It doesn’t matter where you are in your business right now, or how far into a new year we happen to be, there’s never a better time to look at your business goals, marketing objectives and combine both into a strategy than ‘now’.
A SWOT analysis is a fantastic way of evaluating where you are and planning where you want to be.
Identifying your strengths, weaknesses, threats to your business and the opportunities available is a great way of seeing your market position at a glance.
When it comes to marketing, potential threats are:
- your competitors
- social factors affecting your target audience, like age and circumstance
- political decisions that might impact on your business
- economic factors – can your target audience afford your current offering?
It’s a lot to think about, and a thorough understanding of your target audience is crucial for understanding how you can position your brand to meet their needs.
There’s a close relationship between your business goals and your marketing
There has to be when you think about it.
You can’t increase your turnover without attracting new customers or persuading current clients to increase their spend. But do you have a separate marketing plan and strategy in place?
A lot of business owners don’t have a marketing plan. An American study found that 74% didn’t, and of that number 65% said they wanted a marketing plan but didn’t know how to create one.
Using SMART goals is the best way of creating a step by step marketing strategy
I’m sure you’ve heard of SMART goals before, and with good reason. They keep you focused on what you need to achieve, and what you’re going to do to get there. Here’s a quick reminder of the acronym:
- S – Specific
- M – Measurable
- A – Attainable
- R – Realistic
- T – Timely
Be Specific About What You Want Your Marketing to Achieve
Consider the overall picture first.
What are your business goals and objectives for the year ahead?
Pinpoint the exact numbers and percentages that you want to improve things by. If you want more social media followers – how many? If you want to increase website traffic and conversion rate, by how much?
Being able to measure your marketing goals is important
That’s why you need a clear start and end – it allows you to measure progress and put steps in place to improve it. But you can only measure progress by regularly reviewing your marketing efforts.
Ideally, you want to be reviewing your marketing strategy once a month to ensure that you’re on track. You can measure progress by:
- Looking at social media statistics (Facebook insights, Twitter analytics, )
- Google analytics
- Sales figures
- Bank account statements
For example, if you wanted 10 new customers spending £5000 in one month you’d find this information in your sales ledger and bank account.
But having attainable and realistic goals are critical for a successful marketing strategy
If you only attracted 10 new clients over the past year, jumping to 10 in 1 month is probably unrealistic.
There’s a school of thought that says setting near impossible goals will drive you harder towards success, but I always feel that when you struggle to meet them, it can leave you feeling deflated and depressed.
A reasonable and realistic target is important.
That doesn’t mean you can’t change your goals when you come to review progress each month. If you’ve smashed through your target already or are strongly on track for doing so, you can change the endpoint or move on to a new objective.
If it looks like you’re not going to meet your objective, have a think about why. Was it too difficult to achieve in the first place? Is your marketing plan reflective of this objective and able to deliver the goods?
Setting a time to meet your objectives by is critical to push forward progress with your marketing
This is usually the most overlooked and ignored aspect of a SMART goal.
Being specific with ‘when’ you want your objectives to be met is crucial. Saying ‘sometime this year’ or ‘by the end of this year’ is too vague for you to really be able to focus and dig deep to make the effort needed.
It’s a good idea to set short-term and long-term goals.
- 10 new clients in 3 months, and 25% increase in website traffic by January 2019
- +10% turnover each month for the next six months, with 50 new clients by the end of December 2018
Once you have clearly defined goals that can be measured and have a deadline you can congratulate yourself on having a marketing strategy for your business. The next step is working out the ‘how’ by developing a marketing plan.
If you need any advice, guidance or hands-on support with your marketing strategy and plan, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me as I’ll be happy to help.