As impossible as it may seem, we are only a few short months away from the start of 2020. There is still a lot to be done in 2019, but when it comes to marketing your business, investing some time to look ahead to see how you can prepare yourself and your business for what is to come can do a lot for you in the long run. During the month of August, I will focus on how you can position yourself and your business for marketing success in the coming year.

This is the last blog in my series about looking ahead and preparing to market yourself successfully in the coming year. During the previous three weeks, I?ve written about marketing trends, developing a system of marketing, and the value of telling the story of your business. I also recorded and published videos for each of those topics on Beacon Marketing?s YouTube Channel

In those blogs, I focused on theories around marketing which I believe will impact how we all promote ourselves for the upcoming year and beyond. This week, I want to focus on some tangible tips you can begin employing today to better position yourself for marketing success in 2020.

Set Your Organizational Goals for the New Year

The ultimate goal of any marketing strategy is to grow your business. Knowing the direction that you want your business to go will factor into how you promote your business. 

Take some time to think about where you want to be in the next six, twelve, and eighteen months. Detail the milestones you wish to meet in those time frames. These organizational milestones should dictate how you set your marketing goals.   

Align Your Marketing and Organizational Goals

Once you have set your organizational goals, it is important that you design your marketing goals and efforts work towards getting you closer to your organizational milestones. 

For instance, let?s say you own a floral shop and your organizational goal is to renovate your front window so you are able to showcase more of your arrangements. You would like to begin the renovation in the next nine months, and to do this you need to increase sales by 20% over the first six months of 2020. 

The best way to do this to focus on the services that deliver the greatest margin. Let?s say that is weddings. You would focus your marketing efforts on attracting wedding clients. 

Evaluate Your Resources

As you begin to prepare for 2020, it is important to look at the resources you have to work with. It makes no sense to design plans for your marketing efforts if you do not have the tools to carry out those plans. 

Your resources might include your staff, money, any previous marketing material, and assets like videos and images. Don?t forget to include how much time you are personally able to devote to marketing your business. 

Last look at your current marketing channels to see how you can improve them so you can use them to maximum effectiveness in 2020. Things like your email list, social media presence, and website should all be viewed as assets. 

The last few months of 2019 are the best time to improve the standing of the resources you wish to devote to marketing so you are able to hit the ground running in the new year. 

Define Your Target Audience

You probably already have your target audience defined, so this may not be a big undertaking. Nonetheless, it does help to reevaluate your target audience to ensure it is aligned with what you are working on currently and which goals you are targeting. 

Going back to the example of the floral shop. If you are looking to book more weddings for the first year, then you should focus on targeting brides, wedding planners, or venues that host weddings. These are all avenues that are likely to get you in front of people who are likely to get you closer to your organizational goals. 

It should be noted that this does not mean you exclude you other audiences, but rather you make a certain segment of your audience a priority. 

Ensure All Your Marketing Channels are Aligned

This can be considered an offshoot of evaluating your marketing resources. Remember: your digital marketing channels, such as email, website, and social media, is how most of the world will see and interact with your brand. 

And because you want to take a multi-channel approach to your marketing efforts, you want to put your best foot forward. Taking some time to ensure your branding is consistent, that all information in your bio and about sections are correct and up-to-date, and even working on growing your list of emails is another way to position yourself to have a really great start marketing your business in the new year. 

Determine What Forms of Marketing Content to Develop

Marketing content is how you communicate with your audience, and every piece of content you develop and publish should have a purpose. You want to make sure you are addressing the needs of your audience and delivering it on the platforms from which they are most likely to get their information. 

Sticking with our floral shop example: If you are targeting brides-to-be, you should be posting content that focuses on different color and floral arrangements, which flowers work best during each season, or current wedding and floral trends. 

In short, focus on anything that establishes your authority while addressing the needs of your clients. 

Create a Plan for Implementation

This is where a lot of people and businesses struggle, because until now, everything is pretty much theoretical. Up to this point, you are mostly thinking and outlining what you would like to happen. 

Now it?s time for the rubber to hit the road. You must determine how you will turn your plans into reality. That is why you need a plan for implementation that will help you work effectively and efficiently, which is important for any small- or medium-sized business owner. 

We are only four short months until the start of 2020, and with the holiday season right around the corner, it will seem more like four weeks. I suggest that you begin working on at least some of the tips above so you can set your business above and apart from your competitors.

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