How to be a Proactive Marketer

In my first post on the Visebility blog, I’ll be discussing how you can improve marketing planning and strategy in 2016, examining what some of the biggest hindrances are and showing how you can make the switch from reactive marketing to proactive marketing.

But what exactly is reactive and proactive marketing?

Reactive Marketing

It’s the curse of every marketer and very easy to get dragged into. Its symptoms are the feeling of continually firefighting, always dealing with only the latest emergency to land on your desk and being forced to pull together last minute promotional plans with very little budget and sky high expectations.

The life of the reactive marketer is hard and it can be a difficult trap to get out of.

Proactive Marketer

You know them. You’ve seen them on LinkedIn. Smug, organised, probably sharing a meme about efficiency and productivity. Yeah. You hate that guy. In a “wish my life was that perfect” kind of way.

These guys have a plan and the time and space to operate it, which isn’t always a luxury that we are afforded. They are able to see into the future and know what to plan budget for, what will need their attention and deal with it early enough to avoid everything being a last minute panic.

The reality of being a marketing manager in a small or medium sized business is that the complete eutopia is often unrealistic. But there are some things you can do to get you off the treadmill and introduce more proactive marketing into your life.

Analysis

Find an afternoon a week just to plan and look forward. Engage the out of office on your emails, turn off your phone. This is time for you to get ahead.

Start with analysis – what were our main busy periods last year? Was there a busy period that we weren’t expecting? How can we make more of these opportunities next year?

Go through your Analytics data, see which Tweets got the most engagement, see which influential people have followed your LinkedIn page. Most of your ideas will come just from taking the time to see where the opportunities lie.

Planning

Once you know what’s worked and what hasn’t from historic data, now you can start planning ahead.

Set your objectives for the year and go granular. How many leads do you need to get from the website for the business to meet its targets? Build your marketing plan around the needs of the business and make each channel accountable for how it’s going to help you hit those objectives.

Build out an editorial calendar so you can plot in key dates through the year where you know you’re going to need marketing content. Are you attending any tradeshows or events or participating in any speaking events? All of these have great opportunity for you to build a targeted email campaign around or achieve a high level of social interaction. Make the most of every opportunity.

Don’t just talk about your products and services either – especially if you’re in B2B. What challenges are you helping your customers to overcome? What pains and issues are your prospects experiencing that you are helping them overcome? Make sure that if you’re producing website content, a portion of it is built around helping your prospects overcome their challenges, not just pushing your offering.

Evaluate your website – does it have everything you need to achieve your objectives? Do you have up to date case studies to add social proof to your claims? Is it easy for people to give you their data and build out your email list? Is every part of the user journey covered?

All of this planning will help you to set your marketing plan around your business and proactively enable you to make better use of your time.

Implementation

If you’ve got through the planning stage successfully, you’ll be left with one thing – a lot of work.

If you’re working in a marketing team of one, it’s going to be difficult to achieve all of this alone, but by planning things in ahead, you can set yourself a schedule of when content needs to be created. This schedule should be the backbone of your proactive marketing plan for the year, and show how you’re going to bring traffic in, how you’re going to convert it into leads and nurture it into sales.

If you need a hand, look for freelance writers and interns to help you out. So long as the planning and research is sound, you can employ people on a temporary basis to help produce the content you need.

The life of the SME marketer is always going to contain an element of fire fighting. We love it secretly, it’s the thing that means no two days are ever the same. But by investing a little time in the planning and strategic aspects of your marketing, you will give yourself more time to realise the full potential of every opportunity and show real world benefits to the business.

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