Most entrepreneurs and business owners know they need a comprehensive marketing plan, but not everyone knows how to create one or where to start. If you’ve been following along on our Keys to Success series, then you’ve already completed the first two steps: finding your unique business story and defining your target audience.
(And if you haven’t been following along, now might be a good time to stop and consume those two posts first. It’s ok, we’ll wait for you.)
Now it’s time to create a plan for how you’re going to utilize your unique message to best connect with your target audience — and ultimately increase revenue. The next post in this series addresses exactly how to develop a comprehensive marketing strategy and walks you through analyzing data, implementing marketing strategies and asking for feedback (often times the hardest part).
The Keys to Success consist of the following five steps:
Without further adieu, here is our six-step guide for developing a comprehensive marketing strategy, which we believe will challenge your current content marketing strategies, messages and audiences.
First, look at any marketing data you have in order to understand how your customers interact with your brand. Here are a few tools to help you analyze this data:
Use this data to identify which sources contribute the highest traffic and greatest conversion rates. Then ask yourself: what’s working and what isn’t working? Don’t be afraid to take action based on these numbers. We all fall victim to the mentality of, “I’ve always done it this way.” But in today’s world, we have the advantage of being able to test, iterate and make changes quickly to see what works best for our brand.
Ask yourself the following questions:
Make sure you can answer these questions before moving forward with your marketing strategy. Plans may change throughout the year, but these BIG marketing goals should be strategic objectives that fall in line with the rest of the company.
This one requires taking a step back and looking at the “why” of your business. Is your mission statement representative of who you are as a company? Do you feel as though you’re able to clearly articulate the “why” of your business story? Once you’ve nailed these two things, then move on to analyzing your specific messaging to customers. Ask yourself these questions:
Below, we’ve included a list of channels to consider in order to put your business story in front of exactly the right group of people. Remember, you don’t have to use them all! Determine what works best for your audience and focus on those first:
Not sure which ones will work best for your business? Check out this blog post where we further expand on each of these marketing channels.
While we would all love to implement each of the above marketing strategies, that doesn’t always work with our budgets. You must prioritize your marketing needs, and choose the tactics that are most effective in spreading your message (and ultimately driving revenue).
Start by budgeting in the most important items first, then layer in secondary tactics as they fit into the budget. Your marketing priorities and budget should be a blend of tried and true tactics, with new methods you want to test on your audience. At the end of the day, listen to your customers and follow the strategies that best speak to the audiences you are trying to reach.
The last step in our guide to creating your annual marketing plan is to ask for feedback. After you’ve written everything out on paper — goals, tactics, channels, budget — share it with your internal marketing team and the leadership team. Ask them to poke holes in your plan and offer suggestions based on their experiences. Additionally, don’t be afraid to bring in marketing partners who may have expertise in certain areas and ask for their opinions. Measuring, monitoring and adjusting your marketing plan is the key to success.
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We hope this guide serves as a starting point for developing your comprehensive marketing plan. Our biggest recommendation is to not work in isolation. Instead, be open to collaboration discussion, and you will be well on your way to creating the goals and strategies to set you up for success in the new year.
Next in the Keys to Success series, we’ll dive into how to put this plan into action by creating influential and relevant writing and photography to support your overall marketing strategy.