The end of the year approaches! Before the holiday insanity hits, you should take a deep look at your marketing this past year to determine what to improve on.
If you did your Mid-Year Marketing Health Check during early summer, then you should already be well on your way knowing where to invest in your marketing and growth. Maybe you've already taken the first steps. If so; kudos!
Either way, I recommend all marketers and business owners review the bulk of their marketing efforts for 2021 before 2022 hits.
Even if you had a great year, hindsight IS 20/20. By diving deep now and reviewing how the year has gone, I guarantee you will still find room for improvement.
If you're not sure where to start, then this blog is for you. Below is a checklist to walk you through exactly what to do to turn your "great" or "okay" year into a FANTASTIC one.
Review ITEM #1
How Did Your Content Perform? Find the Treasure.
If you want a content plan that's worth its weight in gold, then you will have to dig into it as if you're looking for treasure.
How did your content perform this past year overall?
Look at your monthly emails or newsletters - which ones got the most reads and opens?
Look at your social media posts each month - what were the top 20 posts that garnered the most impressions, reads, click-throughs and shares?
Examine any blog posts, lead magnets, or exit intent opt-ins - how did they perform? Did any blog posts get a ton of attention?
This treasured data is wonderful fodder for you to form into a solid gold content plan for the next year.
Take those well-performing blog posts and go deeper. Consider taking one of the topics and turning it into a 3-part webinar series. Or turn one into a lead magnet and use it to capture leads on your website.
And don't forget to check: what content did poorly or got zero attention?
Don't just discard the content that did not do well. Examine it!
Did it do poorly because it was bad content? Or was it posted to the wrong channel? Or maybe it got overlooked because something else in local, national, or world news was happening that day? Maybe it just wasn't the right time for that particular piece of content.
Take what didn't work and see if you can redo it with a new angle, a different perspective.
Information is power and with this you can go into 2022 with knowing exactly how to direct your content plan. Be sure to organize an editorial calendar. If you don't, click this link to learn how to set one up.
Review Item #2
Has Your Audience Changed? Redefine Your Buyer.
If you've ever read a marketing blog by me (like this one), then you know one thing for sure.
I believe the ideal buyer is the key.
Has your ideal buyer changed over the past year? Have you unearthed a new audience? Are you finding you don't actually know your ONE?
At every point in your marketing strategy, you should be addressing what your ideal buyer needs and wants in order to make an informed purchase.
In order to understand your ideal buyer's needs, then you must really understand your ideal buyer inside and out.
Ask yourself these questions about your ideal buyer. If you don't know all the answers, then dive a little deeper to get them.
What is their age range, marital status, level of education, geo-location? What other demographic information is applicable to your particular product?
What do they want? How do they perceive themselves? What is their ideal success? What do they value? Who or what influences their decisions?
What are their 3 biggest pain points in life? What prevents them from achieving what they want? What kinds of solutions are they looking for?
Once you have a crystal clear on your ideal buyer (and you may have 2 or 3 different ones!), then you can ensure your marketing messaging and content for the upcoming year is in alignment!
This includes your sales campaigns, social media messaging, ads and basically everything in your marketing plan.
Conversion copy and long-form content focused on your ideal buyers should address product and competitor comparisons, pricing options, explanation of solutions and details about the experience or post-purchase process, and case studies and testimonials outline the success of previous buyers.
Review Item #3
How's Your Email Deliverability? Tighten up Your Database.
This is another question I include with every annual marketing review because it's important: how much of your emailing list is still valid?
Reviewing your email lists ensures that your email deliverability remains accurate and your sender reputation remains in good standing. If your sender reputation is downgraded, you'll have a very difficult time getting emails to anyone's inbox.
It is always a good idea to revisit your email contact list and cleanse it of any dead addresses, especially at the end of year. So, for your annual marketing review, you should dive into your email database to:
Segment your database so you have an accurate count of your prospects, active customers, and past customers. Each year, a certain percent of your prospects should become customers, and some of your active customers should end up becoming past customers. Make sure your email database accurately reflects reality.
Check the contacts that have become unmarketable. Look for contacts that haven't opened an email in the last 90 days or so and consider a new approach. You can either send them less emails or you can remove them from communications altogether.
Review Item #4
How are Your Internal Processes? Set up Smoother Operations.
Ask yourself how things are working within the company.
Are there preventable hiccups in communication? Are there consistent bottlenecks in production? Do you tend to have tons of meetings that go nowhere?
Sometimes it's your processes that need to be overhauled. Take a close look at what works to move your business forward and what do you continue to do simply because "it's what you've always done."
That type of inflexibility can hurt you in the long run.
End of year is a fantastic time to review your tech stack, too. With the continual improvements and evolutions, it's important to see if the software and tools you have are working for you.
Your project management software, accounting software, and time tracking tools are a great place to start looking for problem areas. Ask yourself:
Is your technological infrastructure helping you run the business smoothly, or are there too many glitches and breakdowns?
Is there anything that's being underutilized that can be used more?
Are there any that aren't getting much use or are an unnecessary expense?
It's also a good time to review your team. Unfortunately, sometimes an employee may be the wrong fit for the job and hurt the company's entire operation which can cause other valuable team members to leave or become dissatisfied.
And don't forget to look at yourself! Perhaps you aren't providing enough direction, training or incentives to give your team the tools for success.
One of my agency's Core Values is "Perpetual Growth." I back that up with quarterly training for my team.
I believe by investing in my team's knowledge and skill sets we will only deliver better results for our clients and ourselves.
I recommend investing in your employees and their future. Train them to help them do their jobs better or even add new skills to their arsenal. If your employees know that you care about their growth enough to invest in it, it will work as a morale booster for them and help your team overall.
Review Item #5
Did Your Marketing Campaigns Perform? Get a Complete Marketing Strategy.
A marketing strategy is an ongoing process that needs to evolve with your goals and the changing market demand.
Every seasoned marketer knows that behind every successful marketing campaign, there are tens and hundreds of failed experiments and hypotheses. The goal is that we learn and grow from the failures.
But if you don't have a complete marketing strategy and everything you run is a one-off campaign, then you might struggle never quite knowing what exactly is failing and how to fix it OR how to connect the dots of what is working.
In order to do this, you need a marketing plan that addresses the following things at the bare minimum:
What are the stages of your Ideal Customer Journey?
How are you addressing your Ideal Buyer's needs, wants and objections to the sale at every stage in their journey?
Do you have valuable assets to share during each stage to drive engagement?
Are you infusing delight for your customer in everything you do?
Do you have a system for Ideal Buyers who may need "more time"?
Do you have a long-term nurture campaign?
Do you have a strategy to generate continual testimonials and reviews?
It took me ten years to develop our very own proprietary process that addresses all these points.
It's called the Marketing RAMP®. This "Responsive Automated Master Plan," gives business owners a complete marketing blueprint, from the high-level overview all the way down to the details of customer delight. It works as a guide to build a dynamic marketing machine that can be adjusted to fit the real-life dynamism of your customers.