Starting the new year with a clear, considered communications plan is one of the most effective steps you can take to ensure your marketing works harder for your business. By aligning your strategy with a plan, you will have a proactive rather than reactive blueprint for success. Not only will this tactic keep you one step ahead of the competition, you will also find that there are cost savings to be made along the way, not to mention the chances of your campaigns being successful, increasing.
Preparing a calendar of marketing activity doesn’t have to be complicated so to assist, we have put together our top five tips to help you achieve success.
1. Start with the obvious
We all know that Christmas, the end of the financial year and other events such as Valentine’s Day, fall at the same time each year, so ensure you add these to your calendar first. Even if you don’t want to promote your business then, it’s good to take key dates into account when you schedule your activity. For example, many families go away during the Easter break so organising a letterbox drop over this period may not wise, whereas in the lead up to the holidays (depending on your business), it could work well for you.
Once you’ve done this, you can then start to add in any industry specific events or company milestones such as ten years of operation.
2. Enter your strategic goals, key campaigns or product launches
In order to ensure your content contributes to your bottom line, increases audience engagement and cements positive brand reputation, businesses should overlay their strategic goals so that key themes can be developed. For example, if you’re looking to boost your online conversions, then building trust would be a key focus for your content theme.
Equally, if you have key campaigns or product launches throughout the year, these should also appear in the calendar. Rather than simply announcing a product launch, think about the different stages of the decision-making process, and what content can help move your audience to purchase. The AIDA model is based on customers moving through Awareness, Interest, Desire to Action, and is useful when developing content that helps customers transition through each of those stages.
3. Understand your audience
It’s vital that you understand where your customers spend most of their time (digital vs. traditional for example) and learn what people read and watch to make your campaigns relevant and easily digestible. This doesn’t mean you have to put all your marketing eggs into one basket, but it will help you determine where the bulk of your presence needs to be and help you plan effectively.
4. Use the right tool for the job
Content can be delivered in many ways, from the written word, through to presentations and videos. Whilst you don’t have to lock in how many videos, blogs, infographics or PR pieces need to be developed, you should identify the different content mix you require throughout the year. This will help you produce content efficiently when you come to implementing your plan.
5. Social media – it’s all in the frequency
Take time to consider the frequency of your posts – too many and you’ll turn people off, not enough and you will become invisible. Another important consideration is the days and times you post when using social media. Does your audience tend to be more active on a certain day of the week? Are they more likely to be browsing in the evening or before work in the morning? By understanding these behaviours, you can increase the effectiveness of your campaigns and build your brand with confidence.
6. This isn’t your personal page!
Those of us who use social media in our personal lives, do it to connect with friends and family whereas for business, it’s to connect with customers. Unless you are in the cake baking industry, don’t post banana bread recipes. Avoid pointless ‘hump day’ jokes as these won’t do anything to elevate your brand or encourage people to buy from you. Stick to your core business and don’t post because ‘it’s Friday and I NEED to post something’, do it because you have something to say.