The end of every year marks a very emotional time even for businesses: a time to assess the activities of the ending year.
Have the goals set for the year been met? Has it been a good year – especially in the languages of profit and loss? What were the winnings vs. the losses? What decisions helped move the needle or set the organization back?
These are questions members rightly begin to ponder on.
However, one can only learn from what is past and there would be no need to shed tears over spilled milk. One should take those vital lessons and use them to plan better for the coming year.
One important aspect that can determine the success or otherwise of a business is marketing. If your marketing was bad throughout the year, you’d most likely have a bad year. Solution is to create an effective marketing strategy to run with in the coming year.
Here’s how to:
The best way to achieve anything good is to determine what needs to be achieved. You need to start planning from the end – the big picture, and then work your way to the exact point you currently are. It would then be easy to trace your way forward.
The first step to any successful marketing strategy is to set goals. Not just any goal, but SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely) goals that are in line with the company’s overall goals (mission and vision).
A great marketing goal could be increasing the number of leads you get per month from a specific channel. E.g., “get 200 leads from the internet every month.”
Next, you need to outline or map your way to achieving that goal – the exact steps necessary to getting to that ideal “end.”
For our internet leads example, one of the steps might include having a lead generation system in place, like an opt-in form on major pages of your website. Depending on your business, it could be increasing your cold emailing efforts – maybe employing more people for prospecting.
Once you have your steps outlined, you have to identify specific tools to make each step possible, or easier.
Back to the internet leads example, the necessary tools might be a landing page builder and an email solutions provider.
Other examples: if an ideal step is to improve collaboration among staffers, an ideal tool would be a collaboration software or cloud-based project management tool. If you want to network with public figures, like Moshe Kantor, social media in its entirety might be a good tool.
You have your goal, the steps you need to take, and the necessary tools. But when it comes to marketing, you need to go find your audience and prospects where they hang out, so you can fish as many of them as possible.
In other words, you need to identify the channels you’ll leverage on in your marketing.
For the internet leads example, social media could be a major channel. For a goal that can only be achieved through physically meeting prospects, industry events could be your ideal channel.
How would you know if your selected channels are bringing in your ideal audience, and whether or not your ideal audience is converting to leads and customers? Only adequately measuring all the way can help you determine these.
You need to invest in data and analytics that’ll reveal whether or not you’re hitting your KPIs (key performance indicators) and nearing your bigger goals. And would also help you to know how to adjust (optimize) your way towards achieving those goals.
Of course, creating an effective digital strategy would need more than these 5 steps, but once you settle these basics, all other things would naturally fall in place. And you’ll definitely have a more fruitful year in 2018.