It’s never too early to start working on your marketing strategy for 2021. Let’s be honest, if we don’t start working on it now, the chances of it happening before January 1st are pretty slim… in case you needed the reminder, that’s less than 2 months away!
We’re all about being prepared and organised here at The Island Creative and when it comes to marketing, having a clear plan/strategy to follow for the next 12 months makes a hell of a difference to your marketing success throughout the year, as well as saving you a heap of time throughout the year.
With an increasing number of your customers spending more time online, it’s pretty clear that your business needs to be visible in the digital world. Getting in front of the right people, speaking your target audience’s language and gaining their attention in an extremely ‘noisy’ marketplace requires a plan and well thought out strategy.
So, what’s your plan? Don’t have one? Let’s work through developing one right now (or save it to do later)! Below we will work through defining your goals, determining who your target audience is and what strategies you will use to connect with them this coming year.
What Is The Point Of A Marketing Strategy?
We’re glad you asked! Overall your marketing strategy is the big picture stuff. A good marketing strategy will analyse past efforts & results, outline the business goals for the year, determine key dates over the next 12 months, narrow down on your target audience and determine what strategies you will use to achieve your goals.
When you have a marketing strategy planned out at the beginning of the year, it will give you and your team a clear direction of where the business is planning to go over the next 12 months, how your marketing is tied into that, what actions need to be taken and who’s responsible for making it happen.
If you’re sick of posting on social media without any real intention, never really seeing any results for your marketing efforts and always chasing your tail to keep your marketing up to date, you need a marketing strategy!
Step One: Look To The Past To Get Ahead
There’s no need to guess what your audience likes and dislikes, because you may already have the proof right in front of you. Take a look back on the last year of your marketing, what worked really well?, what was an absolute flop?, what do your customers seem to engage with the most?, what gets no reaction?, when do they click to see more?, when do they keep scrolling?, etc.
By knowing what works well you can develop your marketing strategy to focus more on that content and stop wasting time or money on the content that isn’t generating engagement or action from your customers.
Step Two: Determine Your Goals
‘If you don’t know where you’re going, you won’t know how to get there’
There’s no point in writing a marketing strategy without a goal. Ask yourself these three questions and write down the answers:
- Where do I see my business in the next 12 months?
- What areas of my business do I want to grow?
- What results do I want my marketing efforts to achieve for my business?
Once you know where you see your business going, what areas you want to grow and how you see your marketing playing a part in that, it will make the rest of the process so much easier!
Step Three: Who’s Your Target Audience
Let me tell you, when you can narrow down on who your target audience is, you will be saving yourself so much time when developing your marketing content. You will know exactly who you are talking to, you can tell them exactly how your products and/or services will help them, you know where they spend their time online and how to target them specifically, and you will really start to feel like your marketing is making a difference in your business.
Spend some time really drilling down on your Customer Avatar, hell, give them a name if you have to, make them feel like a real person… because, at the end of the day, they are!
Here are some things to think about when determining your Customer Avatar:
- Demographic: Age, gender, income, occupation, hobbies, preferred social media platform.
- Personality: Likes, dislikes, how they like to socialise, introvert, extrovert, like to research before buying, impulse buyers, know what they want, need more information.
- Values/Beliefs: What do they want to achieve, what are they fearful of, what problems or pain do they have in their life, what are their beliefs around your product/service/industry.
- Buying Behaviour: How do they buy, where do they buy, where do they do their research, what influences their purchase, what could be preventing them from buying, what role do they play in the buying process.
Spend a good amount of time brainstorming who this person is. You might have a handful of 5-10 A-Grade customers already, use them as your starting point because, at the end of the day, you want more of your A-Grade customers, right?
Step Four: Choose Your Marketing Methods & How They Work Together For The Big Picture
Now that you have analysed past results, determined your business goals and know who your target market is, you can decide on what marketing methods will work best for you and your business!
- Social media; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok…
- Paid advertising such as Google Ads & Facebook Ads
- Email Marketing
- Blogs/Free Resources
Remember each of these different platforms or methods can be used in a variety of different ways, depending on what works best for your business. You may focus your email marketing efforts on getting return customers to buy again, whereas another business may use it as their lead magnet to convert a new customer, you may use paid advertising methods to increase your brand exposure, whereas another business may use it to convert sales on their website.
So, once you have determined which methods or platforms you would like to use, then it’s deciding on how you will use them. Remember to look at it from the big picture perspective, even write up a timeline of events for how your ideal customer will go from being exposed to your brand to becoming a customer.
- They see a paid ad that resonates with them (focussed on your brand exposure), so they like your page.
- They start seeing your organic marketing content on social media where you’re adding value, speaking their language and they really feel like they connect with who you are, what you do and how you can help them.
- They then see another ad on Facebook (targeted at your Facebook Followers, you’ll need a Facebook Pixel for this) to read a blog on your website about something that relates to them.
- They love your blog and subscribe to your mailing list so they can get future updates from you.
- They then receive an email from you about a special promotion you’re running on your website, an event you’re hosting, a course you’re running, etc…
- They become a paying customer.
This may seem like a long-winded process, but once you have the process setup, it will continue to feed new customers to you continually as they work through your sales funnel.
Of course, this is just one strategy of how you might implement your different marketing methods and platforms. You have to decide what works best for you and your business and most importantly, how your ideal customer would best work through your sales funnel.
Step Five: Set Up A Marketing Process
It’s all well and good to spend all this time writing your marketing strategy for next year, but… do you actually have a plan to execute it? Something A LOT of small business owners are guilty of is only doing the big picture stuff (we get it, it’s the exciting stuff), but it’s all pointless unless you have a plan to make it happen (we also get it, as we know a lot of business owners like to hand this part over to us)!
So, what’s your marketing process going to look like? You know what methods you will be using so now you just need to find a system to make sure it’s taken care of each month. We say each month because we believe it’s important to check in, revise and then plan each month at a time. Of course, you will already have the big picture established, so it will just be a matter of getting the content sorted and perhaps scheduled in ready to go?
You have to make sure you have a system in place to make this happen or it simply won’t. If this means outsourcing the work to a marketing team like ourselves or delegating it to someone on your team to handle the bulk of it for you, then hand that responsibility over and set your expectations.
Planning ahead and having a system in place to make sure everything is checked off each month will not only ensure nothing is forgotten and you’re following through with your strategy, but it will also mean you’re not chasing your tail trying to stay on top of your marketing or laying in bed awake at night thinking of everything you haven’t done.
Have a checklist of everything that needs to be done each month, plan when you will be putting time aside to get it done or delegate/outsource, prepare it, and schedule it all a month in advance.
Write your checklist and monthly plan now so it’s ready to go in December… because you’ll be preparing and scheduling all your January content in December, right?
Step Six: Track, Analyse, Learn & Amend
No marketing plan is worth doing unless it’s working right? How will you know if it’s working? Analytics!!!
I know, they sound boring, but we LOVE them! Analytics are direct feedback on your marketing activities, they give you an opportunity to learn what’s working and what’s not so you can continually improve throughout the year. Decide now what results are important to you, of course, these will most likely correlate directly with your goals. Is it growing your mailing list, improving your engagement rate, getting more leads, converting more sales, improving return customer rate, increasing bookings…? You decide what’s important for your business.
Every month we provide our clients with a report on their monthly analytics so they know that our marketing efforts are getting them the results they said they wanted to see. But more importantly, as a team, we are analysing these results every month so we too can learn what our clients’ audience likes and how we can improve the marketing strategy moving forward.
Okay if you’ve made it this far, big pat on the back for you my friend! We covered a fair bit of ground there, so don’t be afraid to go back and read through again and start taking action on some of those points we discussed above.
We’re excited here at TIC HQ, because November means it’s time to start working on our client’s Strategic Marketing Plan for 2021. If you feel like your business would really benefit from a 2021 Marketing Strategy, but also know that you simply will not have the time to do it before January 1st, we can help you!
Marketing can feel overwhelming at the best of times, let alone when you’re trying to run your business through the Holiday Season. Schedule a complimentary 15min Discovery Call with us today and we can start the conversation around your 2021 plan to see if our team can help you!
If you enjoy getting a small dose of marketing advice to your inbox once a month, remember to subscribe to our monthly newsletter so you’re the first to know about blogs just like this one (we promise we don’t send you an email every waking hour, who has time for that?!) Stay up to date with all our other little tips and bits of advice through social media on Instagram & Facebook.