How to Plan a One Year Marketing Strategy in 5 Steps

You know you should have a marketing strategy. It would really help you get ahead of the game and not be so frantic all the time.

But you don’t because it feels so overwhelming. Planning is not your strength. You’d rather just do it. Where would you even start?

Because you don’t plan, you end up missing a lot of opportunities. You’re always pulling together last-minute, half-baked marketing campaigns. And it causes you a lot of stress.

You should make a marketing strategy, and you should plan it for an entire year. It’s not that hard. I’m going to show you how to do it in 5 steps, and you can do it under an hour.

1. Decide on a Few Major Goals for the Year

For the rest of this year or for next year, what are your major goals?

Sure, you want to increase sales and donations, but get a little more specific than that.

Maybe you want to increase the number of first-time customers, or you want to increase recurring donations. Maybe you want to grow your leads list or get better conversion rates in your funnels. Or you might want to grow your audience or engagement on social media.

List out all your goals, then identify your top 3 to focus on. Sure, you can still work on the others, but these 3 will help shape where you focus your marketing efforts.

2. Break it Up into Quarters or Seasons

Split your year up into 3-4 seasons.

There’s the standard quarters in business:

  • Q1: January – March
  • Q2: April – June
  • Q3: July – September
  • Q4: October – December

Maybe you follow more of a school schedule: Spring, Summer and Fall. Think of whatever makes the most sense for your industry.

After you’ve established your seasons, decide which of your major goals to focus on for each season. Maybe it’s a progression, such as social media engagement in the spring, email lead generation in the summer, then customer sales in the fall.

3. Line Up Major Holidays

Look at the holidays that matter to your industry and mark them in your calendar, noting what season they fall in.

There are the major holidays like Christmas and New Year’s. But maybe there are other less popular holidays that are relevant to your industry such as Earth Day or National Donut Day.

For a comprehensive list of holidays for the year, check out this article.

4. Choose a Major Focus for Each Month

Look at each of the months in a season and set milestones to meet your goals for that season.

For example, if your primary focus goal for Q1, Jan-Mar, is to increase social media engagement, it could look something like this:

  • January – increase content production, emphasis on more videos
  • February – run ads to increase audience and post engagement
  • March – add live videos and stories

Or if you have consistent campaigns that you run each month, such as email/social/blogs, you could add theme focuses for each month:

  • May – Mother’s Day & graduations
  • June – Father’s Day & beginning of summer
  • July – Independence Day & continued summer

5. Plan Out Action Steps for the Next 2-3 Months

Take a look at the next 2-3 months coming up, and start planning out specific tasks to meet the goals of each month. Make sure you assign specific people and deadlines to each task so you ensure it gets finished.

You can do this on a monthly rolling basis, where you’re always 3 months out. Or you can do this towards the end of each season or quarter, where you plan out the entire next season.

You don’t have to keep doing marketing on the fly. You shouldn’t. Stop feeling like you’re always behind, like you’re missing out on opportunities, and like you’re always frantic with throwing stuff together.

If you want to do this well, I would block out a 2-3 hour session with your team to work through this, like I do with most of my other teams. But if you want to pull together a marketing strategy that you can use in under an hour, and then revisit later, then hammer it out right now.

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