It only felt like Christmas five minutes ago right? Well,Â the reality is that this year is flying by pretty quickly – so fast in fact that weâ€™re already a quarter of the way through it! This means that as a business owner, youâ€™ll be starting the process of revising the plans you originally put in place for January. Costs, industry, staff and goals can all easily shift depending on circumstances and as an entrepreneur, youâ€™ll understand the benefits of being iterative, proactive and quick in your reactions.
Just last week I was reading a great article by Shelly Frost from Demand Media titled â€˜When Does a Marketing Plan Need Revising?â€™ In the post, Shelly highlights the key changes within a business that should trigger a revision of your marketing plan. These changes range from the point where you complete campaigns right through to changes in your products, services or company structure. So now that weâ€™ve been helped to identify when we should revise our marketing plans, I thought it would be useful to look at how we going about doing it. Here are my four top tipsâ€¦
Get customer feedback
The worse thing you could possibly do when revising your marketing plan is to isolate yourself. At the end of the day, marketing is all about drawing your customers onÂ board believing in what youâ€™re doing, so, you need to know what they think.
Short survey tools such as Survey Monkey are a great way of getting quick fire feedback on specific campaigns. Ask questions that draw out why customers choose to get involved or avoid certain campaigns, ask what would encourage them to take part in future campaigns and see which campaigns they found most useful for their business. Offer a small incentive to customers who take part â€“ a prize draw, a gift or a discount code â€“ youâ€™ll be surprised by how many people will give five minutes of their time for your cause.
By collating this feedback, youâ€™ll have the full picture of what worked, what didnâ€™t and why it worked out that way. In light of this insight, consider what you could tweak in the campaigns you have planned for the remainder of the year to increase the engagement of your customer and prospect base.
Be aware of industry changes
Donâ€™t let your marketing plan be caught out by upcoming changes in your industry. Marketing is known for being flexible; having to change, adapt and react quickly to moving environments. However, you can do your best to be prepared.
Signing up to industry relevant blogs is one way of staying ahead of the game. Many blogs will ping an email directly into your inbox when a new post goes live or when big news breaks. This saves you trawling through Google every day in order to keep up to date.
Secondly, make sure youâ€™re connected to industry thought leaders on social channels such as Linked In and Twitter. Following their posts and conversations will keep you informedÂ withÂ topics to look out for in relation to your business and your customers.
Take the information you discover and feed it into your marketing plan. Think about where you may need to provide informative content for your customers to explain a change in policy or procedure over the coming months or think about how you could create a cool campaign relevant to an industry event.
Customers will always want to buy from companies who are leading their industry. Be that company.
Look at your marketing plan. Is it a rounded and joined up approach to reaching your customers and prospects? If not, donâ€™t worry, nowâ€™s a great time to mould it into that. Ask yourself some simple questions as you read through itâ€¦
- Does your plan include a mixture of offline (collateral, promotions, events etc.) and online (SEO, PPC, social media etc.) marketing?
- Is it joined up? For example, if youâ€™re attending an event, have you also ensured you have a social media strategy, a unique website landing page for people to visit and a promotion ready to draw prospects in?
- Where are most of your customers hanging out? Maybe its social media, your local high street or on the general web. You need to tailor your plan to ensure you’re targeting your efforts there.
Lock yourself away!
Once youâ€™ve followed the first three tips, youâ€™ll have a tonne of information (and if youâ€™re anything like me, itâ€™ll be in the form of a million post-it notes in all different colours, strewn across your desk)! Take these notes and book yourself some time in a quiet place where you can concentrate.
When looking at a piece of work as big and as detailed as an annual marketing plan, you need space. No matter how much someone declares they are a â€˜multi-tasker,â€™ the reality is you cannot give a piece of work your undivided attention, and therefore your best shot, unless you are focusing solely on it.
So there you have it, my four tips for how to go about making your marketing plan successful for the rest of 2016. Have you got any other tips that have worked well for you in the past? Iâ€™d love to hear them so feel free to share belowâ€¦