#1 – Who is your target audience? Has it changed over the past few months/years?
The first thing you need to understand is who your target audience is. Confirming your audience is vital for all aspects of your business marketing plan. Even if you think your audience is the same as in previous years, some of their habits might have changed.
Ex. When we look at 2020, many office workers started working from home. In 2021, companies encouraged employees to work from home or alternate working from home and coming into the office. Even as we wrap up 2022, we are seeing employers encourage a mixed workplace even though we are getting back to “normal”. This one change in the work environment changes TV habits, radio listenership, and especially the time spent on social media platforms.
By ensuring you’ve updated your 2023 target audience, you can be positive you’re choosing platforms that deliver to your ideal customers.
Need help defining your target audience? In this blog, we outline 3 ways to define yours.
#2 – Are you laying in your media buys annually?
“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.”
– Alexander Graham Bell
One of the struggles we often hear from local business owners is how far out they should plan for their advertising. There is a delicate balance between making future plans and allowing space to pivot or make adjustments to plans mid-stream. Our team recommends planning a year out to establish goals, marketing strategies, media tactics, and budgets, for the upcoming year.
Each media tactic has a varying level of flexibility. Some media platforms have set prices year-round while others are impacted by supply and demand. While our marketing recommendations always aim to reach the right people with the right message at the right time for the best return on your marketing dollars, we also plan mediums with the appropriate level of flexibility and for the best rates.
Flexible Commitment, Flat-Rate Investment
Most digital marketing tactics have the highest level of flexibility. Typically, digital marketing tactics can be initiated in a matter of days. Likewise, they can be halted in as little as 24 hours.
As for rates, most digital market tactics are a flat cost per thousand or cost per lead. More of a commodity, these digital eyeballs and leads usually have the same cost or rate no matter when purchased. Typically, digital marketing tactics cost the same rate if you purchase in advance or the day before execution.
Plan and Book Early for Best Rates
Most broadcast marketing tactics (radio and television) have rates that are adjusted based on supply and demand. Because broadcast marketing platforms have limited inventory (number of commercials in a program), rates are not flat, but rather adjustable.
Buying commercial campaigns on broadcast platforms is much like reserving airline tickets. Not all seats on the plane cost the same amount. The earlier you book your ticket (when there are more seats available) the lower your rate. While there is much more strategy that goes into the purchase of broadcast media, a general rule of thumb is booking earlier can save you marketing dollars.
Mind Your Commitments and Contracts
To retain flexibility be mindful of contract details and cancellation policies. Often print platforms may require a long-term commitment in order to receive a lower rate. There is a give and take between improved rate and level of commitment for some marketing tactics. Make sure you are well aware of the contract commitments and cancellation policy before signing on the dotted line.
#3 – Do you have a calendar of events?
Something we find helpful for our clients, especially when they are doing their end-of-the-year planning, is for them to have a master calendar. These calendars include special holidays, big events, speaking engagements, and much more! A master calendar allows you to know what’s coming up and plan accordingly.
Having a list of holidays on a calendar can help you plan special offers and promote via social media or other platforms. Ex. A special offer for Veterans around Veterans Day.
For example, knowing when the World Cup is on TV can help you outline media buys and when you need to have creative done so your ads can match the big event. A perfect example of this is the FOX Sports commercial where John Hamm as Santa Claus gets his holiday cut short because the World Cup moved!
Not sure where to start?
Start with a basic one – like this! You can always adjust down the road.
#4 – Are you checking reviews & responding accordingly?
Managing your online reputation can sound EXHAUSTING – especially when you think of all the places people can “talk about you.” But understanding what people are saying about your business and your team can really give you some insight into areas you might need to improve. On the other hand, it can give you possible areas to highlight and point out!
Good or bad, you need to respond to them. It may seem like a nuisance to respond to all new reviews, be it on Google, Yelp, Facebook, or another website, but studies show responding to positive reviews builds loyalty and appreciation for a business. Of course, you want to respond to negative reviews too. Showing a different side to the situation can bring understanding to outsiders that might read the review, and can oftentimes remedy a situation that stemmed from miscommunication.
Make sure you’re planning to review AND respond to reviews as you make your 2023 marketing plans.
#5 – How are you incorporating email into your marketing?
Many companies have a database of customer emails, however, those email addresses are rarely used outside of general customer service communication (transactions, delivery notices, etc). This year, try to encourage your current customers to re-engage with your company. Need any ideas on how to do this?
Top Email Topics
- New Products
- Asking for reviews
- Maintenance tips
- Refer a friend
- Upcoming events
Maybe your current database is small or your business already does a great job communicating to current customers. The next step in your email marketing plan is to extend your reach with targeted email marketing.
Send your message to your ideal audience, not necessarily those that are already in your email database. With high click-through rates and abundant leads, Targeted Email Marketing is a great addition to your online marketing campaign. We will work to develop an original and engaging creative for your business, refine the target audience, and provide you with reporting so you can determine your ROI. We can even track leads produced from your campaign to optimize accordingly!
#6 – Does your 2023 marketing plan cover all aspects of the buying cycle?
To have a successful 2023 marketing plan, you need to ensure you’re reaching potential and current customers at all points in the buying cycle. You might hear it described as “filling the funnel”, but Uptimiser describes the buying cycle as loops. Either way, you want to structure your 2023 marketing plan accordingly.
- How are you making people aware of your products or services?
- Are you there when they are searching for information and options?
- How are you showing them that YOU are the right choice?
- Is your purchase experience solid or does it need some work?
- After purchase, are you maintaining communication to build brand loyalty?
This image shows some options for marketing platforms to be used in the various loops, but many mediums, like social media, can affect all parts of the buying cycle, not just awareness.
#7 – Is accountability part of your 2023 marketing plan?
If it’s not, it should be. Here’s why: Accountability means that the plan you’re outlining now will actually happen, better yet, it has a better chance of achieving the goals you have for 2023. However, it must be balanced so team members feel empowered and have reason to do what you’re asking them to do. The last thing you want is for a team member to think the task you’re giving them is A) not part of their job description and B) pointless.
Remember those social media posts you told Rachel to do 2 times every week? Well, she hasn’t done them for months, but you didn’t realize it because you hadn’t checked. Instead, she’s been sticking with her normal tasks because she doesn’t see the benefit in these social posts. Ensure you’re holding your staff, marketing team, and vendors accountable, while also educating them on the role they are playing in the company’s overall success.
At Rogers Advertising, we hold ourselves accountable through review/previews with clients. Every 30-60 days, we review the campaigns we set up, any lead/sales data, and preview the next 30-90 days to ensure open and honest communication. If you have a marketing vendor and haven’t heard from them in a while, it might be time to check in and outline some accountability measures.
#8 – Can you do it all yourself or do you need help?
It’s okay to look for help, especially if you’re a small business and already have a lot on your plate. A marketing firm’s job is to take the load off your shoulders so you can focus on what you do best – run your business. If you’re thinking about 2023 and still not sure where to start, give us a call. Our team is happy to partner with you to help you achieve your business goals.
I had been doing my own advertising for close to 30 years when I was approached by David and Christina. I was thoroughly impressed with their presentation and shared my lofty expectation and asked if they thought that they could meet it. David told me that he felt that he could do what I was asking. As of the end of July they had almost met my expectations for the whole year. They are a great team, easy to work with, professional, and best of all they deliver results! I highly recommend them!