By Patricia V. Rivera

The start of a new year is a perfect time to focus and unify your marketing messages and tactics. A strategic marketing plan that reaches your target audience online and offline will ensure results. These six tips will get you started. 

1. Set clear goals. Whether you want to increase brand awareness or sales, know how to measure success. Digital marketing tools make it much easier to measure effectiveness — if you know what you want to achieve. As you set attainable goals, define your metrics and timelines.

Your content should support your organizational goals and address the needs of your ideal clients. Content frequency depends on your time and resources. At the very least, consider updating your website or blog once a week, sharing on social media three or four times a week, and sending newsletters once a month. As resources permit, create short videos — nothing fancy, but definitely something interesting.

2. Know the exact audience you want to reach. Narrow and define your target audience – those who need to hear your message and would benefit from your service. Are they teens or seniors, men or women? Don’t try to reach “everyone.” You’ll get better results if you tailor your message to those you want to reach.

Speaking directly to those who want and need to hear you makes it easier for people to feel a personal connection to your organization or business. 

3. Ask yourself, “What do I want my audience to do?” Know exactly what you want from your audience. Do you want people to show up for an event, purchase a service online, or call you for more information? Articulate that action and how your audience will benefit with a clear call to action that will make a dramatic difference in marketing results. 

You’ll also need to determine the obstacles that may stand in the way. Figure out how to navigate past them. Do you need to gain their trust with personal testimonials? Is there a language barrier you can overcome with multicultural communications?

4. Understand the habits and needs of your target audience. Say you’re targeting a younger audience. Television and print probably aren’t the channels for you. Focus on social media instead, especially video content. Integrated marketing plans aren’t limited to one channel. You do need the right mix to reach your ideal client and meet your goals. 

By knowing your target audience, you should also understand how they would respond to your message and what type of questions you might be able to answer to get them to act. 

5. Encourage ongoing engagement. Provide a way for your customers to talk to you – for feedback, comments and questions – then use that information to improve your message and your service. You want to grow that audience by encouraging others to engage with your brand on social media or email. Use flyers with QR codes with links to your content at your establishment and events. Add digital links to everything on your website and email signature line. 

6. Test, improve and retest. Be aware of what your audience already knows. You could lose your audience in the first few words if your message isn’t fresh. Test out your approach on people who aren’t familiar with your business or organization to gain valuable insights. Be creative in how you hook them and reel them in. 

About the author

Patricia V. Rivera is a marketing consultant and founder of Hook PR & Marketing, which focuses on helping changemakers build their brands – in print, digital and multiple languages. Visit or call 302-858-5055.