Looking for a marketing approach that actually leads to revenue? Start with SchlickArt Strategic Planning Sessions.
One of our favorite days of the year at SchlickArt Studios is our Strategic Planning Day, when we get together as a team to review our goals and assess our progress.
You could say that strategy – and achievement – is part of what gets us out of bed every morning.
We love it.
And we’re sharing the process we’ve used and perfected over 10+ years to set and reach our goals with success.
Welcome to SchlickArt Strategic Planning: Here’s how we create an annual marketing plan that actually leads to revenue.
The SchlickArt Strategic Planning Approach To Marketing
1. Start With Money
One of the things we tend to do backwards is goal-setting. We look at how much we’ve been making and strive to make a little bit more in the year ahead. Or maybe we set other business goals, such as higher engagement rates or more followers, without really knowing how those goals will serve the bottom line. Oftentimes, we end up skipping the goal-setting phase entirely, getting caught up in the chaos of the holidays and new year celebrations. That’s why we’ve found that the best way to set goals is to start with what you actually want to make this year.
That’s right. Choose the number that makes you feel just a little stretched – but seems exciting and possible. Even if you come close, you’ll still have made serious progress.
Once you have your big-picture revenue goal, the next step is to break it down into a monthly goal. Don’t forget to account for vacations, when you potentially won’t be earning revenue. You may want to divide your annual goal by 11 if you plan to take two weeks during summer, a week during the holidays, and have room for sick days.
Now it’s time to figure out how many people you need to serve each month in order to reach your monthly revenue goal. If you look for people, instead of the number of sales, you’re more likely to build relationships that make hitting your target easier, rather than simply focusing on one sale to the next all year long. Plus it keeps your head focused on the point of it all: serving people.
2. Review & Reflect
Now that you have a clearly defined goal, it’s time to get clear on how you want to achieve it. We like to start by reviewing what worked and didn’t work from the past year, followed by some big-picture brainstorming for the year ahead.
Start by looking for insights from last year’s revenue. Which months were strong, and which months were weak? Did your seasonal promotions perform well? Did you run any special marketing campaigns? Were they worth it?
Next, review your key marketing strategies and pull up any analytics you have access to, including social media channels, your website, email clicks, and more. What performed well? What needs to be improved or dropped? Determine which marketing strategies may need time to mature before you give up on them, while others may cause “shiny object syndrome” and aren’t really right for your audience or goals.
Before you make any final decisions on marketing strategies, take a look, at where your leads and customers are coming from. Where do you get the most leads? When/how are you most likely to turn a lead into a customer? What marketing channels bring you high-quality customers, and what channels bring you more hassle than they’re worth?
Now you’ve got a clear picture of what works – and what you’re ready to let go of.
3. Do Your Research
Once you’ve identified your revenue goals and cleaned house, it’s time to do a little research. If you want to attract new clients, you’ll need to figure out who your target audience is – and where you can find them. Plus, so much is changing with the introduction of AI. There’s a lot to catch up on in the digital marketing world of 2024.
Audience Research: Spend a minute identifying your ideal customers and where you can find them. Which clients do you value most and why? What do those customers value most about you? How did you find these customers? How can you find more like them? Then learn as much as you possibly can about your target audience. What platforms and content types do they prefer? What are their values? What do they care about? What are they interested in? Knowing your audience on the deepest level is crucial for any marketing plan, but it’s even more important in times of immense change.
Power Partner Research: Once you know who you’re looking for, it never hurts to enlist some help in finding them. Who already has your audience’s attention? How can you work together to create audience crossover? Are there ways you can support each other in your marketing efforts, so everyone wins? From affiliate marketing to referral programs to a simple cross-post on social media, partnerships can act as the catalyst you’re looking for.
Market Research: What strategies are other marketers successfully using in your industry? What tools and resources can help you achieve your goals? What content types perform the best, and what is the best way to create them? What do you need to learn in order to feel comfortable executing your plan?
Ask these important questions to reach answers that actually help you meet your goal.
4. Choose Projects With Purpose
With your research and goals in place, now you can choose your marketing projects with the bottom line in mind. This is where all your previous work comes together: who you want to reach, the best channels to reach them, the strategies that converted your high-quality leads into long-term customers, and the research-backed strategies that could be beneficial to you moving forward. With this information in mind, hone in on 2-3 marketing strategies or projects that will help you reach your target market with the most ease and efficiency this year.
With so many options available, you’ll need a clear set of criteria to choose. We suggest making your decisions based on what’s doable. Choose one strategy based on what worked best last year. Choose one strategy based on what needs to be improved or updated within your business to create some fresh attention for your brand. Then choose one strategy based on what needs to be added to your marketing lineup, according to current research.
If resources and means aren’t too much of a concern for you, a second option is to choose your marketing projects based on the client lifecycle. Choose one strategy that builds awareness with a new audience. Choose one strategy designed to convert leads into clients. And choose one strategy that nurtures your current client base to maximize your repeat customers.
Regardless of how you choose, make sure you’re choosing your strategies with purpose and your revenue goal in mind.
5. Assign Tasks & Deadlines
Congratulations! The big-picture planning is done, and you’re well on your way to creating marketing content that actually builds your bottom line. Now it’s time to figure out the details. (Try not to get overwhelmed at this point in the process – we promise the hard part is over!) Start simple. Grab a piece of paper or a notebook, and write a list of tasks required to implement your goals with success. Do a “brain dump” of all the tasks that need to be completed for each strategy, including one-time and ongoing tasks.
Next, assign a person and a deadline to each task. If you really feel like getting organized, you can create a timeline or calendar dedicated to tracking your progress, too.
Before you consider this list done, be sure to ask yourself a tough question: Is this realistic? Will this stretch me too thin before I have a chance to complete it? How can I streamline it by hiring someone, asking for help, or looking into a new piece of technology? The easier you make these strategies to implement, the more likely you are to stick to them.
6. Gather Your Resources
Now it’s time to gather your resources, so you can see what you have and what you need for the year ahead. One of the most often overlooked resources is support, but the more support you get, the more you can achieve this year! So dig in and ask for help where you need it. Here are a few places to start.
Brand Information: Gather everything you’ve written or created for your brand. This could include buyer persona guides, style guides, core values, policy and procedure documents, bios, key stories, marketing copy, and more. Anything that defines and explains your brand or your value should be gathered in one place.
Completed Content: Next, you’ll want to gather all the content you’ve already created. This could include photos, videos, podcasts, interviews, media coverage, landing pages, websites, print marketing materials, business cards, and more. Get everything in one place, even if you feel like it’s outdated. You can even do an audit of your materials at this point, so you know exactly what you need and don’t need.
Tools & Technology: Think about the tasks ahead. What can you delegate to a piece of software or technology? Do you need a content management system? Maybe you need equipment to ensure quality content creation. Whatever you need, consider what you can delegate or automate with technology.
People & Partnerships: Think about who you might need to support you along the way, such as experts, skilled professionals, or a new team member. Consider who will cheer you on and help share your content. You could even assemble a group of peers who share each other’s content, like a digital networking group.
7. Create Content
It’s time to create! Once you know what you have, you can decide what still needs to be created. Don’t forget your audience research here. Consider the types of content your audience likes best. Do they respond better to video? Maybe your audience prefers Instagram over Facebook. Think about these details as you choose your content types.
Next, make a list of what you’ll need to create in order to get these strategies off the ground. For example, if your plan includes a new landing page, think about what that might include: a headshot, images of your team, a video to increase engagement, writing to entice the reader, etc. If you want more engagement on social media, then you might consider creating enough fresh images and short-form videos for a month-long campaign. Look at each step to see what kind of content you’ll need moving forward.
Pro Tip: If your strategy includes recurring content creation, such as social media posts or blogs, start by setting up a content calendar and generating a long list of topic ideas. Creating this list will prevent roadblocks down the road, when you can’t think of something to talk about. Already feeling stuck? Use our SchlickArt 100+ Posts Guide to create 100 post ideas in one sitting.
8. Track Your Progress
Time to celebrate! By now, your content marketing plan should be humming along nicely. However, while the bulk of the work is over – it’s not done. Keep creating content, and continue to monitor its performance. This is where you can begin to see what works and what doesn’t. So don’t forget to course correct whenever necessary. You might also want to schedule time to review your plan and progress. At SchlickArt, we do this quarterly, but find a pace that works for you. And don’t forget to celebrate your small (and big) wins! As an added bonus, plan a team outing or reward if you meet your goals at the end of the year!
Need help putting these steps into action? That’s exactly what we do in a Visual Marketing Training Session.
Marketing Photography in Santa Clarita
When it comes to marketing photography, our goal is simple: We want you to walk away feeling like you have the best headshots in Santa Clarita. That’s why we’ve designed a line of Marketing Photography Sessions that are custom-made to make you happy. How do we do that? Simple. We pay attention to you, your needs and your business. We take the time to create a photography experience – we don’t just point, shoot and send you on your way. We bring our visual marketing background to every session, to help you make smart choices in wardrobe, appearance, posing and expression.
Visual Marketing Education
At SchlickArt, we know your marketing visuals are only effective if you actually use them. That’s why we help you create powerful photography and video – and then we teach you how to share it. With each session, we’ll give you our best tips based on your specific marketing goals. We provide the education and resources you need to brand your content, integrate it into your marketing strategy, post it with intention, and maximize engagement along the way.
If you want even more tips and resources, we have an educational blog, newsletter and video channel to help you dive deeper, as well as professional presentations, workshops, and coaching sessions if you’re ready to take action and level-up your marketing now.
SchlickArt, a boutique photo and video studio in Santa Clarita, started in March 2012 with the simple idea that empowerment creates a kind of beauty and authenticity that shines through every camera lens. Built on a philosophy — rather than a product, service or person — SchlickArt has rapidly evolved, meeting professional portraiture, business photo and business video needs as diverse as the community we capture. It’s the desire to take care of you, the client, that drives us at SchlickArt.