How and Where to Focus Your Marketing Efforts

A question that we hear all the time is “What social media platforms should I be on?” Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, and we can’t answer that question without spending time getting to know your brand, goals, and target demographic. What we can do is help you create a marketing plan that will help you figure out how and where to focus your marketing efforts.

Before You Begin

Before you can start writing your marketing plan you need to know two things:

  1. How much time do you or your team members have to commit to executing the plan each day/week/month?
  2. What is your annual marketing budget?

You cannot create an effective marketing plan if you do not have a clearly defined budget or realistic idea of how many people hours are available to execute it. If you don’t already have this written down, now’s the time to do it.  Think critically, have a team meeting, and get real numbers down on paper.

Not sure how much to budget?

In 2018, The CMO Survey found that the average marketing spend was 11.3% of overall company budget.  This average may work for you, or you may need to go higher or lower depending upon your goals and the amount of time you can personally invest. 

Don’t forget, time is money – if you have big goals and not a lot of time, you may need to budget more to hire the person to execute the plan for you.

Creating a Marketing Plan

When creating your marketing plan, always keep in mind/ask yourself the following:

1. Your Customer Personas:

You did all the hard work to build your customer personas, now use them! Always refer back to your personas and ask yourself, “WWJL?  … What would Jill like?”  Or Shawn or Nadia…you get the picture.  Just make sure you’re doing things that will appeal to your target demographic, not you.

2. Budget/Cost:

How much will each campaign/effort/platform cost and how does that fit into your overall marketing budget?  What ROI do you think you will get from the financial investment?

3. Time:

Know how much time you really have! When you’re creating a plan on paper, it may seem like running a website, writing blogs, and keeping up social media is doable, but make sure you really think about the amount of time your organization realistically has to make sure your marketing plan and goals are achievable.

4. Effectiveness:

Really consider what is going to be effective for your target market. This means looking at your customer personas, market research, and evaluating your why statement to understand the most effective way to market your organization.

Choosing your Social Platforms

Even though we can’t tell you which social platforms to choose without an in-depth look at your brand, you can find out for yourself. Here’s how:

  1. Look at your buyer personas. Write a list of the top three social platforms these “customers” would use on a regular basis.  (If you don’t know the answer to this, you’ll need to do more market research.)
  2. Identify any platforms that are common to all your customer personas or target demographics.
  3. Check our your competitors – what platforms are working for them? Don’t just look at follower counts – really discover where your competitors getting the most engagement.
  4. Honestly ask yourself how much time you/your team can commit to managing social, including creating high-quality content, sourcing other relevant content, and personally engaging with users on the platform.

Evaluate all of these and choose 1-2 platforms to really rock at. Unless you have a large budget and/or team, that is likely all you want to start with.

Writing A Marketing Plan

A marketing plan is about more than just picking social media platforms.  We started there because everyone always asks about it, but a comprehensive plan should include much more than that.

You need to decide at a broad level which marketing channel you’ll be using (e.g., digital, print, outdoor, radio, direct mail, etc.) and how.  The “how” of it should be as detailed as possible, including:

  • Identifying specific needed platforms or tools.
  • Developing a timeline from start to finish. This could include time for creating content, sharing content, and measuring efficacy, etc. 
  • Investment/budget: spell out the exact expected cost for each element of the plan.
  • Required resources/effort: determine how many people you will need to accomplish each campaign, and identify any required resources like photography, graphic design, or videography. 
  • Define expected results.  What you want to get from your marketing efforts, whether that’s more inquiries, increased website traffic, or simply seeing some new engagement on a social media post.
  • Decide how you want to follow-up with new customers or followers once they have engaged with a campaign or marketing.  No marketing plan is complete without a solid sales funnel to accompany it.
  • Include a success measurement strategy: After your campaign ends, there are several tools you can use to “measure success.” If you don’t plan time to review the results gained from each effort, you’ll never know what’s worth repeating. 

Write S.M.A.R.T. Goals!

You may be thinking, “how can I figure all of this out and actually know if it worked?”  The answer is S.M.A.R.T. goals! 

A S.M.A.R.T. goal is specificmeasurableattainablerelevant, and timely.

S.M.A.R.T. goal setting helps bring structure and trackability to your personal and team objectives. It defines clear milestones and measurements for the campaign, which helps bring it closer to real accomplishment. S.M.A.R.T. goals are not generic, so there’s no question if you’re on track to achieving them. 

For example, instead of a simple goal to grow your email list, create goals like this:

“Increase our email subscriber count by an average of 1,000 new subscribers per month, through the use of Facebook Lead ads, for a total of at least 12,000 new email subscribers by December 31st of this year.”

S.M.A.R.T. goals will help streamline your marketing efforts, communication, and increase results.

Feeling Overwhelmed? We’re here to help!

We offer comprehensive marketing research and strategy – get a comprehensive plan for how your marketing efforts can best be spent, with recommendations for social media, content creation, or blogging in an easy-to-follow plan your team (or ours!) can implement. Contact us today to get started on your marketing plan!

Thoughts or Questions?

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