As we near the end of 2018, it is time to begin reflecting on the past year and looking forward to the one coming by completing an end-of-year checklist. When you look back at your efforts in digital marketing, what do you see? Use this information to make 2019 even more successful than 2018.
Reflecting on 2018
- Review website analytics for the last year.
Were there months that didn’t do as well as you had hoped? Do you know why? Looking at year-over-year data is always important to monitor progress over time, but it can also reveal patterns for yourself or clients. If you have a “seasonal” product, plan to use your budget, time, and resources effectively during the downtime. That way, you can capitalize on the times when your target market is shopping most.
- Check out your competitors’ efforts.
What did they do that you liked? What did you not like? Do you have any ideas after reviewing their year? It is easy to get caught in a pattern- especially when things are working. Even if a campaign was wildly successful in 2018, you cannot bank on it working again year after year. Keep ideas and efforts fresh while allowing for some annual mainstays.
- Look at your website from both desktop and a mobile standpoint. Do you like what you see? Is it optimized for mobile? If the answer to either of these is “no”, it is probably time to begin considering a redesign. The end of the year is a great time to make this call so that you can work it into the yearly budget and timeline.
- Open all your social media accounts.
Is your branding consistent? If not, change profile pictures, header images, and consider making some graphic templates to use on a regular basis.
- Is your business growing or are you losing customers?
Either way, do you know why? Look at your retention and growth over 2018 and strategize on how to gain new customers while keeping your current ones happy.
- Do you know where you are showing up in search engines for important business keywords?
Keyword research and organic rankings are often the cheapest and easiest way to increase traffic. Monitor where you are in these rankings and work to improve where Google is placing your most important and pertinent information.
- When was the last time you sent an email message to your customers?
Were you pleased with the performance? If email marketing is not currently in your digital marketing mix, it is time to add it in as a tool. If the thought of this is overwhelming, let Element 47 help you get started.
- Evaluate your website’s technical makeup.
Is it easy to update and add content? If not, do you need training? Or maybe a new content management system? Or maybe it’s time to outsource your web management.
Drop anything that didn’t work in 2018. If you weren’t happy with it, don’t do it again.
Preparing for 2019
- Drop anything that didn’t work in 2018.
If you weren’t happy with it, don’t do it again. Unless you’ve gone through rigorous training on the subject or brought in an expert, it’s not likely that the results will improve.
- Develop marketing goals.
The end of the year is often when businesses come to an astonishing realization—they feel like they’ve DONE a lot over the year but can’t really PROVE it. If your marketing efforts aren’t something that you can track success on, then what’s the point? At the end of each year, your business should be able to review wins, losses, and ways to change.
- Set a marketing budget for 2018.
Determine how you will spend the money each month and stick to it. Once you’ve reflected heavily on 2018, you can adjust spending to different areas if needed or increase the budget if necessary.
- Create an editorial calendar.
Now it is time to plan, plan, plan. We recommend a 3 to 6-month editorial calendar at a time. This way, you can review each quarter or mid-year and adjust. However, it is never a bad idea to begin thinking about the second half of 2019, especially if you want to plan big campaigns—think “Back-to-School”, #GivingTuesday, and Christmas.
- Get support
If your content needs supporting tools like photography, video, graphic design, etc. make sure to plan these pieces far enough in advance. Professionals in these industries book up in advance, so ensure that you allow time to get on their calendars. Even if you’re keeping the production in-house, your team will need time to produce and edit the content.
The end-of-year checklist can seem overwhelming for many businesses—and that is totally understandable. You are not alone. If you’re stressed about your 2019 marketing efforts, please give Element 47 a shout.