As you prepare for another year in marketing, taking the right steps is extremely important. Watch this video to learn more.
One of the biggest questions a business owner must ask themselves is “how do I avoid the mistakes of the past while planning for the future?” Common wisdom tells us that the answer to that question is easy; just don’t do what didn’t work. However, when it comes to advertising your company, it’s not always so clear cut. As you prepare for another year in marketing, taking the right steps ahead of time will help ensure that your campaigns are effective, ready to launch, and take advantage of the lessons learned from the previous year.
Planning early will enable you to spend more time on other aspects of your business, will provide a roadmap for success and create an environment conducive to better navigate potential issues that might arise.
Here we'll provide some advice to help guide you as you plan for the next calendar year. Taking these tips into consideration can help ensure you're sufficiently prepared.
Focus on Your Main Goals
The very first step to take when planning for the next year is to set your marketing, revenue and growth goals. Having well thought out, clear goals in place will allow you to gauge your progress and measure effectiveness both throughout the year and at the conclusion of your campaigns. In addition, knowing what you aim to achieve will help inform what types of strategies and tactics are best suited to obtain your objective. With this in mind, create campaigns based on specific, defined goals that will give you clear direction.
For example, your online education business may have seen a decrease in attendance in the previous year so your goal is to grow that number through converting more leads. You may want to consider launching an enticing email marketing campaign targeting individuals looking to increase their earning potential through continued education. . Based on this goal, you can determine which key performance indicators (KPIs) to look at, which could include open rates, bounce rates, and click-through rates.
The importance of goal setting can’t be overstated, and is one of the most important factors in successful campaigns. In fact, according to a CoSchedule survey, marketers who set goals are 376% more inclined to report success. Seventy percent of marketers achieve their goals a majority of the time, while another 10% of elite marketers always achieve them.
Keep in mind that 2020 was different from most years before it, which could drastically affect your campaigns going into 2021. Factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic, elections, general social unrest, and changes in technology could all lead to changes in consumer behavior, supply chain performance and many other factors that will directly or indirectly affect your business and thus your marketing goals. Make sure you consider these aspects when developing your plans for the next year.
Incorporate Important Dates
When considering marketing for the next year, it’s important to keep holidays and other key dates in mind, as these can be invaluable for content planning and other aspects of your advertising roadmap. National holidays and notable times of year will almost always play a key role in deciding which campaigns to execute and when to launch them. This, of course, will vary based on industry, but focusing on these pillars will help you determine what images to incorporate in your creative (e.g. commercial talent wearing a t-shirt vs. a sweater in a campaign targeting the 4th of July), what chord your message should strike with your audience and the reach and frequency you need to employ to hit your desired revenue goals for the period. Holiday and time of year tentpoles can also dictate which promotions to offer through ads and content marketing.
For instance, you might have an ice cream shop that offers a national ice cream day promo. On that holiday, you might launch a holiday-specific marketing campaign that builds some hype around your promotion that will bring people into your ice cream shop.
Marketing around specific dates, particularly holidays, can lead to tremendous success when combined with themed promotions. A WordStream report found that promotions drove one-third of shoppers' holiday weekend purchases.
Keep Your Budget in Mind — Always!
To get the best possible results from your marketing efforts, you need to invest the time and money necessary. Both under and over investing can yield poor, average or stellar results. That’s why it’s important to make sure your goals, plan and budget are all consistently aligned and carefully mapped out. Otherwise, you may wind up investing more time and money than it's worth based on the results, or you might not spend enough, effectively leaving money on the table.
The best way to get the results you want from your marketing efforts is to set realistic financial growth expectations. Try to plan for 2021 based on 2020 returns. Doing so will help make sure you spend only what you need to in order to reach your revenue goals. If you can take the time to set a budget for the next year, you won't need to worry about overspending or limiting your campaigns.
While having a good plan in place can help you prepare for the next year, make sure you're also prepared to handle any unexpected surprises. Just like in this year, you won't be able to predict exactly what will happen in the next, regardless of the budget you set. This is why it's always important to make sure you have enough backup funds to avoid potential shortcomings. For example, a shutdown like the one experienced this year led many local businesses to spend more on digital marketing.
Prepare for a New Year in Content Planning and Marketing with a Media Partner
Now that you know how to plan your annual marketing, you can begin the process. Utilizing these tips will help you ensure you're ready to face the next year with an adequate marketing plan. Keeping your eye on your goals, incorporating those key dates and holidays, and always keeping your budget in mind will help you stay ahead of competitors. It's often best to have someone there to help with planning your marketing calendar.
To make sure you have everything you need to start 2021 right, consider working with a media partner. A dependable media partner will work with you to prepare your marketing plans with clear goals and a healthy budget.