Putting together a marketing plan can feel like an overwhelming exercise when you are looking forward to a new year.
One planning design principle I work with is to frame a year with some big picture parameters, then plan your year in detail one quarter at a time.
Besides knowing the big building blocks of your year (large events, timing of program or product launches, time off), it is hard to know in detail exactly what content will hit just right 9 or 12 months from now.
Here are some building blocks for your 12 Month Marketing Plan:
Words of the year:
I love to choose a word or two to set the tone and focus for the year.
In 2022, my words were “Grow Together,” which meant we focused a lot on growing the team, growing our operational structure and IP and scaling alongside our clients.
For 2023, my words are “Build and Sell” since we now have much more clear offerings, and opportunities to develop more specific partnerships.
Ways to determine your word(s) of the year:
- What is your business calling for?
- What words will remind you of your strategic focus?
- What words will keep you connected with your mission, and your customers?
Reaffirm Your Mission:
Why are you in business, beyond making a profit? Reaffirming or honing your mission will ensure your offerings, content and client work will give you a feeling of satisfaction and success, and build trust with your market as you fulfill your promise.
Our refined mission is “Help Architects of Liberatory Change build the tools of an equitable future.”
Determine Time Off:
To build a sustainable business, you want to start your planning by determining the blocks of time available to work.
Go to your calendar and block off:
-Any shorter weeks in season, like “Summer Fridays Off.”
(I blocked off the month of June 2023 to spend in Edinburgh with the family, in a mix of work and play!)
Core client audiences (no more than 2):
Using Susan Baier’s method from Audience Audit (detailed in Chapter 3 of The Widest Net), define your core audiences by problem, challenge or aspiration.
A helpful framework is: “I work with (type of audience or profession) who want to (insert problem, challenge or aspiration)”
My example is: “I work with architects of liberatory change who want to grow the impact of their work while increasing their income.”
To get more specific, Susan recommends the following question:
“Why haven’t they solved this problem before?”
How much gross revenue do you plan to make in 2023?
After all expenses, how much profit do you want your business to make in 2023?
What are the core offers you are selling in 2023?
Remember: if you want to scale, less is more, because you can spend your marketing time building a strong case around your offers instead of selling a big basket of different things.
Name the specific launch windows you are using to promote your programs and services. Even if you have evergreen offerings, it is a good idea to have some marketing activities that build your list or provide unique value (like presentations or webinars).
Content Themes (4 per core offer):
For each core offer, you should determine about four big content themes. It is ok if your themes overlap your offers, you just want to make sure that you are clear what you are promoting each time you share valuable content.
A good way to develop themes is to ask yourself (or your ideal clients!): “If you wanted to completely solve x problem, what are the main obstacles you would have to remove?”
Primary Beacon and Cadence of Content Delivery:
In The Widest Net, I define a Beacon as the “primary communication vehicle for your thought leadership.”
This should be a vehicle you own, like a blog, newsletter or podcast.
Choose a primary Beacon for 2023, and be sure to map your content themes to the delivery schedule.
Determine your specific cadence — whether it is once a week, twice a month or once a month, you need to ensure you are sharing useful information with your ideal audience so they know what you do and how you can help them.
2 Priority Social Media Satellites:
With so many social media channels available, it is important to focus on the spaces most frequented by your ideal audience.
While you can cross-post to multiple channels, focus on a maximum of two for lots of sharing and engagement.
Tiny Marketing Actions (TMAs):
What are the small daily and weekly activities you can take to nurture relationship with ideal clients and partners?
Make a list of 10 TMAs and see if you can rotate them through your entire year.
A fan favorite is the PB&J Partner Strategy.
To supercharge your TMA strategy, join the waitlist for the next Tiny Marketing Actions cohort.
With these core questions answered, you will be in good shape to plan a detailed quarter at a time.
Each quarter, review and refresh your plan and watch your business soar.
Prize inside: Are you interested in testing out a nifty marketing plan template we built on Notion to capture this info? If so, shoot me a message with “Notion marketing template” in the subject line and I will give you access.
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