We are now on our final step in our 10 simple steps for creating your marketing plan. Thus far, we have covered:
#1: Create a Unique Selling Proposition
#2: Don’t Put the Cart Before the Horse which addresses the logical sequence of events in the planning process
#3: Establish Your Sweet Spot which revolves around defining your target audience
#4: Articulate Your Brand
#5: Competitive Reconnaissance
#6: Consumer Access
#8: Internal Branding or creating brand ambassadors
Our final tool will be put into use after the initial 9 steps are in play: Analysis. As you begin to analyze your business, you will want to consider context- how are you going to establish measurements for gauging success? Are you comparing your performance against your business plan goals, your profitability goals, your sales goals, your competition (which means you stole market share)?
And what tools will you use to analyze your success? In addition to tracking your sales and profitability, you will want to use multiple metrics such as:
- Google Analytics to analyze how many visitors you are getting and how they are interacting with your website. In addition to looking at the pages they view most and how long they stay, you should also look at where they are coming from as this will give you cues about how to promote your business in the future. For example, if you ran an online ad or are listed in an online directory, and you are seeing a great deal of traffic being driven from that ad or that listing to your site-you would probably plan to continue this campaign going forward. You can also look at metrics like how many visitors are using mobile devices to view your site and assess if the time is right to create a mobile site. Take time to understand all of the features of Google Analytics in order to get a handle on what you can learn from your website traffic, and how changes to your site affect your performance.
- Traffic sources are important as they let you know how customers/end-users are finding you. In addition to Google Analytics, you should be finding out directly from customers how they are learning about you and plan to cultivate those opportunities further.
- Facebook fans are important, but you also want to be sure to look at levels of engagement and how viral your posts are for cues about what types of things to post going forward. Same applies to Twitter followers and retweets and blog mentions.
- Email metrics let you know how your end-users are interacting with your messaging. While open rates are good to know as they give you a sense of what subject lines and timing are working well for you, the click through information is key to letting you know what kind of content is resonating and spurring them to want to know more. Identify patterns to understand what is successful and then course-correct.
You will want to experiment and test various things in your business, track the results and then refine your strategy. You will also want to document your performance measurements so that you have benchmarks to use as indicators as you compare yourself year over year.