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5 Key Elements For Preparing Your 2023 Marketing Plan

The purpose of a marketing plan is to ensure that marketing activities are relevant and timely to achieve your company’s objectives. All marketing plans should have a strategy for marketing your products and services, that both attracts and builds relationships with customers while staying within the company’s budget.

A question I am often asked is “Is it too late to start a marketing plan in January?” The answer is “NO.” Though many companies complete their marketing plan before the end of the year, it is much better to begin your marketing plan when you are ready, rather than basing it on a calendar date when you are not yet ready yourself.

Marketing plans vary in format, but by including the following 5 elements, you are setting yourself and your business up for greater success. 

Marketing Goals and Objectives 

When you have a clear idea about where you want to go with your business, it’s easier to get there. A good strategy always starts with goals. Goals are statements you make about the future of your business – they are forward-thinking. Objectives are the steps you’ll take to reach those goals. Goals are Specific, Measurable, Assignable and Realistic and often referred to as SMART goals. SMART goals give us a foundation for holding ourselves accountable, and knowing when we’ve succeeded (or failed) and they need to be aligned with your marketing activities.

If you’re not sure where to start, you might find it helpful to first complete a business year-in-review audit of your 2022 business performance

Defining Your Target Market

Good marketing does not attempt to reach all people, rather it’s targeted to connect with a few specific and defined audiences. Your marketing strategy starts with your customers and understanding their needs, wants, and problems. Once you’ve identified those needs, you can develop a message to speak to them in a clear and consistent voice throughout all your media channels.

Performing Research Marketing

Research and identify consumer buying habits in your industry, the industry market size, whether the market is in growth or decline, and any other current trends. Your business plan strategies should communicate to your target market the value, benefits and features of your company’s products or services.

Planning Your Marketing Tactics

Develop compelling branding and marketing messages that clearly communicate how you want to be perceived. Messaging is the heartbeat of marketing. Creating educational content helps you build a solid relationship with your prospects, and can help turn your prospects into happy customers. 

Here are 3 types of marketing avenues to keep in mind when crafting your marketing strategies:

  1. Traditional marketing: Print, speaking engagement and networking
  2. Digital marketing: Website, social media, SEO and email marketing
  3. Content Marketing: Blogging, newsletters and writing guest posts

Developing Your Timeline and Budget

Determine how much money you need to allocate for the year to achieve your marketing goals. Break it down further by developing a monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual schedule of what percentage of the allocated funds you plan to spend on each marketing strategy during that time. To stay on target, for each marketing activity, establish a metric that tells you to stop if it’s not generating a sufficient return on investment (ROI). This will be your warning sign to reevaluate that activity.

There is no right or wrong way to write a marketing plan. Each business’s plan will be different from others. However, if you take the time and do your research, a good business plan will help you guide you and chart the success of your business. Both of which are vital to your business success!

If you are interested in creating a new marketing plan or reviewing your existing business plan strategy, send me an email so we can plan your next steps.

About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh-based marketing consulting firm providing senior-level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long-term basis. Core areas of service are business development strategies, website creation and management, social media management, marketing, strategic planning, and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business.

Refresh Your LinkedIn Profile In 2023

Young-business-woman-working-on-computer-at-desk-in office

LinkedIn is one of the largest platforms that challenges professionals to build strong networks, hire new employees, find new job opportunities and stay current with industry news and trends. It can also be used to network with peers, prospects and others, to help set yourself apart as a thought leader, and to build strong connections which can take your career and business to the next level. The question is: Is your LinkedIn profile strong enough and up-to-date to handle this challenge?

When done right, your LinkedIn profile tells everyone who you are and represents your personal brand in a way that differentiates you from others. Does your LinkedIn profile reflect where you are on both a personal and business level? If not, it’s time to give it a fresh, new update! 

Though the following sections by no means reflect all the opportunities available to you for your profile, these 5 areas reflect the key areas to focus on first when refreshing your profile for 2023.

Profile Picture

LinkedIn is a person-to-person networking platform, so it makes sense that people want to see what you look like. If you haven’t updated your profile picture in a while (or in years!), now is a good time to update your profile picture. Be sure your profile picture conveys professionalism appropriate to your profession, but that still reflects what makes you uniquely you.

Background Image

When designing your background image, use fonts and colors that match your brand guidelines. Remember that a plain background can immediately attract attention simply because it’s not distracting. It’s often best to avoid busy backgrounds unless you are in the business of creating pictures or illustrations that depict your own creative work.

Headline

Your headline needs to say who you are, what you do, and in a language your target audience understands and resonates with. It’s important to spend time on this one-liner! Choose keywords and descriptive words that show your exact skill set, your current or most recent job title and/or how you’re a good match for new opportunities. For extra credence, run your headline by peers, existing clients and others in your audience to ensure it resonates.

Skills

It’s likely that your skills have shifted and that you’ve perhaps expanded some while focusing less on others. Update your skills to accurately reflect where you are now. Be sure to validate that this section also represents those relevant skills that you have acquired throughout your career. Your skills section helps to demonstrate your commitment to growing and evolving as a business owner.  

Experience

Link your job to the company you work for. If it’s your own company, and you don’t yet have a business page, consider creating a branded business page to not only link in your experience section, but to also share your company updates, blogs and experiences. Doing so gives credibility to both you as a business owner and to your business. When you share your company updates, your logo will show on your profile and you will show up as the owner or as an employee who works, giving your work experience more credibility. Be sure to also link to past positions with prior organizations.

In summary, you want your LinkedIn profile to be up-to-date, professional and unique to you. By implementing the above tips, you will be able to Refresh Your LinkedIn Profile For 2023 and boost your presence for professional growth!


About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh-based marketing consulting firm providing senior-level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long-term basis. Core areas of service are business development strategies, website creation and management, social media management, marketing, strategic planning, and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business.

Three Ways to Expand Your Network this Holiday Season

Group of business people having coffee break during seminar to expand your network.

The holidays are upon us and one of the most striking benefits of the holiday season are the opportunities to connect. There will be more networking opportunities, and alongside these opportunities, you’ll find that individuals tend to be more open and more engaged. This is what makes the holiday season a great time of the year to build new connections, strengthen and reconnect with colleagues.

Networking is critical to your personal growth and business development. So though your days are likely busy, you’ll benefit greatly by taking the time to strengthen and maximize your network this holiday season. 

3 Segments of Your Audience to Connect with to Expand & Strengthen Your Network:

  1. Connect with new people. You never know who might become strategic partners, prospects, clients, or peers. The more people you meet, the more people there will be to get to know and remember both you and your business. If you make a great impression, you and your business stand out and it may lead to new referrals. On the same token, sometimes relationships that begin slower become some of the best long-term relationships. Remember that a solid business is built on connection.
  2. Reconnect with partners and colleagues. You didn’t mean to fall out of touch with old partners and colleagues, it just happened… you get busy, you change jobs, you move on. There was once a time when you both shared common interests or had common goals. It’s never too late to catch up on things and reestablish that connection. They can provide fresh, new perspectives from meeting different people and learning different things in the time you were apart. It can be awkward at first to reach out to them, but reconnecting can energize you and bring unexpected business opportunities that your current network may not be providing.
  3. Appreciate your current clients. There is an old saying that “customers are the lifeblood of every business”. This means that maintaining customer loyalty should be a top priority for every business. It is the loyal customers who will show up, buy from you time and time again, and refer to your product and services. Consider offering special discounts or incentives to let you know you appreciate them.

We talked about the three segments of your audience above. Now let’s talk about how to partake in activities that could expand your network with each of these segments, leading to stronger sales and more business opportunities.

3 Actions to Support Expanding Your Network:

  1. Attend community networking events. Whether it is a Happy Hour format, an industry-specific seminar, a luncheon, or a conference/trade show setup, the goal is the same… Attending a networking event is the first step toward meeting other professionals and/or customers. These events can help you increase the chances of mingling with your ideal prospects who should know about your business and brand.
  2. Set up individual one-to-one meetings in person or virtually. One-on-one meetings create a personal connection, build trust, and furnish immediate feedback on the topics at hand. These meetings also create an environment where individuals can discuss their thoughts in person and collaboration occurs more naturally. When networking one-to-one, be sure to ask how you can support the individual you are meeting with.
  3. Host your own event. Hosting an event is a fantastic way for you and your business to get immediate exposure within the community and to connect people together. Small Business Saturday is a great event to participate in. In last month’s blog “How To Prepare Your Business For Small Business Saturday“, I shared 5 ways to help you prepare for this special event.

By taking the time and incorporating these steps to strengthen and expand your network, you are well on your way to ending this year strong and starting the new year with a stronger network for both you and your business.

About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh-based marketing consulting firm providing senior-level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long-term basis. Core areas of service are business development strategies, website creation and management, social media management, marketing, strategic planning, and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business.

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