If your business doesn’t have a marketing plan — or your plan needs a strategic refresh — use these three steps to set your business up for effective content:
- Match goals to your mission
- Identify roadblocks and KPIs
- Find the right marketing partner
The first step to a successful business is a strategic marketing plan. And yet, half of small and medium businesses didn’t have a marketing plan in 2019.
If your business falls into this category — or you simply feel your marketing plan needs a strategic lift — we’re here to help you get started.
Here are a few best practices we’ve used with our clients at Stoke for making the most effective plan for marketing content.
Match goals to your mission
If you haven’t defined your mission statement and overall vision for your company, now is the time. By determining the set values and ultimate objectives of your business, you can more effectively make the smaller goals that will help you get where you want to go.
Your company’s mission statement should clearly explain why your business exists and what makes it different from other companies or organizations in the marketplace. It should show potential customers and employees the things that make your company valuable.
Keep your mission statement short and specific. Just a few sentences will suffice. Think about your long-term aspirations and define your core values.
Once you have determined your long-term mission and vision, you can make specific goals to match. Remember to make your goals measurable, break them down into defined objectives, and set realistic timelines.
For example, your high-level goal may be to grow business by 50 percent. A corresponding specific objective could be to create a marketing plan with at least three strategies to connect with your target audience and provide value. A smaller goal as part of that objective would be to build a consistent flow of thought-leadership assets through a blog, by publishing one post a week.
Identify roadblocks and KPIs
With your goals in place, it’s time to think about what could prevent you from meeting your goals and how you will measure your progress. Both of these elements are essential for marketing success.
First, think about what has held you back in the past. Was there a breakdown in communication between teams? Did client projects take precedence over creating content for your internal marketing? Was there a lack of resources dedicated to making your marketing happen?
Once you’ve identified the challenges of the past, it’s time to make plans for how you will overcome them in future implementations of your marketing plan. What programs, processes, or partners do you need to have in place to achieve your goals?
Then, meet with your team to determine what key performance indicators, or KPIs, you will use to measure the effectiveness of your marketing plan. Common KPIs include website traffic, social media engagement, and sales revenue. But don’t limit yourself to what is common. Instead, ask yourself, “In a perfect world, what would I like to know about my content and my marketing efforts?” Then, find an analytics partner who can help you get those answers.
For example, at Stoke, we work with each client to develop a personalized and customized dashboard that tracks their selected KPIs, and helps them see the influence that their marketing content is having on sales.
Find the right marketing partner
With your plan in hand and KPIs in mind, if you have that team in place, start executing your plan, but if not, it’s time to find the right marketing partner.
By partnering with an agency, you are able to extend your resources for maximum output. Instead of asking an employee to multi-task and take on more marketing duties, you enable them to focus solely on providing the best products and services for your customers. At the same time, your marketing content is being created by someone who specializes in that area of customer experience.
The right marketing agency will be part of your team. They will serve as an extension of your business, capturing your brand voice and helping you achieve your objectives through quality content marketing.
Remember, your marketing plan needs to be periodically reviewed and re-focused. As Seth Godin says, “Marketing is not an emergency. It’s a planned, thoughtful exercise that started a long time ago and doesn’t end until you’re done.”
That’s where Stoke can help.