December 21


Top 10 Marketing Activities for 2020

By Ian Cantle | President, Chief Marketing Strategist | Outsourced Marketing Inc.

December 21, 2018

marketing activities, Marketing plan, Marketing Planning, Marketing Strategy, Marketing Tactics

The Top 10 Marketing Activities for 2020

Maybe you had an amazing year, maybe you didn't but you're determined the coming year will be different... better.  If you're like most businesses now is the time of year you take stock of the past year.  It's a time to look at your accomplishments and challenges, and create a plan for the upcoming year.  Having a plan is vital to your success.  If you're not sure what that plan should look like, here are The Top 10 Marketing Activities for 2020 for your business.

Marketing is a vital part of your business, but it's often relegated to a silo that stands on its own.  The truth is marketing weaves through almost every area of your business, and if it isn't, you're missing out on opportunities.  One definition I really like is from John Jantsch, author of Duct Tape Marketing.  John defines marketing as: Getting someone, who has a need, to know, like and trust you.  John expands this simple funnel into his Marketing Hourglass where marketing continues the conversation through the full customer experience of: Know, Like, Trust, Try, Buy, Repeat, and Refer.  This is important to note because your businesses job of connecting with prospects and customers is never over.

To take your business to the next level in 2020 you need to focus on core strategic marketing activities. 

Here are the top 10 marketing activities for 2020 list:

  • 1
    Marketing Plan
  • 2
    Marketing Calendar
  • 3
    SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  • 4
    Ratings & Reviews
  • 5
    Online Advertising
  • 6
    Focus on ONE Social Media Network
  • 7
    The Buyers Journey
  • 8
    The Sales Process
  • 9
    The Customer Experience
  • 10
    Tracking & Measurement

Now let's explore each of These Top 10 Marketing Activities:

  1. Marketing Plan

    • "If you fail to plan...you plan to fail"!  Harsh isn't it, but its quite true.  Failing to plan is an invitation for failure in your business.  Marketing is an area where this is a flashpoint, if you don't plan, you will be caught in a negative cycle.  Every day I encounter businesses that don't invest in planning their marketing, this results in them chasing the latest shiny marketing tactic, spending too much on the wrong things, and ultimately not achieving their goals. Don't feel bad if you find yourself in that group, it's easy to fall into that trap.

      The alternative is to develop a marketing plan that directs your business on what strategies to focus on, and the tactics and activities that will support those efforts, and measures your results against key metrics.

      Some great resources for you to develop a solid marketing plan are: Outsourced Marketing can help you create your marketing plan through a 2 day workshop or via our Strategy 1st Blueprint.

      If you're more of a self-serve type of person I suggest you get a copy of the book Duct Tape Marketing and The One Page Marketing Plan.  You can also download our Free eBook called 'The 7 Steps To Small Business Marketing Success' this ebook is a fantastic place to get inspired.  The key here is to create a marketing plan.
  2. Marketing Calendar

    • Many people, especially those that may have studied marketing in school way back-in-the-day, feel a marketing calendar is a little, well, simplistic.  I guess it harkens back to when our Mom's may have had a family calendar that kept the family on track.  You may have a negative reaction to this idea (I've seen it many times), especially with independently minded entrepreneurs.  A Marketing Calendar, however, is one of the most important marketing tools that will ensure you and your team sticks to your marketing plan.Your calendar exists for you and your team to deliver upon, but remember that the focus is on your ideal customers and prospects.  The activities you'll be performing should all be focused on your marketing plan and how you'll move prospects and customers through the Marketing Hourglass.Your marketing calendar should include the following key elements:
      • Monthly breakdown: Divided by month, you can always drill down further but a monthly view provides a birds-eye perspective and is a great start.
      • Seasons and Events: What are common seasons or events in your industry, your country, your city.  Do you have industry events that are important to you or your customers?
      • Key Metrics: What are the performance indicators that will help you know your on track to reaching your goals?  The reason we include this in the calendar is that you may have an event like a trade show on a particular date, and you'll want to ensure you measure what's important for that event. And it keeps your performance goals front and center.
      • Monthly Themes: What is your marketing theme for the month.  Many businesses find this helpful in directing their content development efforts such as blog writing or promotions.  If you focus on a theme it helps you align all your efforts.
      • Key Marketing Activities:  From your marketing plan what were your core strategies and tactics you defined?  You would list these out and build out the monthly deliverables for them within the calendar.  If blogging was a key strategy to educate and nurture new prospects, then you need to list out all the blog posts you'll require to achieve that goal.  Other common activities to list are: social media topics, video plans.
    • After years of refinement I highly recommend using a full year calendar, the format doesn't really matter as long as you adhere to it.  My favourite marketing calendar is one that's in Google sheets that's easily shareable and editable.
  3. SEO - Search Engine Optimization

    • Search Engine Optimization also known as SEO is a vital part of any business whether it's a traditional brick and mortar business or an online business.  Why?  Because SEO ensures your business is found when your customers and prospects are looking for you or your product or service.  If you're not focusing on SEO and your competition is, you're losing lots of opportunities to them.  And if you're like most entrepreneurs, this will cause your blood to boil.

      SEO is a complex science and art that weaves through almost every online aspect of your business.  It incorporates your website, social media, online reviews, directories, schema, and much more.  It's constantly evolving and changing so it pays to enlist the help of experts.  

      Choose your SEO provider carefully.  Choose someone who exudes integrity, is transparent with results.  Stay away from providers that guarantee you the #1 spot on Google.  The key to finding the best SEO expert is to choose a consultant that takes a holistic view of marketing because as mentioned earlier, SEO weaves through every area online, and if they're a one trick pony, they won't help you rank higher.

      Want to learn more about SEO, check out our eBook Local SEO Playbook.
  4. Reviews

    • Reviews have continued to become more and more vital to your overall business (even if you didn't know it).  Some business owners avoid proactively garnering online reviews because they think it will open up a hornets nest of potentially bad reviews.  The only time I agree with this is if your business has no satisfied customers and you deliver horrible products or services.  I sincerely hope that's not you - if it is, marketing isn't your biggest issue at this time.  Stop reading this article and fix your operations first, then focus on marketing.  

      If you have any satisfied customers than you owe it to yourself to start nurturing online reviews.  Why?  Great question!  Online reviews are now a significant Google ranking factor.  So important are they, that you may have noticed that Google now pulls in reviews into search engine results.  And not just their own Google reviews, but it now pulls in Facebook rankings, Yelp, and other review sites.

      A recent local SEO study showed that there are about 13 review ranking factors in the top 20 ranking factors for local businesses.  That's huge and should not be ignored.

      If that's not enough for you studies have shown that over 80% of consumers (B2B & B2C) read reviews before making a purchase, that they tend to spend more, and they tend to act more quickly when a business has more reviews, recent reviews, and handles negative reviews well.

      Check out our proactive system for turning satisfied customers into great only reviews: Review Funnel System.
  5. Paid Online Advertising

    • Online advertising isn't a great place to start your marketing, because you'll always be paying for any leads you land, whereas SEO and other activities continue to deliver long after your investment.  But online advertising is a great addition to your overall marketing plan.  It's a bit like Nitro in your fuel.  It can give you great bursts of traffic and leads to your business.

      Every business is different, and your advertising should be on the platforms where your ideal customers hang out, but for most businesses, I highly recommend using a mix of both Google and Facebook advertising.  Why both channels?  To answer this you need to understand how both platforms work:
    • Google Ads: Imagine being able to present your business to every prospect when they're looking for your product or service.  This is exactly what Google Ads does.  You can target your ads to specific keywords.  So when a prospect types in those search terms into Google, your ad will show up.  And if you've done your SEO work you will also show up in the Maps and Organic listings, giving the prospect three impressions of your business in one instance.  BAM!
    • Facebook Ads: If Google Ads connect with prospects who have a high intention to purchase, Facebook Ads are more akin to television or billboard ads.  They pop up unsolicited on Facebook (and Instagram) without the person specifically looking for your product or service.  So Facebook Ads are all about exposure and being in the right place at the right time (knowing that a percentage of your viewers are ready to buy).  Your Facebook Ad campaigns can target geographies, interests, groups, and demographics.  So they are more targeted than TV ads, but still more like a shotgun than a laser.  Facebook ads are very appealing because of their low cost.
  6. One Social Media Network

    • Only one channel?  No, not necessarily, but if you're a small business with few resources than I'd recommend focusing on one social media network to start with.  Choose the social network where most of your customers hang out.  Create an achievable plan for how many times you'll post on that channel, what groups you'll be involved in, and who in your organization will perform these tasks.  

      The key with any social media is 'involvement'.  You have to be actively engaged with people on the network in order to see any results.  So find a network you can commit to and spend some time each day giving to that network.  Share your blog posts, share quotes, answer questions, refer other businesses etc.

      When you have successfully leveraged that network for 3 months then consider looking at the next best social media network to get involved in (of course this should all be mapped out ahead of time in your marketing plan and marketing calendar).
  7. The Buyers Journey

    • Every buyer is on a journey.  Sometimes it's quick and direct, other times it involves deep research and takes time.  But it's vital to understand that every buyer is on a journey.  Your job as a business is to show up on their journey and come alongside them and help them through that journey.  To be their 'guide'.

      Every business and industry is different but every prospect goes through the same process no matter how quickly or slowly.  This journey is captured in the Marketing Hourglass of: Know, Like, Trust, Try, Buy, Repeat, and Refer.  So as a business what will you do at each of these stages to help prospects along their buying journey.  You can download in infographic that shows the Marketing Hourglass in action.  Here's an example of how an Orthodontist might leverage the buyers journey:
    • Know: SEO, Paid Advertising, Social Media, GoogleMyBusiness
    • Like: Video, Website
    • Trust: Online Reviews, Testimonials, Free Checklists or eBooks
    • Try: Free consultation and tour of office
    • Buy: Treatment start and on-boarding process
    • Repeat: Thank you cards, Customer survey, online reviews
    • Refer: Referral program, discount on whitening for referrals

      Of course the Marketing Hourglass gets much more detailed than this, but this provides a high level understanding of its value.
  8. The Sales Process

    • For most businesses, the sales process tells future customers what your business is made of.  If you are slow to deliver on your promises prior to purchasing than the customer will believe that you'll do the same after the sale and avoid working with you.  

      If you're late to meetings prior to the purchase, again, you're telling the prospect that you don't value their time and that you probably won't deliver on-time.  But the sales process goes much deeper than this especially if your product or service has a long sales process.  This is especially common in B2B sales.

      If you don't have a defined sales process that outlines what happens throughout the process than you can be sure you're leaving money on the table.

      The first step to defining your sales process is to document how you and your team currently sell.  The key here is to review how you sell not just from your perspective but from the customers perspective - what's their buying experience?  The next step is to review your current process and make refinements.  Another great tip is to ask people when they've made a decision to buy/not buy why they made that choice.  Find out what contributed to their decision.  You might be surprised to learn that some of your sales processes setup potential roadblocks for prospects.  But examination and planning can yield big rewards for you as you make it easier for customers to buy from you.
  9. The Customer Experience
    • Many businesses are so busy doing the work that they fail to scrutinize how they are delivering the customer experience.  This is different than delivering the actual product or service although this can be included here as well.  

      Here's an example of how customer experience is different from customer service: if you book a vacation on the phone and the person you are speaking with is friendly and helpful, that’s good customer service. Yet, if your tickets arrive early and the hotel upgrades your room, then that’s a good customer experience.  And if there is a fruit basket, cold water, and a note from the manager in your room, this is a great customer experience.

      Creating a great customer experience starts with a plan.  Begin with your vision of how you want customers to feel after working with you.  Be sure to understand who your customers are, and what excites them.  Determine how you'll measure customer experience and its success.  

      Map out the perfect customer experience and train your team to deliver it, then monitor, measure and tweak it.
      Want to learn more about creating amazing customer experiences.  Check out Joey Coleman's new book 'Never Lose a Customer Again' on Amazon.
  10. Tracking and Measurement

    • Peter Drucker famously said 'If You Can't Measure It, You Can't Improve It.'  Measurement and tracking is vital in every area of your business, and it's vital to understand what marketing is providing the greatest return on investment.  Your business absolutely needs a clear understanding of what marketing is working and what marketing isn't working, otherwise you're just burning up money.  
    • Big Data can paralyze you!  A note of caution, you can track everything today, and it's ok to have that data, but you simply can't effectively consume all that data.  You need to be the master of your data.  Tell it who's the boss by choosing metrics that mean the most to you.  Then monitor those metrics on a regular basis so that you can applaud success, effectively manage change, or tweak for improvements.

The Time To Start Marketing Is Now

If you've made it to the end of 'The Top 10 Marketing Activities for 2020', you may be thinking that this list is quite imposing, especially if you're a small business.  But don't fret, you have at your disposal some of the best marketers on the planet to guide you, cheer on your success, and do the work for you if that's what you want.  Kudos to you for investing in your future by reading this article, now its time for action.  If you think you would benefit from our team building out a marketing plan or by doing the grunt work for you, let's schedule a discovery call.

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About the author

Ian Cantle is the President and Marketing Strategist at Outsourced Marketing. His 20+ years in marketing and communications in a variety of industries have provided him with a unique perspective on what works and what doesn't in marketing. Ian founded Outsourced Marketing to fill a gap in the marketplace between businesses and sound marketing strategies and marketing systems. His goal is to take the mystery out of marketing and show business owners how a systematic approach to their marketing can provide exceptional results while easing the burden on them.

Ian has also co-authored the book 'Content Marketing for Local Search: Create Content that Google Loves & Prospects Devour' that provides local businesses with an unfair competitive advantage, available on Amazon.

Want to discover the Outsourced Marketing difference? Book a free discovery call or call us at 905-251-8178.

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