Earlier this year, Smart Insights’ 2016 Managing Digital Marketing research report revealed that 47% of businesses who were doing digital marketing had no digital marketing strategy. However, just like you wouldn’t start a business without a business plan, being a little smarter about how you approach your marketing can be an effective way of achieving your business goals quicker.
According to the 2016 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 90% of marketers want to know the most effective tactics and the best ways to engage with their audience via social media. So, what’s stopping them?
Without a marketing strategy, brilliant ideas are often wasted on the wrong people. Identifying who you need to target and the best ways to reach your audience are key to building an effective plan, ensuring marketing messages aren’t simply getting lost amongst the competition.
Building a successful marketing plan
A successful marketing strategy often consists of four key stages.
- Determining your business goals – what are you trying to achieve as a company? If your current marketing methods aren’t helping you achieve your business goals, you need to create a marketing plan which is working to further your business objectives.
- Identifying your target audience – who actually are your customers? By getting a better idea of who your target audience are, you can tailor your messaging to suit a particular demographic and create content specific to their interests.
- Identifying the best communication tactics to reach your audience – once you’ve identified your audience, you can then work out the best ways to contact them. Are the majority of your audience on Facebook or are they more likely to engage on LinkedIn? Focussing your attention on the channels that are most likely to reach your target audience rather than thinly spreading your resources over multiple channels is often far more effective.
- Outlining your marketing objectives – what are you hoping to achieve and when? Whether you’re looking for an uplift in sales or to increase your email subscribers, you need to be aware of your targets when creating your messaging.
Although marketing plans will differ from business to business, it can be difficult to know where to begin if you’re starting from scratch. We spoke to our Content and Social Media Strategist, Calvin De-Freitas, to provide his insight on how to effectively use your time over the quiet period to improve your marketing strategy.
“Be where your customers are”
“Trawl the internet and social media in the same way your customers or target audience would. Look for opportunities where your company could join the conversation, help distract them or advertise. It’s also a great way to find out if your competitors are already there.”
“Get inspired by autobiographies”
Why not ask Santa to bring you an autobiography this Christmas and use your down time to take inspiration from those who have already made it? Whether it’s Alex Ferguson’s ‘hairdryer’ approach to getting things done or Sheryl Sandberg’s perseverance, you might find taking a leaf out of their books motivates your own goal setting in 2017.”
“Get a calendar to plan”
“Are you aware of all the events and deadlines in 2017 that could be relevant to you and your business? Identify key dates for your company and plot out when key marketing messages need to go live. Use the time to get ahead of the curve and identify what you hope to achieve in the New Year.”
“Zero in on your business goals for 2017”
“What’s achievable? When do you want to do it by and what does success look like? By creating small but regular targets, you may find you achieve your end goals quicker.”
“Be more digital and download productivity apps”
“Keep leaving your notebook in the office or did you scribble down your path to conversion plan on the back of a pizza box? 2017 is the year to start using tools such as Evernote – an app which keeps all your notes and thoughts in one place. Saved digitally and available on your phone, tablet or laptop, you might find it’s easier to achieve your marketing objectives in the New Year.”
No matter how you decide to spend the festive period, dedicating time to devising an effective marketing strategy will ensure your brilliant business ideas don’t fall on deaf ears in 2017. And you might even find you start reaching your business goals a little quicker.
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