Many businesses are starting to wind down for Christmas and to think about what 2019 might hold for them, making it the perfect time to start planning your marketing strategy.
1. Ensure you have a clear idea of your 2019 business goals. Without this, you cannot even begin to plan your strategy. These goals need to be tangible and not just ‘we want to grow by xxx%’ but more detailed such as, ‘we want x product/service to grow by xx%’. By being more granular with your targets it will make it easier to then plan your marketing strategy.
2. Implement or review audience profiles for your key customer types. This can be a really fun exercise to involve some of your team in, you need to break down your customer base into clear profiles that will help you ensure you have the right targeted marketing to appeal to those potential customers. You need to include their demographics, their likely interests and the channels where you might find them e.g. a specialist magazine or on a specific social network etc.
3. Get organised! The fact that you are reading a blog about planning means you are already thinking along the right lines, but when I say get organised, you need to be really organised! Look at all the results from last year, the campaigns you did, the last minute ideas, pull it all together and decide what worked and what didn’t. Once you have this look at the year ahead and consider if there are any big events coming up that you should plan around or create campaigns for (we have a free download calendar with many of these dates). I always recommend a marketing plan needs to be for 12 months in advance, but you only need the nitty-gritty detail for 3-6 months at a time. You should be allocating budget but ensuring you have contingency budget for those last minute ideas.
4. Align your campaign ideas to your audience profiles, it is important that not all campaigns are aimed at your whole audience (unless you have one very niche audience). You should instead have specific campaigns that either by topic or channel or by both really appeal to that individual audience and therefore will be more likely to cause them to take action.
5. Track everything! Think about all the things you wish you knew now about last years campaigns and then look at how you can put this tracking in place, You may need to speak to a specialist to help you with this, but now is the time. If your tracking last year was perfect, then just be sure to align your future strategy in the same way so that you will have easy to compare results. It is so important with every campaign that you have something you can measure. In an ideal situation, this would be sales and contact enquiries, but we all know some campaigns are more about brand awareness, therefore think about how the result of this can be measured e.g video views, social engagement etc. If tracking is relatively new to you then I would always recommend starting from the viewpoint that anything can be tracked, and it normally can, you just might need to engage a specialist to help you.
Don’t just assume because you have always done something that you need to keep doing it.
Be brave, be ready to switch things up, to test and to continue to iterate - marketing is never finished or ever 100% perfect. Conversion rate optimisation should always be considered as there are always ways to improve even the best of campaigns. Consider some audience research to either get insight into how potential customers view your brand or to test how well your website is converting with your desired audience. Completing the right research can really propel your marketing strategy forward!