With business now in the new normal, 2022 has gone in a flash. While it may feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day, there’s still time to get a few more items checked off your end-of-year to-do list. We’ve compiled a list of 10 tasks you can prioritize to help prepare your business for success in the new year.
- Build (or revise) your marketing plan
As a small business owner, there are a million things to do, and coming up with a marketing plan may not be at the top of your list. That said, if you are spending time and money on advertising and marketing, having a marketing plan is essential to generating the ROI you are hoping to achieve from those efforts. The exercise of creating a marketing plan will give you a 30,000-foot view of your business by performing a situation analysis and defining your audience, goals, tactics, and budget. It is the perfect document to lead you toward success in the new year, but it doesn’t have to be perfect. You can tweak your plan over time as you learn from your execution. Templates such as HubSpot’s marketing plan generator can help you quickly and easily update your marketing plan.
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- Update your marketing assets
The new year is a great time to reveal your brand’s new look and feel. If you’ve been considering a brand refresh, this is the time to put those wheels in motion. Start by thinking about your customers and whether or not your logo and other marketing materials align with their key characteristics. If the answer is a resounding ‘no,’ it’s time for a change. Make a list of all the materials you will need to update, such as your brand mark, business cards, and brochures, to ensure everything is updated all at once. Keep in mind all digital channels, including your social media pages and website, will also require an update once you design your new image.
- Optimize your website
Your website is your sales and customer service representative that works 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. But that doesn’t mean you should set it up once and then forget it. On the contrary, regularly updating your website and adding new features will improve your brand’s credibility and increase your organic traffic. Optimizing your content for keywords, updating your site’s metadata, and even generating reviews are just a few tactics you can implement to improve your website’s performance.If you run a business that relies on your website for leads, consider how you can elevate your marketing with a lead-nurturing program. Generally speaking, it takes an average of eight touches to make a sale. Why not let your website work harder for you and automate an email welcome series to engage prospective customers? Whatever direction you choose to take your website in, begin with an outline of what you want to accomplish. From there you can create a roadmap with a timeline to help keep you on track for reaching your goals.
Do you need help getting started with your website optimizations? Get a free 30-minute website consultation!
- Take time to appreciate your employees and positively set a goal for the new year
Speaking of goals, if you have a team of people working for you, you should take the time to recognize and appreciate them. The end of the year is an excellent time to reflect on all that went well over the last 12 months and identify ways you want to grow. Share this feedback with each of your employees and continue to create moments for recognition and appreciation throughout the year to keep your team connected.
- Take time to appreciate your customers
On the other side of the coin are your customers. Whether your business is B2B or B2C, consumers and business managers are accustomed to receiving year-end deals. Think about the products and services you can discount to help close out the year strong, or if it makes financial sense extend the offer into the new year to help drive January sales.A client gift to show your appreciation, or something as simple as a thank you message will go a long way in today’s fast-paced world. For example, a card with a handwritten note shows you value your clients and puts your business at the top of their minds. No need to feel pressured to get to the post office by mid-December. A tailored message celebrating the new year and all the promise that lies ahead will allow you the time to make it right. Lastly, never underestimate the power of a timely email message. If a handwritten note isn’t feasible, compose an email to your customer base – which can include links to your website with any holiday deals.
- Prepare for peak hiring season
January and February are historically the best hiring months. If you’re looking to bring on new employees in 2023, get your job ads locked and loaded so you can hit the ground running on the 1st of the year. Between all the ‘new year, new job’ resolutions and the current state of the job market, you can expect a surge in applications, but be sure you’re promoting your openings in the right places. In addition to your website and social channels, leverage platforms that can extend your reach, such as Indeed’s free job posting that allows your job to show up in their general search results.
- Document practices, policies, and procedures
From your brand book and sales procedures to your reporting and analysis practices, almost everything in your business can be documented. If your business is slower in the last month of the year, take advantage of your downtime by putting procedures in place to help you operate more efficiently and create new documentation to have as a reference down the road.
- Save money by subscribing annually to online services and canceling any unused subscriptions
Before your business embarks on a new year, along with new expenses, it’s wise to audit your current subscription services. If you’ve been paying monthly for software you intend to continue using, consider switching over to an annual subscription to reap the benefits of a discount. Additionally, cancel those services you no longer find valuable and opt out of any limited-time trials to avoid rolling into an unwanted paid plan.
- Organize your online files and shared drives
The holiday slowdown may also allow you the time to get your digital files in order. Whether you use Dropbox, Google Drive, or a different file-sharing service, having a system to store your business assets is critical. Consolidating documents, uploading your miscellaneous images, and establishing a consistent naming convention for your saved documents will keep you organized going into the new year and beyond.
- Perform a SWOT Analysis
Finally, if there is one thing you do to prepare your business for success in the new year, it’s to perform a SWOT analysis. SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It is a tool to help determine your business’s competitive advantage and overcome challenges in your market. The business world is constantly changing and your SWOT analysis will help you hone in on what you’re doing well, identify areas for improvement, and ward off threats that have come up throughout the past year. Experts suggest that a SWOT analysis be performed every 6 to 12 months. It is the first step in any kind of strategic planning and decision-making and will be a fundamental source of information once you get around to updating that marketing plan and brand refresh.
Lock in success for 2023
There is a lot to look forward to in the year ahead. As the adage goes, “proper planning prevents poor performance.” By carving out some time to accomplish one or more of the tasks on the list above, your business will be better prepared for success in the new year!
If you would like to learn more about how Simpatico can help you with your 2023 marketing goals, contact us today for your complimentary consultation.