5 essential tips for your 2018 Marketing Plan

2018 Marketing Plan

As 2018 stretches out ahead of us, for those of you running your own business, you know that it can be as daunting as it can be liberating.

What does the year have in store? Will my business continue to grow? Can I turn my ideas and dreams into a reality?

We all have ideas, we all have an active and often very long to-do list, and if anyone was to ask... we all 'kind of' know how we are going to make things happen.

Not. Good. Enough!

The only way you are going to take control of the year ahead and make things happen is if you have a plan. An actual written down plan.

I make lists, set goals, have objectives, but I am near obsessive about having a plan. If I’m ever going to get off my ass and make things really happen, I need a plan. And this is why you do too.

You need one to hold yourself to account.

You need one so that anyone else you work with knows what they are aiming for and what they are trying to achieve.

You need one to remember all the fantastic ideas and new stuff you want to try.

You need one so that in 12 months you can look back and realise how hard you worked and how far you’ve come.

So first of all...do you have a plan?

If the answer is yes, then good! Well done you! You are on the good list!

If the answer is no, then don’t despair... its not too late to make one! I promise. And because I love a plan, here are 5 easy steps to making a marketing plan for 2018

Create a 2018 Marketing Plan

Step 1: Where are you now?

We want the truth warts & all so you have a clear understanding of where your business is right now.

Write down everything... the good, the bad & the ugly. Your sales, your targets, the gap in between, who is buying, why is that? What’s working, what’s not? What you have done and what you want to do.

Be honest with yourself as you need to know what you need to focus on in the year ahead and what needs work to get you there.

Step 2: Where do you want to get to?

Do you have a no. of clients to target? A sales target? A profit target? A subscriptions sign up rate? A website traffic target? Or even a vision of what you want your business to look like and feel like.

Whatever your goal, write it down and put a figure against it.

Making it as tangible as possible and ensure you put it somewhere prominent where you can see it regularly. This is what will drive you through the year!

Step 3: Who are you trying to target?

Who are your ideal customers? Why? Why do they need you?

Be honest with yourself.

Do they really need you? Do they know they need you? How can you persuade them they need you?

Find out all you can about them, as this will help you get under their skin and work out where to find them and how to talk to them when you do find them.

Step 4: What are you telling them?

What is the USP for your business, the one thing that will help you demonstrate that your product or service meets the needs of your audience?

How are you communicating it to your audience?

Make it short & keep it sweet, only say one thing and one thing only.

The tighter this sentiment is and the closer it is to your brand or product, the easier it will be to connect with your audience and make your brand memorable to them as you communicate to them over time.

Ok, so now you know where you are, where you’re going, who you’re targeting, what you’re telling them, the final part of the puzzle is working out what you are actually going to do...this my friend, is your marketing plan.

Step 5: What are the actual things you are going to do to get you to your goal?

Be specific, get realistic, be tough on yourself.

The aim is to create an honest plan of attack, a to do list of marketing activities that will help you achieve your goal, based on your experience or best guess of how you will reach your target audience.

If you plan to write a blog everyday but the reality is you only wrote two in the last year, then be honest, you are not going to write one every day.

Push yourself, but only write down things you can achieve and will actually do. Some you won’t know until you try, others you’ll be doing anyway, but this list is your holy grail. It’s your battle plan for 2018 and the to do list you need to focus on in order to get to where you want to go.

Make it motivating, make it inspiring, try new ideas, get yourself excited about putting this plan into action. This is what is going to get you and your business to your goal this year, so be proud of it and be ready to tackle it face on.

DIY marketing plan

Having a plan is the start. Sticking to it can be tough. You may need to pivot, things change, some things will work, others won’t. But that’s the whole point of a marketing plan.

You are looking to build a model for your business of the actual things that work to help it grow, so you can spend your time focused on those. Because when you focus, your business becomes more efficient and growth comes more easily.

When you look back on 2018 I want you to be proud of all you’ve achieved, so write your plan down people, so you can look back and say “I smashed it!”

This blog post was written by Lesley Bambridge, Founder & Director of We Mean Business, London | Marketing Consultancy | Providing strategic marketing advice to women, entrepreneurs and startup businesses. 

Lesley Stonier