What is your plan?

Do you have your marketing all planned out? If not, know that it is important to do so. Small businesses tend to do marketing in a haphazard way. Something sounds good, they think about it for a bit, and then do it. This can sometimes result in positive outcomes, but sometimes not.

It is best to develop a marketing plan that lays out everything you are going to do for a set period of time. Let’s say a year for illustrative purposes. Create a plan that discusses in detail what activities you’re going to do and when, and most importantly, why you are doing them. These activities should be created and carried out with a goal in mind.

Make sure that you are specific. Are you going to do a coupon campaign? If so, lay out all the details. Who are you sending it to, how many, how long will the campaign last, what will it cost, what do you hope to get out of it, and how are you going to measure it?

Thinking through all these details ahead of time will make the marketing process go so much more smoothly. And it will help you improve the effectiveness of your marketing over time.

What are your Goals?

Does your organization have specific marketing goals? And are those goals evaluated regularly?

If your answer to either of those is ‘no,’ then you should consider revamping your marketing activities. By having specific goals, you create specific targets to work towards. This allows you to focus and have direction. Alternatively, if you don’t have goals, your marketing efforts are likely not going to be as effective as they could be.

Your goals should be clearly written, easy to evaluate, and measured regularly. For example, “increase month over month sales by 5% in each of the next six months.” This is a clear goal, it is easy to evaluate, and can be done so monthly. If you miss a goal, you can then reconfigure what you’re doing to improve your chances of meeting the goal at the next measurement period.

If you don’t have goals, or you do but don’t measure them, how can you know how well you are doing as an organization?

An added benefit of creating goals is that it forces you to step away and take stock of where you are and where you want to be. This allows for some consideration of changes in what you do to improve the performance of the company.

Final note: the creation, evaluation, and updating of goals should be treated like any other marketing activity you do. It is probably as important as your promotional activities.