It’s the beginning of a new year, and for us, that means fielding questions from business both small and large about strategic planning and goal setting. The new year is about resolutions, goals, intentions and wishes. No different than in business, it is a time to reevaluate and to rethink and reset. So what do we tell business that they need to do to get ready and get set for 2016?
The answer is the same for all businesses and organization; Here are some guidelines that any company can use to make 2016 the best year yet.
No matter the business or industry, you have to have goals. Without a goal, you are taking a walk in the woods without a map. Goals give you something to be accountable to and a reference point for decision making throughout the year. Your wishes form the foundation of your goals. For example, “I wish I could land that big account” or “I wish I could expand into the Vancouver market”. Turn these wishes into goals by identifying the actions you can take to turn them into reality.
Now that you have your goals in mind, you will make a plan that best utilizes the support and resources that you have. For example, do you have a Customer Referral Management System? If not, ask us about ours! Do you have the software, computers or other technology that you need to be efficient and mobile? These tools determine how you access and process information.
With your goals established and your plan in place, you will need to check them on a quarterly basis, assessing your progress and measuring success. This is also a good time to establish any areas that need to be improved upon. Likewise, if you need help achieving your goals, be sure to lean on your team, including staff or marketing teams like Csek Creative.
Marketing doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does have to be purposeful. Lucky for you, you have set some goals for 2016 that will drive all of your marketing decisions over the next year. Would it be best to contact new customers or partners on LinkedIn? Should you seek an introduction at a networking event? Why not do both? You should also consider marketing material and whether or not a direct mailer is the best way to reach out.
Now is also the time to examine your marketing initiatives. For many people this means spending money, but that doesn’t have to be the case. It could be identifying a directory of names that you can start prospecting through networking, phone calls, emails, and social media. It could be continually fine tuning the content on your website to speak deliberately to those prospects. Depending on your industry, your marketing plan could include a social media training session to become better acquainted with the platforms available and learn more about how best to achieve your goals online.
For businesses that are currently spending valuable dollars on marketing and already have budgets allocated, there are some other things that you should do. Start by thoroughly examining the efforts and results of previous year in terms of what you spent and determine where you received results. If you don’t know whether or not you received results, your first step will be setting up processes to ensure that you can gauge any measurable data; The alternative is to make your best educated guess. Every dollar that you spend on marketing should be placed where it is most effective and if the value isn’t there, you need to reallocate those dollars.
Another important aspect of any marketing plan is understanding your website traffic, who your audience is and how they come to you. Learn to examine your Google Analytics, your website statistics, and check them frequently. These statistics can tell you how many people find your website organically, directly, from Facebook, or otherwise. If you’re running ads online, you’ll be able to see exactly how many people those ads sent you, and when. You can also examine the quality of the traffic that your website is receiving based on things like bounce rate, time on site, and pages viewed. Using this data, you can fine tune your marketing campaign, building on your success while weeding out bad investments.
Something else to note: websites may sometimes receive ghost traffic or ‘spam’ traffic, which is fake traffic that pollutes your Google Analytics data. You will need to filter out this traffic in order to get accurate reporting results. You can search Google for a step by step process, but we also train clients on how to filter out this data as well.
Did you know that only 8% of people achieve their New Year’s Resolution? At the start of the year, we have the best intentions and we are full of gusto to get it done. As the months drag by, we fall into our old patterns and habits, forgetting the goals that we set out to achieve. So how do we stay on track?
One of the best methods is to share your goals with someone; “I am absolutely going to keep my inbox at 25 emails or less,” “I am going to start following up on these initiatives on a quarterly basis.”
When you verbalize your goals and make it known, you are that much more responsible to see it done. By sharing your goals, you become accountable. Better yet, form a ‘buddy system’ with a team member or friend that has similar goals so that you can share in the rough moments and celebrate one another’s victories.
When it comes to marketing, you may need a team like Csek Creative to help you stick to task. We work with clients to set plans and schedules that are achievable. Likewise, with this plan in place, you become accountable to us and we will follow up with you to ensure that your plans stay top of mind and that you work towards achieving your goals. When you get busy, your marketing plan will likely be one of the first things that gets pushed aside, but we won’t let that happen!
Achieve your goals and then celebrate and rejoice in your success before getting ready to do it again.
We understand how hard it can be to set goals and make a plan for success, but the harsh reality is that if you don’t make it happen and change the way that you do business, you will continue to get the same results. If you want success, you have to roll up your sleeves and move forward. Set your goals, create your plan, evaluate and repeat… The formula for success really is that simple.
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