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How to Create a Winning Marketing Plan in 2021

Dec 9, 2020

With the new year fast approaching, having a well thought out and actionable marketing plan for 2021 can help to take your business to new heights.

Don’t have one just yet? Don’t worry, our useful tips will help you to craft a winning marketing plan for 2021.



What does a marketing plan include?

Before you dive into the process of creating a marketing plan, you need to analyze the challenges that your company is facing. This includes both external and internal challenges.

The best way to identify them is with the help of frameworks such as PESTEL. PESTEL stands for Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental, Legal and the original PEST framework was designed by Harvard professor, Francis Aguilar.

PESTEL analysis in a winning marketing plan

Having a clear picture of the factors that affect your business helps you find opportunities and threats. A good marketing plan takes into consideration the strengths and weaknesses of your business and capitalizes on them.

Here are some tips to help you create a winning marketing plan for 2021…



1. Make sure you have clear goals

This may seem like an obvious point to start with, however, you’ll be surprised how often this is either missed or not aligned to the overall goals of the business and therefore not measured.

You should, of course, have a clear understanding of your goals, as they’ll be specific to your business. However, there are common factors and considerations that you should likely take:


Who are you targeting?

It is common for businesses to focus on multiple verticals or use cases to adapt quickly to the changing needs of the world.

So who are you targeting? Existing customers, or a new audience?

If you’re targeting a new audience for instance, then make sure that you first understand that segment and outline clearly what methods and campaigns you’ll implement to target them.


What marketing costs will occur?

Cost, for any business, should be a factor to consider, especially when setting goals. If you can understand and estimate the cost of a campaign, then this will typically help you when it comes to forecasting sales volume, cost per acquisition (CPA), and return on investment (ROI). Which, let’s face it, is what everyone really wants to know.


How will you track and measure results?

It goes without saying that measuring the results of any marketing campaign is critical, and without the right tracking in place, this task can become tricky. When it comes to tracking, if you’re running a Google Ads PPC (Pey Per Click) campaign, then make sure that you have properly set up  Google Ads conversion tracking on your website.

You should also make sure that you’re using a web analytics application such as Google Analytics, to really understand campaign performance along with valuable insights such as customer behaviors and interactions on your website. Here’s a list of the best marketing reporting tools to get you started.


Are you measuring the right metrics?

The metrics that you measure against when setting goals and forecasting may vary depending on the nature of the campaign that you’re running. For instance, if you are running a branding campaign, then you would likely want to predominantly measure impressions, or in other words, the number of people who are exposed to your message.

However, if you’re running a campaign designed to drive traffic, then of course, you’ll be looking to measure the volume of new sessions, and click-through rate (CTR).

Finally, as we all know, it’s always a good idea to measure sales, and or leads generated for every campaign.

Once your goals are clear, you can set a SMART objective. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely.

SMART goals in a winning marketing plan

‘Reduce no-shows by 90% in 2021’ or  ‘Increase online bookings by 20% in the first quarter of 2021; are good examples of a SMART objective.



2. Understanding what works & what doesn’t

When putting together a marketing plan, it’s always a good idea to look back on the previous year (if you have that data) to further understand the results of previous marketing campaigns.

You’ll ideally want to undertake quantitative analysis to look at the figures and consumer behaviors, and qualitative analytics to put all the data you’ve gathered into context, for instance, why was a campaign successful, and in contrast what improvements could be made?

Having an in-depth understanding of last year’s campaign performance will help to give you a head start when it comes to planning for the new year.



3. Make it easy for new and existing customers to find you

Growing your business online is not explicitly about converting visitors on your website into paying customers.  The goal can also be to promote a purchase, lead generation, brand awareness, or getting more online bookings (for which of course you should use 10to8 appointment scheduling).

To be successful online you need to generate the right traffic to your website, and ideally, the following campaigns should be included in your marketing plan;


Google Ads

Granted Ads can be a great way to target prospects looking for services or products that your business has to offer. However, depending on your industry and selected keywords Ads can be expensive. To make this a cost-effective solution make sure that you undertake extensive keyword research, use tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner to unearth ‘low hanging fruit’ and long-tail keywords which may have an associated low cost per click (CPC).

Once you’ve discovered new keywords, consider using a broad match modifier as a match type, this may help you discover new and relevant terms that convert. Just remember to make sure that you use negative keywords!

To learn more about advertising on Google Ads, check out our 4-part blog article series.



Most visitors to your website will not convert on their first visit, savvy shoppers will often shop around online, and you can be sure that in most cases they would’ve visited one of your competitors.

To get prospects back to your website, it is worthwhile investing in a Google Ads remarketing campaign and even building custom audiences with Facebook ads to reconnect with people who have already shown an interest, just not converted, yet.

If you run a B2B (Business to Business) company, LinkedIn is the platform for you. Setting up campaigns to reach your target audience is quick and simple. What’s more, LinkedIn gives you a very accurate insight into the ads that performed well and you can use this information to iterate on ads, increase CTR (click-through rate), and reduce CPC (cost per click).


SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Showing up in search results organically may be free, however, as we know this can take a lot of time and effort to do it well, and it’s important to remember that you’ll likely never see instant results. To be successful, you want to target and optimize for keywords that convert against your goals, you can always use data from paid campaigns and discover further insights using tools such as the Google Search Console, and paid solutions such as Moz Pro, which is well worth investing in if you’re going to be taking SEO seriously.

If Search Engine Optimization is something that you’re just getting started with, our on-site and off-site SEO guide will help you get the ball rolling.



As you continue to gather opt-in customer email addresses, email marketing can be a great cost-effective medium to re-engage with past customers. Maybe you have a new offer, a new product range of service that you know your audience would love? Then, what better way to communicate that than an email.

To improve the performance of your email marketing efforts in 2021, remember to split test (A/B test) subject lines and content if you can. It’s also worth segmenting your audience, for instance, if you can segment based on when the customer last interacted with or converted on your website, then you may want to email them a different offer.

In contrast, you may also want to consider sending customers who have lapsed and have not shown interest in some time a different communication, and there are some great examples of email re-engagement campaigns.


It’s a wrap!

In summary, the important takeaway is to remember to develop your marketing strategy with the right expectations and to ensure that goals are aligned across the business. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Focus on consistency and continual improvement, fine-tune campaigns, and most importantly measure results.

If you are a service-based business and take appointments, then also remember that help is at hand with 10to8 appointment scheduling software. We can help you to better communicate with clients, reduce-no shows, and even double your bookings while reducing time-consuming admin.


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Create your branded online booking page, benefit from automated SMS & Email reminders, rid your business of wasted time, and reduce appointment no-shows by up to 90%.

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Karan is a Digital Marketing Intern at 10to8. He is passionate about the music and tech industry, and keen to learn more about business in general.

As a current MBA student, Karan aims to broaden his knowledge and move into a managerial role.

Karanpreet Ajmani

Digital Marketing Intern, 10to8 Appointment Scheduling Software

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