Happy New Year! January is all about starting fresh: reflecting on the past year, taking stock of your goals and reassessing priorities for the New Year.  Fitness and health are often the priority for most this time of year, but what about your business resolutions?

If shaping up your marketing strategy is high on your list, here are some tips to help you flex some brand muscle while helping to keep your marketing budget focused and fit.

  1. Understand your “why”.  It’s important to explore the reason for the specific goals that you have set for your business. There is a bigger inspiration that drives your vision for your company, and it needs to be uncovered and well articulated throughout all your content. It serves as the foundation to your marketing strategy and also helps to create a deeper connection with your audience than just talking about your product/service benefits.
  2. Get clear on your goals and how to achieve them. Define what you want to achieve for your business in 2017, but keep in mind the impact that longer term goals can have on your business as well. Building brand awareness and name recognition within your marketplace can take years or even decades. Focusing some of your efforts on achieving those long-term goals should be critical to your marketing resolution this year.
  3. Make a plan that will gradually move you toward your final goal. Without a plan to move you from point A to B, your ability to reach your marketing goals will understandably be greatly diminished. But similar to many resolutions that start out strong, too ambitious of a goal and/or timeline to achieve it will result in unrealistic expectations of results. A “go big or go home” mentality often results in disappointment, when in truth it’s not about making one big, extraordinary marketing move to accomplish extraordinary things. To get amazing results, it’s about doing ordinary things on a daily basis. So instead, break down the tactics required to get to that goal, and stay focused on these behaviours and tactics rather than quick results or a flashy campaign.
  4. Set your milestones. Breaking up your marketing goals into smaller, incremental successes will help keep you focused on the marketing tactics and help illustrate the successes that add up to the big picture. Success doesn’t happen overnight; but setting attainable, measurable milestones on the road to your ultimate goal can serve as critical indicators of the success of your marketing strategy.
  5. Measure and optimize. It is critical to determine how best to measure your marketing efforts to ultimately determine if they are succeeding. What you measure and how often you measure it should be directly correlated to your primary goal. Website hits, conversion rates, organic search traffic, customer surveys, click through rates, ad impressions and video view lengths are just some of the key performance indicators to consider. Consistent reporting on the relevant factors in your campaign is necessary to understanding what’s working, what’s not, and how to make changes to your marketing tactics if necessary. What gets monitored, gets improved.
  6. Brace yourself for temptation. If your marketing strategy is sound and your tactics are well thought out, but you don’t see a spike in results in those first early days, don’t give up just yet. Just as with a fitness resolution, many lose motivation when results are not immediate. Instead, look to make small adjustments in your tactics and optimize based on the results you are measuring. Many factors can determine how much time you will need to gain traction in your marketplace: how competitive is the landscape, how integrated is your campaign with multiple channels, how targeted is your audience, how appropriate is the allocated budget, how long is your customer’s path to purchase? Consider these questions when determining how long to measure your marketing efforts before pulling the plug.
  7. Start with baby steps: To get amazing results, it’s about doing ordinary things on a daily basis. What does that mean for your business? For starters, consider whether you are actively engaged on the social channels where your target customer lives. Are you posting high quality and relevant content on a consistent basis? Perhaps your first marketing resolution includes spending a small amount of time every other day to engage and build your community on these platforms. What about the content that lives on your website? When was the last time that it was updated? Does it speak to the needs of your customers, the questions they have, the information they are looking for when they look for your products/services? Does it contain the search terms that reflect the words your customers would enter into Google? Even without a big budget, starting with small changes and consistent execution can often yield those first critical results.
  8. Get help. Know when it’s time to call in the experts. Crafting a successful marketing strategy takes skill and understanding. Aligning yourself with the right brand marketing partner can help you answer many of the questions that businesses need to be able to answer in order to successfully achieve their marketing goals. Investing in the expertise of an experienced marketing firm who will determine the appropriate steps to take in order to execute that strategy; which specific tactics and mediums to activate with, and generate reporting and insights, is the best way to help inform your marketing decisions in the new year.

With a little patience, the above tips will help you turn your marketing dreams into this year’s realities. If you are ready to take your marketing fitness to the next level in 2017, consider Sandbox Brand Marketing to help craft your business’ roadmap to success this year.