The Importance of a Yearly Marketing Plan
Are you one of those businesses that comes up with a huge event or genius marketing campaign that will take your business to the top, but then wants the idea carried out like, yesterday? (Yes, we’re looking at you Fyre Festival.) We give you major props for your unique and creative ideas, but you might need a little work on your planning skills. Marketing and growing your business requires well-executed planning. That’s why we recommend creating a yearly marketing plan. And no, we don’t mean a list of lofty New Year’s Resolutions.
Each year, you should make a list of attainable goals for the business and goals to work toward. What are you looking to do on social media? How are you going to increase site traffic? How will you boost sales?
Before you begin your plan, take stock of the previous year. Where was the business the year prior and how did the business end the year? What was accomplished? What failed? Determine how that translates into the goals for the upcoming year. Build on your performance-to-date, not your fantasy of how well your business is doing. For instance, if your business grew by 15% last year and 10% the year prior, it’s safe to say that creating a budget for the year based upon reaching 50% growth by the end of the year is a lofty goal. Analyzing your past results and performance will give you an idea of what you can do in the upcoming year. Sure, you might want to hit a specific milestone, but a year might not be enough time to complete it. However, steadily building up to that milestone will take you farther than if you tried to hit it too soon and then gave up altogether when you fell short.
“As you make a list, you should have a clear understanding of your customers, your competition, and the trends in your industry.”
Once you’ve analyzed your previous year, start making a list of goals you hope to meet in the upcoming year and a plan to reach them. How does your vision translate into your 3-, 5-, or 10-year plan for the business? As you make a list, you should have a clear understanding of your customers, your competition, and the trends in your industry. Determine how best to please your customers, outlast your competition, and balance your tried-and-true strategies with new trends. Look at your products and see how you can improve upon or expand your current offerings. Does your sales process need some work? Perhaps you need to work on your ads and SEO so that new customers can find you. Maybe you need to make improvements to your website. Maybe your staff even needs some training.
Your marketing goals should align with your business goals as you complete your marketing plan for the year. Well-defined, documented strategies are shown to work better than ideas that never reach the page. Be sure that you incorporate multiple checkpoints of success on your marketing plan. Checking in and determining if you’re on track and reaching your goals is important.
It’s important to remember that you need to analyze all aspects of your business when making a marketing plan for the year. All departments should be focusing on the same objectives. Do you need a little help?
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