If you’re wondering how to get your business’ marketing plan off the ground, then you’ve come to the right place.
We’re going to discuss the best way to properly structure your marketing so everything falls into place the way it should and to ensure that every aspect of your business is consistent with its marketing messages.
Let’s start with marketing calendars.
A marketing calendar is a detailed plan that covers your marketing plan activities for a specific period. It can be long-term (12+ months) or short-term (3-6 months).
You can usually determine what length is best for your business by the industry you’re in and the objectives that you’re trying to achieve.
A marketing calendar should serve as a blueprint and identify the kind of messages that you plan to send out and how you intend on distributing them.
Marketing can have many aspects to successfully attract your target audience and by having a detailed plan in place you can stay organised, consistent and on top of everything!
Something that we also need to touch on is the importance of a strategy document. A strategy document should run in line with the marketing calendar so it’s easy to see the plan for what’s going out and when.
A strategy document is an explanation of the strategic activities that your business wants to act upon. Before writing the strategy document, you should be clear on what it is that you’re trying to achieve.
It’s important to note that when a strategy document is written up it should be relatively straightforward so that anyone reading it can understand it, interpret it and apply it.
Now we’re no mind readers, but we can probably guess what you’re thinking. Maybe something down the lines of:
“I don’t need a marketing calendar, I’m super organised and on top of everything!”
And hey, you might be! But a marketing calendar is more than just a mere scheduling tool…
It’s an accountability system.
Sure, the calendar will help keep you on track of all of your activities, but it also ensures that you are using every opportunity you have to market to consumers without wasting your efforts.
1- Team Communication
Communication is key and a marketing calendar can help communicate information clearly and succinctly.
It ensures accountability across teams and allows one marketing manager or director to oversee the entire marketing function.
Take blogging for example. If you know that you need to draft, edit and publish two blog posts a month, you can allocate time in your calendar and assign this task to members of your team.
It may sound obvious, but the planning of communicating clearly to your team will ensure that all the work that needs to be done is completed on time.
2- Audience Messaging
It’s important to label each activity in the marketing plan & calendar. This means you’ll know which type of message that will be pushed in each marketing campaign to help keep promotions cohesive and controlled.
Always consider seasonality when creating your calendar. By aligning a promotion with a special holiday or event, you can leverage the benefits that may come along with it.
Everyone loves a Christmas promotion or even a lucky dip to win a winter holiday for your customers. There are so many options to consider.
As a rule of thumb, it’s usually recommended to set aside 15% of your revenue to reinvest in marketing efforts, then you can determine how you plan on dividing and allocating these funds accordingly.
When your marketing plan and strategy document is in place, you can quickly and easily determine your top goals and establish strategic investments based on individual marketing channels.
By tracking the performance of your marketing campaigns, you can test, learn and evolve spending to find your top-performing channels.
Without a solid marketing plan in place, budgeting and allocating marketing spending can be a confusing and challenging task.
So get started on the right foot and always ensure you have a plan in place before you decide to spend!
4- Deadlines & Expectations
As we’ve said, a marketing calendar will help you stay organised and on top of your work. It’s important to track dates and timelines so that you can meet your deadlines and avoid any stressful last-minute drafting or editing.
If everything and everyone is kept up-to-date on what’s happening, there will be no surprises when a Facebook ad or SMS campaign goes out.
5- Lead Loading
Don’t freak out, we’re not about to start firing marketing plan jargon at you! This is the part where we assess how our brand new marketing calendars will generate new leads.
The best way to consistently grow your business and improve the quantity/quality of your leads is to widen your lead funnel.
What’s a lead funnel? Let us explain… A lead funnel is all the different ways that businesses target people through different marketing techniques, from social media to public relations, to SMS campaigns.
Most companies rely on one or two main sources for new customers. More often than not these are simply referrals.
Maybe you spend a fair bit on Google Adwords and the majority of new customers enter your business via paid Google ads.
Whatever the case, it’s important to diversify your incoming lead flow and to do this you need to set a strategy in place that takes account of multiple lead channels.
Here’s a breakdown of what we mean by this:
Local Area Marketing Designing and handing out fliers or collaborating with local business
Public Relations Securing feature articles in relevant newspapers, magazines and websites
Content Marketing Promoting blog content or managing a monthly newsletter for your customers
Social media Running targeted Instagram ad campaigns or using Facebook Live to connect with customers
SMS Campaigns Promoting one-off discounts for new customers or referral benefits for long-term clients
Google Adwords Running targeted Adwords campaigns that drive new clicks and customers based on specific services/products you offer
Word of Mouth/Referrals Optimising word of mouth by offering referral discounts to new and existing customers
In all, it’s all about increasing brand awareness and mitigating any risks or disruptions that may occur as a result of a drop in interest.
It’s really common for companies to go all-in when a marketing channel is working well for them and that’s great. But what happens if or when that dries up?
You need to ensure that you have contingencies in place to continue the steady flow of new customers into your business.
Make your marketing plan & calendar one of your priorities when sitting down to plan.
It will enable you to operate dynamically across several channels, platforms and strategies, and the result will mean more customers for your business!