It’s an exciting time to get ahead of the curve – and your competition – and ensure you have a solid plan for new business growth. So as the 2010s come to a close, here are a few things you should consider implementing in the new year.
If you are not already on social media but your target audience and competitors are, now is the time to establish a presence. Social media is unrivalled in its ability to facilitate interactions between a business and its target audience as well as add a sense of community to your brand. And best of all, social media platforms are free to use.
Key questions to ask yourself when considering social media:
- Are my target audiences on social media? If so, what channels do they use? Establish a presence on one or two social networks that are popular with your target audience.
- Will you be able to dedicate enough time to be successful on social media? You need to be posting frequently, replying to customers’ comments and creating engaging content.
- What will be your key goals and how will you measure these? For example, if you want to increase your brand reach, ‘post reach/impressions’ will be good metrics to track.
For more information, including what channels would be best for you, our recent blog post about getting started on social media can help.
Analyse your success
Although you should analyse the success of your social media activity regularly throughout the year, now may be a great time to consider some bigger questions.
- Which social media platforms brought the most visitors to your site? Did these visitors explore more of your site than just the landing page?
- Are there any new social media platforms that you should consider (TikTok, for example)? Make sure you are still on the optimal sites for your target audience.
- How often are you posting and are you posting enough? If you are not at the forefront of your customers’ minds regularly then you will most likely be forgotten.
- Are your posts optimised? Are you including exciting imagery, hashtags and website links or does your content get lost in the crowd?
- Are your posts becoming a bit ‘samey’? Mix up your posts, include a balance of fun and fact, and don’t just use social media to sell – it is called social media for a reason.
- Assess what content did not reach the mark and why. Had the topic already been covered many times? Was it shared at the wrong time of day?
- Could you repurpose any content that performed well?
Whatever you can learn from the content you’ve already shared will help you determine the best strategy for the future.
In an increasingly digital age, websites are the first port of call for many customers. Not having a website or having a website that is out of date, slow and old fashioned (and does not reflect the expertise of your business!) can leave customers unsure about engaging with your company.
So is it time to breathe fresh air into your old site? Ask yourself:
- Does any of the content need to be re-written? Is it out of date (for example, you have started selling a product that is not on your website) or does it need to be reviewed for better consumer engagement?
- Is your website mobile-responsive? Mobile traffic has increased 222% in the last five years and google uses mobile-friendliness as one of its ranking factors. If your website is not mobile-responsive you could be missing out on valuable customers.
- Does your website CMS (content management system) need any updates?
- Is your website secure (SSL) and does it need to be? If you see ‘HTTPS’ and a padlock in the address bar then your website is secure. Securing your site can make it more competitive and safer for users.
- Do you update your website at least once a month? Are you adding new images, videos, events or blog posts to keep your website relevant and competitive?
- In terms of analytics, which are the best to measure alongside your goals? It is worth noting how many pages visitors typically view before leaving your site. This can give you an idea of whether your site is engaging and encourages visitors to explore.
- How many of your website visitors convert into paying customers? To turn your website visitors into customers you may need to modernise your website look and feel, enhance the user experience or add a blogging feature.
Day-to-day customers are bombarded by brands. There are at least five in my field of view right now: Apple, Cadbury, Twitter, Hootsuite and Google.
For this reason, and understandably, customers can have a hard time recalling individual messages from different companies. So to cut through the clutter you need to create a consistent brand both on and offline. But branding is not just about the logo, it’s about the associated tone of voice, feeling and message.
Has all of this year’s company content been on brand? This could include social media content, ads, print collateral and any brand-associated content. If it hasn’t, what about it was wrong? Remind yourself of what’s at the core of your business.
On the other hand, if you are not happy with the brand itself, if your business has recently expanded, if your logo was created a long time ago or if your brand is not memorable, it might be time for a rebrand.
A strong, flexible brand can have a major impact on any business. It can be reproduced in different sizes and across different formats and applications, whilst still maintaining its memorable style.
Print marketing includes the production of:
- Brochures, leaflets, flyers
- Stationery (business cards, letterheads)
- Merchandising (pens or similar)
- Direct mail
- Pull-up banners, posters, signage
Have you recently launched any new products, moved offices, launched a new campaign, or hired a new employee? If so, have you checked that all of your print collateral is up-to-date and relevant?
Or have you been neglecting print because you have been told it was ‘dead’? Print marketing is not dead, it works better than any other form of marketing – around double the number of individuals act on direct mail when compared to email marketing. Make sure you don’t overlook the advantages of print.
When reviewing the previous year, always start with your business goals. Were they specific, measurable and did they have a time limit? What did you manage to achieve and what did not hit the mark? And how will you adapt your strategy towards the new year?
Whether you need increased brand awareness or lead generation, clearly stating your objectives in your new marketing plan will help guide the upcoming year’s activity.
You should also consider:
- Which customers produced the most revenue for your business? Do they share demographics, needs or motivators? Assessing this information can lead to better audience targeting and should influence your business’s messaging and decisions.
- What messages and content resonated most with your customer base and what themes got the most engagement?
- What did your competition do this year? Did they start any social media activity, do anything particularly interesting or anything that seemed to perform well? Use this information to find opportunities to differentiate your business, avoid their pitfalls and pinpoint any areas they are missing that you can fill.
- What are the trends forecasted for your industry? Could these trends change how you market to your customers?
- Does your company thrive during a certain time of year or holiday? If so, give yourself plenty of time to plan and execute campaigns that will have the most impact during this time.
With over 40 years’ experience in the creative industry, we know what works. So if you need help with any of the above or simply want to ask a question, feel free to say hello!