Building a 2018 Marketing Plan For Your Small Business

With colder temperatures comes the end of the year, which means the time to start planning for a successful 2018 starts now. You know you can’t rely on serendipity to be successful, so let’s go through what it takes to build a 2018 marketing plan for your small business

What did you do in 2017?

To help you identify how you will be successful next year, you need to understand what you did this year. Look beyond just revenue and profit and look at things like:

  • Changes in the number of new and repeat customers
  • Best and worst customer segment
  • Best and worst marketing tactic
  • Where customers fell out of your funnel
  • Why customers chose you rather than alternatives

Gathering this information will take time but is absolutely essential in ensuring you learn and get better in 2018.

What do you want to do in 2018?

Sounds simple enough, so it shouldn’t be hard: What do you want to do next year? Grow revenues, reduce costs, sure. But how and by how much? The first step to any plan is to clearly identify what success looks like.

Who is your ideal customer?

Clearly identifying your ideal customer is the cornerstone of every marketing plan. Create a profile or persona that clearly answers:

  • Who are they?
  • What do they care about?
  • Where do they get their information?
  • What options are available to them?

How will marketing help the company meet its objectives?

This is the real meat of your 2018 marketing plan; based on the information above, what are you going to do? What segments will yield you the best results? What content do you need to create, or repurpose to engage these prospects at every stage of the funnel? Which tactics will you employ to deliver this content to them? How will they find it on their own? How are you going to convert prospects from top-of-funnel to mid-funnel and from mid-funnel to bottom-of-the-funnel?

How will you measure success?

Marketing requires constant measuring to determine if you’re delivering the right message at the right time to the right audience. Based on what you know from 2017, or general guideline, if you’re just starting out, what benchmarks does your marketing need to hit every week and every month in order to show success at the end of the year? By measuring early, you can fail fast and succeed sooner.

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