Make 2015 your business’ breakout year by building a killer marketing strategy right now. Having an effective marketing plan in place will help you set and achieve goals as well as create a path to success. Ready to get started? Let’s dive in.
Set SMART Goals
The key to success in marketing — or any other aspect of your business — is setting SMART goals:
Simply making a general goal to “to sell more” won’t net you the same results as “we want to increase sales of our products by 35% by December 31, 2015. With a specific goal you can measure and take action on, and keep it going. And it’s got a deadline!
The simple act of writing out your goals can be enough to propel you toward making them a reality. Assigning tasks and setting milestones will help keep you and your staff on track to achieve your goals.
Factor in Marketing Trends
You can expect 2015 to continue in the same direction. Content marketing and social media will continue to dominate, but other hot marketing trends may be useful to your strategy.
If you haven’t begun mobile marketing, it’s fast-growing trend worth exploring. eMarketer estimates that 100 million mobile users will redeem digital coupons this year, up from 92.5 million in 2012. Mobile marketing is also influencing the local market. If you’ve been hesitating to build mobile presence because your business is strictly local, consider this: 2 out of 3 local mobile searchers ultimately make a purchase, and restaurants have the highest conversion rate at 80%.
Embrace data. It makes tried-and-true marketing tactics, like email marketing, that much more effective when you have data you can use to make smarter marketing decisions and more targeted messaging.
Include the Right Tools to Succeed
Now that you’ve got your goals and picked up a few trends to try out, make sure your toolbox is filled with useful apps, dashboards, and software programs to make your efforts easier.
Hootsuite fantastic social media dashboard for many reasons. First, it lets you manage multiple social profiles, as well as schedule your updates ahead of time. And second, it’s got great reporting features that help you understand which of your updates are really hitting home.
One note of caution. Automating posts can be a real time-saver, as long as you never lose sight of social engagement. Be sure to check your social media channels often to respond to queries and comments, engage random followers about things that interest them, and find any indirect mentions of your brand or industry to join the conversation. Listening and engaging is more important than posting one-way messaging. Your customers want to be involved in a conversation…not following a commercial broadcast.
Remember the goal to embrace data? A great tool is DataHero reporting: access the data you care about and analyze it—no degree in data analysis required! Any marketer can wow the CEO with DataHero reports and dashboards. You can connect multiple business tools to DataHero, like Salesforce, Eventbrite, and SurveyMonkey so you can see related data across multiple platforms. Then, you can use what you see there to make smarter decisions about where to take your marketing next.
And then there’s CoSchedule. If you share your blog content on social media channels, you’ll love how you can craft updates while creating your blog post and let them automatically post when your blog is live.
You’ve got the chance to dominate your industry in 2015. Just put a little planning and forethought into how you’ll market, and you’ll be ready to roll come January!
Bringing It All Together
Once you’ve got your info, organize it so it’s easy to understand and ready to present. Even if there is no one in particular to present this information to right now, you’ll be glad you took a little extra time to compile your data into one simple presentation the day you need to learn from past mistakes or want to toot your own horn a bit.
And after you’ve decided what’s missing from your marketing program, you’ll want to evaluate your current CRM. Will it sync with the components of your campaign? Will you be able to keep track of your leads, next steps, conversions and successes? If you’re not sure, your CRM may not be up to par. Consider switching to one that can handle the challenge you’re about to rain down on it and help you bring all the pieces of your campaign together. More specifically, look for a CRM with reporting metrics so you can one-stop-shop your way to marketing success without wasting time going back and forth between programs.
While the steps to marketing glory can vary depending on what your marketing plan entails, one thing rings true: learning to collect and measure your marketing data is the number one way to ensure you are on the right track. Making sure you’ve got the tools to back up your plan could be the difference between miserable failure and long-term success. Use these tips and you’ll be well on your way to measurable marketing data that shows everyone your small business has got it goin’ on.
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. Megan also specializes in market research.