6 Tips to Develop an Annual Marketing Plan that Rocks

Written by Bloomfire Admin

Many of you have likely already begun to plan your marketing efforts for next year (if not, you might want to get started). As we rapidly approach the new year, it’s time to really get down to business.

In addition to actually finishing a tube of chapstick before you lose it, add developing a killer Annual Marketing Plan to the top of your New Year’s resolutions list.

Having a successful marketing plan in toolbox as you enter the new year will ensure you are allocating your resources effectively, promoting and growing your business, and differentiating your company from its competitors. Consider these 6 tips based on recent marketing trends as you continue to develop your plan:

1. Increase your social media advertising budget.

Major changes are happening for businesses in the world of social media, particularly Facebook. Over the past year, the platform has seen a decrease in organic reach in order to lead companies into paid advertising.

Paid advertising on social media is hardly ground-breaking. In fact, it’s possible you’ve been doing it for years. What is ground breaking is the sharp increase in marketing budgets allocated to social media that advertising experts expect to see next several years. Worldwide, spending on social media advertising almost doubled from 2014 to 2016, growing from $16 to $31 billion. In the U.S. alone, social media advertising spend is expected to hit $17.3 billion in 2019.

Keep up with the trend by increasing your budget for advertising presence on social media, because you can bet your competitors will be doing the same.

2. Don’t assume “mobile” means a smartphone.

Smartphones are not likely to become obsolete anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a new mobile device taking the world by storm.

The number of American consumers sporting wearable mobile devices (think smartwatches) is continuing to grow, with the market for wearable devices expected to grow at an annual rate of 23 percent through 2023. What does this mean for marketers? It means you’ve got a brand new playing field to market to prospects. You need to be prepared to produce content to fit the format for this new breed of potential customers.

3. Produce more niche content.

We’re in the midst of a content arms race. More content is published on a daily basis than ever before (over 2 million blog posts per day), which makes it nearly impossible for small companies to compete when it comes to broad content topics. There is just too much of it.

But before you decide your content is doomed to never reach human eyes, think again; along with this spike in production, there is a drop in the quality of content that is mass-produced. According to Adrian Cordiner, the director of Digital Rhinos, people have learned to alter their search to identify a narrower, more targeted range of content, therefore weeding out material that is vague and unfocused. If you can rise to the challenge by answering more specific questions, doing the research to identify what information your viewers truly need, and providing it, you stand a chance in this arms race.

4. Make more videos.

Who wants to look at boring text when they can watch a video instead? Not your customers and prospects! As we approach the new year, 4 times as many customers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it, 1 in 4 consumers actually lose interest in a company if it doesn’t have videos, and customers are nearly 50% more likely to read email newsletters that include links to a video.

Sounds like videos are pretty important, right?

As you develop a marketing plan for next year, be thoughtful regarding which content could be better delivered through a video.

Helpful tip: if you’re looking to break into Snapchat, snapping clips of videos your company produces is a great place to start and will direct viewers to your more serious content.

5. Increase your email marketing budget.

Let’s put these rumors to rest right now… email marketing is not dead. Far from it. How many times a day do you check your email? 5? 10? 20? As long as this is the case, email marketing will be relevant (and this is not expected to be the year the human race transcends email).

For every $1 spent on email marketing, there is an ROI of $44.25. That is the highest ROI of all digital marketing channels. There’s all the proof you need.

That being said, there are some changes you can make to your email marketing plan for next year. First things first, using a first name does not mean an email is personalized. Use tools like Hubspot to include links to relevant content and offers that will interest your prospects.

Second, do not, I repeat, do not, include more than one call to action in an email. Many people receive up to hundreds of emails in a day, so you can bet they are skimming most of them. Your email should be as short as possible, concise, and have only one clear purpose. Otherwise, you run the risk of being perceived as just another annoying, spammy, overwhelming marketing email.

And finally, eliminate spammy subject lines (spammy subject lines have been out of favor for a long time, but if you’re still using them, now is as good a time as any to make the change). You have one chance to make a first impression, and consumers’ eyes are drawn to certain words that indicate spam. Check out this list of words to avoid to ensure your email actually get opened.

6. Consolidate marketing platforms.

As marketing platforms such as Hubspot and Marketo continue to expand their capabilities, the trend towards consolidating the contents of your marketing toolbox rages on into 2017.

In short, consolidating your marketing tools equates to reducing cost and gaining efficiency. One platform that provides clear insight into your various marketing campaigns and how they’re affecting your company’s ROI is preferable to six or seven incohesive platforms; as information is processed from platform to platform, it is lost, misinterpreted and fails to take data that stored elsewhere into account.

Another helpful tip: With these improvements, it’s likely your marketing team will soon be producing more content than ever before. To be prepared to handle a content explosion, this may be the year to adopt a knowledge sharing solution. Your valuable marketing content won’t be so valuable if it never reaches those who need it to do their jobs. Developing a thorough marketing plan is essential to the long-lasting success of your company. The more strategic you are, the further your core message will reach. Think of your marketing plan as a map that will lead you to your business goals, and be sure to make these changes to ensure your team is keeping up with the times, and your competitors. Happy planning!

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