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It’s that time of year again! The holidays are coming to an end and it is time to get back to business.  Now is a great time to plan for the next year, so that when 2012 rolls around we will be off to a good start with our marketing plan. 

We all know that a successful marketing plan can make a big difference in our success.  Making a plan now will help you to keep on track and ensure you are spending your marketing dollars effectively.  Most importantly, it will help you to focus on your plans for the upcoming year.

The next question we all ask ourselves as we sit down to write out our plan is, “Where do we start?”.  We have to first take a look at the previous year and determine what worked and didn’t work for us.  Where did our marketing dollars succeed for us?  Also, you want to look at some creative and innovative ways to expand your efforts to reach other clients, without expanding your marketing budget.  Here are a few tips to help kick start your marketing efforts. 

-          Begin at the End.  In order to ensure the best tactics and strategies to meet your goals for 2012, you need to begin at the end. What do we want our end results to be? How much do we intend to make this upcoming year and what do we have to do to reach that goal?  In order to figure this out, we have to take the ending result and break it down over the next 12 months, into weekly and then daily goals. 

-          Look at Last Year’s Results.  Review your marketing plan for 2011.  Did your marketing plan exceed your goals?  Where were your marketing dollars most effective?  What lessons can you learn from last year that will help you increase the effectiveness of the dollars you plan to spend next year. 

-          Stop Doing What Doesn’t Work.  If you are placing ads in the Yellow Pages and find that you are not getting any business, don’t advertise there anymore.  Are you utilizing the social platforms that are available to you? Do you find that some work, and some do not.  Stop using the ones that are not working.  Letting go of something that isn’t effective can be difficult to do, especially when businesses are supposed to be using that “type of marketing”.

-          Be More Visual.  If your marketing plan is to increase your social media presence, do it.  Don’t forget that all marketing is Visual! Write out exactly which platforms you plan to use and do it.  Then visualize what you need to do in order to make those platforms effective.

-          Just Do It!  One of the biggest mistakes that businesses make when it comes to marketing is that they don’t put together any marketing plan.  It is important that you take the time to analyze your marketing strategy and see what is working for you.  You will be rewarded with better results. 

Whatever you do, resolve to write a plan. Having a plan will help you to be more focused and give you an idea of what you need to do this year to be successful.  Please feel free to post any comments that you feel will help others with their marketing efforts in 2012. Happy Marketing!

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