I'm sure you'd agree that 2016 seems to have flown by. As its end approaches, you may find yourself preoccupied with trying to wrap up the year on a good note. What is more, the holiday season is around the corner. It’s all too easy to put your business objectives on hold while you mentally check out for the year. That is unless you’re in the retail or ecommerce business - we all know how that goes.
As for the rest of you, though, now is a great time to sit down and spell out a solid plan for marketing in 2017. Why not get a head start while you can and go into the year strong? Following the tips below will help you to do this.
1) Review Your Marketing Campaigns
Before you can move forward, you must take a step back. Reflection is a powerful tool. Think of which marketing campaigns got just satisfactory results? Which ones did way better than expected? Which ones just...completely flopped? There were sure to be campaigns that worked for your business and some that didn’t.
If you’ve been tracking your metrics, you should be able to analyze both the good and the bad with ease. If not, you can look back at some of your most successful months. What were you doing differently in those periods that may have yielded such great results? Build off of the successful campaigns and learn from the failures.
2) Cut Your Losses
Throughout 2016, you've probably used several tools to assist you with your marketing efforts. Nice! If they’ve all been free, that's great. But if you’ve had to pay for some of them, which is likely, now is the time to weed them out. Which ones are worth keeping? Which ones just aren't doing enough to get you closer to your goals?
You likely gravitate to certain tools anyway. If you find yourself using the same ones time and again, why continue to pay for the ones that you don't use?
3) Hold Onto Your Purple Cow
Several new hires or changes in business direction can cause you to lose sight of one important thing. What's that? That special thing -- "the secret sauce" -- that makes your business great.
Again, you should look back at your marketing tactics. Make sure they’ve been in alignment with the core of your business. If not, don’t stress too much. There’s still time to make needed adjustments and keep your business on the right track in the future.
Consider reminding your team of your company’s mission statement.
4) Rethink Your Buyer Personas
The reality is that the same group of people you were marketing to in 2016 might not be the same group in 2017. Identify who your strongest customers were. Then consider how their buying habits may change in the new year.
One of the keys to successful marketing is being able to change and adapt your strategies. After all, the lifestyles, routines and interests of your audience are changing all the time.
5) Interview Your Customers
Sometimes the best way to find out what you did right or wrong is to simply ask your customers. Ask loyal customers why they continue to choose your business over your competitors. For less than loyal customers, ask them how you could improve.
This will give you a wealth of valuable information that you may not have had otherwise. You can then go back to the drawing board with these things in mind and with the intent to improve.
6) Check Your Online Presence
Is your website performing the way that you would like it to? Conduct a personal site audit or have somebody assist you in the process. Make sure to use industry best practices and provide visitors with the information they're looking for.
Never forget that your website is the foundation of your online visibility. Build a strong foundation and then ensure that your branding and messaging are consistent across all networks.
7) Study Your Competition
Unfortunately, you’re not the only coffee shop or dental office in town. You have competition. However, while it sounds like a disadvantage, it's also an advantage. Why? Because it means that you can keep an eye on the competition.
Identify what marketing tactics they implemented throughout the year and with what results. It's also worth considering how these tactics may have affected your business.
How can you one-up their strengths and use their weaknesses to your advantage? They may have beat you in 2016, but 2017 is a new ballgame.
8) Redefine Your Marketing Budget
How much will you have spent on marketing by the end of this year? Are you seeing a positive return on your investment so far? If yes, consider raising your budget for next year to exceed your 2016 ROI. If, however, it hasn't been what you'd like it to be, examine where your dollars have gone and where they might be better spent.
9) Don’t Be Afraid To Try Something New
With a new year, comes new opportunities. During your planning stage, don’t be afraid to step outside of the box and try something new. Maybe you’ve always wanted to implement video into your marketing campaigns. Why not? Or perhaps you want to write content. Go for it!
No matter what you decide to try, there's a chance that you might fail and a chance you might succeed. But remember, if failure is not an option, then neither is success.
10) Assemble Your Team
After nailing down your strategies for the new year, it’s important to get the whole team onboard. Meet with everyone to discuss your decision and the role that each team member will play.
A successful marketing strategy is just like a new year’s resolution. If you stay committed you’ll be happy you did; if you don’t, it’s going to be another long year of regret.
You know what they say: "Preparation makes perfect." Oh wait...well it's true! Make 2017 the year that you really buckle down on your marketing strategies. Make something magical happen! The more proactive you are, the more control you have in shaping your business success.