December is often a hectic time for business owners. It’s a rush to finish work before taking a well-earned break to relax and spend time with family and friends. But when the sales are over and the holiday parties have come and gone, January can be a slow month. This can affect your goals, your bottom line, and your motivation. So, instead, why not kick off the new year with some tried and tested marketing strategies.
To get started, it’s useful to look back over the last year. Reviewing the numbers, what went well (and not so well) will give you a good idea of how far your business has come. And it will help you set goals for the next 12 months.
You may already have your own annual review in place. But, if not, these questions will give you a structure to follow:
Once you have a better idea of performance over the last year, it’s time to set goals for the coming year.
The important thing is to know why you’re setting goals. What would you like to achieve in the next 12 months? If you’re a small business owner, this is likely to include both yourself and your business. Then, with your big goals in hand, break them down into smaller monthly goals.
Next, it’s time to look at a marketing strategy to help you get to where you want to be. Ask yourself the following questions:
The answers will give you a better understanding of your ideal customer. And with that information, you can create a more effective content strategy.
Before we delve into ideas for marketing content, there are a few quick win jobs you can get started on. These will help get you organised and set you up for the year ahead.
The Smart Bear has a short blog post about the best copyright format to use. In a nutshell, it looks like this:
Copyright © [START DATE] – [CURRENT DATE]. [COMPANY NAME]. All rights reserved.
Clear emails (file in folders or delete) and unsubscribe from junk email. It’s also worth looking at your email subscribers. Are there people who never engage? If so, they can affect your email analytics and likelihood of emails going to junk. Send them a quick email to ask whether they still want to stay on your list.
Say hello and give your email subscribers a round-up of last year, or details of what’s coming up next year. You could include your top 10 blog posts, social media posts, podcasts, or webinars. And remember to send a link to your most popular service, product, or offer.
Decide what events, seminars, and trade shows you’ll be attending. If you have events arranged for your business (eg. courses or challenges), publish and share those.
Google Business Profile used to be Google My Business. It’s a free tool which offers companies the opportunity to appear in Google searches. If you’re providing a product or service to your local area, it makes sense to have a profile.
Check your website for copy, pricing, links, statistics, references, and other relevant information. Make sure it is mobile friendly and has a good user experience. Our article When’s the best time for a website redesign will help you decide whether to do more.
How do you plan to generate new leads and what would you like to change this year? Do you have a special offer, a promotion at last year’s prices, or an online workshop to share? Can you create a campaign aimed at solving a problem your ideal customers have?
The analytics you reviewed earlier will help you decide what type of content to focus on this year. By creating a content calendar which covers at least 3 months (ideally 12), you can plan ahead.
Whichever content type you decide to use, remember to:
We’ve listed some of the main marketing content channels below:
Topics could include how-to guides, case studies, interviews with experts, testimonials, and more. Researching and including keywords will help you write search engine optimised posts. Get a copy of this free blogging checklist from Jacquie Budd.
A vitamin brand could publish posts about general health, wellness, mental health, and supplements.
Use these to share your blog and social media posts, but also create new content for your subscribers. Make sure you have a good mix of non-promotional content, along with CTA’s (call to actions) to your sales pages. Pick the optimal sending time for your emails (most email software will suggest times for you).
A travel agent could share guides to different cities.
A podcast can help position you as an expert and build a community of followers. Used with a blog you can publish a transcript or expand on the topics discussed. Recording a video is also great for people who prefer to watch. Both will give your followers a better experience and are good for SEO (search engine optimisation).
A local vet could share tips on animal health, training your pet, or alternative therapies.
Video content is growing in popularity. It’s a great way to share your brand’s history and connect with customers. But it’s especially useful for product demonstrations, training, how-to guides, and customer testimonials.
A florist could give a demonstration of flower arranging tips and techniques.
There are also many other forms of content you can consider, including:
Choosing the best one for your business goes right back to your ideal customer. Look at your answers to the earlier questions. Who are they? What do they read, watch, and listen. What problems do they have? And how can you help them?
Remember, when it comes to content, quality is more important than quantity.
Now you’ve planned your content strategy, ask yourself the following questions:
Setting KPI’s (key performance indicators) can help you stay on track. Check these regularly against analytics. To get a bigger picture, also consider reader feedback, sales conversions, bounce rates, and social shares.
If you’re not getting the results expected, try something else. It could be another type of content. Or sharing things in different ways.
Let us know how you get on, and if you have any questions.
Contact: Kevin Steel, Business Development Manager
Phone: 01226 249 590