It’s a no brainer that every business should have a well thought out and strategic marketing plan put in place. It’s now that time of year where we are recapping what worked in 2016 and trying to plan ahead for what the next year will look like. It’s necessary that your business has a roadmap for your marketing, otherwise, how will you even know where you are going? Here are some tips on things to incorporate as you are brainstorming and building your marketing plan for next year.

1. Goals

A roadmap is useless if there is no destination. You might as well just be taking a joy ride and hoping that you can find your way back home. The same goes for your marketing plan. Unless you have realistic and strategic goals put in place that you are marching toward, your efforts can easily be wasted and you will have to start from the beginning all over again. We recommend setting SMART goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Based.

Take some time to brainstorm what you want the next 12-18 months to look like for your business. Write these ideas down and then set SMART goals that will get you there or at least headed in the right direction.

2. Evaluate Your Online Presence

Once you have your goals set, take a look at the current state of your online presence. If you set a goal of wanting to rank higher in google searches for the keyword “pet groomer,” but your website needs some serious updating and isn’t even mobile-friendly, then some additional work needs to be put in before you can even start ranking higher. Talk with us about your goals and let us help you prioritize what needs to happen and when. There’s something to be said about doing things the right way to produce quality results instead of taking the short cut and ultimately putting your business even further behind.

3. Tackle Your Plan In Bite-Sized Pieces

You don’t have to do everything all at once. When you’re brainstorming, it’s good to think about both long-term and short-term goals and obstacles. You may have things you want to accomplish by the end of next year, but you can break these goals out in 3-4 month increments so the end result doesn’t feel so daunting. Tackling a quarter or so at a time will also help keep things from falling through the cracks.

Going back to the “pet groomer” example, maybe ranking higher is your ultimate goal for the end of next year but by breaking this goal up into smaller phases, you can target things that will help you get there. Maybe you need to start blogging consistently and creating content for your Facebook page, or actively pursuing 5-star Google reviews. These things are all still important and can help you achieve your overall goal of ranking higher.

4. Experiment With New Ideas

It’s been said that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. That might not be entirely true, but it’s safe to say that in today’s world, what worked even last month, might not work this month. Technology is changing so fast and so should your marketing. What are some new things you haven’t done before that might tap into a new audience? Maybe an online video series you publish to your social media, a contest or giveaway to generate buzz around your business, or a special event that host? Don’t be afraid to try new marketing tactics and take some type to research and see what kinds of ideas are out there. It’s doesn’t have to be 100% original. You can take what someone else has done and put your own spin on it and ta-da!

5. Partner With Other Businesses

Last but certainly not least – choose another business in your community that you know well, trust, and would be comfortable affiliating with and partner together! If you are a pet groomer and you know the owner of a carpet cleaning service, partner together and do a promotion for a free carpet cleaning with a grooming appointment they schedule over the course of 4 weeks. This will fill up your books with appointments and also generate new business for your carpet-cleaning friend which is hopefully a win-win all around!

Your marketing plan should be full of both tried and true strategies that you have measured and analyzed as successful, as well as some new and different ideas sprinkled in every now and then. Don’t be afraid to have fun with it and grow your brand’s identity and personality.

Are you looking to build a marketing plan and don’t know where to start? Contact us today and let’s get started! We will work with you to create a robust and strategic marketing plan that will help you grow your business and reach your goals. Talk to us about setting up a free consultation!