The new year is just around the corner, and for marketers, that means one thing — it’s time to make a plan.
Your business needs a marketing plan because, without a defined strategy, your marketing efforts aren’t going to accomplish much. The process of creating a marketing plan helps you understand your target audience, learn how to position your brand as better than its competitors, and set measurable goals that you can work toward.
Thankfully, creating a marketing plan is not that hard. Follow these tips to write a marketing plan that will set you up for success in 2020.
1. Define Your Goals
Before you do anything else, sit down and list out your marketing goals for 2020. These goals might range from learning how to set up a Facebook chatbot and increasing your brand awareness to expanding your target audience by launching a new product.
Once you’ve brainstormed several goals, make each one actionable and measurable, adding a time deadline in addition to explaining exactly how you’re going to do it: “Learn how to set up a Facebook chatbot using Manychat by April 1st. Increase our brand awareness by sending two emails to subscribers each week. Expand our target audience to include teenagers by launching X new product this summer.”
Setting goals is an important first step because it helps you cast your long-term vision. All your goals should answer the question: Where do I want my business to be at the end of 2020? The rest of the steps in your marketing plan will help you accomplish them.
2. Identify Your Target Audience
After you have created your list of goals, dig deep into your target audience. How old are they? What gender? Where do they live? In addition to these basic demographics, it’s helpful to cover psychographics — how consumers are categorized according to their psychological attributes. Psychographics include hobbies and interests plus attitudes and opinions.
You’re probably already familiar with the basics of your target audience, but this is a good time to dive deeper. Use tools such as Facebook Audience Insights or Zip Code Lookup to learn more, or go straight to your audience via social media, asking for their feedback.
Once you have this data in hand, hang on to it; you’re going to come back to this later in the process of crafting your marketing plan.
3. Understand Your Product
This sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at the number of companies that don’t understand what they’re selling well enough to market it effectively. What problem does your product or service solve? Who is it best for? Does it have any shortcomings, and how can those cons be cast in a more positive light? Think about your own experiences using the product or do some crowdsourcing, talking to your past customers to hear their thoughts. Simply put, product knowledge makes more sales, so incorporate product research into your 2020 marketing plan.
4. Choose Marketing Types
There are hundreds of marketing strategies out there, and although your marketing plan needs to be comprehensive and include the primary digital marketing methods, it’s not good to be a jack of all trades. A few important types of marketing include:
Content marketing (blog posts and other content)
SEO (search engine optimization)
Pay per click
For small businesses, it’s best to focus on just a few methods rather than trying to do them all. Think about what types of marketing are the best fit for your business. If your target audience is under 35, for example, Instagram is a great social media platform to focus on. Or maybe you already have a huge email list — in that case, email marketing might be the ticket for you. Pick a few primary marketing methods on which to focus in 2020.
5. Make A Calendar
Map out a timeline of exactly what you’re going to do — for example, post on social media three times a week, write a new blog post once a week, or send two emails each week. Having a schedule already laid out before 2020 begins will help you feel prepared so you can jump in with both feet and start doing what you need to do in order to build your business.
6. Just Do It
Making a plan is all well and good, but you have to actually execute your marketing plan if you want to get the word out about your business. Yes, a marketing plan is important, but don’t spend too much time getting bogged down in the little details — recognize when it’s time to call the plan a done deal and start carrying it out. That’s how you’ll get more business for your brand in 2020.
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