First, let me start by saying HAPPY NEW YEAR! It really is the most exciting time of year.
After the post-sugar rush subsides from the holiday celebrations, we get another surge of energy when we crack open a brand-spanking-new marketing plan! Whether you’re repeating last year’s strategies and tactics (because they were that awesome!) or rolling out a new plan for the year, check out these tips to help you reach your marketing resolutions.
- Dig into your SWOT analysis and strategies.
If it’s been a while since you looked at your SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis and the strategies you developed based on them, now’s the perfect time to dust them off.
- Pick S.M.A.R.T. resolutions.
This one goes without saying, but I’ll include it anyway: be S.M.A.R.T. about your marketing goals. They should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based and tie back to your SWOT analysis, of course.
- Write them down.
You knew this one was coming and I’ve got science on my side—people who describe or write down their goals are 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to achieve them. If the thought of writing a full-blown marketing plan has you bolting out the door, see tip No. 5 and remember you don’t have to figure it all out now—start with an outline.
- Know your “why.”
Your why is what will keep you going. As leadership author and professor Simon Sinek put it, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” That same concept is true of your marketing goals. If you know your why, it will keep you (and your team) focused and motivated.
- Share the plan.
We know a lot of blood, sweat and (hopefully only a few) tears go into developing a marketing plan, but it’s not meant to be kept under lock and key—share it! This will get your team excited and hold you accountable.
- Start small.
Marathons are run by taking one step at a time and that’s exactly how marketing plans are executed. Maybe one of your personal goals is to form healthier habits, but with an abundance of food choices, exercise plans and health trends, it’s hard to know where to begin. The easiest way to start on your marketing or personal goals is to: A.) just do it, and B.) start with something small (like drinking 8+ cups of water a day or creating an editorial calendar for your email newsletters).
- Get an outsider’s perspective.
Sometimes the hardest part about reaching your marketing goals is your perspective. When we are with the same people day after day talking about the same goals and tactics, it can feel a little…boring. Take a quick coffee break with a friend or stroll through the park with a neighbor and bounce some ideas off them. Their fresh set of eyes (and likely different area of expertise) will give you a new lens and approach to achieving your goals.
- Be persistent.
Show up, day after day (even when staying in your warm, cozy bed sounds so much better) especially when things get tough. Results can take days, months or even years to pay off, so stick with it (but don’t be afraid to check and adjust as needed).
- Ask for help.
You’ve invested a lot of time (and heart) into developing your marketing plan, which can make it hard to trust anyone else with your baby. Don’t be afraid to ask your colleagues for help or seek help from a marketing agency (you don’t have to turn over the keys, but outsourcing tactics can help you reach your goals, especially when things get busy).
- Don’t throw all your resolutions out with one slip-up.
It’s easy to throw your arms in the air and give up when you don’t meet a goal, you miss an email newsletter deadline or your website numbers slip, but don’t give in to the temptation! Take a step back (and a deep breath) and adjust your plan.
- Make a pros and cons list.
This is especially helpful to keep yourself motivated when things get tough, and it also helps you think through critical steps, making it easier to outline the steps you need to achieve your marketing resolutions.
- Track your progress.
It’s important to check in (but not too often) to see how your marketing plan is performing. Just like you shouldn’t weigh yourself daily (or hourly) if you’re trying to lose weight, you shouldn’t track your marketing resolutions by the minute. Check your Google Analytics, ad insights or other measurements on a set schedule so you can adjust and stay on track without going overboard.
- Reward yourself (and your team!)
Launch a new website? Get a cake! Finish your reports on time? Take a nice long walk during lunch. Get a campaign off the ground ahead of schedule? Throw a party for your team. Recognizing accomplishments will keep you motivated and energized throughout the year.
- Start a journal.
Journaling at the end of the day (even for just five minutes) can help you unwind from a stressful day, reflect on the progress you’ve made, as well as let you glance ahead to what’s in store.
- Don’t wait until Jan. 1.
I realize we’re already past the infamous “first day of the new me” where people around the globe set goals and start goals on New Year’s Day (with only 8 percent of us reaching those goals), but I’m here to tell you it’s not too late to set goals. The biggest reason you shouldn’t wait until New Year’s Day to set goals is you’ll lose the momentum or energy that drove you to set the goals in the first place.
- Make technology your friend.
It’s no secret that our over-connectedness also means we can be overwhelmed (and easily distracted) by technology, but it can also help us achieve our goals. Check out this list of 10 apps that make reaching your goals fun and can help you stay motivated.
- Don’t cheat.
We’ve all heard of them—cheat day, cheat meal, etc. It’s the “treat yourself” mentality used to reward yourself for reaching smaller goals. Rather than undoing all your hard work with a cheat day (or skipping a step in your marketing plan), try a treat snack (or a half day of work) instead. You get to reward yourself without taking a step backward.
- It’s going to get hard. Look for ways to de-stress.
You’ll have them—head-on-the-keyboard, not-a-thing-is-going-right kind of days—but it’ll be worth it in the end when you’ve crushed your marketing goals. Remember that you’re human and it’s OK to feel overwhelmed and stressed. Find a meditation or breathing app, take a daily lunchtime walk, talk to a friend or professional, or watch cute baby animal videos. (Here’s a cute panda video to get you started.)
- Be open to trying something new.
You’re excited, you’re ready to tackle your marketing goals and you’ve got just the tactics to accomplish those goals. Or so you thought. Set your pride aside, take a step back to look at what’s working and what’s not, and be ready to make changes as needed to accomplish your marketing resolutions.
What goals or resolutions are you moving toward this year? Tell us in the comments below. (P.S. We’d be happy to be a listening ear if you have a few ideas but you’re not sure where to go with them.)
Kayde Kempen is an associate marketing manager at Writing by Design. She has 7+ years of marketing communications experience and a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Kayde has written hundreds of blog posts and e-blasts, both for Writing by Design and its clients, is the lead content writer for Writing by Design’s website/SEO clients, and assists with press releases, concept writing, script writing and more. Prior to joining the Writing by Design team in 2016, she was an associate marketing manager at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh where she worked for five years and led nearly 90 website redesign projects, wrote for the University’s alumni magazine and news website, and wrote and managed a variety of print and digital marketing projects.