Marketing your business is an essential part of running a successful company. You need to make sure your work reaches the right audience. Developing a marketing strategy for your first quarter is often about collecting data and trying to keep up with trends.
To learn more about different marketing strategies to include in your Q1 business plan, keep reading below.
A marketing strategy helps entrepreneurs determine their business goals. How you market your product or services can help or hurt your business. You need to make decisions that will find your targeted audience and draw them in.
“Good marketing is really something that connects with an audience,” says James Isilay, Founder and CEO at Cognism.
While all companies have a marketing strategy, sometimes it takes time to determine what works and what doesn’t. A major benefit of creating a marketing strategy is that you can try a variety of strategies. If a strategy doesn’t create results, you can learn from them when making future decisions.
Marketing helps get your business in front of potential customers. With today’s use of social media, marketing departments are becoming larger and more important. As a business owner, you need to allocate part of your budget toward enhancing your marketing team and strategies.
“You can’t avoid the power of marketing,” shares Dakota McDaniels, Chief Product Officer of Pluto, an AI stock trading platform. “If you notice your sales are down or you aren’t reaching as many potential shoppers, change your marketing strategy.”
Even if you get in a groove with your marketing, be prepared for things to need a refresh. Trends come and go faster than some people can hop on them, but you won’t ever miss an opportunity to promote your business with a strong marketing team.
The first quarter of a business’s year is about collecting data and learning how to implement strategies to support your business’s longevity. The following strategies help in growing your business and finding your niche.
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If you’re an existing business, you’ll have the previous year’s data to analyze before planning your next quarter. Take what you’ve learned from the previous year and adjust your marketing strategy based on historical outcomes.
“Your last quarter can tell you a lot about the direction of your business. Collect this information and see where you’re thriving and where you need more work. That way, you know where more attention is needed when building your plan and allocating a budget,” explains Greg Hannley, Founder and CEO of Soba Texas.
Once you understand data from the previous quarter, you’ll have a baseline to work from as the first quarter progresses.
Your marketing strategy is only as good as the team creating it. Make sure everyone involved is committed to helping your business grow and allow them to try new strategies.
“CEOs don’t necessarily need to be hands-off in regard to their marketing department. However, if you’ve built a team you trust, you won’t need to worry! A strong team will know which strategies are best, and they’ll have more insight than a CEO who’s wearing too many hats already,” shares Amanda Howland, Co-Founder of ElleVet Sciences.
Laying the right foundations of trust will show them you support your team’s ideas and encourage them to work harder and take ownership of their work.
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Once you’ve collected your data and put a marketing team together, consider putting out a survey to your previous customers and get some feedback. Feedback can point you in the direction you should be heading towards and get an idea of what works for your customers and what they’d like to see change.
“The customers are your driving force. Without them, your business wouldn’t exist. Knowing your customer’s needs, likes, and dislikes might influence the strategies you decide to implement for the next quarter,” says Andrew Chen, Chief Product Officer of CommentSold, a company that helps brands reach consumers via Shopify live selling.
You don’t have to use all of the feedback you receive, but your marketing team will be able to utilize relevant feedback throughout the quarter. Plus, customers love knowing they were heard and will likely appreciate your efforts to accommodate their wishes.
Don’t compare yourself too much to others in your business niche. Remember, while they might be competitors, they have the same goals and aspirations as you! Use their knowledge to your advantage instead of putting yourself down.
“To be successful, you have to be on top of what similar businesses are doing to earn their success. See what they are doing well, and figure out how you can revamp your marketing strategies to find a similar outcome,” shares Cody Candee, Founder and CEO of Bounce.
Getting an idea of what is working and not working for your biggest competitors will be useful when setting your marketing goals for the quarter. You’ll know what to emphasize and what kind of marketing strategies to stay away from instead of trying ideas out blindly.
After acquiring as much knowledge as possible, come up with goals for the first quarter. These goals can include long- and short-term ideas, with the short-term goals building up to larger hope.
“When there is a goal you’re trying to reach, you can pick it apart to come up with a step-by-step guide on how to reach it, which can include different marketing strategies and tools,” explains Max Schwartzapfel, CMO of Schwartzapfel Lawyers. “If your long-term goal is to increase your following on Instagram by 50%, you can come up with milestone-based goals to track your progress and ensure your success.”
Setting goals will help to create a day-to-day plan to help boost your business’s growth. People from your marketing team can break down these goals into tangible action items and divide them among the group.
There are two ways to go about budgeting: You can either assign a budget for your marketing team to work around or have them give you an estimate of what they’ll need to reach all of their goals. It’s important to come up with a budget so you don’t overspend and utilize all of your resources.
“Every quarter, your budget is going to change. That’s why creating short-term goals is so important. They help you stick to a budget while reaching important milestones. Then, they inform you of what your next quarter’s budget should be,” shares Marcus Hutsen, Business Development Manager of Patriot Coolers.
Knowing your budget helps to map out the steps you need to take to reach your goals. The goal is to increase your sales with your marketing strategies so you can expand on next quarter’s budget.
Marketing can take you in a variety of directions. You need to know which social media platforms are going to be most useful for reaching your target audience. Before you start quarter one, talk with your marketing team and narrow your platforms down to whichever you feel will be most beneficial to use.
“When you look at the age range of your target audience, choosing your platforms will become apparent. Younger audiences will be using more of the newer platforms, like TikTok and Instagram, whereas an older audience might still be reached on Facebook and via email newsletters,” says Maegan Griffin, Founder, CEO and nurse practitioner at Skin Pharm.
Having someone who is on your team who is familiar with social media platforms is going to be essential in this step. Once you pick out your platforms, you can begin planning what your posts will be like.
Content calendars are great for organizing your content and keeping your team on track. Your marketing strategies are happening at all times, but your team might not be posting 24/7. This calendar will give you an idea of when posts are scheduled so you’re consistent with your presence and keeping up with the trends.
“There are too many platforms to be updated at once, and you don’t want the social media specialists getting overwhelmed. Social media is critical for marketing purposes, so be sure to stay on top of what’s being circulated to the public,” shares Maggie Brown, Founder and CEO of Recess Pickleball.
Staying organized is key. Marketing strategies are usually pretty targeted, but social media gives you a way to stay in touch with your customers and give your brand a personality. It helps draw people in and then keep them interacting with your services.
In recent years, there has been an influx in using artificial intelligence as a way for businesses to boost their reach. AI uses machine learning to understand who your customers are and what their needs are. This can be helpful to your business and marketing department if used correctly.
“As technology advances, AI’s transformative impact on marketing is becoming more apparent, empowering businesses to make data-driven decisions, personalize experiences, and deliver greater value to customers,” says research analyst and writer Nancy Githumbi.
AI will become more involved in businesses in many ways, so get ahead of everyone else and implement it when thinking about the first quarter. AI can help you stay on top of trends, reach new audiences, and gather information to use for upcoming campaigns.
A stretch goal is a goal you set at the beginning of the first quarter that’s just a bit out of reach. Working towards a goal that’s too big for the first quarter can help you push yourself in other areas. This might look like hosting an event, expanding your location, or partnering with local artists who are out of your budget.
“Everyone needs something to work towards. Your stretch goal isn’t meant to be reached by the end of the first quarter, but maybe from you working so hard to try to get there, you’ll have boosted your sales without even realizing,” explains Kevin Miller, Founder of kevinmiller.com.
Use this goal as the one you’re aiming for, but make sure the steps taken to get there are still useful to your business. As the common idiom says, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
Marketing will push your business to heights you didn’t think possible. If you invest enough time and money into your marketing strategies, you will see growth in your business in multiple ways. It’s essential your marketing strategies align with your business’s bigger picture and give your business a personality for customers to relate to.
When entering into your first quarter, make sure marketing is at the top of your list and plan for a long year of getting your business out to the public.