What are your New Year’s marketing resolutions?
The end of a year and the beginning of a new one often brings about much contemplation, from setting personal goals, to reflecting on how your business has performed over the past 12 months, to where your business or company is heading.
Sometimes it is hard to critique what’s worked well, and what hasn’t been so successful. With most (if not all) businesses operating online, however, it is much easier to assess what’s working and what’s not from an online perspective, and hopefully, if you’ve put in measuring tools for the other on-line campaigns or activities, you will be able to reflect of what’s been a success.
We have put together our top tips on helping you plan your next 12 months of marketing, which we hope you will find useful.
1. Conduct an audit / review
First things first, you need to go into the new year with your eyes wide open. There is no point just carrying on with activities ‘because it’s what you’ve always done’. There may be new or enhanced ways of doing things to make your marketing spend go even further or generate more results.
With online, if you’re already working with an external agency, they should be providing you with the necessary analytics and, more importantly, they should be coming to you with ways to improve the results or ideas to create more traction with your online audiences.
It is a case of then looking at all other marketing activities and objectively asking whether they actually fulfilled the original brief. The best process is to review each of these at the end of each campaign, however we all know that this can sometimes slip when eyes are normally on the next thing, but reflecting on whether it’s hit the brief is always a good practice to adopt.
Offline can sometimes be more difficult to track, however there are ways of tracking marketing activities to help you determine whether they have worked or not. For example, if investing in traditional advertising, you could set-up a temporary phone number for that specific advert in order to monitor what enquiries it has generated.
2. Align all comms activity with business objectives
It is essential that all marketing spend is aligned with helping your business reach its goals.
Where are your audiences? Where or how can they be reached? Answering these questions will help you start to plan activity and campaigns that will make an impact.
Budgeting is essential – this may sound like a very obvious thing to write, and we really don’t want to seem patronising, but putting in as many details as possible to the marketing plan will ensure you are able to properly budget for the entire year. Allocating budget to ad-hoc opportunities is a good idea too as it is very likely that things will crop up in the year that may be worth committing to and it is always good to have a degree of flexibility to be able to react to these things.
4. Joined-up thinking
Our advice is to always, always, always (did we say always?!) look at ways of joining up the comms activity, as it will be far more impactful than just using one communication method. For example, if you have a piece of news that is worthy of online and offline editorial coverage, why not include this on your website, in a newsletter, or if really relevant to your target audiences, boost online impact too through advertising.
5. Fresh pair of eyes
Ok… Ok… so we are bound to say that gaining a fresh perspective is worthwhile, but if I had a penny for every time a business has said: “Oh yeah, I hadn’t really thought that was a news story / something to shout about,” well… I’d be a millionaire.
Cast your mind back to when you had to write your CV, you’re sat there struggling to write anything great about yourself. You share your frustration with your friend, and then your friend is able to reel off all of the wonderful things you have achieved. That’s kinda what working with an external agency can do for your businesses.
So give us a shout if you could do with a fresh pair of eyes on your business.