Happy New Year guys! I hope 2018 treated you well, with more high points than lows. Here’s to making 2019 the best one yet! 🍻
The start of the year is often a great time to review your marketing strategy and also plan effectively for the year ahead, hopefully reducing your time spent doing marketing and helping your marketing activity to provide you with a return on your time/money spend.
In this blog I’m going to cover a quick-fire checklist to go through before you crack on with this year’s marketing strategy! See what you think, and if you’ve anything to add make sure you post in the comments below. 👇
1. Set your marketing goals
What do you want your marketing to do this year? What do you want to to achieve? It’s important to set some form of goals/achievements for the year, to give you a little more clarity when you come to review your marketing activities. They can be sales/enquiries focused, or simply based on general awareness/people reached. Here are some examples:
- Increase Facebook likes by 2,000
- Increase Google Ad leads to 15 per month
- Achieve 50% more engagement on Instagram
- Maintain same marketing annual budget spend, but increase sales leads by 75%
- Increase web traffic by 100%
2. Your budget spend for 2019
In order to achieve your marketing goals, you’re going to need to set aside an advertising budget accordingly. Setting yourself huge targets and a £200 marketing budget for them is setting yourself up to fail, which in turn will question your faith in marketing. “Marketing spending as a percentage of revenue tends to fluctuate, but generally hovers between 6.5% to 8.5%”, according to Webstrategies. This should give you a starting point as to what you should be spending, but don’t be afraid to push this budget up if you’re launching a new product or service – as it’ll need more help with the launch process.
Remember, a well spent marketing budget will be an investment long term and will bring in sales short term. Don’t hold back!
3. How much time can I allocate to marketing?
Marketing requires planning, thought, analysis and improvement. Although you can automate some parts of your marketing strategy, it always needs at least one person or a team of people to properly manage your marketing correctly. This could be you, a colleague, a dedicated marketing manager or an agency like ourselves – depending on your business size and structure. This person will be responsible for the delivery and monitoring of all your marketing activity, and will ensure your goals are met and marketing budget is spent correctly!
Simply dipping in and out of marketing when you have time, will mean staggered results and long term results will suffer.
4. Identify best marketing tools
Each business will have digital marketing tools at their disposal that will be more effective than others. In an ideal world, you’d cover all bases and do everything you possibly can to communicate with your customers and potential customers. However, a good place to start is to identify your most important and vital marketing channels to invest the majority of your budget into. For example, if you sell clothes then you likely should be throwing a huge chunk at Facebook/Insta ads, Google retargeting and regular email communication. Whilst if you’re an accountant, Google Ads should be top priority to drive new sales and then social media, email marketing and a great interactive website should be used to nurture existing clients and instil confidence in potential new ones!
5. Secondary marketing tools
As mentioned above, in an ideal situation (and if you have the resources) it’s good to cover as many marketing bases as possible. Social media management, Google Ads, Bing Ads, Remarketing, Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, Instagram ads, email newsletters, email autoresponders, SEO etc. This list can be potentially endless. If your preferred marketing tools you identified above aren’t working, it might be wise to switch it up and test some alternatives. Make a list of all the potential avenues so you’re not scratching your head 4 months down the line.
6. Create useful reports
There are loads of ways that you can track your marketing progress these days, especially with the digital side of things. Long gone are the days of paying for a newspaper ad then waiting and hoping. Now you can track exactly who has opened your emails, viewed your photos, visited your blog, clicked on your ad etc. The power to analyse and make great use of your budget has never been better. Our tip is to use the insights/analytics from Twitter/Facebook/Mailchimp etc directly, they can usually be found within your main tabs once you’ve logged in. They’re free of charge and are often better than third party software that you can buy, which is often costly.
With all of the above now in place, you can crack on with your plan and hit some of your targets! Set a regular time to use your reports and sit down and critically analyse what you’ve done. Spending lots on Facebook ads? Change them or ditch them. Not hitting your marketing sales targets? Change your message.
If you don’t set aside time to work out what’s going right/wrong, it’ll be difficult to continue your success, or change your failing fortunes!
8. Getting help
Got to the point where your marketing is consuming too much of your time, or a precious staff member’s time? It might be worth considering getting additional support! Ultimately, we all have our own strengths and weaknesses – plus time limitations! Employing a highly skilled marketing manager that can take away the burden of your marketing activities, and be responsible for the success of it, is a great idea.
Alternatively, marketing agencies like ourselves have a wealth of staff members that can act as your outsourced marketing department. We have digital graphic designers, social media experts, SEO specialists, web designers and marketing strategists that can all help to deliver marketing that actually works and builds your brand online to be something you can really be proud of!