how to create a marketing plan

Introduction

The new year is coming up in a couple of a weeks, and I’m in full-on planning mode for 2017. This is the perfect time to evaluate your business and create a marketing plan for the new year.

But does the thought of planning your marketing strategy give you anxiety? Do you feel overwhelmed with how to even start?

Well don’t worry! I’ve got you covered. I’m sharing my tips and tricks on how to create a marketing plan, and I’m also sharing a free bonus Marketing Plan Workbook for you to use.

See What Worked This Past Year

Take a look at what worked well for you this past year and what didn’t. Check your stats and analytics. See what products sold well and which ones didn’t. See what channels brought in the most revenue. Was it Instagram or organic search traffic? Whatever methods worked well, you’ll want to focus more on those in the new year.

If certain products aren’t selling well, see why that may be. Do the product photos need work? Do you need to optimize the titles tags? Is it no longer trending if it’s a trend-driven product?

Check your Google Analytics and see what content resonated the most and what didn’t. Do you have a particular blog post that was very popular that you can somehow get more revenue from or come up with more product ideas?

For example, I created a set of free printable table numbers (1-20). I noticed this post brought in a lot of traffic and I was getting a lot of comments and requests for more numbers and colors. So I decided to put together another set of numbers (21-50) and add in a couple different color palettes for people who needed the extra numbers or different colors to buy.

Another example would be if you ran a jewelry business and you started getting a lot of requests for custom pieces for bridal parties. You could see how you could expand your custom jewelry line into the wedding market.

Write down your goals

This should be your big to-do list for the new year, and it’s important to incorporate when you create a marketing plan. What do you want to accomplish? What do you want to achieve? Write it down in Evernote, a Google doc, a notebook, a whiteboard or use my free Marketing Plan Workbook. Whatever your preference.

Be concrete with your goals. Define quantities and deadlines. Some examples can include:

  • Make $10,000 in revenue each month by March 1st.
  • Get 2k followers on Instagram by June.
  • Add 300 more subscribers to my email list by the end of April.
  • Create and launch new product line by September.
  • Redesign website by February 1st.

Now that you have your goals written down, you can put steps together to achieve those goals. For example, if you want to get more email subscribers, take a look at your current efforts and see where you can improve.

Do you need a better incentive for people to opt-in and increase your conversion rate? Do you need more opt-ins throughout your site? Do you need more traffic so you can add more subscribers? Look into ways to drive more traffic like guest posting or Facebook Ads.

Create a Marketing Calendar and Content Calendar

These could be one and the same or two separate calendars. What I used to do for my eCommerce store was create an overall marketing “to-do” list in Evernote and organize it by month. You could also do this on a calendar or planner. Then I’d add 3-5 items for each month up to the first 3-6 months. And then add to it as the year went along.

This way I was able to plan out promotions/special offers/giveaways that needed to be planned in advance or were seasonal/holiday-related. For example, I always did a promotion for Valentine’s Day, so I would add that to the to-do list under February.

I would also add my goals under the months that I wanted to accomplish them.

Then for my editorial calendar for blogging, I would write blog ideas down in Evernote. This way, if I got an idea while I was away from my computer, I could jot it down on the app on my iPhone.

Then, I used a WordPress plugin for my editorial calendar, where I would take those ideas and schedule them out. I like this plugin because it gave me a calendar overview by month of my blog posts. And then you could easily switch posts around on different days if things changed.

If you work with any influencers on specific campaigns or partnerships throughout the year, start reaching out to them now so you can plan those campaigns in advance and get them in your calendar.

Track your growth

If you’re not tracking your growth, it can be hard to see the progress that you made throughout the year. I like to keep a spreadsheet with all of my metrics and track it by month. For example, I list out how many email subscribers I had as of December 1, how many Instagram followers, how many unique visitors to my website, etc.

Any metrics that you find important to track can be listed. This way you can see how your business goals are progressing throughout the year.

Implement New Growth Strategies

You finally got your email marketing together this past year and grew your list. Woohoo! So now it’s time to implement a new strategy you’ve been wanting to try.

Maybe Pinterest has been on the back burner, but you know it can be effective for your niche, so you finally decide to get serious about your Pinterest strategy.

Or maybe you haven’t been as consistent with your blogging as you’d like. So it’s time to focus on putting together an editorial calendar, blogging consistently and holding yourself accountable to it.

Or maybe you’re just getting overwhelmed with all of the day-to-day tasks and it’s time to start outsourcing.

Think about which new strategy you can add to your marketing efforts that will help increase your revenue and achieve your goals in 2017. Be sure to incorporate it when you create a marketing plan.

What are your big goals for the new year? What do you want to accomplish in your business? Have tips to share on how to create a marketing plan?

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