I bet you started 2016 ready to have your best year ever, filled with desire to take your business to the next level. Well, the first month of the year is behind us, how are things shaping up, all good? Or are you off to a bumpy start? The good news is – it’s never too late to set aside a few hours of dedicated “think time” to get things on track.

Step away from the coalface for a few hours and think about your business. Think about your goals for the year and commit them to paper. Then formulate a plan to get you where you want to be by the end of the year.

To get you started, here are six tips that will help you create an effective marketing strategy to support your business goals:


Visualize what your business looks like at the end of the year and set goals to support your vision. Be realistic about what you can achieve; a renewed marketing effort isn’t going to bring you new leads if your product is in declining stage of the product life cycle – you better start innovating. Similarly, planning to go from $2 million in revenue to $8 million is probably unrealistic. Be objective, set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely) goals that will keep everyone focused and accountable during the year.


Identifying who you’re not selling to is just as important as identifying who you are selling to. This year, save time, save energy, and save money by building your ideal customer base. Make a list of your favourite customers; customers you love working with every day and with whom you have the ideal relationship – a partnership. Then think about what you need to do to attract customers like them. At the same time make a list of the customers that are not ideal; customers that are not profitable, that don’t match your values, and that won’t benefit from your product or service – let them go. Once you’ve established your ideal customer profile, it becomes easier to qualify prospects.


It’s important to understand what your customers are really buying. This often extends beyond your product or service, going to the core of your business. When what you are selling is aligned with your business goals and values, you may get some surprising responses when you ask your ideal customers why they choose to do business with you. For instance: your fit with their culture, your experience in a particular niche, your attention to their business. This will help you get to the core of your reputation, which can be a unique competitive advantage for your business.


But don’t be consumed by what they are doing. Target fixation can distract you from your own vision. Keeping a close eye on your competition is healthy, obsessing over them can result in a reactive strategy. Consider the ways in which your customer base, products/services, and goals compare to your competitors. Create a listening station using tools like Google Alerts and social media to help monitor what competitors are saying and doing. Consider how this could impact your marketing strategy. And don’t assume that just because they are doing something different that they are better.


Creating and executing your marketing strategy takes time and money. DIY Marketing is a viable option, but if you have an aggressive growth strategy, you need to get serious about your marketing.

If you opt for the DIY approach, don’t waste your time cobbling together an array of inexpensive marketing tools. You will spend more time configuring the plumbing than doing any marketing. Get serious and invest in a marketing automation tool like Hubspot. Alternatively, partner with a marketing expert while you get on with running your business.

6. Execute, Execute, Execute

Schedule regular time to monitor your strategy and execution. Implementing a system like The Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) will give you a simple set of tools to systematically and permanently improve.

With a couple of hours this week spent thinking through these five steps and putting a plan in place you can begin to deliver exciting growth for your business and stay on the path to profits that will outpace your competition.