Create a Marketing Plan for 2022
As the old saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail. Marketing is critical in terms of growing the business and it's a necessary endeavor, yet also remains one of the most overlooked—particularly if there isn’t a plan. Creating that plan can feel overwhelming or perhaps you're not familiar with the options that exist in terms of different marketing avenues.
That’s why Megan Williams believes it’s imperative to sit down and take a look at the year to create a 12-month marketing game plan, for how you’re going to allocate money and what you’re going to do with that budget. The managing partner of 3P Marketing Solutions explains how.
As told to the FenderBender staff
Find the right person with whom to work on marketing.
If you don’t outsource your marketing, identify someone that works within your shop who may be more than happy to do some of this planning with you. We had an estimator that was super active and took pictures and posted on our social media account whenever we did marketing and she absolutely loved it. Just ask around—you’ll be surprised who jumps out.
Consider what your business needs.
The first thing that you need to look at is just knowing your business. Very occasionally do you come across the shop owner who is so packed that they could not handle another vehicle, but for the average shop owner, you need to know what you’re up against in terms of competition, your demographics, as well as what the competition is promising drivers. Are they giving them a free gift with a repair or are they promising super fast turnaround times? Are they really active out in the community and just very well known in that sense? Having that in mind is actually more important before you even get into setting a budget.
If you are one of those shop owners whose cycle time is already more than you would even want it to be, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t market. It means your marketing goals should be different; that could mean a focus on hiring or a certain service, but not the traditional new customer acquisition.
A lot of people ask about what a marketing budget should be and that’s very personal. Typically, we recommend 5-8 percent of annual revenue; but if you can only dedicate 2 percent, make sure you have specific goals so that the 2 percent goes a long way.
Set goals for the year.
When coming up with a marketing plan, the most important factor is that whatever the shop owner comes up with, it needs to be feasible.
If you don't have the actual manpower in the shop or the financial backing to do those things, sometimes they'll just fall by the wayside. I would rather see someone start off small and work their way up to spending more.
Here are some solid marketing goals that could turn into effective marketing calendars:
- Participate in three community events.
- Increase car count by 5 percent.
- Gain 100 more Facebook likes in three months.
- Increase capture ratio by X percent.
Outline the strategies you’re going to employ to achieve the goals.
A lot of people will do it month to month but I personally favor breaking the goals down quarterly because the four quarters coincided with the four seasons. So we would have deer hit season, winter weather season, spring car care, and summer road trips and back to school.
So, look at the four quarters of the year and pick what the four topics are going to be for each section. Then find some type of large public event or activity or some way to give back to the community in each of those quarters to keep top-of-mind awareness.
It’s also easier to take that annual budget and divide it into quarters, rather than monthly. That way you're not feeling like you have to get everything in this month, but you're giving yourselves a few months to get whatever the marketing goals are that you set the tasks that you want to get knocked out.
Adjust as necessary, but don’t stray too much.
I think it's kind of nice to have a few months of data or a few months to look at, to see where you're at.
Of course we would want to go through and maybe add in pockets or re-record a new TV commercial, or radio spot catered to whatever is going on at the moment, but with everything else, you can still leave it where it's at. Continue with what you were planning to go with as long as it's not a financial drain to add in current event happening awareness or marketing endeavors.
Consistency is going to be a huge asset in any marketing endeavor. But you don't want to be tone deaf to what is going on presently. I personally recommend only scheduling one to two months of social media content at a time, so it doesn’t get too disconnected from what’s going on or you forget what’s scheduled. That way, you also leave some wiggle room in your social media content to react in the moment.