Marketing planning can seem like a chore.
You’re rushing around trying to manage your business and your marketing planning just gets pushed to the side, whilst you deal with more pressing issues. It never seems to quite make it to the top of your to do list. But it should.
Marketing Planning is all about getting organised and by taking a couple of hours out and putting your thinking cap on you can come up with a logical proactive marketing plan for your activities over the next 6 months.
Many clients I talk to seem to have a scatter gun approach; dabbling in activity here and there but seeing no results. That’s because, with all the best intentions, they don’t know what they are trying to achieve except drive more leads into the business. But most aren’t going about it in the right way.
I’d like to share some key marketing planning questions with you. Start thinking about doing things differently. Marketing planning, if done correctly will help your business grow.
1. What has and hasn’t worked for you this year?
Take a retrospective look at what marketing you have done. Were you happy with what you achieved or did it feel like a damp squib? Either rule out everything that you felt you wasted money on or take a different approach – don’t keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect a different result! Concentrate your efforts on where you really saw results (yes I know this is obvious advice but often forgotten!).
2. Get some objectives in mind
Now take a look to the next 6 months. What is it that you are looking to achieve? For instance grow sales by x%, have x amount of new meetings in the diary or launch a new product/service? It’s really important to button this down as your tactics you decide will help support your objectives.
3. Remind yourself who you key target market is
Remind yourself, who are your key target market? What are their pain points and how will your services and products help them? You may know it off by heart but a quick reminder will help you focus your mind in terms of the types of marketing activity you want to put into your marketing plan.
4. Realistically plan your budget and resources
Take a look at how much you spent last year on your marketing and try to attribute a monthly cost to what you would like to spend. Some of the best marketing activity can be free you don’t need a big budget to make an impact. Also ask yourself who will do my marketing activity? do you have time yourself or would you need some outsourced marketing help (shameless plug – but this is where I can help!).
5. Plan your activity
Now it’s down to the nitty gritty – what will you do? There are so many options available to businesses of all sizes but here are some thoughts:
• SEO optimise your website so you can be found easily in Google
• Start a blog to showcase your expertise
• Start and continue to update your social media channels
• Start an email newsletter to keep in regular contact with your clients
• Investigate networking, seminars and trade events you could visit to show off your brand
• Run a sales promotion to introduce a new product or help promote a flagging one
• Run advertising in online and offline publications relevant to your audience
• Build a referral network so that people are encouraged to refer work to you
With all those activities in mind it’s worth noting that for everything you do, you will need to measure success as you go. Don’t leave it until the end of your marketing plan to understand what did and didn’t work, monitor and refine as you go.
If you need help creating and thinking through your marketing plan please get in touch. I’ve seen plans of all shapes and sizes and know what makes a great plan.
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