Get a jump start on the competition this year by planning your marketing campaigns early in the year and you’ll see big gains in 2017. Here’s our checklist to help you make 2017 your best year ever and keep you ahead of the game.
Audit last year’s successes and failures
A good place to start when planning your marketing for the year ahead is to audit your successes and failures from the previous year. From looking at your marketing goals to evaluating the bigger picture and your overall sales and revenue goals, how successful was 2016 for you as a business?
Make sure you speak with the sales teams to get feedback on the performance of your campaigns. Which campaigns were the most successful for bringing in new leads? Were leads properly qualified or did you get a lot of enquiries that weren’t very well qualified. Asking these questions will help you measure your successes and work out where you should be focusing your attention.
Make a calendar with milestones
One of the best planning tools is a marketing calendar. Not only will this help you work out important milestones and events, but it can also be used to co-ordinate and schedule your marketing effort. And while you can plan ahead for upcoming products launches, seasonal occasions and special events it won’t be possible to plan everything.
In your calendar, you should try to identify all the assets that you’ll need such as emails, landing pages, banner adverts, press releases. A content plan can help you plan things out but as nobody can predict the future you might have to change direction or your plans to cater to changes in the market.
Set your marketing budget early
A benefit of starting to plan your marketing early is it will help you set out your budget for the year ahead. Did you run out of budget last year? Or did you find yourself spending less than your budget? The most important part of the budget is the return on investment so you need to make sure that your marketing spend is generating a positive return.
Make sure you look at where you spent your budget last year and fully evaluate if this helped you reach your marketing goals or whether the budget could be better spent elsewhere. If you’re going to be asking for a bigger budget then make sure you have a clear plan for bringing in additional ROI.
Review and update your buyer personas
Look at your customers and identify the different buyer personas. Who is your ideal customer? What makes them different from other customers? Make sure you update your personas to reflect the type of customers that you want and make them as accurate as possible. Once you’ve identified your personas you can start using them to create marketing that is tailored to their needs and pain points.
Document your buyer’s journey
It’s important to look at the journey your buyers will take towards becoming a customer. What interaction points will they encounter and where does this fall in the general marketing journey. Do they take small steps, built up over a few months? Or are your buyers impulsive and become customers after one or two interactions. Working out their journey will help you improve this process and turn more potential buyers into actual customers.
Analytics can be a great tool for this allowing you to look at attribution and how many touch points there are before goal completions. If you can work out where your buyers are at different points in their journey then you can create content that helps them along the way.
In order to evaluate your marketing performance and check that it reaches your goals, you should be measuring everything. Whether you’re using email marketing, direct marketing or social media, putting tracking in place is critical for determining the success of your marketing efforts. Make sure you learn from previous successes as well as failures and have the freedom to evolve your marketing based on performance.
Hopefully, our marketing checklist will help you plan out the year ahead and drive success for your business. Just remember that failures provide an opportunity to learn and that you need to fail in order to succeed.