Peter Boolkah CEO of Visibility CEO and Business Coach.

Member Article

Your 12-month marketing plan.

It is the start of a new year. As we head into 2024 and with a fragile economy many business owners may be looking to make cuts. Those cuts are often away from the direct productivity of the business. Marketing departments are often affected by cuts. As a business owner and coach, I never advocate that as the right thing to do. Being visible in a tough economy is paramount. For that you need marketing. You need to come up on search engines so your SEO should be taking you high up targeted Google searches. Your social media should be strong. Email marketing must be consistent and hit the right audience, PR gets you into the media and builds your reputation and workshops and webinars are also a fantastic way of showcasing your business. However, to be visible in all those areas which are necessary for the longevity and survival of your business takes time. As a business owner, you may not have that time. Do not get rid of your marketing team. Streamline it if you have to but NEVER get rid of it.

Most business owners are not naturally good at marketing. As a successful business owner, you are usually an expert in a particular part of your chosen industry. That is where your creativity and knowledge shine. Marketing is a completely different animal. It is an industry within itself. Marketing is an elusive concept to most business owners. We often think we understand the different facets of marketing and their worth but understanding how to reach these marketing goals is not so simple. This is why marketing professionals can command high fees to help businesses become more visible and grow their reputations. Take a marketing plan, for example, many of us don’t know what ingredients should be inside of a marketing plan. They know they need to have a plan. They know there needs to be consistency around communications and promotions, but many people do not know what that means.

A monthly newsletter alone is not a marketing plan. It is part of a marketing plan. A marketing plan is a 12-month, month-by-month process that puts your business from defence (reactive) to offence. If you are only reacting to the events within and around your business, you may miss them or be chaotic in your scattergun approach to dealing with them. Technology plays an important part in a marketing plan. Years ago, it was much harder to gain reach through marketing but because it was contained to papers and direct mail it was more tangible and easier to land. Now it is digital and that can be abstract for businesses as the world of digital marketing covers a wide sphere. Some CEOs and entrepreneurs do not have digital experience and when they started there were not computers or they certainly were not as widely used. They need to relearn how to use technology in a marketing strategy. It will undoubtedly save them time.

Many of us fall into the trap of thinking that social media marketing is all we have to do to successfully market our businesses. They believe that If they are on top of their social media, then they are marketing but this is not true. Social media is very valuable in terms of marketing but is just another way to connect with people and should be viewed as such. Social media is again a part of marketing which must be fully understood before being implemented. As entrepreneurs, there are many webinars and courses that you can do to get more knowledge. For some smaller start-ups and sole traders, this may be enough for you starting out but as your business grows and you start to gain more followers you may need expert help. Understanding algorithms and hashtags can be confusing. Social media platforms are moving more towards images and video. You need to learn how to showcase your business and what you do in a consistent and catchy way in terms of imagery and video content. With so many people using social media, it can often seem like it is a saturated market. However, getting social media right could grow your business exponentially. Social media should always be a part of your overall strategy, not THE strategy.

With social media, content is key. It needs to be Inspirational. Even if your business might not on the surface be inspirational there will be aspects of it that tap into people’s needs and wants. It is important to note that within social media there are three different types of posts that businesses should embrace. The first one is inspirational content. Find a way to inspire people who are on social media. You can do that by finding motivational quotes or sharing a little bit of what the company means to you. Start humanising yourself. People want to know a bit about the personality of the brand and know that you are real. Share images and information about your team. Who they are and where they are from. Intellectual posts are posts that might not get a lot of engagement but are good for establishing yourself as an authority. You will need to do research into what type of information people want to know. Work out the articles you could share and from which publications might align with your audience and potential customer base. Also sharing research is great and reinforces the reason you do what you do. The third type of post is living out loud. That’s when you have a great client interaction and you post about it. Testimonials are great for these types of posts. You share client wins or big projects if it is OK. This gives the customer an idea of what you can do for them and what you are already involved with.

Good marketing is a comprehensive process. It’s a combination of email, social media, print, text messaging, SEO, copywriting, workshops, webinars and networking within your community including physically. You can see why businesses have marketing departments or hire marketing professionals to help them with their strategies!

This article was written by Peter Boolkah, CEO of Visibility SEO and a business coach with over 25 years experience helping businesses to grow, scale up and increase their revenue.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Lucy Hood .

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