December is a great time to take a step back, take a deep breath, and start laying the groundwork for the following year. We recently wrote about updating your marketing strategy. Here are a few more activities you may want to undertake before the new year rolls around to better position your marketing efforts.

Clean up your marketing lists

email marketing listOver the course of the year, your email marketing list may have grown. Hopefully, the list grew organically through tried-and-true tactics to grow your list, such as promoting signups on your website, social media, your email signature link, etc. There are several ways to effectively grow your email list to make sure you’re actually marketing to people who want to hear from you. Once a year (at the very least!), you should also go through and clean out the dead weight, getting rid of emails that are no longer valid. Look at the “bounce-backs” from your email marketing to help clean-up your email addresses. Ideally, it’s a good idea to keep on top of this after every email you send, but small business owners get busy, and sometimes these housekeeping items slip past us. We get it! Make it a priority to clean up those marketing lists before the new year.

Invest in a CRM

crmWhen you’re first starting out, it seems easy enough to run your sales and marketing from a spreadsheet or other basic tool. At some point, however, you’re going to need a CRM, and by the time you need one, it’ll be a whole lot more work to set up. Make this the year you invest in a CRM, a place where you can keep track of leads, lead sources, follow-ups, sales, etc. There are several excellent free options out there like HubSpot CRM that will make your life easier once it’s set up. Want a CRM but can’t imagine taking the time to set one up? Most small business marketing consultants can do it for you. From a marketing standpoint, it’s important to not only know where your leads are coming from, but how well those leads are converting so, you know which efforts to invest more energy in next year.

Commit to measuring your marketing

measure your marketingYou really will never have a good idea of the return on investment or ROI of your marketing efforts if you don’t measure what you’re doing. There are several ways to do this, including the CRM we mentioned above. In addition to having a CRM, take the time to dig deep into your marketing to see what worked. Did you gain followers on your social channels? How engaged were they? How many actually visited your site? You can glean this information from the analytics on your social platforms as well as by reviewing your Google Analytics. How about your email marketing? What was your bounce rate? Your open rate? Your click-through rate? Email marketing platforms like Constant Contact provide this information, so you know what’s working and what isn’t when it comes to your email marketing. And definitely look at your marketing spend vs. leads generated and closed. Look at your cost per lead to see if what you’re spending on your marketing in different areas gives you the business that justifies the spend. It may be worth the investment to have a marketing professional help map this out for you, so you know where you stand.

Look at your website with a critical eye

website reviewYour website is likely the most visible component of your brand. How does it look? Does it still represent who you are and who you’re trying to attract as customers? It might be a good time to look at your website with fresh eyes and do a little updating. Is it time to redesign your website, or just freshen it up a bit?

Taking the time to dive a bit deeper into your marketing can really pay off in the new year. Reviewing your efforts, cleaning up your lists, and freshening up your site can go a long way in generating new business. Get ready for the new year!

Patty Hughes
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