Now, the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand.Sun Tzu
We’ve all heard the phrase “failing to plan is planning to fail”, but I’d like to add a second clause to that sentence: “failing to plan, or planning your marketing strategy at the last minute, is planning to fail!”.
As a business owner, you’re probably an intensely hard worker, most that I have come in to contact with are. There’s an innate drive that keeps you in motion, and it’s gotten you as further than most people already. Unfortunately, hard work alone does not a successful business make. Your competitors want the same thing as you, and let’s face it, they probably work just as hard as you.
So how do you set yourself apart? It’s all about intelligently and comprehensively planning your marketing strategy.
Now although we live in tumultuous times, there are some plans which can, and must, be made, regardless of what tomorrow will bring. The natural lull that occurs for most businesses in January after the December crunch is, in our experience, by far and away the best time to be planning your marketing strategy. In order to help you get started, we’ve compiled the following list of what we believe every business owner should be planning, right now.
1. Plan Your Goals For The Year.
This point is number one because it informs every other action you take while planning your marketing strategy. If you don’t know what you want to get done this year, whether it’s increasing market share, or driving brand awareness, you won’t be able to take effective steps towards achieving your goals. A useful structure for setting your goals is to make them SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based.
2. Plan Your Social Media Calendar.
We’ve taken on a lot of clients who don’t have a defined marketing strategy and it shows. Your social media is your digital face and when it’s poorly planned, it’s like being poorly groomed. You might have a heart of gold, and sure, you might still get a date, but a lot of prospects are going to be turned off by your shaggy beard and yellow teeth.
Take the time to plan out your social media calendar now, and make sure it properly reflects your business, and the values of your customers
3. Consider a Business Facelift.
Sometimes, a business can grow so quickly that it turns in to a completely different animal. We’ve talked about this before, but it can’t be stressed enough: your business needs to align all of its marketing materials, websites, logos, brochures, etc. with its core promise. As much as you may like the way things are now, your business must adapt with the times or risk becoming lost in the crowd.
4. Do Some Internal Analysis.
This combines with the point above: sometimes even you don’t notice how your business has changed on a grand scale, because you’re so caught up in the day-to-day of it all. Take the time to step back and survey your business as a whole. Our blog on brand building posits five questions that might be helpful for figuring out the current state of your business.
5. Engage a Marketing Specialist
We’ve put together so many marketing plans that we can practically do it with our eyes closed! We’ve grown countless businesses by leaps and bounds, and we’ll start by guiding you through every nuance of planning your marketing strategy. You’ll have a better business, and that all important edge over your competition.