his time of year is full of business owners making New Year’s resolutions and creating sparkling new business plans.
I’m sure you’ve seen your Instagram feed fill up with fancy new planners and people’s “word of the year.”
I’m certainly a BIG fan of planning and I enjoy the sense of possibility that this time of year brings.
But, in my experience, planning needs to be strategic to actually make an impact. Especially when it comes to your marketing.
So, in this post I want to share my marketing planning do’s and don’ts so that you can create an effective marketing strategy for 2022 (and beyond!)
Why is marketing planning important?
I talk about this a LOT!
Marketing without a strategy is the number one mistake I see small business owners make.
They put pressure on themselves to pump out social media posts just to “tick the box”, without any consideration of what they want to achieve from their social presence.
Or, they know they should be using email, so they quickly throw something together for their 'monthly' newsletter and then wonder why they don’t get any return on their email investment.
The problem is that 'ad-hoc' marketing like this doesn't align with any business goals.
To be successful, your marketing needs to be measurable. So, if you don’t have any marketing planning objectives, how do you know it’s working?
A good marketing strategy sets your marketing goals AS WELL AS the plan for how you’re going to achieve them.
That way, your marketing activities are purposeful as opposed to hopeful!
Successful marketing planning elements
The idea of creating a marketing strategy or plan can feel pretty overwhelming, right?
Well, let me assure you that it doesn’t have to be.
You DON’T have to create a 20-page document - let’s face it, that would just sit in your Google Drive gathering dust!
There are 3 simple elements to effective marketing planning…
1 - It should be ACHIEVABLE
Your marketing strategy should be doable with the time and resources that you have - not in some ideal world where you have 20 extra hours a week.
So, that means that you need to create goals and habits that are sustainable.
How many times have you done a “5-day challenge” you’ve seen on social media, with an “expert” who promises that writing content or going live or doing Facebook ads is the KEY to business growth?
I know I’ve certainly taken part in a few of those over the years!
And, in theory, they’re a great idea to get you kickstarted if you want to grow a certain part of your marketing toolkit.
But, the problem is that once the challenge is over, you often slip back into your old habits and, before you know it, 6 months have passed since you last wrote a blog post, or created a live video.
The fact is, the strategy just wasn’t sustainable for YOUR business.
2 - It should be TARGETED
Does your marketing plan sound something like this…
“Increase sales… AND increase brand awareness… AND build a community…”?
If so, that’s a LOT of goals to be chasing with one plan.
The easiest route to marketing planning success is to have ONE clear goal for each marketing strategy that you implement.
So for every quarter or six-monthly period, pick ONE clear goal that you’re going to focus on and use the SMART goal framework to set your objectives.
Here’s an example…
MY ONE GOAL FOR THIS QUARTER = GENERATE HIGHER LEVELS OF ENQUIRIES THROUGH MY WEBSITE
MY PLAN FOR ACHIEVING THIS GOAL =
Increase posting and engagement on social media to drive more traffic to my site
ASSOCIATED SMART GOAL: Post on LinkedIn 3 days per week and publish a LinkedIn article once per month. Engage and comment with network posts for 30 minutes every work morning.
Create more content to nurture and educate new entrants to my marketing funnel
ASSOCIATED SMART GOAL: Write/ outsource the writing of two blog posts every month.
Improve the layout of my website to improve reader conversion
ASSOCIATED SMART GOAL: Have the website design tweaked by the web designer by [DATE] to encourage readers to book a discovery call.
See how all marketing activity is specifically geared towards reaching that overarching goal of increasing prospect enquiries through the website?
The key to effective marketing is to only focus on activities that further your business growth and goals. So, it’s NOT about vanity metrics like increasing likes, followers or subscribers, just for the sake of it!
3 - It should be MEASURABLE
Another common mistake I see small business owners make is to treat marketing like a “one and done” activity.
The hard truth is that marketing is ongoing.
You’re never going to achieve your goals by doing something just for 5 days, or even 30 days. You need to be consistent, measure the results, tweak if required and repeat.
It can take time to figure out what works best for your business, so a bit of trial and error is to be expected!
Would you like some help creating an achievable marketing strategy and plan for your business?
I can help!
With my one-off marketing planning session, I'll help you unscramble all of your thoughts, ideas and marketing goals.
You fill out my comprehensive questionnaire and then we jump on a 1-hour Zoom call to brainstorm a plan that works for YOUR business.
I’ll then develop a customised marketing strategy and actionable marketing plan that will keep you focused and moving forward with your marketing activities.
So, you’ll always know what you need to do next when it comes to marketing your business!