The ball has dropped, the confetti has been cleaned up, and 2020 is now in the rearview mirror. 

 

Perhaps one of your resolutions or goals for the upcoming year is to create more momentum in your business by developing a solid marketing strategy for the year ahead. 

 

Something that hinders many small businesses from getting their marketing plan up and running smoothly is a lack of organization. 

 

I get it, it can feel overwhelming when you aren’t sure where to start and what exactly you need to do to organize your marketing. I am going to break it down for you into four simple steps that will have you organized and ready to successfully market your business in the year ahead. 

 

If you’re ready to head into 2021 strong, read on! 

 

Step One: Establish Themes/Focus for Each Month 

The best place to begin is to start with the end in mind. At the end of the year, where do you want your business to have grown? How do you want your customers and clients to feel when they interact with your brand this year? 

 

Begin by breaking your year into four quarters and looking at just three months, or the first 90 days at a time when you get into the nitty gritty planning. However, if you have your compass set on what every one of the 12 months will look like in your business, feel free to do the whole year. 

 

You can create a simple spreadsheet, use a notebook or planner, or type it up in a place you will be able to easily access it. The key is to keep it top of mind and dedicate a special place for your marketing plan. 

 

Step Two: Break it Down 

This is the fun part! Now that you have established what each month will look like, the key is to break it down into specifics. 

 

For each month, take a look at what sales you have happening, what products you will be featuring (keeping in mind the seasons and consumer patterns), what news and events will you share. For some businesses, this will also include emails or newsletters, podcasts, blogs, live video, etc. 

 

Example: January Theme - Organization 

 

Blog: Four Steps to Organizing Your Marketing Plan 

Email: Top Organization Tips for 2021

Product Focuses: Sale on 2021 Day Planners, buy one get one on all holiday items

Podcast: How to De-Clutter Your Home Office

 

It will look different for each and every business, depending on your industry and what you offer; there is no one-size fits all. This process ensures that your unique business goals are being achieved as you structure your marketing around these areas. 

 

Step Three: Fill Your Content Buckets for Each Month 

No one wants to be constantly sold to, and breaking your content into these four “buckets” allows you to pull from different categories throughout the year: 

 

Promotional - This is probably our favorite as small businesses. Here is our opportunity to share sales, deals, offers, products, services, etc. It is important to remember to not be pulling from this bucket alone.  

 

Educational - This relates to material that your client avatar is interested in, and typically within your field. For example, if you are a florist, you might share plant tips for those who want to improve their green thumb. A marketing company might offer articles about the latest and greatest in apps and tech. You can also reshare articles from businesses that your clientele would benefit from, but who are not your direct competitor, or write a blog of your own to share!  

 

Inspirational - We’re all human, including your customers! Often when they are engaging with your brand, they are looking for positive quotes, things that make them laugh or smile, or something that makes life feel just a bit brighter. Be that positive light! Get creative and find what most resonates for your brand. 

 

Personal - Often people think this applies only to solopreneurs, but all small businesses can set their level of what they wish to share personally. Whether it be Furry Friday, in which employees' pets are featured, or Throwback Thursday where you share where your business was 12 years ago, this is a chance to create a connection point with your audience. What can you share about your business that will show them you are a real person (or people)?

 

Step Four: Time to Implement! 

Step four is putting it all into action! I recommend setting aside time each week to map out for the week ahead and if possible, schedule content out ahead of time. You can always include the in-the-moment pieces as they come up, but having it scheduled out will give you peace of mind knowing it’s all in place and purring along like a well-oiled machine. 

 

And one more important (and sometimes forgotten) thing to block out time for: Engagement! 

 

Engagement is just as important as the content you are putting out, especially when it comes to digital marketing! Set aside time to interact with your customers and get to know them better. 

 

With an organized marketing strategy in place that takes into account the whole picture of your business, you will feel more equipped in the coming year to achieve your goals and serve your customers better than ever before!

 

This article was written in partnership with wiseHer - a technology platform that provides on-demand expert advice for small businesses and women to accelerate their business or career.