Every business needs to have goals. They could be financial, strategic or marketing in nature, but you still need to have them.
I have goals for my business. I’m heading into year 5 of ME Marketing Services and 4.5 years in I have reached a major goal/milestone, financially speaking. Looking towards this next year I need to have more marketing-focused goals to keep up that milestone, which lead to this post. It never hurts to take a look at the goals any business or business owner should have when it comes to the promotion and marketing of a business.
With 2016 rolling in, let’s take a look at 16 marketing goals for your business…
- Focus on quality content. This year, focus on the quality, not the quantity of your content. Yes, you’ll need to produce a lot of it to make waves, but put some effort into sharing things that will be meaningful to your community. According to a study by the content marketing company Fractl, “64% of writers wish they saw more infographics, mixed-media, data visualizations, images, videos and interactive maps”. Share the steak, not the mashed potatoes.
- Have a content marketing plan. This probably should be first, but this list is in no particular order. Content is a crucial piece of marketing. Roughly 80% of businesses will use content marketing in 2016 and beyond. This is what you publish on your website, share on Facebook, pictures you post to Instagram. You can’t go blindly into content marketing. Have a plan. If you don’t have one, start here.
- Find new ways to distribute content. If you’re blogging – great! If not, this is the year to start! This year, find new avenues to get your content out. This could be signing up for Triberr or guest posting on other blogs. You could also tap into your alpha audience and have them ignite your content. BuzzSumo and Fractl analyzed the 1 million most-shared articles within a 6 month time frame in 2015 and found that the top million articles showed that the most engaged platforms, in order, were – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.
- Make something other than Facebook a priority in your social media efforts. Don’t get me wrong, Facebook is a huge player, but there’s more out there for businesses than the big blue brother. If you haven’t tried Instagram, try it. Maybe venture into Twitter. Branch out this year.
- Go offline and do something in-person. You could spend your entire marketing budget and time on just social media and digital marketing, but that won’t reach everyone. Not everyone in your target audience is online, so go to some networking events or attend a conference. Go talk about your business!
- Find strategic partners. This could be online or offline. Find others with similar mindsets and businesses that compliment yours. If you’re only handling social media for clients, align yourself with someone who does web design or SEO. I’m sure you have some common clients or potential clients you can refer each other to. Likewise, if you are a brick and mortar store, selling flowers for example, partner with a local furniture store to display some of your arrangements. This is free marketing people, take advantage!
- Have realistic goals. Wouldn’t we all love to rake in six figures because of our marketing efforts alone? For some businesses, you may be able to. For some, that’s not realistic. Whatever you do, set a realistic goal. Sure I’d love to make $1 million this year, but realistically that isn’t going to happen. Setting up unrealistic goals will only leave you feeling depressed at the end of the year.
- Give away something for free (if you can). Like a moth to a flame, nothing brings in potential customers like free stuff. This could be a 30-day trial or something with purchase, offering something as a bonus or benefit will extend your business. Keep in mind your bottom line though, you don’t want to give away the farm.
- Outsource what you can’t handle or are not good at. Look, us marketing people (and business owners too) hate to admit we can’t do it all. We feel we should be able to do it all. Well, we could if there were more than 24 hours in a day and a had a maid at home, personal chef at home, live-in nanny, chauffeur, etc. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but outsource what you are not good at. This could be social media marketing, advertising campaigns, graphic design, etc. You’ll appreciate the time you’ll get back and the knowing someone who is capable is handling it for you.
- Be proactive and ready. There’s nothing like having Thanksgiving Week slip up on you and you have nothing planned for Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Know what’s coming up for your business and be prepared. Likewise, if you see something brewing (an upset client or something that could be really bad or really good for your business) know what you are doing to do when it happens – have a press release or a campaign ready to celebrate or combat it.
- Be prepared for the unexpected. You can always be proactive but there are times things will come out of the blue and throw you off-course, in both good ways and bad. Unfortunately you can’t plan for everything (a notion that drives me crazy, personally) so know the unexpected sometimes happens no matter how much of #9 you do.
- Try something new for your business. If you’ve never really spent much time making videos, start! Wanted to advertise in something local – go for it! Go outside your comfort zone and try something new. Maybe it’s time to update your branding (stay tuned this June for ours!) or your website.
- Find a business mentor. Having a mentor is something that is very underrated. All business owners and marketing professionals need to have someone they can look to. This could be for advice or guidance or for help in an area they are struggling with.
- Be a mentor. If you have the knowledge and know-how, mentor a new business owner or marketing professional. I do this through the internships my business offers. It allows college students to get real-world experience before they actually enter the real world.
- Make it a point to track everything. To see the full-scale results of your marketing efforts, you need to track the analytics (Facebook Insights, Google Analytics, etc.). Make sure you know what’s working and what’s not. Analytics is the first place to start.
- Have fun. Marketing is fun. From campaign creation to seeing the fruits of your labor, no matter how small, marketing is the fun arm of your business. Enjoy it!
Whew. 16 is a lot, but all of them are attainable by any business, regardless of the size.
What goal(s) have you made for your business this year?
This article was originally published on the ME Marketing blog and has been republished with permission.