A new year comes with new challenges, especially in the marketing department where things change at a fast pace and new strategies become more and more popular. Knowing what went best and what needs to be improved is the first step to take when designing your brand new marketing plan for 2017. Budgeting is just around the corner as well, so before anything else, you need to tweak and fine-tune your plan for the next twelve months. Fortunately for you all, Michelle Baker has provided these 5 top tips in the form of a marketing plan checklist to help you achieve your goals.Your Marketing Plan Checklist for 2017 - check it out now!Click To Tweet
Your Marketing Plan Checklist for 2017
When it comes to marketing for small/medium businesses, a company owner may find themselves, together with his marketing team, in a bit of trouble: what are the major digital trends to follow? What to choose from so many content marketing strategies? What will work better in terms of ROI? To answer all these questions and have a realistic view on things one cannot do without a solid plan. Today, we will closely look at a checklist you need to keep in mind to implement a brilliant marketing plan this year.
1. Design a Marketing Mission Statement
Such a statement outlines the company’s main reasons for creating content and marketing campaigns, describing the priorities you have. It is a critical component of any marketing plan checklist as it keeps everyone involved on the same page and the marketing efforts focused on the business. Ask yourself these questions:
- What is your business goal?
- What is your unique content marketing value for your business?
- What is your target audience that satisfies the goal?
- What can you do differently for the audience to reach your goal?
2. Sketch the Buyer Persona
One of the biggest marketing challenges is building a buyer persona for your company. You may have a comprehensive perspective on your general audience, but a buyer persona is a deeper characterization of a segment of the target audience. Ask yourself these questions:
- Who is it?
- What are its relevant needs?
- What role does it play in the purchasing process?
Focusing your marketing efforts on your buyer personas leads to more successful strategies, as you can deliver content that people want, not content that you know most about.
3. Develop the Marketing Map
Some call it an editorial plan but a marketing map goes a little beyond a list of articles to be published on your company’s blog. A marketing map usually contains:
- Your strategic goals
- Marketing calendar
- Editorial plan containing topics and ideas
- Workflow process matching a calendar
- Channels to use
- Team resources
- Opportunities offered by the market, partners and clients
- Key performance indicators
- Means to track performance
- Reevaluation/follow-up of strategies
There are a few major points in this stage that you need to perfectly document:
- Align your content ideas to your business goals
- Align your content with the right audience on the right channel at the right time, so your call to actions correlate with your business goals
- Involve the right team resources in the marketing plan assigning the right tasks to the right people.
- Budget accordingly
4. Work towards Customer Engagement and Customer Retention
This is a crucial tip in Michelle’s marketing plan checklist. While many treat these strategies separately from content marketing, in reality, they can’t work one without the other. Customer retention works best if you have a solid customer engagement strategy and this one is 90% rooted in your marketing plan. Simply put, you need to follow your customers from the day they hear you exists all through the days they prove loyalty to you, working hard to keep them loyal. As marketers know, it is way cheaper and more efficient to retain customers than earning new ones. Therefore, your marketing should address your audience base (and especially your buyer personas). Here are some tips on how to achieve that:
- Learn everything there is to know about them: it may matter if they use Charter Spectrum or another internet provider
- Understand their consuming preferences: use surveys and polls and extract relevant data from customers’ reviews
- Learn their favorite engagement channels and habits: what social media they prefer, what type of content they share most, which of your business stories engaged them most etc.
- Learn their pain points: what aspects of your company displeases them? What products seem to turn them less satisfied?
Keep in mind that all these strategies can be used both ways: content marketing and analytics techniques.Customer retention and customer engagement are core components of your #marketingplan; read why here!Click To Tweet
Customer retention and customer engagement techniques are complex and make a strategic plan of their own. However, there are a few key aspects you might want to mix with your marketing plan:
- Business storytelling – one of the most appraised marketing/retaining means of our time, it can be offered via blog posts, video, events, talks and so on.
- Loyalty programs – still considered one of the most successful and easy to implement strategies, they are most preferred by Millenials (in case your marketing efforts are age-centered)
- Email marketing – one of the biggest ROI-generating sources (every $1 spent you can receive around $38 back) can be viewed as both content marketing and retention strategy depending on how you design your newsletters and email chains.
- Influencer marketing – one of the biggest trend in marketing, the use of influencers should be a part of your efforts both as customer engagement and retention and content distribution technique.
5. Use Marketing Tools
The last, but by no means least, tip in this marketing plan checklist. As you probably understood by now, publishing a blog post or writing a smart Facebook status are not enough to push your message further. Marketing nowadays benefits from a very wide palette of tools that make automation, analytics and reevaluation a lot easier, faster and cheaper. Of course, some of such tools need to be properly budgeted by the company before using them, but they are your next best friends especially if you are interested in using Big Data and advanced analytics to come up with a brilliant marketing plan. Here are some fields of interest to consider:
- Email marketing and email automation tools
- Website traffic monitoring tools
- Social media automation and monitoring tools
- SEO tools
- Polls and survey creation tools
- A/B testing creation tools
- Predictive analysis tools
These marketing tools don’t help you only with getting your content out there, but many of them help you track the results, allowing you to make corrections and adaptations along the way. Some tools should be used every single day by the marketing team (email automation, SEO, SM automation and monitoring, website analytics, etc.). Others are more “seasonal” in a matter of speaking, being used when the situation requires it (A/B testing, polls, surveys, etc.).
Summing up the marketing plan checklist
Nothing works great without a plan, and a plan is one of the first tools to have around before going to battle. Of course, not everything goes according to a certain plan, so this is why your marketing strategy needs to be checked regularly and adapted to the ever-changing business environment.Brilliant 2017 Marketing Plan Checklist: 5 Top Tips, by @Michelle_m_bakeClick To Tweet
About the author, Michelle Baker
Michelle Baker is a marketing and business growth consultant experienced in internet and telecom businesses. She’s a fan of digital marketing frameworks and automation tools, means she uses frequently in her own business as well as for her professional development.
Dan Purvis writes for a number of leading business, social media and marketing sites, including Smart Insights, MarketingProfs, Marketo, MarTech Advisor, Marketing Tech News, MarTech Today, MarTech Exec, and Business2Community. Dan's also ranked by Brand Republic as one of the Top 50 UK Marketing & Social Media influencers.
Dan is passionate about the philosophy behind Comms Axis: we bring content, marketing and sales together to connect businesses with their audiences.
We pride ourselves on delivering tangible business value and ROI alongside excellent customer service. We work with a broad range of clients and industries, from B2B to B2C, from technology to cosmetics, from start-ups / SoHos to pan-European and global brands.
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