2016 Marketing & Sales Resolutions – Are You Doing These?

2016 marketing resolutions

Happy New Year! Are you ready to lose weight, make more money, travel, spend more time with family and friends, and grow your business? Whew, I’m tired already just thinking about it! Let’s face it, most of us make some pretty big promises to ourselves at the start of each new year, only to get busy the first day back at the office and let the majority of those resolutions slip away while we put out fires.

So here’s a here’s a way to setup a system RIGHT NOW that will allow you to support the most common goals (more money, more time, better health) we set for ourselves each year. If you have a plan in place, and the systems to allow you to act on that plan, you will be able to finally reach your goals this year!

First, block off two hours in your calendar right now, either in today’s schedule or tomorrow’s. Do it right now before you can get distracted by another project, then come back to finish reading this list.

Second, I’ll explain how improving marketing and sales can help you have more time and get healthy this year. If you are able to be more efficient and effective in marketing and sales, you will be able to grow your business, and therefore your own finances, while working fewer hours (it’s all about automation and focusing only on the efforts that are proven to work – we’ll get there in a moment). When you’re making more money and working fewer hours because you’ve become more effective and efficient, you’ll now enjoy more free time to spend with family and friends and to focus on your own health. You can even listen to business-improvement audiobooks while working out, therefore killing two birds with one stone.

So here’s the plan, which you can start to implement during that two-hour block of time you’ve already set in your calendar:

Plan for Success:

Do you have a marketing plan, complete with a budget, sales and revenue forecast, and strategies/tactics (including specific deadlines) for the year? I’m always surprised by the many business owners and marketers who go into each year without a concise plan, and then are constantly looking for ways to reach their goals at the last minute. This leads to poor decision making, spending money on wasted efforts, and stressful year-end crunches to scramble for new business. If you don’t have a concise, action-oriented marketing plan in place for this year, this should be the absolute first step before you do anything else.

Set Trackable Goals:

Within your marketing plan should be very specific goals that you can track throughout the year, broken down by the smallest element. For instance, if your goal is to increase your revenue from inbound marketing efforts (prospective customers that come to your business on their own, versus you reaching out to them via sales efforts) by 25%, then you’ll want to determine how many customers you need to reach that total number, then how many prospects you need to close those customers, then how many leads you need to convert to prospects to close as new business. In order to reach that number of leads with inbound marketing, you’ll likely need to increase the number of qualified visitors to your website, blog, email newsletter, and/or social media communities. This is where your real goals come into play, the ones that you can track at the smallest level to determine how you’re impacting your much larger annual revenue goals.

Once you have a feel for the amount of new qualified visitors needed, and who those prospective customers (buyer personas) are, you’ll have a better understanding of what strategies and tactics you need to implement throughout the year in order to reach them. Bam! No more wasting money on random advertising efforts during the year in desperate attempts to hit your monthly and annual goals.

Create Systems that Work:

To implement the strategies and tactics you’ve included in your plan, you’ll need to create systems that everyone in your organization can easily follow. To increase qualified leads through your website, you’ll need a search engine optimization and/or search engine marketing program, email marketing, and social media marketing system to attract high-quality visitors to your website. To develop the content you can use within those channels to attract visitors, you’ll need a content development and blogging system. The people within your organization will play many roles in the development and implementation of these programs, and it’s important to define a concise and streamlined written system at the start of the year to be sure each element is developed successfully.

To learn more about the above, check out our SEO Checklist for the steps to improve your search engine results, and this guide to Inbound Marketing for tips on how to lead visitors into your website and marketing programs.

Automate Efforts:

If you’ve read the steps above, you’re probably now wondering how you could possibly do all of this and actually work fewer, not more, hours. The key is automating redundant efforts, in addition to setting up systems that allow you to have a hands-off approach to marketing. We are huge fans of Hubspot’s all-in-one marketing automation tools – for more on that, email Melissa. If you’re not a Hubspot user, you can piece together a few tools to create a basic automation system, including Hootsuite for social media content scheduling, Google Analytics custom goals for tracking and reporting, and Constant Contact for email marketing, event marketing and registration, and social media publishing.

The key is creating an automated system that will lead visitors to your website from outside channels (ie: social media, email, related blogs, etc.), and then will lead them to fill out a form in order to download high-value content or register for an online or in-person event. From that initial form completion, they are then migrated into your email database and are scheduled to receive follow-up autoresponder campaigns, which will ideally lead them further into your marketing system and eventually to a sales request, such as asking for a demo or a consultation. All of the steps up to this point were completely automated and tracked, so that your marketing and sales teams didn’t have to spend time to push those prospective customers along. They can now spend their time on the truly valuable efforts of closing those qualified prospects.

Focus on what works, eliminate or delegate the rest:

In Eat That Frog, Brian Tracy reasons that there are only a few things you can probably do better than anyone else, and that will have a huge impact on your business. The remaining list of things you do on a daily basis can either be delegated or eliminated so you can focus on the efforts that will have the greatest impact.

Check in often:

Don’t wait until the end of the year, quarter, or even month to check up on your organization’s progress toward these goals. It is so much harder, and often impossible, to catch up if you fall too far behind, and you’ll lose the momentum needed to reach your highest goals. Check in weekly on the most specific goals (website traffic, content publishing, leads generated, etc.) goals that you defined in your plan. If you’re not meeting or exceeding projections, make changes to the system, content, focus, or strategy. The best thing about digital marketing is that it can be tracked and changed at any time. You don’t have to wait for the end of your print advertising or direct mail campaign to calculate the results, you don’t have to pay for new print or commercial production to change the campaign. Take advantage of this, and don’t let campaigns that aren’t working run any longer than they need to.

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