It’s that time of year where we’ve made our personal resolutions – eat healthier, visit the gym more, and accomplish that big task. What about your business resolutions in 2016? Sure, earn more with less is likely top of the list. Maybe you have specific operational goals, or targets to hit with your employees. Have you given attention to your marketing goals for 2016? If not, here’s a starter set of resolutions for your marketing strategy in 2016.
1. Think Strategically + Rely Less on Tactical
As a small business, we often get caught up in the business of putting out fires and not spending time well ahead on planning for the future. There is always an excuse to take care of an immediate need. Block out some time this month to sit down and look at your marketing plan (and if you don’t have a marketing plan down on paper, that’s a whole other discussion – stop everything and do that instead of whatever else you’re doing right now). Look at what worked in 2015, and what maybe didn’t work so well. Enlist a professional (ahem. insert shameless plug for Williams Advertising here.). Look at the big picture, and think long term. Yes, look at what’s going to work to achieve your goals in 2016. But look at how what you’re planning in 2016 will impact 2017. Is there something coming in 2017 that would be more successful if those tactics you plan on in 2016 are done a certain way?
And make a resolution to in 2016, block out time to revisit the plan and adjust as needed. Then prior to year end, do the planning for 2017 and beyond.
2. Realize Relationships = Marketing Success
Oh, the marketing firm is not going to try to peddle their own goods with this one? No marketing agency worth their salt will discount any channels that will bring you success. One of our biggest recommendations to clients is to make building personal relationships a big part of your marketing strategy. While we can help facilitate and assist with the organization of this particular component of the marketing strategy, this one is ultimately on you. Take 2016 to build some key relationships. Look at your business and see what complementary businesses you might partner with to grow together. Build relationships with key stakeholders in target companies. Because ultimately, people don’t do business with companies, they do business with people. In 2016, work on humanizing your company if you’re a B2B organization or a big brand. Get out in the community and get to know someone new. If you take the time to invest in relationships to support your marketing strategy, those relationships will pay dividends.
3. Know The Basics + Keep Learning
We used to market in a time where once you knew how to sell, you could survive. Now, you need to know the marketing basics but you need to keep up with marketing trends as quickly as they are changing to stay ahead. One of our resolutions is to bring you coverage of the latest and greatest in the marketing world better than we have in 2015. Keep up with industry blogs specific to your product or service. Follow social media news and bloggers on Twitter. Just commit to staying informed so that you’re not content to have finally grasped how to post on social media, only to be perplexed when posts aren’t being seen by your audience. In 2016, stay current to stay relevant.
4. Thou Shalt Engage
And thou shalt not live and die solely by the number of likes. See previous resolution about posts not being seen. As social media channels learn how to better monetize your efforts, you pay to play. So while it is important to have a good number of fans/likes/followers, in 2016 it’ll be all about measuring how engaged your audience is. If you have 50,000 followers but only get a handful of likes and few comments, your message is not resonating. If you have 10 followers with 2 retweets and 5 comments, you’re doing something right. We’re talking extremes, but you get the point. Get to know your people. Do you read and reply to comments, even if there is no question? See point number 2 about relationships. Build them with your already engaged audience on your social media channels. Do you post what’s interesting to you and your business, or do you have a focus on your customers’ interests? Make sure engagement is the undercurrent of your strategy for 2016.
5. Make Content Key
It looks like the word “content” is still going to appear on the Williams Advertising blog well in to 2016, because that is still what it’s all about. When you’re developing that marketing strategy from #1, go ahead and put an entire section for content strategy if you haven’t already. Because we have that strategy, we know that we won’t be scrambling for content in 2016. While we aren’t advocating having canned messages, just know what content your audience engages with and keep it coming. Plan time to shoot short videos, have your products Instagram-ready, and have an editorial calendar ready for your blog. Know that you must be timely and relevant, and be nimble enough to stay ahead of market changes. But in 2016, make your content marketing a significant part of your business life.
Our advice to you is to set attainable goals, that way you stick to them. Make 2016 be the year that you get ahead of your marketing goals and have a banner year. As always, let us know how we can help.