It’s easy to get busy with the holidays and end of year activities and neglect to take the time to plan to make the most of marketing for the new year. Don’t worry, it’s not too late to set yourself up for success for 2023. Invest some time now and you’ll reap the rewards all year long.
Let’s look at how you can make the most of your marketing this year… Review Last Year’s Marketing
It’s important to take some time to reflect on last year and analyze what worked and what didn’t. What were your most successful marketing channels and campaigns for 2022? How can you expand and improve on those this year, while cutting campaigns and channels that were not effective?
Even if you didn’t have a written marketing plan last year, you can still brainstorm the types of marketing you did and whether they were effective at generating leads, sales, or brand awareness.
Write down a list of campaigns and for each one answer the following questions:
What was the goal of this marketing campaign?
Did the campaign meet the goal? If not,why?
How could the campaign be improved?
Should we continue with the campaign going forward?
Set a Clear Strategy
One of the biggest mistakes I see small businesses make with their marketing strategy is they just don’t have one. They just do whatever pops in their head at the moment, or whatever an ad salesman convinces them might bring in some new customers. Without a clear strategy, it’s easy to get “shiny ball syndrome” and hop from one initiative to the next, but it’s impossible to do everything and do it all well.
What is the goal of your marketing? To increase sales? To improve brand recognition? Each marketing campaign may have a slightly different goal, but they should all have a clear objective and shouldn’t just be generic ads. Brainstorm who your ideal customers are and create buyer personas of 3-5 target customers, and develop a marketing plan to reach them.
Understanding your ideal customer will help you focus your marketing to the channels and mediums that will be most effective. Create your ads with your ideal customer in mind… what problems do they have that your product or service solves? What pain points does your company alleviate? How can you make their lives easier or better?
Simplify Your Objectives
There are a lot of ways you can market your business… print media, billboard, TV and radio, free and paid social media, search engine advertising, in-person events, and more. It’s really tempting to want to try a little bit of everything to see what works, but by spreading your marketing out over half a dozen channels, you aren’t able to focus and optimize your campaigns for effective results.
It’s better to focus on the one or two channels that can generate the most impact for your business, and spend 80% of your time on those. As your company grows and you have internal resources to handle more, you can add additional channels to your marketing strategy.
That doesn’t mean you can’t post to Facebook if your two key channels are search engine advertising and print marketing, but you shouldn’t be spending a substantial amount of time on Facebook ads if search engines drive the majority of your new customer acquisition.
Create a Marketing Calendar
Consistency is key in marketing and what gets planned gets done. Create a marketing calendar and plan out your campaigns, social media posts, and customer communications ahead of time. You can use something as simple as Google Calendar or a task management system like Asana or Trello, but whatever you use, be sure to review it regularly to make sure campaigns are moving forward on time.
John Wanamaker famously said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”
If you don’t measure your marketing performance, how do you know what works and what doesn’t? Fortunately, there are ways to measure just about any type of marketing campaign. From tracking phone numbers to links that redirect to landing pages and automatically tag an ad source, you can track just about every type of advertising these days.
Set KPIs (key performance indicators) and make sure your analytics software is measuring the right metrics to be able to track the effectiveness of your campaigns. Whether your key metrics are customer acquisition cost, return on ad spend, average order value, or annual churn, you should track your key metrics in a dashboard and review them frequently and adjust your marketing campaigns and strategies accordingly throughout the year.
Make It a Great Year
If you haven’t already spent a little time working on and planning your marketing for the new year, it’s not too late. And if you need assistance with creating a marketing strategy or with ongoing advertising, there are several Chamber members that can help.
See a full list Chamber businesses in advertising and marketing in our Business Directory at lagrangechamber.com