There’s a common misconception that the viral nature of digital marketing means it’s better to plan sparingly and prioritize adaptability. While the ability to pivot and jump on trends is important, having a clear marketing strategy is fundamental.
Before you start creating a marketing plan for 2023, it’s useful to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Here are some practical ways to jump-start your 2023 small business marketing.
SEO Audit Your Website
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is evolving every year. As technology evolves, Google adjusts its algorithm with the intention of highlighting relevant, easy-to-read content. As you can see on this SEO forum, the best practices have changed tremendously over the past two years; ensuring your site is aligned with these changes is crucial.
Use a tool like Ahrefs or Semrush to run an SEO audit on your website. These tools will generate a detailed report on technical and content-related issues on your page. From there, you can work with a developer or SEO strategist to implement the changes and bring your site up to code.
Conduct a SWOT
A SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) is a classic marketing tool for assessing your business and the competition. The strengths and weaknesses component is an internal review of where your business is performing well and what needs more attention in 2023. The weaknesses and opportunities are an up-to-date evaluation of the competitive landscape and potential markets to explore in 2023.
Marketing isn’t just about promoting your business. It’s about understanding the market, setting the right prices, and conducting research.
Building a strategy solely on promotional activities without considering the other facets is a missed opportunity. If you’ve done this in the past, add it to your weaknesses report. The SWOT will help identify gaps in your overall marketing strategy so you can set clear, actionable goals for the year ahead.
Revisit Your Audience Demographic
Audiences and businesses evolve over time. If you haven’t revisited your audience demographics in recent years, it might be time to reassess. Review your website, social media, and customer analytics to determine who engages with your content and who converts. You may discover a shift in consumer behaviors or needs that require a subsequent shift in your approach.
This exploration can also highlight the potential for new markets and business expansion — which should be noted in the opportunities section of your SWOT.
Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-s-hand-on-white-paper-7688440/ Reflect and Set Outcome-Based Goals
Now it’s time to zoom in and narrow your field of sight. Take time to reflect on what went well in the past year and what didn’t. Consult with your colleagues and employees to get feedback from all areas of the business. Note your key learnings to shape the road ahead.
Once you have a better understanding of your business outcomes, set clear goals based on your learnings. For example, if your review indicates that your email marketing is more effective for driving conversions than social media, your annual marketing goals could focus on additional efforts here.
Think beyond how you’ll market your business and consider how you can improve processes and systems. In many cases, it’s not the marketing materials or strategy that need work; it’s the underlying tools and employee experience.
Scheduling regular project post-mortems is an example of a systemic change that could revolutionize your marketing. Give your team a chance to review what succeeded and failed in your marketing efforts while the thoughts are still fresh, so you don’t repeatedly make the same mistakes.
Outline Resource Needs
As you look at the year ahead, start outlining resource requirements. Some key considerations include:
- Time - how many hours, weeks, or months will this effort require?
- Capital - what monetary resources are necessary for this goal?
- Staffing - what additional team members or subject matter experts are needed to reach these goals?
- Tools - what software or systems are required to accomplish your objectives?
Frame your resource outline like a business plan. Think of how you’d communicate this information if you were outlining your strategy for a bank or investor to approve your capital requests. Working through this exercise can help you clarify the path ahead.
It’s common for many small business owners to plan for a whole year and either blindly follow the plan to completion despite what changes or abandon the plan and fly blindly as situations arise.
Consider treating each quarter like a mini-year. The 12-Week Year approach is an effective way to evolve with the market and stay relevant.
In the meantime, take a closer look at what’s happening in your business so you can make informed decisions about your 2023 marketing efforts.
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