Updated: Jul 13
How often do you really analyze your marketing strategy, I mean really take a hard look at it?
The answer for most business owners is, not often enough or never. Well you should, because developing an annual marketing strategy helps you focus your efforts in the right direction. Doing this makes your business goals an actual reality, instead of a pipe dream.
If you know anything about building websites, a good marketing plan is the equivalent of a business sitemap. It is a high-level plan that guides not only you, but your team's campaigns, target goals, and growth.
Sadly, most businesses avoid creating this plan. They either don't know how, or are afraid of the cost associated with hiring an experienced marketer for the job. Not having one though can cost you a lot more. Plus, it is almost impossible to do any sort of real planning without one. How are you going to put numbers to a budget, projects, hiring, and the outsourcing you will encounter throughout the year? Bottom line, you need a plan.
Luckily #GrowUrBizz is here to help make this process much more simple and straightforward. Depending on your industry and marketing goals, there will be some variations to which plan you need. Either way, as long as you follow these points I have outlined below, you should easily be able to craft what you need.
Step 1.) Analyze Your Current Situation
Before you can get to where you need to be, you have to know your current situation.
What are your strengths, weaknesses,opportunities, and possible threats. This is called conducting a SWOT analysis. This is the first step in creating a solid marketing plan.
Your next step should be to measure how you stack up to your closest competitors. This step is called a competitor analysis.
Do they have any products that are better than your own? Then try to consider any potential gaps in their approach. What are they missing? What can you offer your customers that will give you a competitive advantage? What sets you apart?
Try to think of things from your customers standpoint. Answering questions like this helps you figure out what they want. Which takes us to step number two.
Step 2.) Define Your Target Audience
At this point, you should have a much greater understanding of your companies situation and the market. Now we need to make sure we understand our target audience.
Some of you may already have a customer profile, if not, then you should create one. A customer profile is basically an overall picture of what your target customer looks like. You should include demographic information such as age, gender, income, location, and education level. To really make this customer profile complete, demographics aren't enough. Try to also include psychographic information such as pain points and goals. What is driving your audience to buy, what problems do they have, that your product/service can fix?
Doing this thought exercise properly can take some time. The good news though, completing this step helps you define what your goals should be. Next up, step number three in the process!
Step 3.) S.M.A.R.T. Goals
Have you ever tried going somewhere new without your GPS? If your in your 30's like myself, then you remember using MapQuest. Preparing for the drive, then printing out your map to make sure you didn't get lost on the way.
Writing out your SMART goals are basically the same thing, metaphorically speaking. You can't improve your ROI unless you know what your goals are.
Once you know your current situation, your audience, you can begin to define your SMART goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Meaning all of your goals should be specific and include a time frame for which you are going to complete them.
One example would be, to increase your Instagram followers by 20% in a 3 month period. Depending on your overall marketing goals, something like this should be relevant and obtainable. Additionally, the goal is specific, measurable, and time-bound.
Using this example, you can easily see how to apply the SMART concept. Before starting any new tactics, you should write out your goals. Afterwards you can begin to analyze which tactics will help you achieve that goal. Bringing us to step number four!
Step 4.) Analyze Your Tactics
By now you should of written down your goals based on your target audience and current situation.
Here is where we start getting into the nitty-gritty of things. Now you have to figure out which tactics will help you achieve your goals. Just like in skeeball, you need to know the right channels and action items to focus on. It isn't a good idea to just be all over the place. Focusing on the right area will net you a greater reward.
To get a better understanding of what this is exactly, lets use our example from before. Say your goal is to increase your Instagram followers by 20% in a 3 month period. Your tactics might include hosting a giveaway, making sure more comments are responded too, and posting 3 times a day.
Once you know your goals, brainstorming several tactics to achieve those goals should be easy. But, while writing down your tactics, keep your budget in mind. Bringing us to step number five!
Step 5.) Set Your Budget
Before you can begin implementing any of your ideas that you have wrote down so far, you have to know your budget.
For example, some of your tactics may include social media advertising. Not budgeting properly for this could force you into not achieving your goals.
Just make sure that while you are writing down your tactics, keep an estimated budget in mind. Include the time it will take to accomplish each tactic in addition to the assets you may need to purchase, like ad space. Do this with all of the tactics in your plan.
Now give yourself a good ole pat on the back, you just developed your first marketing plan! In our next article, we will discuss which elements a high-level marketing plan should include.
If you have any questions about creating a marketing plan for your business just reach out to us. We are always happy to help or even offer some good advice. Be sure to check out our Facebook Page and YouTube Channels for other tutorials on Facebook Advertising, Business Consulting and Web Design & SEO.
Till next time just remember, never settle for less than your best! Never give up and give in to the failures surely coming along the way. Fail, Learn, Grow, Try Again, and Repeat. This is the real secret to success, the whole method, it is that easy.
Take care everyone and as always, have an amazing day!