Sounds simple enough, right?
But we both know all too well about “the best laid plans”.
Some days you feel like a firefighter, putting out unexpected fires at work. A short meeting turns into a long one, an unexpected phone call, you get slammed with orders, something breaks and you have to fix it … the list goes on. Despite your intentions, in the hustle and bustle of running a business sometimes very important things keep getting pushed to tomorrow’s to-do list over and over.
Such as planning out your marketing from now until the end of the year.
We get it. That’s why we’re writing about planning in April (ha!). It’s never too late!
In this second post about planning ahead, we’re sharing some of the most common reasons businesses fall behind without realizing it and tips for making sure you’re not one of them!
- The Short Sighted Approach: Sometimes looking at the entire year can feel overwhelming, but if you’re only planning a month or two out, it’s going to be hard to lose that panicked feeling when you have to throw things together at the last minute. So take some uninterrupted time to analyze the full cycle of your business and how to tie into seasons, trends and annual events to find that peace of mind.
- The Mismatched Goals Approach: First, do you have goals? Are they S.M.A.R.T goals? (Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Relevant. Time-limited.) If you don’t have your business goals specifically written out somewhere, stop what you’re doing and go do that now! Ok, now that we’ve got that done, make sure your business goals and your marketing efforts match. If what you’re attempting to do in marketing doesn’t match your short and long term business goals, you’re setting yourself up for frustration.
- The “I’m Not A Numbers Guy” Approach: One of the scariest words in business is also one of the most important: financials. It can be a little intimidating, but if you don’t have a good grasp on the actual ROI of a new customer and the lifetime value of a retained customer, you will struggle to see value in marketing. Don’t let the “numbers” get the best of you. Find a trusted business expert who IS good with numbers to help you figure out the value of a customer to your business. Then, you can feel confident about the money you’re investing into marketing to get each customer!
- The Bright, Shiny, Eye-Catching Approach: “But wait, shouldn’t my marketing be eye-catching?” Yes! And it’s fun to wordsmith every line, agonize over whether the headline should be in blue or green, and experiment with the size of your logo. But don’t just focus on the eye-appeal of the ad, it’s equally important to think about the overarching campaign and big picture. Double check that it doesn’t just LOOK good, it WORKS and helps achieve those goals we talked about in #2. The graphics, slogan, etc. should be paired with a powerful call to action. Ask yourself, “Does it connect with the audience? Does it offer something the market wants? Is the call to action for the customer obvious?” Plan ads in advance so you not only have ads that look good, but they actually work hard for your business.
If any of these sound like you, it might be time to stop and make time to plan ahead for the rest of 2012. Sure, it will take a few hours on the front end, but the long-term benefit to your business will far outweigh the time cost. (Not to mention to stress benefits, and who doesn’t want one less thing to worry about in business?)
This is where a local marketing or business consultant come in handy. We help you see the big picture and obtain market research about your target audience. We help you plan and create handy planning calendars to keep yourself organized.
To encourage you to start planning today, you can download our free planning calendar to get started:
Waiting to plan your marketing means you’re missing out on getting new customers, and possibly losing the ear of your current customers. “Out of sight, out of mind” can have a pretty powerful impact, so make sure to keep your business front of mind.
What kind of procrastinator are you? Have you tried using a marketing planning calendar? What are the most important elements on your marketing calendar?