Start your business New Year resolution with a marketing plan that outlines your business objectives and marketing strategies.

An annual marketing plan keeps businesses on track with goals. It ensures marketing opportunities and budgets are maximized.

1. Start You Annual Marketing Plan by Reviewing Your Previous Year’s Marketing Performance

MarketingPlanNewYearYou’ll want to take a close look at how you performed over the current year. What marketing strategies worked and what marketing strategies were a bust? Adjustments that incorporate past marketing lessons should be made each year.

Here are some questions to ask when evaluating the previous year’s marketing performance:

  • Did you achieve desired results from your marketing efforts (such as improved brand recognition, X number of leads generated or sales/revenue figures)?
  • Has your target market, audience or geographic area changed over the year?
  • Were you able to stay within a marketing budget at the end of the year?
  • What areas of your marketing budget do you need to cut costs in for the coming year?
  • What areas of your marketing budget do you want to invest more in for the coming year?
2. Get Organized

The first step in developing an annual marketing plan is getting organized. Make a list of all the marketing categories that are important for your business.

Typical categories in a marketing plan include:

  • Advertising (print and/or online)
  • Branding and Graphics (photography, video production, graphic development)
  • Collateral (sell sheets, brochures, business cards)
  • Events (trade shows, webinars)
  • Direct Marketing (email, direct mail, list generation, promotional incentives/contests)
  • Public Relations (press release distribution)
  • Research (focus groups, surveys, marketing references)
  • Social Media (social media networks)
  • Website (search engine optimization, web development/hosting)
3. Define Strategies, Tactics and Budgets

Once marketing categories are outlined for your business, strategies, tactics, and budgets should be defined per category.

Here is an example of defining a strategy and tactics for the “advertising” category:

Marketing Category: Advertising
Strategy #1 – Drive traffic to website via social media
Tactic # 1 – Pinterest Pins
Tactic #2 – Facebook Posts
Tactic #3 – Twitter Posts

Each tactic will also need to have a budget, if applicable. You should record your budgets and what was actually spent so you can make any adjustments needed throughout the year such as moving funds from one tactic to another if needed.

Flexibility to adapt to a changing business environment and being “opportunistic” in your marketing plan throughout the year is important.