Do you want to hit the ground running with your marketing strategy this year? If so, be sure to ask yourself these 5 questions.
1. What were your goals and achievements last year?
Take a moment and go over last year's performance. This will help you shape up your strategy for the upcoming year.
Goals you accomplished
Congratulations! Give yourself a pat on the back. Not only have you hit your target, but you've also discovered the secret to success. Well, one way to get there. Identify the path you took to accomplish this goal. Recreating what works will ensure success for subsequent years. For example, your goal was to increase your website's traffic by at least 10%. You notice that one of the main drivers of this traffic is from your blog. That weekly content meeting with your marketing team is paying off!
When you didn't hit your target
Honesty is the best policy. Adjusting your key performance indicators (KPIs) so it looks like you hit your target this year isn't helping anyone. Unfortunately not everyone gets a trophy in the real world. Pick apart your goal and discover what went wrong. Remember some things may be out of your control such as budget, consumer need, or product performance. Some of the most common mistakes we notice the goal setting process include:
- Lofty goals. Instead of pulling a number out of the air, go through your historic data to pick a reasonable target. A 15% increase in leads sounds good on paper, but analytic data may show that a 2% increase is more realistic.
- Broad goals. You want your goals to be SMART. "Get more leads sounds" like a great plan, but your team will have no idea how to execute this task. Rephrase it as, "By the end of Q4 we want to increase the conversion rate for Service X ebook downloads by 20%."
- Changing your goals. Give yourself a 2 week grace period in the beginning of Q1 to determine if your goal is achievable. After that time frame, don't touch your goal, no matter how tempting it is.
- Broken processes. It pays to take a step back and reevaluate your internal processes. Are you duplicating efforts? Do you have meetings that could be done in a chat room instead of a conference room? Improving your team's efficiency may help with your goal, no matter what it is.
2. What was the return on your investment?
With so many resources dedicated to a variety of areas, it's important to make sure you're getting the most bang for your buck. Are you keeping an eye on the effectiveness of each of your marketing channels? We're not just talking about on and offline. Review your analytics to compare data from the following traffic sources:
- Paid Search
Go through each channel and crunch the numbers. Which performed well and achieved the primary objectives for the platform? Which seem to be drawing more resources than the returns can justify? Use the results to trim weak links and double down on hot channels for 2017.
Keep in mind that not every channel may bring in customers directly. For example, social media creates brand awareness around your niche product or service. While your Twitter doesn't often help you sell your service, it's an invaluable real-time customer service tool.
3. What are your goals for 2017?
Once you have a clear view of last year, use it as the first building block for the new year. Get together with your sales, marketing, and management teams for a goal setting meeting. Instead of placing a department goal on the shoulders of the manager, break it down into bite-sized chunks. Someone may be responsible for sending out a survey while someone else takes that survey's data and uses it to write a new team process.
Establish a budget
Cutting funding for poorly performing channels will free up resources for better performers. While taking the time to create this budget may cost more in overhead, it's worth it in the long run. Trust us, running out of cash and resources too soon will tank your goals before they even had a chance.
4. Who is your audience and competition?
Who were your major targets of 2016? Were you able to reach them successfully? Think about who your best customers are. They might be different than your ideal audience. Update your target personas and audiences to reflect not only who you want to reach, but also who is responding to your content. Don't forget to check out what the competition is doing. Have they adopted what once set your company apart? Take what you've learned and incorporate that into your marketing strategy.
5. Are you preparing for your 2017 review?
Now that you've established your destination with SMART goals, you want to make sure that you stay on track throughout the year. Create a scorecard with the metrics you've selected. This will allow you to follow your progress month-by-month and make adjustments. While you shouldn't change your goal, there's no shame in changing your methods. For example, your vigorous social media strategy isn't getting you the traffic growth you want. Consider investing in paid search ads instead. Keeping on top of these key performance metrics will guide you closer to your goal and make the end-of-the-year review a breeze.
Does your website and marketing strategy need a little TLC? Contact us today for a free health check to get your marketing efforts on track.