A new year means a fresh a start, right? When it comes to your business, December is a perfect time to strategize for the year ahead, especially for your marketing strategy. The problem is, it’s really hard to set marketing goals that make sense for your business while driving it forward to help you grow throughout the year.
Before you can strategize for the year ahead, it’s always best to look back to see what you have accomplished in the past year. Using simple metrics, you can track your progress. Reflect on what worked, what didn’t work, and what your best marketing moments were for the year. That will shape how you move forward in this process. You should always focus on whether your marketing strategy in the past year helped you reach your business objectives for the year. If it didn’t, then setting your goals for 2018 will be especially important.
To help you follow through, your marketing goals for 2018 should:
- Reflect on your overall business objectives – you are building your business through marketing.
- Be measurable – you won’t know if you have achieved your goal if you can’t measure it.
Here are a few goals to consider as you are preparing your 2018 marketing strategy.
Cut the fluff from your strategy
Build a solid strategic foundation by figuring out what’s working and what’s not. If something isn’t working, set it aside. You can always revisit a strategy later if the timing is better. By eliminating tactics that don’t work you’re freeing up resources (time and money) to invest in other tactics. Cutting things from your marketing strategy might be the easiest thing to accomplish because you are saving time and money rather than spending it!
Identify the time and budget resources you can allocate to other marketing projects throughout the year.
Engage daily on social media
Social media isn’t something you say you are going to do and then log in once per week. It takes commitment, but you should be engaging with your followers and potential follower on a daily basis. This is how you will build relationships with customers and potential customers online. If you can’t commit the time to social media (at least 15 minutes per day), consider hiring a third party to build your social media strategy. Your success depends largely on your ability to create dialogue among your community, and social media is a great way to connect with large numbers of people at once.
Make sure you track your increasing engagement through specific and measurable metrics such as brand mentions, retweets/shares, Likes, Review ratings, etc.
Drive traffic to your website
Your website should be an information hub for your brand, and if you are selling products on your website, then traffic is even more important. Customers should be able to navigate across your online channels easily, and all roads should lead back to your website. Post new content regularly to your social channels (ie. Blogs, product reviews) that links back to your website. If you are running a sale, change the link in your Instagram profile and drive people to that link in your promo posts.
Track metrics such as website traffic numbers and your click through rate.
Try something you haven’t tried before
It’s easy to get stuck in a marketing rut. Maybe you’re afraid of change, or perhaps you were just burnt out, but success usually lives outside of your comfort zone. Sometimes that means learning about something new or really getting to know what your audience likes. You will start to see business growth when you push your own personal boundaries as a business owner. This will also help to create new touchpoints for your customers to experience your brand. For example, if you have focused a lot of your energy on social media and digital marketing tactics, try something experiential to hit a targeted geographical group.
Make sure you choose metrics to measure the success of your new tactic. If it is successful, continue doing it, if not, there is no point in wasting the resources.
Your marketing goals for 2018 should make you feel a little uncomfortable, but they should also excite you. It is a good combination when you are building your strategy. Your audience will appreciate you taking the time to see your relationship with them through a fresh perspective and it gives you the opportunity to stay on your toes in business.
Candace Huntly is Founder and Partner at SongBird Marketing Communications, an award-winning agency working to take organizational and individual brands to the next level. With a passion for all things related to creativity and strategy, she specializes in business intelligence, marketing & branding, content strategy & development, media & influencer relations, and social media. Basically, if you need to put your brand, product, or cause in the public eye, she will find a way to do it, while making the approach unique to you.
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