We know - it seems like only yesterday we were celebrating the start of Summer! - but as 2016 draws to a close, now's the best time to start planning for 2017. It's vital to put together a plan earlier on rather than leaving it to the last minute, to ensure marketing success for your business. It can be a daunting process, and often knowing where to start is enough to make you want to give up before you've even begun! So we've created 5 top tips, a sort-of checklist to guide you through the process. 1. Who? - Your Target Market Now's a great time to re-assess your target audience. How have things changed for your business in 2016? Are you going to adjust your focus onto a new demographic? It could be that you feel you've already fully-saturated the marketing potential in a particular geographic location, and now it's time to broaden your horizons and reach a market further afield. Narrow this down as much as possible by considering a few categories: Age? Location? Sex? Profession? 2. Where? - Whereabouts do you want to focus your efforts It's time to assess what really worked for you in 2016? Traditional marketing or digital? It could be that you've tried certain social networks for advertising and now want to reach out and try other platforms to extend your online reach. Or perhaps you succeeded with print advertisement, and want to target different publications? Remember: quality over quantity! Don't try to spread yourself too thinly, learn and assess what works for you and go with that. 3. What? - Your End Goal Every business has - or should have! - a focus, something they want to achieve. This should come across in your marketing plan. What do you want to achieve from your marketing efforts this year? Increase brand awareness? Boost your web traffic? Gain more followers online? Whichever you decide on, make sure all of your marketing efforts are in some way helping you make steps towards achieving that goal. Be specific here - obviously every business wants to 'make more money' or 'gain more customers' - but think specifically about what would help you achieve this. 4. Calendar Not only is it a smart idea to create a marketing calendar for organisational purposes, but it's also a great way to keep on top of your goals. Set monthly, even weekly targets throughout the year - then take the time out to see whether you're achieving them, and if not you'll be able to act quickly and see what needs tweaking/adjusting in your plan. 5. Budget Finally of course, is your marketing budget. It's a good idea to split this between digital and traditional marketing, before then breaking this down further. Take a look at your spend for the previous year - do you feel you really made your budget work for you? Did you get a good ROI? Assess this carefully before setting out your next year's budget. Happy Planning! Get in touch today if you need any assistance with your digital marketing campaign for 2017.