September 9, 2015
When the year draws to a close for your business, it’s a good time to review your marketing efforts and plan for those in the upcoming year. The tips below will help you put your business in a better position in the months to come, deploying new marketing tools and ideas that will make next year as successful as possible.
Go Over Your Marketing Budget
An end of the year review of the marketing budget is always a good idea. If by this point you haven’t already established your budget for the upcoming year, now is the time to do it. Whenever possible, it never hurts to find ways to increase your business’ digital marketing budget because this will help your business grow in some of the areas discussed below.
This marketing budget will need to look at content creation, software needs, website upgrades and similar investments. However, before any of these decisions can be made, you should decide just what your marketing strategy will be in the upcoming year. Will you stick to your current strategy, or do you want to make changes? Changes can imply either reduced costs or increased costs, depending on what you decide.
Develop a Content Strategy
Your digital marketing plan can be made or broken by your content. Generating all the content you’ll need for your marketing plan, publishing it and then promoting it effectively requires a lot of time and resources. A key part of your business’ marketing plan should be to improve your current approach for creating content or improving the content itself. You don’t want to skimp on this.
As a part of your end-of-the-year marketing plan, you should try to find ways to increase your production of content in the coming year. An editorial calendar can help with this. You’ll want a solid, detailed publishing schedule for your blog and carefully thought out offers for your audience that are timed to your best advantage. These offers may incorporate some of the things that have worked previously for you, but this is also a chance to take advantage of opportunities your business may have missed in the past.
Don’t Forget Holiday Messages
The month of December is the ideal time to send all of your clients or customers a holiday message expressing your appreciation. Obviously, without your customers you wouldn’t have a business at all, so a little gesture during the holiday season is a great idea. While the message should be without strings or any expectations, you may be surprised by the number of replies and the increased business that will result.
Review Your Technology Needs
This is also an excellent time to create a wishlist for the marketing technology you would like to have and to lay out a plan for getting this technology. When choosing the marketing tools you want, consider the following:
Does your business need updated computer hardware?
Are there software systems that could improve your business’s marketing automation?
Consider paying for online subscriptions that can promote your business.
Has your business set up all relevant social network accounts, and if so can they be improved?
If you haven’t done so, look into establishing either a mobile website or mobile app for your business.
Review the Design of Your Website
In the effort to market your business, your website is your most important tool. When your fiscal year is ending, you should review your website design to decide if it’s effectively supporting your marketing objectives. If it isn’t, you’ll want to redesign it. It’s vital that visitors to your website have a positive experience and will want to come back again.
A modern website design has many features that older ones lack, including an intuitive and responsive design, simple and understandable navigation and optimized media content that loads quickly. To make sure your website is on the cutting edge, check out hot web design trends and try to incorporate some of them into your layout.
Consider What Did and Didn’t Work in Your Old Marketing Plan
When you’re planning for the future, you need to understand what didn’t work in the past. Look at your current digital marketing plan and evaluate which parts of it succeeded and helped you achieve your goals, and which parts were lackluster. If a particular feature of your marketing plan failed to bring you the leads that you wanted, it should be changed or replaced.
Also, are the tools and methods you use working effectively, or do you need to make changes here as well? For instance, assuming you have measurement and reporting tools (which you definitely should) are they giving you rapid and reliable information? If they’re not, consider how you’re going to solve this problem in the future.
Joseph Brady is Senior Director of Digital Marketing for Reliant Funding, a provider of short-term working capital to small and mid-sized businesses nationwide. He has more than 14 years of experience in B2B digital marketing, optimization and operations, with a focus in the financial services market.