Why You Need an Annual Marketing Plan
The New Year brings opportunities to leave the past behind and create fresh starts, and this includes your marketing and business goals.
If creating or revamping your Annual Marketing Plan for 2017 isn’t part of your New Year’s business goals, stop everything and re-write your to-do list.Without taking the necessary time at the start of the year (or your marketing calendar year), you will waste time and money each month. Your marketing will lack focus, proper execution and above all, results.
Here are 3 reasons why you need to create an Annual Marketing Plan before you sign up for another gym membership:
1) A Marketing Plan Gives You Control of Your Business and Increases Your Bottom Line
A marketing plan lays out what you are spending money on, enables you to budget expenses for each month, helps you keep control of your expenditures, and manage cash flow. You can also track sales and measure the success of your marketing efforts. These metrics are critical to ensuring that your dollars are not wasted.
At the end of each marketing campaign note the results on your annual marketing plan: What could have been done differently? Is this a marketing campaign you will reinvest in next year? What were the conversion rates, ultimate results or cost per lead?
Documenting everything will help you look back and make educated decisions for future efforts and investments.
2) A Marketing Plan Improves Focus and Saves Time
One of the best benefits of developing and refining a marketing plan is that it helps you focus your resources and plan for growth on a timeline.
There are hundreds of marketing and advertising options for local businesses. Focus on select solutions each month that will help your business go after ‘low hanging fruit’ or resolve issues in order of priority. You may want to revamp your website, create social media ads, and do some radio advertisements. In what order should you start these tasks and what is the timeline for each project?
DO NOT Bite Off More Than You Can Chew.
Yes, that was an all caps sentence, because if you do not plan these things out you will fail and waste money while you do it. Over and over again, I see many businesses initiating too many things at once or putting out fires because they failed to take the time to plan.
3) A Marketing Plan Helps You Reach New Target Customers
Do you know who your customers are? Before you answer that, really think about it. Do you know where they live, their ages, their income levels and their shopping patterns? Their hobbies and job titles?
And most of all, do you know why do they need your services or products?
While it is impossible to know every detail about your entire customer base, you should create multiple persona profiles that define your core audience each year. These personas should be broken into buckets. The main goal is understanding your target customers and their pain points. Customer bases change year to year so it is important to update these personas annually.
For instance, if you are a health food store, at what time of the year should you be running ads that reach and speak to the fitness and gym crowd? Or what ads should you be running to target mother’s interested in organic options for their family?
When you understand your customers (through persona profiles) you can understand how and when to reach them, and what to say to catch their attention.
A Marketing Plan in a Nutshell: Developing a marketing plan requires research, time and commitment, but is a very valuable process that can greatly contribute to your business success.
It’s important to have a marketing plan, but it’s just as important to keep it up to date. A marketing plan is not a document you create once and file away, it’s a guide that should be reviewed regularly and developed as your business grows and changes. It defines your objectives and strategies for each year.
Need some help with your marketing plan and execution? Contact me for a FREE 30 minute consultation, let’s see how we can help you kick off 2017!