We’re more than halfway through the year, and alongside planning your Halloween costumes and decorations, you should also be thinking about your marketing plans for 2023. Yes, we know it’s early, but if you want to level-up your marketing approach, now’s the time to do some housekeeping.
Planning your marketing strategy for the new year can be challenging, but looking at your current efforts, performance, and goals can influence your content creation and lead you to possibly modify your approach in the future. Here are some steps to take as you start your end-of-year marketing planning.
Take a Look Back
If you had marketing plans or goals for the previous year, take some time to review them and how well your business performed against them. Although the year isn’t over, the data and metrics from the first three quarters can—and should—influence your decisions for the upcoming year. Pay particular attention to:
- Who your primary audience was
- What content performed well and what didn’t
- Where you allocated budget—and what your return on that investment looked like
Conduct a Content Audit
A content audit analyzes and assesses your company’s website, blog posts, and landing pages. During this process, you’ll learn more about what type of content your company created over the past year and how it performed. This allows you to identify your strengths and weaknesses in your current approach and any gaps or new opportunities to pursue in the upcoming year.
The key steps for auditing your content are:
Step 1: Define your goals and key metrics
Marketing goals should be specific and measurable to help you track your business’s performance against them. Without clear goals, you and your team may waste time and money in your efforts. Some goals you might aim for are to:
- Increase website traffic
- Increase content downloads
- Gain more email subscribers
- Increase inbound leads
- Raise brand awareness
Once you’ve identified what you hope to achieve with your content, consider how you’ll get there and what metrics fit them. For example, a common goal is to increase audience engagement. To get there it’d be helpful to learn more about what type of content resonates with your audience, what topics interests them, and what pieces receive the most engagement and on which platforms.
Step 2: Review your content
Before planning out what type of content you plan to create in the new year, it’s important to take an inventory of what’s currently on your website. Review your blogs, landing pages, gated assets, and more. Some areas to focus on are:
Identify what needs to be updated such as meta descriptions, data and cited resources. Also take a look at low performing and high performing pieces,
The audit helps uncover information related to:
- How your content performed against previous goals.
- Whether information in your content, such as data and facts are accurate or outdated.
- Your content’s freshness; are there pieces on your website that need to be removed or updated?
- What’s working and what isn’t. An audit influences your future decisions. For example, maybe certain pieces of content drive a lot of traffic to your website while others get very few views. Or your infographics may be a big hit, which could signify that you should incorporate more into your marketing plans for the new year.
Step 3: Collect and Review Your Data
Content audits are the ideal opportunity to drive into website and social media analytics that will also support future strategic planning. These analytics can be tracked on a spreadsheet with information about the type of content, the URL, who authored it, the word count, and more.
Once you’ve collected that information, it’s time to dive deeper into your analytics. These metrics provide insights into your marketing efforts and support more strategic decision-making. Google Analytics is a valuable resource and houses metrics regarding page visits, bounce rates, time spent on pages, traffic sources, number of visitors, and more.
Marketing automation platforms such as Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Marketo can provide data on email tracking, conversions, and content performance. They also show you what emails performed best and what leads they generated. Additionally, SEO performance marketing tools like SEMrush and Brightedge enable visibility into SEO keyword performance, competitor rankings, content gaps and opportunities, and more. You can build a well-informed marketing strategy with all this information at your fingertips.
Step 4: Make a Plan
Now that you’ve established your goals and taken inventory of what content you have at your fingertips and how it performed, now’s the time to put a plan in motion. Work with your team to brainstorm what your next steps should be. Identify which areas should be prioritized and then determine how to track your progress and the metrics.
Step 5: Update your Content Marketing Strategy
Now that you’ve gathered the data and metrics you can make adjustments to your content marketing strategy. Doing this regularly keeps your content and copy fresh and appealing to your target audience.
Put Together a Strategy
Once you’ve completed your audit and have your goals are in place, plan how to achieve them. Consider what your competition is doing, what your budget is, and go from there.
Check Out the Competition
Conduct competitive research to identify your competition’s strengths and weaknesses, understand and improve your marketing, and identify market gaps that could position your business to reach a new or more extensive audience.
Take a look at what messaging they’re using, what keywords they’re ranking for, how their products and services are positioned, and what audience they’re targeting. These insights can influence your company’s approach and spark new ideas for your marketing plans.
Brainstorm with your team what steps the company should take. Consider how you can complete refresh your approach and get creative. Don’t be afraid to think big.
For example, you might decide to use tactics such as email marketing, videos, SEO, paid ads, social media, content marketing, and more. Encourage everyone to contribute their best and even off-the-wall ideas and then do a process of elimination before creating a concrete plan.
Set Your Budget
Determine how much money to budget for your marketing efforts. This will influence your spending on specific tactics like paid ads and campaigns. Don’t forget to consider the previous year’s budget and performance metrics to identify where funds should be directed. Prioritize what part of the plan should be executed to ensure that you budget for it. If you can’t afford to pursue all your ideas, try to save them for the following year’s budget and efforts.
If you start now, you can ring in the new year with exciting marketing tactics to set your business up for success. Carve out some time to begin brainstorming with your team and developing compelling content and campaign ideas for your audience. Good luck hitting the ground running in 2023!