly advantageous, as it increases your chances of the tasks actually being completed on time. Whether it is monthly email campaigns, biweekly blog posts, or weekly social media posts, a schedule will facilitate action. It enables more effective delegation to staff, with clear and consistent undertakings.
There are many tools available to host your scheduling and improve the efficiency of your processes as a business. Sprout Social and Hootsuite are just two of the many tools available for purchase that work to improve the organization and time management of your marketing campaigns. These two apps work specifically to manage social media content They enable you to work ahead and plan out publishing dates for content on different streams. Another resource is Monday.com, where you are able to create a broad overview of “To Dos” for your business, including your marketing plan. The benefit is that you can schedule due dates, assign tasks to your team members and communicate progress with your team all on one page. If you’re old school, writing down your marketing plan on paper and presenting it on a board for all your team to see is always an option and there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you write it down!
Moving into the New Year, we hope that you are able to use this advice to revamp your marketing plan, so that it captures more your audience, increases your website and social media traffic, and brings in more sales with the least amount of effort and time possible! The best bang for your buck, if you will.
- Matthews, G. (2016). Dominican University of California: Goal-Setting Research. https://scholar.dominican.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1002&context=news-releases