Are you ready for the new year? Is your marketing plan already in place?
Taking the time at the end of every year to create a marketing outline and business plan for the next year is imperative if you want to have a successful business. Make sure that it is flexible for the unexpected as well as has a few extra tips that you can apply when you feel it is needed off and on throughout the year.
Below are some steps on how to develop your small business marketing plan for 2014:
The approaching year-end for business owners means making preparations for charging into next year full speed ahead. One of the most important: Putting together your business’s annual marketing plan.
Of the many challenges business owners face, developing a bona fide marketing plan can be a considerable one. It takes knowing how to make good use of the tools in your marketing toolbox (being able to apply fresh thinking to the tried-and-true) and then applying it all to building an actionable and measurable marketing plan for 2014.
Your toolbox needs to include a good understanding of what’s happening inside and outside your business.
- Competitors. What are your competitors doing that they maybe weren’t before? Are there new ones, businesses in other sectors, some new to the playing field?
- Customers. Have you seen evolving changes in the way customers are buying? Are there customer segments you haven’t seen for a while or maybe are seeing for the first time? Do you know why?
- Trends. Are you familiar with shifts taking place across your city or state, the country and globally? Changing demographics, attitudes, behaviors, practices are all a part of your business landscape.
- Your business. What worked for you—and didn’t—over the past 12 months? Products or services, promotional offers, messaging: What seemed to resonate with your customers?
- Analytics. If you’re fortunate enough to have a more formal research program, great. But most small businesses don’t have this luxury. Even so, there are still important “analytics” you can tap into. Things like Yelp and other online reviews and comments, Twitter and Facebook comments, blog readership all tell you if and how well you’re connecting with audiences.
Just make sure you write out your marketing plan for 2014 in detail. You can always adjust it like I mentioned above but getting it down in detail of what works, what doesn’t and which path you would like to follow is very key for a successful 2014.
Do you have any goals for the new year that keep making it on your business plan from year to year?