It’s not too soon to make your marketing resolutions for the New Year. After all, December is here and before you know it, the ball will be dropping in New York’s Times Square.
But before you think about next year, I recommend that you and your marketing staff take a look back at how good a job you did marketing your business this year. What were your successes and failures? Some of your conclusions are likely to shape your 2013 resolution list.
To get you thinking, here are some of the questions to ask yourselves as you consider the highs and lows of your marketing efforts this year:
• What were our marketing goals?
• Did we achieve any or all of them?
• If we did, what did we do right?
• If we did not, why?
• What would we do differently next time?
• What lessons can we learn from our successes or failures?
And, depending on your answers to those questions, here are some of the marketing resolutions you may want to put on your 2013 list:
I resolve to…
• Market harder. Marketing harder is all about getting more for your marketing bucks and minimizing waste -- making every marketing dollar count.
• Have a plan. I am constantly surprised by how many small businesses market without a plan, without a marketing roadmap. Instead, they do a little of this and a little of that without any clear goals and strategies in mind; they go off in the wrong directions; they spend money needlessly. And then they wonder why the performance of their businesses fall short.
• Use my plan. Another thing I see a lot of businesses do is spend time and money putting a plan in place and then not use it. They may follow their plans for a quarter or two, but then they get distracted, forget about them, and start marketing “on the fly,” usually with disappointing results.
• Be patient. I also encounter many businesses with marketing plans that stop using their plans when they don’t get the marketing results they want as quickly as they think they should. When your expectations are not met, a better approach is to ask yourself whether they are truly realistic and whether what you really need to do is evaluate why your plan is not doing what you want. A tweak or two may be in order.
• Make all of your employees part of your marketing team. As I wrote in a previous blog post, http://www.get-your-message-out.com/Are-Your-Employees-an-Integral-Part-of-Your-Marketing-Team.html, if you treat your employees as marketing assets each of whom in her or her own way has a important role to play in the marketing of your business, your employees “will help reinforce your marketing messages through their words and deeds.” However, if they don’t understand that they are part of your marketing team, your employees may undermine those messages.
• Make your website a more effective part of your marketing. Too many businesses have websites that are badly designed and/or written, poorly optimized, and static, which means that the sites rarely if ever change and do little to generate new clients. Take a long hard look at your site and the results it produces for you. How well is it performing? Is there room for improvement? Here are a couple tools you can use to begin your analysis although you may want to get professional assistance too: Hubspot’s Marketing Grader, http://marketing.grader.com and Google’s Google Analytics, http://www.google.com/analytics. By the way, if your website is not cutting it, you don’t have to spend a bundle to improve it or to get a whole new site. I’ve never noticed a correlation between the cost of a site and its effectiveness.
• Create lots of quality content for your site by blogging and making videos. You may even want to begin a video blog. Regularly providing members of your target market with fresh, valuable content will make it easier for you to sell to them without appearing to sell. And that’s the best kind of selling.
• Take your
customer service up a notch. You probably know at least one company that makes
you really feel appreciated. So what can you do to let your clients know that
you truly value their business? Even small gestures can mean a lot. Here's how two companies I do business with show me that they care,
• Find out what your clients are thinking. What you learn may be invaluable to your marketing efforts. For example, survey them to find out how satisfied they are with your services; if they are aware of all of the services your business offers; if there is a service they would like you offer; and to find out how they prefer you communicate with them – via email, text, phone, mail, video, etc.
And finally. Resolve to try something different in 2013. We can all get in a marketing rut, so if you feel like you are in one, re-energize by changing things up in the coming year. But plan carefully.
I hope that all of your New Year’s marketing resolutions succeed and that 2013 is the year your business truly shines!
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