Every January 1st, millions of hopeful individuals voice a New Year’s resolution. And it is no secret many of these resolutions are never followed through, and broken only a few weeks into the year.
But what about the people who were able to see their goals through? Why were they able to succeed? On top of dedication and willpower, they likely had something else on their side, a fully thought out and scheduled strategic plan.
In order to successfully reach your marketing goals and ensure your previous steps in the marketing process were worth your time, a strategic marketing plan needs to be put into place. Similar to plans without specific steps or strategies that may go to the wayside in your personal life, the same proves to be true for plans within your business.
To ensure you are on target for strategic success, define your strategies. The strategy should be the overall approach you take to reach your goal, such as growing your referral network or improving the customer experience.
If your marketing plan is not strategic, written down or consistently followed, your goal may never come to fruition. In addition, having a detailed marketing plan helps you effectively track and analyze your efforts later in the process.
BUILD YOUR PLAN
You have already reviewed past efforts, identified your strongest offerings and messaging, pinpointed the prime target audience, and determined the tactics and budget needed. Now with a firm understanding of your strategic direction in place, it’s time to button up the details and launch your plan for communication. Consider the following when laying your marketing communications plan out:
• What needs communicating?
• Who needs to receive the communication? Internally? Externally?
• Which communication channels should be used?
• When does the communication need to occur?
• How are we going to measure our efforts?
PUT IT ON A CALENDAR
After developing your marketing communication plan for the upcoming year, the plan needs to be fleshed out and broken down into easy to follow steps. This is where a detailed calendar comes into place. Every marketing campaign and effort should be placed on your calendar, on the exact day you plan to roll out the marketing piece or execute the internal change.
Your calendar includes the tactics previously outlined in your plan. The calendar may include a note to send out a newsletter to current customers on the first of each month, a direct mail campaign to be sent out to a set of specific zip codes in the middle of March and again in May, weekly interactive social media posts, and a website redesign in October.
Use the following checklist to create your full, strategic marketing plan.
__ Ask each customer who calls your shop how they heard about your business.
__ Make a list of your past marketing efforts, circle the strategies that seemed to work and cross out those that didn’t.
__ Put up a large paper calendar in your office, start blocking off key busy and slow weeks.
__ Include discussion about your marketing in your weekly staff meetings, and emphasize your goal with each team member.
GET YOUR STAFF INVOLVED
No goal is achieved without everyone on board and working together. Although you may be the only person in your shop directly deciding your marketing efforts, those working in your business should also be aware of your plan.
Before ever moving forward on your full annual plan, it might be helpful to share your ideas and strategies with your leadership team. This allows you to collect feedback and further insight on how internal and external marketing efforts may perform.
Bits and pieces of your plan should also be shared with your service advisors, technicians, and other staff inside your shop. That way, everyone in your business knows what goal they are all working together to accomplish, as well as what changes they can look forward to.