If you’ve ever tried to develop a new marketing plan from scratch, you know that it can be a difficult and time-consuming process, and one that many small business owners have little time for.
Creating your marketing plan does not have to be a headache, that’s why we’re providing you with five easy steps to get started. Now, let’s dive into how to create a marketing plan that will help grow your business in 2016:
1. Analyze 2015 Trends
The first thing you need to do is look back at 2015 and determine what worked and what didn’t. With that in mind, come up with ideas about what marketing efforts you’re going to repeat, improve upon, or discontinue in the new year. Look to customer feedback to determine what marketing campaigns received a positive response, and what could be improved upon to help bring customers back to your business or to your website. Also be sure to focus on success metrics for each marketing channel, as this will help you better decide what added quantifiable business value over the past year.
2. Outline Goals for 2016
Your analysis of 2015 should outline the successes you achieved for the year and lead to a process of outlining what can be improved upon in 2016. One of the best strategies you can use is setting SMART marketing goals for the upcoming year. For example, you may want to increase the number for inbound sales leads you’ll receive by 15% by Q2 of 2016. You can then work backwards, referring to step one, and determine what you could potentially do to achieve that goal.
3. Formulate Your 2016 Action Plan
By now you should have a good idea of what to continue doing from the previous year, and what you’d want to eliminate. Your action plan should include those items as well as what new marketing efforts you want to work into your plan for the new year. Be concrete and specific in what tactics you are going to use to achieve your goals and create a corresponding budget so you can contain costs and monitor your return on investment. Your marketing action plan should touch on the following areas:
- Customer knowledge
- Understanding the buying cycle
- Your content strategy
- Marketing channels & delivery methods
- Calendar of marketing activities
4. Focus on Mobile Marketing
Mobile usage is exploding and increasing at a very rapid rate. This makes mobile marketing a key component to focus on in 2016. Devising a mobile marketing strategy might include any number of things, but first and foremost you should make sure that your website is optimized for mobile devices. In fact, about 53% of all emails are now opened first on a mobile device. This factor alone should get you thinking mobile first. Here are a few quick tips on creating a mobile friendly website:
- Always test your site and pages on a variety of screen sizes and devices
- Keep your contact info easy to find
- Design user-friendly forms
- Make social sharing easy
- Create a visible click-to-call button
5. Find the Right Marketing Plan Template
A template or marketing plan sample can be a great resource to help keep you on track when developing your plan, or help you through the process if you’re not entirely sure what elements to include. A good marketing strategy template (like this) will include most of the following parts: marketing activity, target audience, key performance indicators (KPIs), and budget for each activity. Other templates available online, such as this Business.com marketing outline, will provide clear guidance for all the sections your marketing plan should contain, from mission and values statements to KPIs and financial projections.
Start Planning Today
By now you should have a clear idea of what steps it will take to develop your 2016 marketing plan. But why wait? Here are some simple actions you can take to get started today!
- Block off half an hour this week to begin developing your plan
- Decide who else needs to be involved and initiate the conversation
- Do some brief research on your competitors. Can you spot anything that seems to be working well for them that you could potentially incorporate?
- Start a folder on your computer, or shared cloud storage drive, and begin collecting the necessary templates and resources that you’ll eventually need to present all the information