Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A New Year Calls for a New Marketing Plan

So here we are, already well into January, hustling and bustling to build new success in a new year. (I'm cooking up some new notions myself, as a matter of fact.) For many business owners, the beginning of the year is an ideal time to launch new programs, projects and directions -- including some new and improved marketing strategies to help turn all these great ideas into real-world revenue. Why? Because these folks aren't interested in continuing to run in place; they want to gain speed and move out ahead of the crowd. But before you can change your fortunes, you usually have to change your plan.

How's your January shaping up in that regard? Are you perfectly content to keep on keeping on, or are you looking to make some changes that will enable you to grow, adapt and thrive in an ever-changing environment? After all, new marketing trends, technologies and techniques spring up seemingly every day. Google adjusts its algorithm, and the entire online marketing industry changes course accordingly. Traditional websites are supplemented by mobile websites, then morph into responsive websites. In short, times change -- and so do buyer behaviors. So if the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results, how sane are your current marketing strategies?

I encourage business owners to refresh their marketing plans periodically, and the beginning of the year seems as sensible a time as any. Some of the items you might want to look at include:

Your overall business plan - Does it still address your company's needs, mission, values and goals? Are its timelines and milestones still doable? Do the various budgets (including the marketing budget) need adjusting?

Your marketing content - Does your current marketing content do your business proud? Does it actively boost your conversion rates? Do your latest and greatest products and services require promotion via new content? Are you prepared to freshen the existing content on a regular basis, and if so, what's your plan for that?

Your channels - Have you fallen behind the curve in utilizing a full array of social media and other state-of-the-art marketing channels -- or do you actually need to narrow your focus in this area? Could your website be more responsive to a wide range of browsers and mobile devices? Do you need to get more interactive in handling comments and questions from current and prospective customers?

Your analytics - Do you have an information collection system that sifts incoming buyer data into metrics you can use to guide your future marketing endeavors? Do you need to engage an outside provider of turnkey Web analytics, monitoring and management? Could you do a better job of building drip campaigns that automatically send out the right marketing touches to the right customers at the right point in the relationship?

There's still loads of time to make this year your best-ever year for new business growth and development. Just make sure that your marketing grows and develops too!