This Week's Question: I need to put together a plan for my marketing for the new year. How do I get started?
You might be thinking, I should put together a marketing plan for the new year, but how do I get started? Look January is right around the corner so hopefully you're starting work on your plans and your budgets for the new year.
What are you going to do for marketing and more importantly, what should you be doing this year for marketing? Many small business owners simply don't take the time to put together a really good plan that sets them up for success. If you want to know my five-step proven process to create a great marketing plan keep watching!
I'm Tom Malesic, founder and President, of EZMarketing, a local marketing agency in Lancaster, PA, and you're watching Ask EZ. This is where small business owners go to get real answers to their marketing questions.
Five-Step Marketing Process
Here's my five-step marketing process:
Step 1: Understanding - where are you now and where are you trying to go?
Step 2: Strategy - what's the big picture, what's the plan for how we're going to achieve our goals for this year.
Step 3: Tactics - let's get down to it, what are you actually going to do?
Step 4: Results - can we track and measure the results that we're getting.
Step 5: Improvement - what changes are we going to make so that we have continued success with our marketing.
Okay, so let's go into the details.
step one: understanding
Step one is understanding. It’s where are you now, and where you want to go. I want you to understand your business. What are you good at? What are you unique at doing? I want you to understand your customers. Who's your best customer and quite honestly, who's the customer you really like having as a customer?
I want you understand your competitors. What do they do different than you or the same as you? And why would someone pick you over your competition? And lastly, what are your goals? What's going to make your business year a success?
step two: strategy
Step two is strategy. What's the big picture? What's the plan of how we're going to achieve our goals? It really starts with messaging. What are we saying to that ideal customer so that they come running and knocking on your door? What are you selling and why should your customer care?
Think of it in terms of benefits not features. It's about what it does the result, not what it is. Lastly, we really need to make sure that you have a good budget allocated so that we can successfully execute a great marketing plan.
step three: tactics
Step three is all about the tactics. This is what are you actually going to do? For most small business owners this decision really comes down to how much can they afford to spend?
So whether you're doing a new website design, SEO marketing, Facebook ads, an email marketing campaign, we want to make sure that we have enough budget allocated for those tactics. Don't forget that your plan should include who's going to actually do the work, as well as when's the work going to get done?
step four: Results
Step four is results. What will you track and measure? Let's face it, you need to know what's working and what's not working, and if we don't track and measure we have no way of knowing. The idea is we want to make better choices with the dollars that we can spend on marketing.
For example, if our goal is to increase leads, you might want to really measure phone calls or form fills off your website. Most of you will skip this step. You're going to claim that you don't have enough time to track and measure. But the reality is if you don't track and measure, and you skip this critical step, you're just wasting money.
step five: improvement
And finally, step five is all about improvement. It's about what are the changes that you're going to make to your marketing. Now listen, if you skip step four we have no chance of making improvements because we don't know what to change and what to improve upon.
The goal is to get rid of the stuff that's not working, do more of the stuff that is working, and finally, try something new that might work better than the stuff you've been doing.
Alright, here's your homework:
I want you to think through each of the five steps for your business and actually write them down. Remember, a plan that's not documented, is just a dream.
Need more help? There are a lot of marketing agencies in Lancaster. But if you want one dedicated to small businesses, give our marketing company a call.