How to Plan Your Marketing for the Whole Year

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I love the beginning of the year, mostly because it’s a time for planning & goal-setting, and man, do I LOVE me a good planning session. I can get lost for hours planning out how to reach my goals.

 

I didn’t always love planning. For most of my life, the thought of planning anything was unbearable. The thought of planning what I did next week was inconceivable, let alone what I was going to do for the next year. 5-year plan? Ha! That’s for “other people.”

 

But I realized I rebelled against it because I had no idea HOW to create a long-term plan - especially for my business. (Looking back, it’s really amazing I’ve been around as long as I have considering everything was done on the fly for the first 8 years. 🤷‍♀️)

 

Now though, I have a solid system for planning out all my marketing for the year in only a few hours. The steps below outline how I create a whole year’s worth of marketing in a few hours, with all my content, posts, and offers planned out for the next 12 months.

Step 1: Start by asking yourself these 5 questions:

 

  1. WHY? What are your goals for the year and why do you want to accomplish them?
  2. WHO? Who do you want to serve this year? Who is your ideal client?
  3. WHAT? What do they need? What products or services can you promote or create to fulfill that need?
  4. WHEN? When are you going to release those products or services? (I use a Quarter system to define the What & When - on product or service for each quarter)
  5. HOW? How are you going to market those products or services to your audience?

The first 4 are easy; the 'How' is the hardest part and is where most people - myself included - get hung up. It’s where we start overthinking and overanalyzing, spinning our wheels, and getting frustrated before giving up.

 

But if you start with the Awareness Levels, it becomes far easier to manage.

 

What can you create that helps your ideal client move from Unaware —> Problem Aware —> Solution Aware —> Product Aware —> Most Aware for each product or service you plan to promote this year?

 

What do they need to know to move to the next level? Then create content around that.

 

Every Awareness Level has different needs and requires a different approach. Someone who is completely Unaware will never respond to a sales pitch, and someone who is Most Aware doesn't need to be reminded of the problem they're struggling with.

 

What most marketers seem to miss is that every time you start promoting a new product or service - even to an audience that knows you and your previous offerings, you're starting with Unaware prospects that need to be educated so they can move up to the next level.

 

When I'm mapping out marketing, either my own or my clients, I have a set of key questions that I ask about the offer(s) that helps me plan out the content that needs to be created for prospects at each awareness level.

Step 2: Answer these questions about each product you defined in Step 1.

Right-click on the images below to save your own copy.

Level 1: Unaware
Funnel Stage: Attract

Oblivious to you, your offer and your solution because they don't know they have a problem. They don't realize that a better way exists.

Questions:

  1. Who is this product for? Who is the target client?
  2. What is the big problem your offer solves for them?
  3. What are the main struggles or obstacles that prevent them from reaching success on their own?

Content Strategy:

Grab their attention by relating to the problems they might be facing

Yearly Planning 2.1
Level 2. Problem Aware
Funnel Stage: Attract/Interest

Know they have a problem, but may not know exactly what it might be. They've never dealt with it before so don't know how to solve it or that a solution might exist.

Questions:

  1. What mistakes might they be making in trying to solve the problem on their own?
  2. What misconceptions might they have about the process?
  3. What questions might they have about the solution to their problem?

Content Strategy:

Grab their attention by relating to the problems they might be facing

Yearly Planning 3
Level 3. Solution Aware
Funnel Stage: Attract/Interest

Know they have a problem and that a solution exists, but aren't necessarily aware of your solution.

Questions:

  1. What steps might they be missing when trying to solve their problem?
  2. What tips could you give them so they can experience a quick win?
  3. What tools or resources might they not know about that could help them?

Content Strategy:

Increase their interest and engagement with high-value content that requires a small commitment

Yearly Planning 5
Level 4. Product Aware
Funnel Stage: Delight/Encourage Decision

Know about your solution to their problem, but aren't yet sure that it's the right solution for them.

Questions:

  1. What is the big result your product or service will bring for them?
  2. What goal will they achieve because of your product or service?
  3. What change will occur in their life because of your product or service?

Content Strategy:

Increase their interest and engagement by highlighting the benefits of your offer and the changes it can bring for them

Yearly Planning 6
Level 5. Most Aware
Funnel Stage: Action/Convert

Are either clients or on the verge of becoming clients. Know the problem and solution, and have decided they want your solution. They only need to know how it works and how they get it.

Questions:

  1. What results have others achieved from your product or service?
  2. What is the unique benefit of your system or process?
  3. What do other people have to say about this product or service
  4. What is the main benefit of your product or service?

Content Strategy:

Content that sells, like sales scripts or pages, and private sales conversations

Yearly Planning 8

Once I can answer these questions, and tie them to the types of content I need to create, I've mapped out the outline for 3 or 4 big content pieces for that offer - typically 3 blog posts and a sales page.

 

Marketing needs content. And LOTS of it.

 

Successful marketing, on the other hand, requires content geared to DO something. It needs to attract your target audience and make them think, feel, or act. It needs to move them along their buyer’s journey, which means you need content for them at every stage.

 

If you’re just winging it when it comes to your content, your audience is going to have a hard time recognizing themselves in what you’re saying. This is why you need to have a strategic plan for your content, one that makes sure your content is exactly what your audience needs at that moment.

Step 3: Plan your Source Content

Using your answers to the questions above as prompts can help you create the main source content your audience needs at each stage of their buyer's journey, and help them move to the next stage:

Questions 1 - 3: Blog Post for Unaware Prospects

Questions 4 - 6: Blog Post for Problem Aware Prospects

Questions 7 - 9: Gated Content/Opt-in Offer for Solution Aware Prospects

Questions 10 - 12: Blog Post for Product Aware Prospects

Questions 13 - 16: Sales Content for Most Aware Prospects

Prospect Overview by Awareness Stage

Step 4: Plan your Repurposed Content and Posting Schedule

Once you've got your main source content, you can break down those big pieces for repurposing and republishing on other channels.

  • Turn written articles into video or audio, and vice versa.
  • Pull out key points and quotes for social posts.
  • Create an infographic walking people through the steps of your system.

If you plan your posts around your source content and use a question or two per week to guide your weekly posting theme, your content will naturally guide your audience up the Awareness Levels and through their buyer's journey.

And you'll always know what you need to be posting about.

Below is an example of what this might look like

**The image below comes from a new tool I've created that will help you automate this process. This tool will walk you through all the steps outlined in this article, plus a few more, and then auto-populate a calendar with a publishing schedule based on the date you want to release your offer.

I'll be releasing this soon (in early February, but the looks of this calendar😉), so if this is something that you'd be interested in having to make it super simple to create your yearly marketing, make sure you're following me on Facebook or Instagram, or that you get my emails. If you don't get my emails, you can CLICK HERE to sign up and I'll let you know when this new tool is ready. I'll also send you one of my best funnel resources - A massive checklist that will walk you through everything you need to create to build your digital sales funnel. 

Posting Calendar Example1