2019 is coming to an end, and a new year is about to start. Investing time to assess your current marketing strategy and plan and where you’d like to be in 2020 will give you a positive kick-start to achieve your overall marketing goals. And, to accomplish these goals, you need a clear understanding of the following questions:
- Why do you need digital marketing activity at all?
- Who are you trying to reach through your activity?
- Where do these people congregate? How will you reach them?
- What do they need?
For starters, if you do not have a clear answer to the previous questions, you have to do the following.
1. Research your Competitors:
These days, there are a handful of strategies and tools that can help you research and analyze your competitors. Following your competitors on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and other social media platforms will help you understand their marketing strategy and how can you adjust your content marketing and stay up to date.
If you are interested in knowing more about what tools to use to analyze your competitor’s marketing strategy, check Neil Patel’s detailed article here.
2. Examine your customers’ buying habits:
Identifying your customer persona will help you personalize your marketing activity so they are both targeted and relevant to your audiences’ segments. After defining your buyer’s persona, you have to figure out how to create marketing activity to reach these potential customers.
3. Perform SWOT Analysis:
The SWOT analysis, should help you clearly define your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. According to it, you can develop goals and objectives that are on point and tied to your overall mission.
Grab a pen and a paper and start your SWOT analysis, this will not only help with your marketing strategy, it would also help with your overall yearly plan.
What should I include in my marketing strategy?
The Executive Summary summarizes the other parts of your marketing strategy. It will help give you and others an overview of your plan. It should:
- Include all the key points.
- Be interesting to motivate the reader to go over it all.
- Be brief and concise.
In this section, you should describe the customers you are targeting and define their demographic profile (e.g., age, gender), psychographics profile (e.g., their interests), and their precise wants and needs as they relate to the products or services you offer.
Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
A Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is what distinguishes your company from competitors. It relies on the SWOT analysis. It answers the question: How do your services benefit your clients better than anyone else? Do you need help in creating your Unique Selling Proposition? If yes, check this article to help you.
Your marketing tools are what you use to promote your business to current and future customers. Make sure you consider each of these alternatives and decide which ones will most effectively allow you to reach your target customers. Here are some suggestions in brief:
- Advertising (TV, radio, print publications, online publications, billboards, business cards)
- Publicity (signs, stationary, branding, testimonials, referrals)
- Sponsoring (research, community events, local charities, sports)
- Networking (get feedback from existing and potential customers and industry players)
Create an effective marketing strategy
Most customers are online these days to search for and review new products and services. Having the right online marketing strategy can help you secure new customers. The four critical components of your online marketing strategy are as follows:
2. Search Engine Optimization Strategy (SEO): Determine the updates that you need to do to your website, GoDaddy’s Search Engine Optimization tool can help you with this! And, to know how to improve your website’s SEO without touching a line of code check the following article. Paid Online Advertising Strategy: Write down the online advertising strategy and tools will you use to reach target customers. For example, if you are planning to send out email marketing campaigns, you can use GoDaddy’s Email Marketing tool.
3. Social Media Strategy: Plan which social media platforms you will use to attract customers. This all depends on your target market and target audience. For example, if your target segment is 13 to 17 years old females, then Snapchat might be one of the best social media platforms to use. According to Snapchat’s latest 2019 statistics, 61% of Snapchat users are females with 69% of 13 to 17-year-olds using the app.
Take a look at Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram’s analytics and try to understand what content your followers interact with the most. Also, research and brainstorm different ways to improve the content that didn’t work well. Finally, don’t forget to research new vital voices in your industry and follow them.
You can also check the following resources to help you with your social media strategy:
- The don’ts and don’ts of social media marketing for SMBs.
- A look back at 2018: Arab social media behavior.
- 7 social media tools every small business should love.
4. Financial Projections: Unsurprisingly one of the biggest obstacles you’ll want to tackle is your marketing budget for 2020. To do this, you’ll need to understand what you spent in 2019, what your return on investment was, and how you want to move forward. For example, did your retargeting strategy work well? If not, take the time to understand why not and how you can improve it for next year. It’s important to know your KPIs and objectives before you start putting your strategy together.
While your financial projections will never be 100% accurate, use them to identify which promotional expenses and other strategies should give you the highest return on investment.
Final tips for a successful year
So, how do you navigate this end of the year planning process? Here are some tips:
- Understand trends in your industry. You can’t always control what is happening in the industry at large scale and it’s crucial to stay up to date on industry trends. You’ll want to be aware of any changes to stay ahead of the game.
- Watch your competitors. This may be a given, but double-check their marketing content, website, and social media channels. What seems to be hitting the right notes and can you replicate excitingly and differently?
- Refocus on your brand. Take the time to re-introduce yourself to your brand. It’s easy to forget some of the other details that truly make your company stand out. Grow your marketing efforts around your brand and find new ways to communicate your company’s mission and vision.
- Have clear objectives. Your yearly objectives are the goals of your marketing efforts that should be measurable and tied to a specific time frame. Once you’ve identified your goals, create a strategy to meet those goals, then identify the tactics to achieve them, such as more digital advertising, billboard use, or increasing your social media presence.
- Focus on impactful campaigns and projects. I don’t want to say focus on the big stuff versus the small stuff, because sometimes the little things can make the most significant impact. But what’s most important is understanding the events and activities that make an impact and focusing on those. If you spread yourself, your budget, and your time too thin, all these fantastic things you’re planning won’t be as impactful.
- Get the support you need. You can’t expect and brainstorm every good idea, no matter how good you are! Get a small team together to help create focused processes and protocols for moving the marketing plan forward.
And remember that these steps you take today to create a functional and straight-forward marketing strategy will lay the foundation for your year ahead, helping you to get results that are measurable and quantifiable.