The last of the figgy pudding is long gone, and the smoke from the last fireworks has cleared. You know what that means.
It’s time to start the new year! (Yay!)
And that means a whole set of brand-new challenges for your marketing team to tackle! (Smaller yay.)
The beginning of a new year can seem like a daunting time for your business – whether B2B or B2C. What worked last year may not work this year, and for many B2C companies, your performance during the holiday season can drastically alter the way you plan for the coming months.
But what you do in the short term has a crucial impact on that end-of-year internal audit. That’s why we, here at Stealth, are offering you five tips to start off this year’s marketing on the right foot.
1. Touch Base with Your Clients
You think things were crazy during the end-of-year push? Wait ’til you see how your clients fared.
No seriously. Go check on them. Right now.
Just as your marketing needs may have shifted from 2018 to 2019, your clients may also have different needs. It’s a good idea to strike up a conversation to understand what may have shifted – and how your business can best help.
The last thing you want to do is to offer your clients solutions to problems they no longer have. How embarrassing! That’s soooooooo last year. 😜
Your clients will also appreciate the fact you were thinking of them during this hectic time.
Success is literally an email or phone call away. But don’t wait too long!
2. Touch Base With Your Competition
No, we don’t mean invite them over for tea to discuss trade secrets.
It’s always a good idea to keep your eye on the horizon in case something shifts in your industry that impacts your business. This is especially true as the new year rolls out.
Make sure you give your rivals a good once-over before finalizing your plans for the year. Seeing how they “right the ship” – or hit choppy waters – can contain important lessons for your business as well.
This is doubly so if they do a complete about-face. If your competitors are completely changing up the way they’ve done things for a while, it may be time to assess what’s going on that caused the turnabout, and react accordingly.
For example, if you’re active on social media, you may want to pay attention to the way Facebook disregarded the notion of privacy. Facebook’s recent news debacle involving the way it handed out private information like candy to big-name companies is a perfect example of how not to woo your customer base.
Failing to read the current surrounding rival businesses is a sure way to be left adrift in a changing market.
Don’t get stranded in last year!
3. Touch Base With You
So you’ve figured out what your clients’ needs are, and you’ve figured out what your competitors’ needs are. There’s just one thing missing – your needs!
Now is a great time to pour through all that analytical data you’ve been saving from this year. Put on a pot of coffee, dust off your digital marketing binders (virtual or otherwise) and get settled in for a final marketing review.
Make note of everything you struggled with this year. Did you have trouble getting clicks on certain types of content? Was your traffic count low? Was engagement low on social media? Take a moment to reflect on why that might have been the case. Then determine what you can do differently in 2019 to shore up those weaknesses.
Equally important is looking at what went right. If you created a piece of content that did really well, or you had a dynamite strategy for SEO, how’d you do it? Will it still work for 2019? If so, incorporate it in your strategy for the new year; if not, tweak it a bit to build on the success you saw in 2018.
If something works, don’t be afraid to stick with it.
This next part is important. So if nothing else, pay attention to these next few sentences.
Make goals for the coming year using the strengths and weaknesses you found. What would you like to do better? What do you want to keep doing? Where do you want your business to go?
These goals will help guide the next step of the new-year marketing process…
4. Make a Plan
Yes. It’s finally time to embark on that most crucial of marketing endeavors: Reviewing or formulating your marketing plan for 2019.
Using everything you’ve learned from the previous steps, create a plan of attack – or adjust the one you had. Make sure to include baseline goals, stretch goals and how you plan to achieve them.
Figure out what you’re doing, when you’re going to do it – and who’s going to be in charge of making it happen.
Most importantly: Stick to your plan. If your calendar says 'go rock climbing to get a grip on the market,' you better grab your ropes and pitons, and rock out. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
Your marketing plan is your company’s most important document for 2019. Plan everything to support your business needs, and do everything according to your plan.
5. Improve Your Connections
Communication is the true currency of business. It’s not what you know. It’s not even who you know. It’s all about who knows you – and respects and values you. And being accessible to your clients and business associates is crucial.
You might think you’re doing it just fine — but when it comes to communication — whether you’re a mom-and-pop shop or Amazon, there’s always room for improvement.
The new year is a perfect time to assess how you’re keeping in touch with everyone you depend on to keep your business moving forward.
Have you been sending out enough emails – and to the right audience? Are you following up on leads as fast as you can? Are you reaching out to your connections on a consistent basis?
The answer is probably 'not really.'
We know, we know. The year gets into full swing, and sending follow-up emails to potential clients gets pushed to the back of your mind as you find yourself buried under a pile of new projects.
But communication should always be a priority. As we’ve described in a previous post, acquisitions require you to keep your consumer touch points in mind, and strong communication is the best way to do it.
Internal communication isn’t exempt from scrutiny either.
As your employees prepare to embark on another year-long journey with your company, now is the time to open lines of communication to brainstorm new ideas and receive feedback.
Consider offering ways employees can give you feedback. Surveys might seem passé, but they are an efficient way of gathering data about employee attitudes within a business – providing they’re truly confidential and anonymous. Success starts from within with a strong team who works well together.
Make sure your team is starting strong.
Whether you need help combing through your analytics, formulating your marketing plan, or improving your communication channels, Stealth has your back.
Start preparing for the new year now; drop us a line today!
And as always, stay tuned for more great marketing tips and tricks from Stealth next time we go Off the Radar.