Welcome to 2017 … Well Almost!

BusinessplanSo are you prepping or ready for 2017? Now is the time of year where we start to shut down our last year and start planning for the next year. Did you meet or exceed your goals? Did you fall short? It’s all good … time to look forward!

I want to tell you about five things you should be thinking about, regarding your online marketing profile, before the new year starts. Now, most content is evergreen. These things still apply even if you are listening to this after November. You can do it at any time. So many people get to the end of the year and say, “Okay, what are we going to do to make next year better? What can we do to grow our businesses?” That’s what I want to talk about. Here are the five things that I want you to take a look at.

Review Your Numbers

business man drawing pie chart

The first one is, review your numbers. Go in and look at your marketing numbers, your QuickBooks and your podcast numbers. Take a look and see how you did this year versus last year? What has changed? When I first opened up my business, I was doing business card CDs. Guess what? You can’t buy a computer with a CD player anymore, or if you can they are really hard to find. Most people use tablets, or netbooks, or something along those lines. What you have to look at is how has your business evolved? Where are you getting your customers? What are they buying? What are they not buying? What has worked as far as marketing and what hasn’t? Review those numbers and figure out what’s going on with your business, because that’s going to help you with the next few things.

Review Your Website

Businessman hand browsing internet websites on his laptopThe second thing you need to do is to take a look at your website. When was the last time you had your website updated? I could tell you from a business standpoint, you should change the look and feel of your site every three years. As a matter of fact, I’m in the process of doing updating my website and getting ready for the next year. I revamped brianbasilico.com and added a new theme. That’s the point. If you have a WordPress website, it may just be time to go in and add a new theme, add some new images, or do something to spruce it up to give it a new look and feel. Whether you do it yourself, or you hire somebody to do it, maybe give it a more modern look if that is something that’s more in line with where your business is today. That’s also why I said you need to look at your numbers. That’s going to help you decide what the look and feel needs to be. What does the theme do? What do I need to say?

Update Your Website Content

business man hand shows 3d word internet concept

That brings me to the third point. The third point is that you have to look at your website content. As I said, I was previously doing business card CDs. If I had a page on my website that talked about that today, people would laugh. They would say, “Oh man, this dude’s still back in 2001.” Right? You have to go look at the content and say, “What has changed in my business, and are these pages speaking to my customers? Is the content that’s written in there speaking to my customers? Is the images that I’m using speaking to my customers?” You want to review the content that’s on your webpages. Maybe you’re going to delete a few and add a few more, and maybe reorder them, so you get the right content in front of your people.

Why do you need to do this? The way the websites have been evolving has really changed. We no longer look at websites as a series of brochures, because most people won’t sit here and just flip through the brochure. What they want to do is quickly find an answer to a direct problem. Websites have become much more of a landing page. What you’re trying to do is drive people to the solution that they’re looking for. That could be a page inside your website.

The old methodology was, get them to the homepage, show them all your options, let them click through that, and then hopefully click through to your contact page. Nowadays, what you want to do is create a series of landing pages that talks to them in the way that they want to be spoken to, offer them a clear solution to the problem that they showed up on the page for, then have a call to action that says, “If you’re ready to get started, do this. If you’re not ready to get started, maybe join our email list so we can help you learn more about how to solve this problem.” It’s super important to go in and look at the content, and say, “Is this representing my business in the form and function that it has today?” Chances are that things have changed a lot in the last few years. You probably have some new things that you’re doing or some new ways of explaining what you’re doing. I am sure your customer base has changed. Let your website evolve with how your business is evolving.

Create Your 2017 Marketing Calendar

Deadline date on calendarThe next thing I want you to look at is creating a marketing calendar. Go through and look at the next 12 months and think, “Okay, based on the numbers that I’ve seen and the client base that I have, how do I communicate certain things at certain times of the year?” Just like right now, I’m talking to you about starting off the new year with a new website with new content. Create a marketing calendar that says, “Okay, in January, I’m going to do this. In February, I’m going to do that.” In March, April or May, you’re going to have a plan of what it is that you want to say.

Now, that plan could be your podcast. It could be blogs. It could be print material. It could be presentations or many other things. What you need to do is lay out that plan so you know what you’re going to do. This helps so you’re not scrambling every single month asking, “What am I supposed to communicate to my customer? How do I find new customers? What do they want to hear?” All of this should be pretty congruent. Start thinking ahead to what it is that you can be doing in your marketing to talk to the audiences, especially the newer audiences that you’ve acquired, and how you can communicate with more of them to help you grow your business.

Revisit Your Email Marketing

full mailbox isolated on white backgroundThe fifth, and last, thing that I want to talk about is something that everybody should be doing which is email marketing. Now, a lot of people say that email marketing is dead. It’s far from it. We just got through Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and I cannot tell you the number of emails that I got. It was probably around 3-400 from all different people. Some people would send something out on Black Friday, and then Black Saturday, or Small Business Saturday, and then Black Sunday, and then Cyber Monday. It was like, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. These people were just barraging inboxes. What I want you to do is take a look at how can you use email marketing to continue to communicate with your audience.

Let’s face it, I’m a social media guy, and I love social media, but it’s getting harder and harder to get above the noise. First and foremost, if you have a brand page on Facebook your posts don’t show up in news feeds anymore. Why is that? It’s being replaced with sponsored posts, which is how Facebook is making its money. If you want to reach your audience, you have to be prepared to spend. A lot of people won’t want to do that.

The same goes for LinkedIn. LinkedIn had Pulse, where you could place articles. Well, Pulse is gone. When I would post an article in Pulse, I would get over a thousand views. Now, I’m lucky to get 10. All of the free options that we had our fingertips, in this panacea of social media, are starting to dwindle. Is social media still valid? Yes. Still post your content. Still create great stuff, and put it up there.

I think email marketing should become more of a part of your plan. That means you have to focus on growing your list and using the right email program. Maybe it’s time to change. Maybe it’s time to move to a new one. As a matter of fact, I’m moving from AWeber to Drip. If you want to learn more about that, let me know. The key thing is you need to think about how you can communicate with your audience the way they want to be communicated to.

Final Thoughts

gallery room and man looking at empty framesEach New Year (and each new day) is a blank slate! Planning takes time and this is that time of year. Most businesses slow down for the holidays. For some reason, my business is almost busier this time of year, so I have to start earlier than most. You know your business and can see trends by studying your books and numbers. Take the time to plan, adjust and make next year your best year ever.

I would love to hear your thoughts and comments and maybe how you plan to make changes in your business next year!