This week, most businesses are reducing the activities and preparing to shut down for the winter holidays. But before the year ends, it’s useful to do a quick (or not so quick, if you are serious about your business) review of your marketing actions for the past 12 months.
See what worked well, what pre-conceptions about marketing you should be un-learning, and what new strategies to put in practice for the year that’s about to start.
To help you in your end-of-year assessment, I put together a few topics to think about:
What role did your online presence have this year?
Think about what position your website and social media channels had for your business in 2012. This is the age of online connections and meaningful content sharing, and your platforms should do just that.
If you kept your website mostly static; if you had sporadic updates, generally mentioning your (new) products or their improved features – all these tactics make the platforms invisible. They won’t help you in the new online marketing climate. But if you assigned a person to manage them and turn them into dynamic spaces holding dialogue around your industry, then you are on the right track.
Did you use your website as a publishing platform?
Long gone are the days when websites were inert, business-presentation-like, where they’d only tell your product’s features and some lengthy, boring company history. The role of the websites today has profoundly changed, and is now that of a publishing platform. It’s like you having your own magazine online, that you control, not having to pay a cent for “sponsored content”.
You decide all the feature stories to write in your online mag. The past year was a good time to start creating a long-term editorial calendar, and to manage at least two writers who would publish valuable content that can help potential customers, for free.
Did you focus on your online readers more than on your product/service?
The purpose of your website becoming a powerful publishing platform is not so that you throw in there only self-promotional content that now thankfully you don’t have to pay for. The purpose is to create online connections with your (potential) customers, and find out what they want that you could offer.
Ideally, you asked them questions about what useful material they’d like to see on your page. Read their comments and suggestions and thanked them for their commitment for your business. For discontent customers who expressed this online, you have reimbursed or compensated them immediately.
Certainly you should apologize if you made a mistake like Oxford English Dictionary’s gaffe: the following day after the recent shootings in Newtown, CT their promoted “word of the day” was bloodbath. Not too many people happy about that! Check out all the Twitter reactions, and the Company’s Apology here.
If you put your customers at the center of your business and connected with them, in all ways described before, on your publishing platforms, you rocked your strategy this year!
But, if after evaluating these areas, you realize you didn’t focus on some of the activities, you have another chance to start on them in the New Year. Make a plan and write down the tactics to be ready to start right when you come back from vacation, in January.