As the year comes to a close, many marketers find themselves reassessing their strategies. What worked? What didn't? And what can I add to the mix to improve things in the coming year?
While we're big fans of innovation, you don't need to completely scrap everything you're doing to make space for the new. By following these steps, you can add new and innovative tactics to your current winning strategy, without sacrificing what is working.
1. Streamline Where Needed
Set aside some time for you and your team to take a hard, honest look at your marketing plan. If you see that you've got an old trick that just isn't getting the job done anymore, maybe it's time to retire it. Go through each component of your plan, until you're sure that you've saved the cream of your crop of tactics.
Do not pull a Griswold! Your marketing plan isn't a Christmas tree—you don't want to continually festoon it with new ideas until the tree is completely obscured or ready to catch on fire; keep it simple and elegant, so that you can easily see if there's a component that isn't pulling it's weight. If you've got to untangle a ball of marketing Christmas lights every time you sense that something's not working for you, you're less likely to take the time to do so.
You've got some new and interesting ideas that you're ready to integrate into your now-streamlined marketing plan. But how do you decide which of these fresh concepts are fit to be incorporated? Well, what are your goals for your organization?
Your goals for the future can inform your marketing plan. If, for example, you hope to increase traffic to your website in 2017, then you should prioritize any tactics that would help you get closer to attaining that goal. You've heard that blogging with more regular frequency is a good tactic for directing traffic to your site, and it's something that you've got on your list to adopt in the future— good news! The future is now! This tactic is congruent with your goal; now you just have to implement this into your marketing plan, and get started on creating high quality content in a quantity that suits your needs.
3. Create Processes
In keeping with the "simple and elegant" theme, now's the time to incorporate some processes into your marketing plan. Process, you ask? Like, a spelled-out series of steps the team should take to achieve a designtated result? Yes.
The best way to become more efficient is to create processes for everything, from generating emails and blog posts to concepting new ideas. If it's something that you and your team have done more than once, and forsee doing in the future, write a process for it.
Why? Well, if everyone's on the same page about how to do a certain task, the results will be consistent. Consistency is crucial—your potential customers will know what they can expect from you when you routinely present quality, no matter how small the task.
Even better, a strong process helps you delegate tasks with confidence. If the delegate-ee has the process in front of him or her, they should be able to follow the steps that you, the delegate-er, laid out, and the results should be congruent with everything you've produced in the past. Easy peasy, and hopefully better than this guy with his dominoes.
Okay, you've got your processes shined up and ready to roll, and you're sure that anyone can follow them and achieve excellent results. So, do you have someone you can pass them off to? Before you toss, be sure that they're ready to catch.
Check to make sure that your team isn't overwhelmed. If business is picking up, it's likely that everyone's busy—which is fantastic! But that's not very conducive to delegation. Adding to an already over-burdened team isn't a recipe for success.
Perhaps it's time consider hiring freelancers; a good freelancer can catch whatever you throw at them and run with it, especially if you've got those all-important processes honed to perfection. Be sure to provide them with some examples of work you've done before, just so that they've got a good understanding of precisely what you're looking for.
Or, if you're really under water, maybe it's time to bring in an agency. A quality agency will not only pick up where you've left off, but they can help you improve upon your existing strategy, pointing out places where your plan should be bolstered as they make the good points even better. Marketing can be challenging, particularly if it's not your forte to begin with; bringing in a team of experts will only make things easier for you. High fives, you can do it!