7 Marketing Tips to Start Next Year Off Right
The leaves have changed and the temperature has dropped, which means 2019 is just around the corner. Have you finalized next year’s marketing plan yet?
Whether you saw growth or experienced hardship in 2018, carve out time this month to take a close look at your firm’s marketing performance and see where to make adjustments going forward. As you get started, keep these tips in mind when preparing for the year ahead.
Listen up. Before you sort through social media posts, comb through analytics and calculate next year’s budget, start an open dialogue with past, current and future clients for insights into your target audience. Set up an online survey or schedule interviews with a representative sample of your clientele to ask open-ended questions about specific challenges, outcomes and experiences. Learning more about your client’s wants and needs paints a more detailed picture of the marketplace and where it might be headed.
Measure and react. Dive into your website and social media analytics to understand what to continue and where to improve in 2019. Focus on the kind of content your audience consumed, what they engaged with and sources your traffic came from. This data provides a good indication of your target audience’s motives and interests to help create a more tailored marketing approach. And if you aren’t using them already, both Google Analytics and Facebook Insights are two powerful (and free) tools you can start using immediately to make more informed decisions about your online content.
Create SMART goals. A marketing plan is nothing without knowing exactly what you’re working towards. Think about what you want to achieve in 2019 and set long- and short-term SMART goals (specific, measurable, actionable, relevant and timely). Let’s say your ultimate goal for next year is to increase your firm’s website traffic while a short-term goal is to start blogging. Your SMART goals would look something like:
- Long-term: Increase website traffic by 20 percent in 12 months.
- Short-term: Write an 800-word blog post for the website once a week.
Audit yourself. Website audit tools like the Legal Marketing Scorecard measure factors such as search, mobile, conversion, speed and audience-friendly performance to alert you of any potential issues on your site, as well as next steps for taking your online presence to the next level. Routinely auditing your site can give you a good indication of where to focus your efforts. For example, if the results show your firm wasn’t found on a legal directory, a goal for next year could be to create attorney and firm directory profiles.
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Focus on content. You’ve heard it before but we’ll say it again – content is king. According to Havas Group’s 2017 Meaningful Brands study, nearly 85 percent of people expect brands to create content and 70 percent of customers feel closer to a business after engaging with it. What’s that mean for you in 2019? Continue to educate your prospects by providing an ecosystem of useful resources. Whether it’s a daily social media post, weekly blog or monthly video, a variety of content offers prospects the information they crave and positions you as a thought leader in your field.
Stick to a schedule. Speaking of content, create or download a content calendar for you and your team to use when planning out your year. Your calendar should include specifics like the type of content you want to write, keywords to use, the target audience of each piece, a call-to-action, the status of the work and more. While it’s easy to put content on the backburner when you’re busy with clients, an editorial calendar creates a schedule you can easily follow and provides a big-picture view of your firm’s online communications.
Keep an eye out. Do you know how you stack up to the competition? Conduct a competitive analysis of firms in your area to see what may be missing from your own marketing strategy. Look at their website, social media presence and places they’re advertising, both off- and online. What are they excelling at and where are their weak spots? Find out what your competition is doing so you can create a plan to do it better.