Marketing is a complex, fluid process. It takes time to come up with a marketing campaign that will increase traffic, bring in leads and drive conversions. But it’s oh-so-worth it in the end. We’re simplifying the planning process with this marketing guide so you can get all of your ducks in a row for 2016 and get off to a roaring start.
Here’s how to streamline your marketing programs in 2016.
Start with high-level objectives
Before you create any campaigns, you’ll need to establish your company’s goals. What do you want to achieve over the upcoming year? Do you want to increase sales by 10 percent? How many more leads do you need, and therefore, how much more traffic needs to come your way? Break these goals down by quarter, and then by month.
Next, identify the programs you need to create in order to achieve these goals. What’s worked in the past that you know will work again? What needs to be changed? Assess your existing resources. Do you need new personnel to make your goals happen? Do you need to change some of your employees’ roles or remove positions that are no longer relevant?
Finally, establish the metrics you’ll use to determine the viability of various programs. In this evaluation phase, you’ll need to come up with hard, cold facts to determine which programs are contributing and which aren’t.
Your marketing plan for 2016 should be focused on three strategies: What worked in the past, what works now and what will work in the future. This stage of the planning process will help you identify programs that didn’t work in the past, but may work now with a few tweaks. You’ll assess current marketing methods, which provides the opportunity to take a close look at programs that aren’t really working and retiring them.
It also affords the chance to herald successful programs, identifying why they’re working and perhaps replicating them. Finally, assess new marketing methods that your company has yet to test. If you’ve never wholeheartedly pursued a social media following to engage prospects, plan for a beta test this year.
Know your buyers
It’s impossible to market to your audience if you don’t truly know the buyers in your niche. Even if you think you know buyers, did you know that personas aren’t fixed in stone? Over time, they change. And your plans will need to change accordingly.
For example, if your business identified buyer personas five years ago, these buyers have probably changed where they’re getting information. Five years ago, one of the primary channels prospects used may have been direct mail; today, it might be social media.
Dig into buyer personas to identify behavior changes so you can adjust your marketing strategy accordingly. This is also a great opportunity to ensure that your entire company is intimately familiar with the personas. Make it a point to discuss the personas with employees across your company’s verticals.
Now that you’ve developed a successful marketing plan, it’s time to put the program into action. This is where your team will outline the specific tactics and campaigns that will give flight to your marketing plan this year. Make sure to identify programs for every stage of the sales cycle to target hot, cold and warm prospects, as well as leveraging the right tactics every step of the way.
According to American Express, a powerful marketing plan should focus in your market and then match your products to that target niche. Create specific, measurable tactics, be accountable for the plan and the tweak it as you go.
Now that you’re ready for 2016, start implementing your plan and get ready to celebrate another successful year in 2017.