2019 is officially here! Every entrepreneur and small business is ready to hit the ground running. Before you start on an exciting and successful year, have you answered the following questions in your marketing strategy?
1. Did my target market evolve in 2018?
Did they? Have they gotten older? Are they buying houses, having children, finishing college, or losing weight? Don’t forget to update the demographics and psychographics of your target audience every year. Do you want to evolve with them? Or do you let them go?
2. What will my marketing message be in 2019?
Sure, you know who you are as a company. But, with each passing year companies evolve, visions change a little, and your message may be slightly different. This doesn’t mean your core values have changed. Be sure to ask yourself if your message to your audience is the same or if it needs to be different in any way. What will be at the core of every caption and piece of content you publish this year?
3. Where will I focus my marketing efforts?
This is an especially important question with social media but is valid for all marketing channels. We can’t afford to market to every person in every space. Where are the spaces that are most important to the growth of your brand’s awareness and presence? That’s where you will need to focus in 2019.
4. Who’s job is it to handle marketing my business?
If your goal is to grow your company, here’s a hint: it’s not your job. If your goal is to freelance, then sure, it can be your job. Even as a freelancer, however, if you desire to be booked and busy, you will need someone else to be sure your name stays relevant while you do the work. Marketing is the one thing every business needs, yet the one thing people neglect to outsource. Get help. Where you consult or outsource entirely, assign it so that it gets done consistently.
5. What is my marketing budget?
Even if you opt not to outsource (seriously tho, consider it), you still need to be sure you have allocated funds to do all that marketing requires. Printed materials, promotional items, social media advertising, vendor spaces, scheduling platforms and more go into maintaining a brand’s marketing. Take a look at your finances and decide what you will spend in advance. Don’t forget to include the company or individual who will help you.
6. Who is my competition?
Every time someone says, “I don’t worry about what others are doing,” I wonder if they take their business seriously. You should always be aware of what alternatives your audience has to solve their problem. Know who your competition is, what they are good at doing, and what they suck at doing. Know if they are actually competing with your brand. You’d be surprised how many allies you can find among what you think is competition.
7. What metrics matter to my marketing?
What good is doing all the work and spending all the money to make it happen if you don’t know if it’s working? When you’ve determined the channels you will focus on this year, figure out which analytics matter to your goal. Is it likes and follows or is it dollars? Could it be website views or maybe email addresses? Decide what numbers matter to your success. Learn how to track them. Educate yourself on how they affect your business.
8. Does anything need a refresh?
You may not have come into the new year with a fresh website update, but your strategy should reflect that it needs to happen. You will need to include that cost in your budget and consider building a campaign around the relaunch. That’s just one example. What else can you refresh? Team pictures, social media banners, print materials? Take a look around and ask yourself if everything you’re using is a current reflection of your brand.
9. When will I review my marketing strategy?
I get it. You’ve taken weeks to develop a plan for the year, and now you just want to follow it. I hear you. Don’t spend all of 2019 following a plan that you knew in the 2nd quarter wasn’t heading in the right direction. Build review points in your strategy, look at the relevant numbers, and decide if you should continue the same way or change directions. Review often, but not too often. Give your plan time to work.
10. What marketing tactics do I want to avoid?
When you’re desperate to make money, you will try anything. Decide in advance what you do not want to do. This can be difficult when the social media ads tell you exactly what you have to do to get 10K followers in 10 days. If you know you’re seeking organic growth with real engagement, build in some reminders to avoid gimmicks. What else do you want to avoid? Have you told your team?
11. What is my process for creating content?
It’s wonderful that you have plans to grow your Instagram following, increase the size of your email list, and blog on your company site every day. When will all of this get done? Do you have a process or schedule in place? How will you get images? Who will edit copy? How far in advance do you want to create it? If you’re pressed for time, you likely won’t do it. This is another reason you may need to outsource or task-out your marketing efforts. If you want to be consistent (which is necessary), have a process.
12. Am I giving my audience what they actually want?
There is often a significant difference between what consumers want and what businesses want them to have. If you know customers need a thing, but they don’t recognize it as a need or value it as important, you end up presenting them something they don’t want. You can always ask them what they want. Then put what they need as a part of the package. Marketing involves convincing them they have a need. But, knowing what they want can help you create the most compelling ask.
13. Do I have a sales funnel?
So many people overlook a sales funnel or don’t think it applies to their business. The truth is, you have to understand the path you’d like your audience to take to become buying and, hopefully, loyal customers of your products or services. A sales funnel helps you understand that journey and build all the right marketing to support it.
14. What am I saying when I’m not selling?
This question is one of the first that we ask here at One Degree when building a strategy for any channel. You cannot make a strategy full of simply asking for money. How are you building a relationship with your audience? You should know your audience well enough to connect on many levels. Don’t let your product or service be the only thing you talk about to your audience.
15. What are the risks of this marketing strategy?
Making a plan full of promise is wonderful. Unfortunately, there are always risks. Spending money is most definitely a risk. If you’re a small business, every dime counts. There may be other risks. If you’re trying new things, could any of it backfire? Could you lose time? Are you betting it all? Be aware of your risks. Don’t let it paralyze your progress. Just know and create a contingency plan.
16. Do I have a marketing mix?
You should have a product/service mix as well as a marketing mix. This means that whatever your revenue goal, you have determined how many of what product/service will get you there. Your marketing mix is the percentage of concentration on the channels you have chosen to achieve the marketing goals you have set. Does your strategy mention either? How do you foresee achieving the numbers?
17. Have I addressed the marketing that takes place after the sell?
Sales funnels don’t end at the purchase. At least your sales funnel shouldn’t end at purchase. It should extend to loyalty and advocacy. Once your audience buys, your strategy should address how you keep them coming back.
18. What can wait?
The downside to the excitement of a new year is that a lot of businesses overextend and burn out early. I encourage you to have high hopes and detailed plans. I don’t, however, want you to overdo it. Work with what you have. Gut feelings and faith are worth listening to, true. But, you have to be realistic even in your dreams to make way for wins.
19. Am I ready?
Having this beautiful strategy doesn’t mean much if you aren’t ready to go for it. Not just financially, but emotionally, you must be ready to go after what you believe is right for your business.
If you’ve answered all of the above questions, I feel you are ready. There are more details to hash out, yes. But, having answered these 19 questions will be the difference between you and the competition this year.
Happy New Year! GO BE GREAT!