I can’t reiterate enough the importance of planning out your marketing strategy for the year ahead. As a busy entrepreneur myself, I know marketing can seem like the last thing we want to tackle on the to-do list. BUT, that can be a major mistake in running your business or organization. You see, marketing isn’t something you start when you feel good and ready. It is a continuous strategy that lasts all year long and works 24/7. I’ve gathered some simple questions to use as a guide to get your wheels spinning and start that marketing game plan for a successful 2016. Feel free to share!

#1 What is your overall goal is 2016?

Give yourself numbers and achievable milestones.  Increase in sales? Increase in productivity? Hiring new staff? Expanding locations? Raising more money? Write them down on a big white board in the office or somewhere clearly visible to remind you every day of what the goal is. From there, choose which marketing options will help you achieve those goals.

#2 What marketing strategies will I need to achieve those goals?

Do you need a new website or update the one you have? New marketing material? Videos for web or TV commercials? Testimonial video? PR campaign? Advertising? You may need a little bit of everything. The good news is that you can call us here at HeartFire Media to help you prioritize which thing you need to get done first. My best advice to all clients is to get the website done immediately. And, I’m not talking about the $9.99 website you get do yourself from Wix.com. You will end up wasting your time and money trying to be a web developer. Can I change my own oil in my car? Yes. Will I do that? No, I leave it to the pros. Get a professionally done website that is comprehensive and convenient for potential customers who are visiting your site. And for the love of sweet baby Jesus, make it mobile-friendly. Don’t forget Google penalizes you for not having a mobile-friendly website.

# 3 What is my budget?

This is a big one. Many of you aren’t aware that there is such a thing as a marketing budget. For those of you ready to take your business to the next level, make a marketing budget and make it fast. The largest companies in the world are ALWAYS marketing and ALWAYS advertising Just ask Coca Cola, Apple, McDonald’s, and Disney. They know what I’m talking about. Your investment can range from a thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Just remember the more you put into it, the more you will get out of it. For example, HeartFire Media spent about $15,000 in marketing this year from website maintenance, local advertising, sponsorships, Chamber memberships, and FB ads and business doubled. In 2016, we will probably do close to $25k because I understand the importance of that investment. Think long and hard about your goal and start planning on spending at least 10-15% of your monthly budget on marketing.

#4 What content do you need to prepare?

Without figuring out your goals for the year, this one will take some time. If you plan on re-branding, you will need to think of creative messaging to tell the audience along with a new logo design. Think of 20 different ways to say the same thing and write them down. This list will help you with blogs, advertising, website content, and social media posts.

#5 Ask yourself…am I willing to commit to making these projects happen?

Execution is key here. We can plan all we want, but if we don’t execute it’s pointless. Take time to commit to investing in your own business, you have nothing to lose. What could happen? Someone sees that you have an actual video on YouTube? Someone picks up a snazzy brochure of yours? Someone stumbles upon your website from Google? Someone likes the way you come across and gives you a call? Marketing doesn’t sound too risky at all. NOT marketing is a big risk and more than likely will not bring you any results.

#6  Meet with a marketing professional ASAP!

At HeartFire Media, we are happy to sit down with you to go over your business model and what we can do to increase revenue. Our key strengths are that we are a creative, cost effective, and have excellent project management skills. We can give you an outside perspective and think of creative ways to reach your target audience. We love what we do and strive to be the best media and marketing company in San Antonio. Feel free to give us a call for a FREE 30-minute marketing consultation.

Remember- you can be great at what you do, but if no one knows who you are, it really doesn’t matter. Get your name out there! Let’s Go BIG in 2016!

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