Marketing is an important part of any business. Business owners that spend time investing in marketing should see everything they’re doing as an investment in overall business growth.
Knowing that marketing is important is simple, but putting together a cohesive annual marketing plan is easier said than done.
If you want to know how to start looking at marketing as a year-long investment, you’ve come to the right place.
We’ll tell you everything you need to know to create a comprehensive marketing plan that can service your business throughout the year.
Tips For Creating An Annual Marketing Plan
Creating a marketing plan from scratch will require a lot of research, patience, and hard work. We’re going to let you know what you need to do to put together a marketing plan you can be proud of.
Whether you want to focus on social media marketing or improve SEO, if you follow these tips you’ll have a plan that can help meet your marketing needs.
Be Prepared To Be Flexible
A lot of things can change throughout the year.
There may be a brand-new marketing tactic that works for your other businesses in your industry you could want to try. You could find that something unexpected happens in the market and that you need to adjust your strategy.
When you’re planning your strategy, try to think of flexible and reasonable deadlines. Leave spaces for market research and ideation to make sure that you’re aware of the latest industry news and marketing tactics.
Evaluate Your Current Marketing Methods
Before you can start making a new annual marketing plan, you need to think about what you’re doing now and how well it’s working for you.
Some businesses may be able to build upon their current marketing plan. They may have successful initiatives from last year that need to be taken to the next level of development.
Other businesses may find that last year’s marketing plan wasn’t a success. They may need to develop brand new strategies and start from scratch.
Are you not sure how to evaluate the success of your old marketing plan? Start looking into the return on investment (ROI) of what you did.
Think about how much time and money it cost you to perform each marketing task. Then think about how much money each task and marketing channel brought in because of your efforts.
Think About Your Budget
Before you start planning a comprehensive year-long marketing strategy, take time to think about how much money you have to devote to marketing.
It’s estimated that businesses around the world will spend around $457.62 billion on marketing services this year. PPC ads, website work, social media advertising, copywriting, and other marketing costs can add up.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a stellar marketing strategy, but you do have to think about how much your business can invest over a year.
Start off by looking at how much you already devote to marketing, then estimate how much you think you’d like to spend on your plan.
Think about what aspects of marketing deserve most of your focus over the next 12 months. Focus on finding money to fund those initiatives before you think about other larger projects.
If you find that you need more money than you anticipated, think of ways you can get money from other areas of your budget. Or scale back your marketing plan and think about focusing on the most important pillars of your plan.
Know Your Audience
Ideally, business owners would sell their products and services to everyone and anyone they can find. But in order to have a successful marketing plan, you need to narrow down your customer focus onto a target audience.
When you think of your ideal customer, what are they like?
Some of you may think of a mid-level manager at a business that needs professional services. They may meet with you throughout the year and get invoiced monthly for the services you provide.
Your ideal customer could be single men no older than 35 that earns more than $50k a year and has extra spending money. They may be a single mother in her twenties that needs to save money.
Knowing who your target customer is will make crafting a marketing plan to suit their needs easier for you.
Once you understand who your target market is, you can start thinking about which marketing strategies and platforms will appeal to them.
Know The Customer’s Journey
Now that you know who your target audience is, you should start to learn what it takes for the average buyer to make a purchase.
Knowing the customer decision journey is essential for all business owners, and knowing yours from start to finish can help you create a stellar annual marketing plan.
Think about how they learned about your business. Did they find your website online, or did they stumble upon it when they were walking along a shopping complex?
Take time to consider how long it takes them to make a buying decision.
Do you have the kind of customer that will spend time researching brands and businesses before they make a purchase? Or are these people that need something immediately, and will buy from a store that has what they need in stock?
It’s also important to think about how often the customer will need your goods or services. Will this be a one-time purchase? Will they need to come back each month for something new, or will they need something for every week?
Identifying these touchpoints for your customers can help you understand their needs, and how to better market to them.
Don’t Feel The Need To Do Everything
One reason why people struggle with creating a yearly marketing plan is that they try to focus on too much at once.
Small business owners may not have a lot of time to focus on individual marketing activities. That’s why it’s important to narrow your focus and only spend time and money on your most pressing concerns.
It’s better to get one part of your marketing plan in excellent shape than to spend time working on several strategies that never get off the ground.
If you don’t have a great PPC advertising strategy, spend the year focusing on building that up. If you don’t have a social media presence, devote a chunk of your plan to building up your profiles.
It’s also important to remember that some platforms and strategies may not be the best for your business.
An investment firm that handles clients aged 45 and up shouldn’t devote time to building up a Pinterest marketing plan. An IT company that deals with big businesses shouldn’t invest in building out a blog with beginner IT management tips.
When you narrow your focus and think about which parts of your plan are the most important, you’ll be in a good place for your annual marketing plan.
Play Up What Makes You Stand Out
Today’s business world can be a very crowded place. If you want to bring in new customers, you need to think about what makes you different from your competitors.
Once you determine your unique selling point, make it a core part of your marketing message. Reference it as much as possible in ads and copy, make it a part of your company image.
What advantages will customers have if they go with you over someone else?
Some businesses choose to showcase the quality of products and services. They’ll talk about using the highest quality ingredients or parts. They may highlight the professional experience their employees have.
Other businesses tend to go down the money and value route. Some businesses may talk about how their customers always save money when they go to their store.
Other businesses can play up the value of their services but in a different way. They may mention that other businesses are less expensive, but that their high-quality products and services are worth the extra money in the long run.
Know How To Evaluate Success
Regardless of what you do in your annual marketing plan, you want to make sure that your new strategies and tactics are working.
The easiest way to evaluate the success of your plan is to think about which metrics will matter the most.
If your overall marketing goal is to drive more traffic to the website, page views would be an obvious metric to measure. Bounce rates and time on the page can be an additional helpful metric that can help you better evaluate content and if it’s serving the customer’s needs.
If building your social media presence is important, look beyond your follower count. See if people are interacting with and sharing your content.
Now that you know how to make an annual marketing plan, you’re eager to start working on your overall marketing strategy.
We’re here to help you every step of the way. Be sure to get your free quote today so we can start talking about which marketing strategies are best for your business.
Also, be sure to check out some of the helpful content we have on our blog.