According to marketing expert Franziska Iseli-Hall the end of the year is not a good time to put your feet up and wait for the arrival of a new one, but an opportunity to plan for the year ahead so you can hit the ground running in January.
The end of the year is nearing and a lot of businesses are taking the foot off the pedal, getting ready for some down time over Christmas and New Year.
The festive season does seem like a good excuse to stop, but if you want to start 2012 with a bang, ready to grow your business, now is the perfect time to plan for success.
Use this down time to plan your marketing and get ahead of your competitors. I know, marketing planning isn’t the most ‘sexy’ task you can imagine doing right now (hanging out with Santa is much more fun), but it is definitely one of the most beneficial activities to ensure the growth of your business.
To make your marketing planning a little easier and more fun, I will walk you through a few steps to look at in the process:
1. First, take a few minutes to revisit your vision, mission and values, so that you have a clear idea about where you want to go and what you are working towards. If you don’t have a business vision, mission and values yet, then create one and share them on your marketing materials.
2. Now that you know where you want to go, determine who you want to work with. Keep in mind that as a small business it is much smarter and more effective to target a specific niche rather than targeting everyone.
3. Do some ‘industry’ or ‘competitor’ research to find out what others in your industry are doing and how you can be better than your competitors.
4. Look at your products and services. Make a list of everything you offer and ask yourself: Is there a way of packaging and bundling my services or products to make them even more attractive for my prospects? Are there any products or services my target market would like in addition? Is there anything I should let go of?
5. Now let’s look at WHY people should buy from you rather than your competitors. What makes you unique? Why are you the best option in your industry?
6. Ok, you are now ready to choose the right marketing strategies to propel your business to success in 2012. Grab your yearly calendar and start planning your marketing strategies over the next year so that you have a constant flow of clients. To get you started here are a few ideas: Set up a social media strategy, review your website (get a website if you don’t have one), create a referral system, find strategic alliance partners, organise an event for your prospects, go networking, send out a direct mail etc. There are endless marketing strategies that are very low or even no cost for small businesses.
7. Set your monetary goals for 2012! How much do you want to make quarterly, monthly and weekly?
Planning really doesn’t have to be painful, just take an hour or so out of your day and create your future plans for success.
To help you out, grab the marketing planning template FREE for My Business readers here http://www.basicbananas.com/marketing-planning-template-for-2012/