Creating annual marketing plans is critical for long-term success of your business. They become even more important as you get busier since you will need to plan ahead for marketing; as you spend so much more time working IN your business, as opposed to working ON your business.
Brainstorm. There are no wrong answers here…just start recording ideas. I break my marketing ideas into two different lists:
1. On-going marketing; partnerships with other businesses, email newsletters, and referral programs.
2. Short-term marketing; special events, mini-sessions, product launches, charitable marketing partnerships, holiday card promotions, new business partnership marketing relationships.
Spread it out. Take a piece of paper and divide it into 12 sections or simply list the months. Then look over your brainstorming list and plug in different marketing activities throughout the year. Keep in mind your busy season and your slow season. If you have a great session promotion idea, it’s probably better to use that during the spring instead of a very busy fall. Promoting holiday cards or a new product may work better into your busier months.
Plan it. We are going to drill down and make an actionable step-by-step marketing plan for each marketing activity on your calendar.
Your marketing activities will be more successful if you take a few minutes and determine:
- A description of the activity, including the details.
- The goals of the activity. (number of sessions to book, number of new fans on Facebook, increased exposure and visibility, etc.)
- Time Frame: On-going or short promotion? Event date, etc.
- Break down marketing plan: Where will you market it, how? Blog post, press release, email marketing? How many days and weeks before the event must those go out? What is your deadline for creating those marketing pieces or designing and printing any physical marketing pieces?
- Results: This is so important! Don’t skip it! This allows you to see if there was a return on investment and will help you plan even more successful promotions in the future.
I recommend signing up for a free Evernote account. Make a marketing notebook and keep your master brainstorm list on a note, then make a separate note for each marketing activity. This ensures that you don’t lose your plans if they are written on a random piece of paper and you can also access Evernote from any mobile device or computer that you have it installed on. You can also access it over the internet if you are away from all your devices…but really when are you away from your smartphone? This also allows you to easily update your plans and record your results all in one place!
Create a calendar, google calendar is free, and plug in every promotion. Take all due dates that you created in the step above and plug it into the calendar too. Don’t forget to make a due date for recording results so you don’t forget!
While this is quite a bit of work it will come back to you in spades. It will also help automate your marketing as you just have to check your calendar and complete tasks….all the heavy lifting is already done! It also get easier and easier each year as you build your marketing database within your Evernote account.