A quick straw poll at DRIVE towers reveals a myriad of New Year’s resolutions; lose weight, drink less, exercise more, read more books, buy less ‘stuff’. As with every year, we all start with the best of intentions, but come Easter, how many resolutions will have stuck?
In business, as well as our personal lives, making a list of resolutions is a great way to focus for the year ahead – but with business, and especially in the current climate, it’s perhaps even more crucial to stick to them.
As we ditch the leftover Christmas chocs, contemplate the dullness of Dry January and rescue the gym kit from the back of the wardrobe, let’s look at some marketing resolutions your business should be making - and keeping - in 2019.
Plan, plan, plan
If you’ve not set out your marketing plan for 2019, it’s not too late! Developing a robust and, importantly, achievable, plan, is the first vital step to a successful year. Whatever your budget, planning is crucial to ensure you make the most of the funds available.
Start with a wish list – we like to do an ‘if money were no object plan’. This lets your imagination run and from this you can drill down and adapt to suit your budget.
Look at key events in your sector, industry or in the calendar. What activity or campaign can you hook on to these events to create a buzz around your product or service? What activity can you plan to drive sales in any quiet months?
Make the most of what you have
We work with every kind of budget and whatever money you have set aside for marketing, it’s important to make the very most of it.
Look to invest in a new website – even just a refresh of the existing one can make a difference. Perhaps it’s time for an infographic or video to explain your service to potential clients. Why not look to hold an event – or exhibit at a trade or B2B show? Brochures and leaflets are enjoying something of a renaissance – why not invest in some quality printed collateral?
Carefully planned Google Ads are a great way to boost your business with increased visitors to your website or a greater number of calls or in-store visitors.
Blogging will also help you to get in front of your customers and if you’re not a whizz with words, outsourcing the copywriting doesn’t have to be expensive. Likewise, social media - in one form or another - should play a part in every marketing plan, but it can be time-consuming to get right so you might want to consider outsourcing this important activity to get the very best impact.
Keep your eyes peeled and get your face and skills known!
Keep an eye on trends in your sector or industry. What’s happening on a local, national or international level? Can you get ahead of your competition with targeted online ads or a LinkedIn campaign, for example?
Joining a networking group and getting in front of decision-makers can lead to leads – but it can also mean a lot of breakfasts and wasted time if you’re not in the right group. Take time to research the opportunities, attending as a non-member to test the water. Beware of becoming a serial networker, leaving little time for actual work!
Review, react and adapt
A marketing plan shouldn’t be written, filed and never again see the light of day.
Treat your marketing plan as a live document and check every activity against it. You’re offered a last-minute ad space for a fraction of the price – yippee! Stop! Was print advertising in your original plan? If not, why not? Does a full-page glossy ad (even one for *only* a third of the price) fit with your objectives? Is the audience or circulation area the right one?
A decent marketing plan should never be set in stone; it’s important to react and adapt and change it if necessary. Did the social media campaign last quarter deliver the results you were expecting? Does this activity need to be supported by online ads or remarketing? Have web visitors increased? Have ‘phones rung more often?
Look at your plan and try to identify what is working and what is not. If something’s not working, don’t be disheartened. Have you given it enough time to take effect? Is the copy slightly off the mark or the imagery strong enough? Do your research and perhaps adjust pricing or offers in line with your that of your competitors. Adapt your activity and, in time, review again and see if there’s any difference before ceasing activity completely.
Know your strengths
In any business, it is important to know your strengths and those of the team around you. For example, just because Betty in Accounts has a great Instagram feed, doesn’t mean she can take on the social media for your business.
Just as you would task an IT expert to implement systems and an accountant to balance the books, it is hugely important to get the right people to manage your marketing activity.
You will know your product or service better than anyone, but can you, for example, translate your passion into ‘sales-speak’ or juggle the Google wordcount to maximum effect? You might be handy with a camera or iPhone, but can you take pics that will send your social media feeds viral?
Need some help sticking to your resolutions?
If this blog has made you think about your marketing intentions for 2019 and you're a small to medium-size business – please give us a call!