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Charlie and the Marketing Factory

It’s the start of the financial year and while visions of tax returns dance in your head, it’s also the perfect time to prepare your business for what’s ahead.

Okay, I’m done with the rhyming now, I promise, down to business. Sure it’s a relief to know you’re getting some well-deserved cash back but imagine what a relief it will be to know your business is sorted for the next financial year.

No, I’m not talking specifically about finances, I’m talking about your marketing plan. Massive surprise, I know.  But the thing is, strategic marketing isn’t as elusive and confusing as it seems… it’s not the business equivalent to Big Foot.  It just takes a few simple steps and you will be on your way to creative genius, marketing gold and big rewards… now doesn’t that sound good to you?

So without further ado…here is your golden ticket…

1. Look at your calendar, really look at it. 

What do you have coming up in the next few months?  Is winter your busy season? Do you have a store opening scheduled or are you short staffed for any reason? Basically, what we want to know is, how capable are you right now to focus on your marketing? If time is sparse, the first step may be allocating other resources, postponing unnecessary work, or even as much as I hate to say it, postponing your marketing plan just a little. You have to do what is best for you.

2. Assess what you currently have.

What do you have in so far as marketing collateral? Is your collateral out of date with mismatching brands and messaging? Does your collateral get used frequently and is it essential to your business? If so, you should handle this first.  If everything is in good shape, pat yourself on the back and move on to the next step.

3. Assess what you currently do.

Are you on Facebook but not updating it frequently? You should be updating it at a minimum of three times a week with current, relevant content. Do you have a blog that you don’t use?  It’s time to get cracking! That blog isn’t going to write itself. Aim for once a fortnight. Do you currently run Google AdWords but don’t look at the results and analytics?  There’s no time like the present. If you get really good at the other stuff (social media, blogging etc.) you won’t need to pay for AdWords much longer. And isn’t one less thing to pay for always a good thing?

4. Make a goal. (think less soccer, more life)

Where do you see your business in the next year, realistically? What do you want to do more of? If you hosted a successful event but haven’t had the time to plan the next one, make that a goal!  We know life gets in the way but sometimes just identifying your goals makes you one step closer.

5. Make a plan (yes this is different)

Remember when you looked at your calendar back at Step 1? It’s time to put that into action. Create a whole new calendar and name it something clever, like ‘This is why I’m the Boss’ and colour code it..whatever you have to do to make it more interesting to you. Then fill it in. All of the collateral you want to update, put it in the calendar. Those three Facebook posts a week? Put ’em in. Blogging? Write it down. Make it easier for yourself, don’t just write ‘Blog Post’ write ‘Blog Post on New Product Launch’. Come up with your topics in advance and your life will be easier..I promise.  Lastly, populate that plan for a full year out.  Suddenly, it’s not so daunting is it?

6.  Most importantly, FOLLOW YOUR PLAN.  

No need for a supporting paragraph here. Just do what you said you were going to do. Stick to it and watch your business (and maybe your perspective) shift.