Reviewing Your Year
This year is quickly drawing to a close, and that means it’s time for a bit of retrospect.
After all, the only way to plan out where to go from here is first to map out where you’ve been and recognise where you are.
With Christmas almost upon us and 2019 practically already here your marketing strategy might feel like the last thing you want to be thinking about but if you want your business to start off the new year on the right foot then trust me when I say that you need to shuffle priorities a little.
And I know what you’re thinking, “When am I going to find the time?” But honestly reviewing your year doesn’t need to be that hard or time-consuming. It’s just about setting yourself down for a few hours with some data-filled reports and a clear, creative and critical mind.
So how can the year that was, inform the year that is to come?
What exactly should you be looking for when reviewing your year?
Firstly, look at your wins.
This is a great one to start with because it’s sure to get you a bit more excited about the whole thing.
Whether your marketing strategy needs a few tweaks or a complete overhaul, chances are if your business is still standing it’s because you’ve had some great marketing wins in 2018. What were they? How did they come about? What made it a win?
This exercise is great because not only will it reveal some effective methods to you, but it will also help you to pinpoint what you see as a win. Because at the end of the day, ‘wins’ or success measures will look different to every business.
Then, find out what worked.
This goes hand in hand with looking at your wins. You’ve figured out what you see as a success, now what brought this success on? Was it a really effective campaign that got a lot of traction? Was it a platform that helped you reach a bigger audience? Was it a particular form of content like video or podcasting?
When identifying what worked it’s important to be as specific as possible. Your blogs might have brought the most visitors back to your website but which blogs performed better? Was it the blogs under 500 words or over 1000? Did your clients enjoy the thought-provoking pieces or the informative ones?
The more specific you get, the better you’ll be able to utilise these methods in your 2019 marketing strategy.
Okay, now what didn’t work?
This is definitely a less fun one, but it’s important to be able to be critical with yourself, your business, and your methods if you want to successfully move forward. You don’t want to spend 2019 making the same mistakes you did in 2018 so figure out what those mistakes or less than effective methods were.
Maybe you’ve been putting off a website rebuild for too long, and it’s been costing you, potential customers. Maybe you didn’t do your research well enough, and you’ve been marketing to the wrong target group.
Whatever it is be wise enough to pinpoint the mistake, so you don’t make them again.
Next, what was your focus like?
This question isn’t really one the reports can answer (although if you let me go through data, I could probably deduce pretty easily how focused you were). It’s more of a personal question, but nevertheless, an important one.
When you run your own business, it’s easy to get so caught up in the day to day management tasks that you let your marketing strategy fall by the wayside. But at the end of the day your marketing strategy is what’s going to bring in clients, sales, and keep your business turning a profit. If anything deserves your focus, it’s this.
Finally, were you consistent?
They say that Rome wasn’t built in a day right? Well, an effective marketing campaign is almost never achieved overnight. It takes dedication and consistency to build up a following.
Most forms of marketing actually aren’t about convincing customers to buy right this second. It’s about keeping your business at the top of their minds so that when it is time to purchase your brand will be the first they think of. But in order for that to work your online presence can’t be here one day and gone the next.
So what was your consistency like? Did you stick to that Monday – Friday posting schedule you laid out at the start of the year or did you post once every couple of weeks when you remembered too?
Once you’ve figured out the answer to these questions you can start to look to the future – towards your 2019 Forward Plan – but don’t worry, that’s a discussion I’ll tackle in a coming article.
For now, find those few precious hours, and do yourself and your business a favour by reviewing your year.
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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