As a business owner, it’s important to know that marketing your business requires a massive amount of planning. The best way to implement and manage your marketing strategy is to create an adaptive marketing plan that is driven by the knowledge and enthusiasm of your employees. By establishing the appropriate business goals and involving your team, the likelihood of accomplishing those goals increases greatly. This marketing plan should be your trusted, lead generating roadmap and it will hold you accountable for marketing your business while encouraging your employees to increase their knowledge and participation in your business. The following tips and resources are an excellent way to ensure that your marketing plan is thorough and applicable to your business.
SMART Goal Setting
If you’re new to building a marketing plan, it can seem like a daunting task and you may be unsure of where the starting point is. The first step in creating your annual marketing plan is to gather your stakeholders or employees, examine your business goals from the past year, decide if they have been accomplished, and identify your goals for the new year. These business goals can range from increasing revenue, introducing new products or services, landing that dream client that you’ve always wanted, and more. During goal setting, your team may decide that they have an idea for the strategy and tactics needed to accomplish your goals. It is extremely important to document and differentiate your goals from your tactics so you can easily define the actions required.
Some people can get carried away in the goal setting stage because it’s exciting to talk about the big picture and they’re not exactly sure how their goals will be accomplished. The best way to stay on track with goal setting is to create SMART Goals. But what makes SMART Goals so, well… smart? For starters, the name SMART refers to the process of defining your goals by a specific set of measurable criteria and objectives. This helps people separate the realistic business goals from the big-picture dreams and take action more quickly. To make your goals SMART, they should be: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. By structuring your goals with the SMART method, you’re laying a solid foundation for your annual marketing plan and making it that much easier to accomplish.
Below are some questions to ask yourself while developing your marketing plan’s SMART Goals:
- SPECIFIC – What does my business need to accomplish this year? Who will help me accomplish this goal?
- MEASURABLE – How are we going to measure success? What metrics will we use to measure growth?
- ATTAINABLE – Is my goal realistic? Do I have the financial resources needed to accomplish this?
- RELEVANT – Is this goal relevant to my business model? Is it relevant to improving my customer’s experience?
- TIMELY – Is this goal time sensitive? How long do we need to accomplish this goal? How much time should I spend on this goal per day/week/month?
TIP: The most defining moment in SMART Goal setting is figuring out what you’re willing to invest. Having a figure or range in mind will let you know immediately if you can accomplish that goal.
Understanding Your Audience
Once your SMART Goals have been established it’s important to know who you will be marketing to. Instead of spending time and money on every marketing channel, wouldn’t it be better to spend that time and energy understanding your customer? Understanding your audience and their purchasing habits is the next step in your marketing plan and if this is not performed, you may waste valuable dollars marketing to the wrong people. The best way to define your customer is by building out personas and segmenting your audience into groups based on their specific traits and habits. Once you have a detailed document addressing their needs and desired solutions, these personas can guide you towards the right marketing channels and away from the wrong ones.
Here’s a list of common persona traits and demographics that will help you get started on your marketing plan:
- Educational level
- Pain points
Want to create a range of personas for your business, but don’t know where to start? Here’s our guide to developing customer personas and their traits!
Select & Test Your Channels
Some sources say that you should always start with selecting one channel for your plan so you don’t spread yourself and resources too thin. While budget and resources are the main factors in channel selection, it is important to use a variety of marketing channels because they speak to your customer in different ways. Comparing the levels of targeting and campaign formats of each channel against your customer personas will help you decide which channels are worth investing in and which channels can be left off the menu.
To keep track of each channel and it’s advancements in advertising, let one person monitor the changes and have them report back to you on a frequent basis so you’re adapting with their updates. However, this doesn’t mean that your team can sit on Facebook or Twitter all day. What they should do is subscribe to podcasts, blogs, or news sources that specifically cater to marketers and business owners. Frequently sharing these insights and conversations will allow you to move with the times and avoid using outdated products and calls to action like “Checking In” on FourSquare.
Below are some of Venta’s favorite resources:
If you’re seeking knowledge from industry experts, then Moz is the place for you. Moz’s blog will provide you with weekly insights and opinions that will help your employees elevate their marketing game.
Gather the latest data, trends, and forecasting with Think with Google. Subscribe today to view these industry-specific resources that allow your agency to be an educated advertiser on the Google Ads platform.
Marketing Land will provide you with daily updates regarding all things SEO, marketing, and advertising. They make sure that you’re aware of every single change in the industry and how it will affect your customer.
Craving the latest in tech and business? Then look no further than TechCrunch. With a focus on innovation in technology and business, TechCrunch’s articles will keep you in the know.
If you’re in business to make money then you need to subscribe to HubSpot’s blog. HubSpot’s resources on marketing automation and sales growth have helped countless businesses streamline their sales process and increase revenue.
TIP: Assign specific platforms and channels to your team and meet with them at least once a quarter to discuss changes in the digital marketing landscape.
Study Your Results & Your Competition
Comparing and contrasting your marketing tactics against your competition is important, especially if your industry is defined by a niche service or product. Watching and learning from those in direct competition with you can show you any missed opportunities or weaknesses in their marketing strategies, allowing you to build a better marketing plan.
Venta has found that the best tool to use for competitor research is SpyFu. SpyFu allows you to enter your competitors URL and download their most profitable keywords for Paid and Organic campaigns. This powerful tool will allow you to pinpoint their mistakes, increase traffic to your website, track better keywords, and make better business decisions.
Subscribe to SpyFu and gather competitor insights and campaign data.
Ask For A Second Opinion & Help
Once your marketing plan is documented, review it with an informed mentor or business advisor. Present your entire strategy, explain the nuances of your marketing funnel, the tactics involved, and any data that supports your plan. Their participation will allow you to reaffirm or question your strategy and let you make revisions to it before implementing your tactics. This critical thinking will improve your marketing plan and advance your process while helping you grow as a business owner.
After consulting with a trusted business advisor, you may feel that the resources needed to accomplish your marketing goals are too advanced for you and your team. This is when you should consider using an external resource like a marketing agency because they can execute the most challenging tasks on your behalf. Agencies come in all shapes, sizes, and levels of expertise. If your customers are making decisions and converting on your website then it is important to work with an agency that specializes in digital marketing. At Venta Marketing we are available to help customers manage their marketing campaigns, solve their most complex lead generation problems, and improve their business’ overall performance. Most importantly, we help our customers develop strategic marketing plans that evolve with the ever-changing digital landscape while building trust and loyalty.
If you’re interested in learning more about how Venta can help you develop and execute your marketing plan, email us at [email protected] today!