24With less than two months left in the year, it’s imperative you create your new marketing strategy for 2020 now. How can you make sure it’s successful? There are nine key elements you should include to ensure your plan accomplishes your goals.

9 Elements For An Effective Marketing Strategy

1. Carve Out Funds For Your Marketing Strategy

If you’re serious about promoting your business, you need to put your money where your mouth is and invest in your marketing strategy. Not sure how much to set aside? A good rule of thumb is to dedicate about 10 percent of your gross annual revenue to your company’s marketing and public relations efforts.

2. Define Your Marketing Strategy’s Goals – Be SMART About It!

If you don’t set goals, how will you know if your marketing strategy was effective? Make sure the goals you set are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.

The goals you define will determine how you guide your marketing and PR activities for the year; take the time to set objectives that will achieve the results you want.

3. Clarify Your Branding Guidelines

Regardless of the tactics you plan to use, your marketing strategy will rely on consistent branding across your communications channels.

Whether a consumer visits your website, Facebook page or newsletter archive, the overall look and feel of your messaging should be the same. The best way to do this is by setting clear brand guidelines for your content creation team. This goes far beyond creating a logo! It includes:

  • Exactly which shades of various colors you’ll use in graphics
  • The overall look and feel of visuals you’ll use, from stock photos to in-house imagery
  • Which fonts you’ll use throughout your website, graphics, brochures and any other branded content
  • Types of vocabulary you’ll use throughout your content
  • Messaging you’ll use across all your platforms – this can include specific phrases and/or general tone of the text

For example, the Three Girls team knows that we use the Georgia typeface in everything, from the drafted content we send to clients for approval to emails, both internally and externally. We also have a set of guidelines our staff can refer to as they write blog posts and social media updates, design graphics or develop any other type of content for Three Girls.

Web Design Content Creative Website Responsive ConceptYou may want to consider refreshing your website as part of you 2020 marketing strategy.

4. Refresh Your Website

When was the last time you evaluated your website? If it’s been a while, it may be time to focus some of your marketing strategy on a refresh.

You want to make sure your website is visually engaging and compelling to visitors, in addition to strategically following search engine optimization (SEO) best practices.

Making your site appealing to search engines like Google helps users discover your website (more than 50 percent of traffic comes from search engines!), and designing effective content for the visitor ensures they stick around to learn about your business.

As you evaluate your website, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is it mobile friendly? It needs to be! According to Blue Corona, up to 70 percent of web traffic happens on a mobile device and 69 percent of smartphone users say they are more likely to buy from companies with mobile sites that easily address their questions or concerns.
  • How quickly does it load? Blue Corona reveals that nearly half (47 percent) of web users expect a page to load in 2 seconds or less, and 39 percent of users will stop engaging with a website if the images won’t load or take too long to load.
  • Is it visually attractive? Studies from Blue Corona show that a business has 10 seconds to leave an impression on a website visitor. Nearly half (48 percent) of visitors will determine how credible a company is based on the website’s designs and more than a third (38 percent) will stop engaging with a website if it’s unattractive.
  • Is the copy compelling? As visitors browse your website, do your words grab their attention and keep them wanting more? According to Conversion XL, users spend about 5.59 seconds reading your website’s written content. In addition to making it easy to digest, if you capture their attention effectively, they’ll stay for longer than six seconds, too.
  • Is it optimized for search engines? You want to design your website for your target audience, but if users can’t find it, they can’t be wowed by it. By folding in SEO best practices, like frontend and backend SEO, meta descriptions and more, you’ll make it that much easier for potential customers to find your website.
  • Should you invest in a chatbot? This can be a helpful way to connect with your website’s visitors. As Three Girls Marketing & PR Specialist Anna Izenman explains in this post about how chatbots boost customer engagement, these digital tools improve customer service, streamline the shopping process, personalize communication, improve response rate and automate repetitive tasks.

5. Dedicate Resources To Consistent Blogging

Blog concept with young woman wearing red glasses in her home officeAn active blog can help your marketing strategy in a variety of ways.

If one of your marketing strategy’s goals is to increase website traffic, blogging needs to be a priority in your 2020 plan. According to recent research:

  • Having a blog as part of your company’s website increases your chances of ranking higher in search engine results by 434 percent!
  • There’s a direct correlation between the number of blog posts on a website and its traffic; companies that published 21-54 articles saw an increase in traffic of 30 percent.

In addition to increasing your website traffic, a blog can also:

  • Provide a forum to showcase client testimonials and tell your brand’s stories
  • Increase your sales leads (according to Hubspot, companies with 16+ blog posts per month saw 4.5 more leads than those with between 0 – 4 monthly posts)
  • Increase conversions (Social Media Today says 61 percent of online consumers nationwide have made a purchase based on blog recommendations)

Clearly this is a tactic you need to include in your 2020 marketing strategy!

6. Infiltrate Inboxes Regularly With Email Newsletters

Not sure if email marketing is worth the investment for 2020’s marketing strategy? Think again! Hubspot reveals that 91 percent of shoppers want to hear from companies they do business with via email, and according to PR Daily:

  • Email marketing has an average return on investment of 3,800 percent
  • 81 percent of online shoppers who receive emails based on past shopping habits consider another purchase
  • 72 percent of consumers prefer to receive promotional content through email than social media

If you integrate email newsletters into your marketing strategy carefully, it can be an incredibly cost-effective way to reach consumers while making the most of other content you’ve already created. These types of messages are a fantastic place to share your blog posts as well as any videos, graphics or other designs you craft for your brand.

Group of Hands Holding Speech Bubble with Social Issue ConceptsSocial media needs to be included in your 2020 marketing strategy.

7. Create An Engaging Social Media Presence

With literally billions of users spending time on social media platforms around the world, it’s well worth the investment to foster an engaging presence on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and/or Pinterest. You don’t need to invest in every platform – in fact, I recommend against it. Research your audience to determine which social media networks they use, and then wrap those channels into your marketing strategy.

8. Invest In Targeted Advertising

Thanks to social media algorithms making it harder for organic content to stand out, it’s more important than ever to include advertising in your marketing strategy. Plan on at least a modest ad campaign to increase your visibility on your top platforms.

If your budget is tight, I’d recommend running a few initial tests to see which social media platforms are best for your brand, as well as which types of ads resonate with your target audience. This valuable data can shape your paid (and organic) social strategy by providing helpful insight into which social media channels to focus on, what types of updates are most compelling and how to shape your message in ways that will connect best with your target consumers.

9. Review Analytics And Refine Your Marketing Strategy

Speaking of analytics, make sure you include regularly reviewing available data in your marketing strategy! Taking the time to review Google Analytics, social media insights and both email open rates and click throughs will provide much better direction than all the top industry research you can find.

Specifically look at how your readers and followers are responding to your content. While you want to give your marketing strategy time before you drop a tactic or reallocate your funds, reviewing these insights can help you fine-tune your approach to make sure you’re presenting your company’s messages in the best ways possible. Remember, the whole point is to connect with people. By looking at the analytics, you can listen to what they’re saying through their reactions, comments, shares, clicks, amount of time spent on a page, etc.

Read more: Best Don Draper Quotes on Advertising and Life to Help Hit Your Goals