2019 marketing strategy? Who needs to think about that? But October is nearly here, and we all know how the rush of the end of the year goes. First, you’re thinking about Halloween and next thing you know, you’re behind on your Christmas/Hannakuh shopping. In the middle of all this, your business has plenty going on, too!
Get ahead by thinking about your 2019 marketing strategy now. Here are 11 things to do so that you can kickstart the new year.
- Make a list of goals. You may hate New Year’s Resolutions, and we’re with you on that. But what business goals do you have for next year? Sure, you want to “grow your business.” But list some specific numbers. For example, you want to increase revenue by 15 percent. Or maybe you want to add five new clients in the first quarter. Your goals will depend on the size of your business, but by listing numbers, you have a better chance of reaching them.
- Reconsider your audience. If things are going well so far with your marketing, you might be doing things right. But if you feel something just isn’t clicking, consider whether you’re reaching the right people. We often point to the famous example of Kleenex. They produced a product — disposable cleaning cloths — and then found people were using it as a tissue instead. Are you sure your product or service is resonating with the audience you think? Maybe you’re targeting 35-45-year-old parents, but grandparents find your product more appealing, for example. Knowing your audience is crucial to growing your business, and we often find mismatches at this stage.
- Set a marketing budget. Raleigh small business owners often skip this step. We meet people all the time who want help with marketing but then seem surprised at the cost. But how will you make any money without spending it? Marketing is an investment in your company, just as you invest money in buying a new computer, new equipment, purchasing an additional product to sell, etc. Not sure how to set a marketing budget? Check out our write up on that. After all, you can have a 2019 marketing strategy without a budget!
- Analyze your current marketing. Now that you’ve got your audience figured out and your goals and budget, let’s study what you’ve done so far. Make a full list of all marketing tactics you’ve used in the past and what you’re doing now. List as much as you can, whether it’s networking events, speaking engagements, advertising, social media, content marketing, direct mail, or anything else. (Hint: remember, marketing and sales are not the same things.) Once you’ve got a nice list together, think about what has worked. In the best situation, you have numbers attached to each item denoting cost and any ROI. If you don’t have that, you might have to rely on anecdotal evidence.
- Decide what to keep and what to toss. If you have figures attached to those items, consider what’s costing a lot and whether it’s worth the price. Some higher-priced marketing approaches are worth the money. Others … well, not so much. We’ve also seen low-cost strategies work for some businesses, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
- Consider what you haven’t tried. What types of marketing methods are not on your list? Is there something worth trying? Make a list of those and write costs next to each.
- Align those strategies with your audience data. This part of the process is a bit more difficult. Where is your audience spending time? How are they consuming media? You need to align the marketing that you’d like to do with what might work best.
- Create the plan. Maybe you try one new tactic each quarter of the year. Perhaps based on your budget you just want to try two and stick with three others that seem to work well. Outline what you’ll do and when.
- Test. Try out your new approaches. Make sure anything you do has some tracking attached to it. That tracking might be a phone number people call that’s different from your usual number. Monitoring might be through a landing page or a form people fill out. No matter what, you need tracking so you know later if it worked!
- Record. If it’s a new approach for you, give it at least a three-month test run before making decisions about how it worked or didn’t work. How did the costs settle? How many new leads did you get? How many conversions?
- Repeat. Now that you’ve got an idea of what worked and what didn’t, you can add another new strategy or go back to the drawing board.
Do you have questions about your marketing strategy? Talk to us for help!