7 Strategies for Marketing in the New Year
The New Year is here and if you haven’t looked at your marketing plan in a while, now is the perfect time to dust it off and update your existing strategies. Here’s a list of seven strategies for making 2017 your most successful year ever.
Create a focus on inbound marketing
Referrals and networking are important, but inbound marketing is considered one of the most important tools in the marketing world. It focuses on providing something of value to bring your audience to you.
For CPA firms, inbound marketing starts with education (seminars and articles) and ends with consultations. If your website doesn’t have one already, start a professional blog and share content that helps inform your target clients. Identify industry-specific publications and contribute articles that demonstrate your knowledge and expertise.
Offer free seminars that provide updates on issues facing your target industries. For example, if your firm has a nonprofit niche, offer seminars for nonprofit professionals and board members on topics such as understanding financial statements and board governance.
Revitalize your home page
First impressions can make or break a visitor’s decision to spend time on your website. Make sure your site’s home page is clean, uncluttered and provides clear navigational clues. Your visitors should be able to tell right away what your firm does and where they should go next to accomplish the goal that brought them there.
Review and adjust your social media strategy
Every action you take on your social networks – posts, replies, likes and comments - should be a part of a larger strategy. We always recommend getting your goals down on paper and your social media strategy is no exception.
If your firm’s social media strategy is non-existent – or right now you’re thinking “what social media strategy?” – Coschedule.com provides a three-step system and a template to get you started.
Make sure your website is responsive
The internet reached a major milestone recently. According to the web analytics company StatCounter, Internet usage on mobile and tablet devices surpassed desktop usage worldwide for the first time in October 2016. That’s why it’s essential that your business website is mobile friendly so clients and prospects can easily browse and find information no matter what type of device they are using. If their experience viewing and interacting with your site is poor, they’ll likely have a lower opinion of your brand and be more likely to visit a competitor’s site.
Realign sales priorities
Are your firm’s sales and marketing teams aligned? If not, you could be missing some huge opportunities. In an article for the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions Blog, Mike Weir, Vertical Director for LinkedIn Marketing Solutions’ Technology business pointed out “upwards of 80% of leads generated by marketing are neglected or never acted upon by a sales rep.”
The first step towards aligning sales and marketing is developing shared goals or key performance indicators (KPIs). When both teams share goals and priorities, they work together to make prospecting and bringing on new clients as smooth as possible.
Build your annual marketing plan
An annual marketing plan can help your business stay on track with goals and objectives for the year and ensures your marketing budget is maximized. The first step is taking a look at last year’s performance. Did you have a marketing plan in place? Even if you didn’t, you should still be able to review part marketing efforts and results. Which activities were useful? Have your target clients changed in the past year? Are there areas where you want to invest more time and money in the coming year?
Boomer Consulting, Inc.’s Strategic Planning process includes instruction on creating marketing plans and integrating them with your strategic and technology plans.
Take time to learn
Marketing is constantly evolving as technologies change and strategies shift. Best practices from just a couple years ago are almost certainly obsolete by now. That’s why it’s important to take the time to learn about challenges, opportunities and trends. Subscribe to trade journals and consumer magazines. Even if they aren’t specific to the accounting profession, you can find things that are relevant. Read blogs and listen to podcasts. You should even keep an eye on what your competitors are doing. You don’t need to chase after every shiny new thing, but you should stay on top of what is important in the profession and what works for your firm.
Take some time now to reflect on your past efforts and strategize for the coming year. Get intentional about marketing strategy in the new year, and you’ll be set up for even greater success in 2017.