Developing a WeChat Marketing Plan for the New Year

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! It’s that time of the year when you can start developing your marketing strategy for next year.

Whether you’re already using WeChat for your business or wrote it down that in your calendar but haven’t started using it yet. Now is the time to outline your business objectives and the marketing strategies and tactics you plan to use to achieve them in 2016.

Determining whether to consider WeChat as a major marketing channel for my business

Step #1 — Start annual marketing planning by reviewing the previous year’s marketing performance.

Before you begin the planning process for the coming year’s marketing efforts using WeChat, you’ll want to take a closer look at how you performed over the current year.

Here are some questions to consider when reviewing past activities and the annual marketing plan:

  • Has your target audience’s purchasing behaviors changed over the year?
  • Which specific marketing activities were effective?
  • Which specific marketing tactics could be improved in a digital way?
  • Did you achieve desired results from your marketing efforts, such as improved brand awareness, expected number of leads?
  • What areas of your marketing budget need more investment for the coming year?

Step #2 — Conduct and prepare a competitive analysis.

An in-depth investigation and analysis of your competition allows you to assess your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses in your market place. It also helps you to choose and implement WeChat’s effective marketing strategies that will improve your competitive advantage.

Before you begin assessing your competitors, keep in mind that you need to obtain answers to the following questions:

  • Who are my top three competitors?
  • What is their WeChat marketing strategy?
  • Do they have a competitive advantage; if so,what is it?
  • What is their campaign strategy?
  • Has their total sales volume grown through WeChat marketing?
  • Are products or services they’re selling on WeChat aimed at satisfying similar target markets?

Following these two steps, you should have a better understanding as to whether you should use WeChat as major marketing channel for your business.

Tips: For a useful online platform to conduct market research, go to Sougou (http://weixin.sogou.com). On the Sougou website, click search for WeChat official subscription accounts and articles.

Steps for developing the essential components of an annual WeChat marketing plan

A WeChat marketing plan is a written document that contains WeChat marketing contents, online to offline campaigns and promotional activities to make businesses successful.

Typical components in a WeChat marketing plan include:

  • Content calendar
  • Branding (promotional giveaway items)
  • Graphics (photography, video production, graphic development)
  • Events (trade shows, exhibits)
  • Online to offline campaign
  • Public relations (press release distribution, PR agency)
  • Key opinion leaders (WeChat official account key opinion leaders, WeChat individual account key opinion leaders)
  • Social media integration
  • Research (WeChat groups, surveys,questionnaires)
  • Website (website integration with WeChat platform)
  • Direct marketing (email, direct mail, list generation,promotional incentives/contest with WeChat)

The actual component svary by industries and marketing budget. Of most importance, consider all potential components and integrate marketing efforts through WeChat as a major channel.

Whether you want to use WeChat to enhance brand recognition, generate sales leads or improve customer service, all the marketing channels should be integrated. Depending on the nature of your business, WeChat should serve as a cohesive platform and all marketing efforts should supplement one another.

Defining marketing plan strategies, tactics and budget

Once the essential components of the annual marketing plan are developed, all potential strategies and tactics should be defined per category or component.

The following are some examples of defining strategies and tactics for different categories of the marketing plan:

  1. Marketing Category: Brand awareness
  • Strategy#1 — Drive traffic to website via WeChat marketing
  • Tactic#1 — Backend setting: Welcome message, customized menu, WeChat mini-site and FAQ directed back to the website
  • Tactic#2 — Message broadcasting with external link directed back to the website
  • Tactic#3 — HTML 5 e-flyer broadcasted via WeChat and directed back to the website

2. Marketing Category: Lead generation

  • Strategy#1 — Generate sales on WeChat
  • Tactic#1 — Backend setting: Welcome message, customized menu, WeChat mini-site and FAQ directed to WeChat stores
  • Tactic#2 — Message broadcasting with external link directed back to the WeChat shoppage
  • Tactic#3 — HTML 5 e-flyer broadcasted via WeChat and directed back to the products
  • Tactic#4 — Online to offline campaign integration with the purpose of generatingsales through WeChat

3. Marketing Category: Online community

  • Strategy#1 — Grow your online community with customer service
  • Tactic#1 — Backend setting: Welcome message, customized menu, WeChat mini-site and FAQ to educate people that this is the platform for customer service
  • Tactic#2 — Message broadcasting for creating an online platform for brands tointeract with clients; platform hosts events, Q&A about interactions and dealsto be distributed
  • Tactic#3 — HTML 5 e-flyer broadcasted via WeChat with a strong focus on caring about customer service and building a community
  • Tactic#4 — WeChat CRM: Well-integrated CRM system with WeChat, either on existing develope dplatforms or third party platforms, ensuring the pre-set responses are established and clients’ replies can be answered in a timely manner

Flexibility is essential when creating an annual WeChat marketing plan. Additionally, it is very important to adjust the plan to adapt to a changing business environment and to integrate all marketing efforts.

Be sure to make full useful of tracking mechanisms for WeChat marketing efforts — such as Youzan analytic reports (www.koudaitiong.com) or Wenjuanxing questionnaire platform (www.sojump.com)– so that you can maximize your marketing efforts and define the most effective solutions for your business.

Remember, flexibility is the key to a successful marketing plan with WeChat!

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