There may be a few quality street left in the tin and the snow has recently have fallen in parts of the UK, but the bin men have finally collected the last of the Christmas trees where I live, so I'd say we're officially now in 2018.
So what should you be thinking about for your business as you start the year? Many people will be thinking about what they want to achieve in 2018, but won't be sure how to get there.
Many of us will have set New Year's resolutions for ourselves, but not considered what we need or want to achieve for our businesses.
I've already been approached by a few people who say that this is the year they are going to tackle their marketing and get a plan together.
One thing is for sure - if you don't attempt to do it, it will never happen.
So, here's some thoughts from me on how you can take the first steps and get your marketing underway this year. Each one of these will take you towards where you want to be, but together they will really kick-start your marketing
1.Write down one goal for 2018
It might be a new client you want to win, it might be an increase in turnover, it might be a new venture you want to try. Whatever it is, if you write your goal down, you can aim for it. It's almost as if writing it down makes it seem more achievable, more real. Quantify your goal too; how many, what percentage, by when....
Then think about who you need to talk to to reach the goal. I'm talking about customers here. Which ones are you going to bring on board, sell more to, engage to reach your goal? Keep these customers in mind as you progress.
2. Next comes THE MARKETING plan
So you're not sure where to start the plan?
Ideally you'll start to write a marketing plan to meet your goal, but given you're reading this blog, chances are you've tried this before or this seems like too big and hairy a task to complete.
So do the next best thing.... Think about your customers from the first point. Take a piece of paper and put 3 boxes in it - these represent the next 3 months, Now put a topic in each box that you think will be of interest to your customers. This could be an environmental topic - your views on what is happening in the market, or it could be an internally focused topic - what you've learnt about something, what you are seeing with your customers and how your company is responding to this. Whatever the topics are, get 3 written down. These form the foundation of something you can talk to your customers about. Now start to write some bullets down about this topic.
3. Consider where your customers are engaging with you
So you know what you want to talk about, but where are you going to have these conversations? Are your customers on-line? Are they at trade shows? Do you need to be on social media? Pick just one of these platforms to start with. After all, we're looking for the first marketing steps. Then think about what you are going to say to them. Remember your goal and remember the customer - make sure you're thinking about this when you create your message.
4. Don't forget what you've already done
You may have already done some marketing, so you need to check out how you are already doing. Whether that's Google Analytics, an email report in Mail-chimp, or Facebook insights - learn one thing that is working for you. It might be a good subject line. It might be the time of day when people engage with your posts. The simple step here is to find one thing to learn from and implement it across what you do
In this blog, I've highlighted four things you can do to take that first step. Of course, there's plenty more marketing you can do, but it's all about taking that first action.
If all of this sounds daunting or tricky - don't panic! Help is at hand. I run planning sessions with my clients, which range from 1 to 5 hours where I can guide you and create, with you, an actionable marketing plan to really kick start your marketing and give your business a boost in 2018. They are painless and you can really get your marketing moving:
If you've ticked all the boxes above and are ready to take the next steps in your marketing, then please get in touch. I'd love to help your business fly in 2018 with more expert marketing support.