Christmas is almost here! Office workers are winding down, looking forward to the festive season and office parties are in full swing. For many businesses, this is traditionally a quiet time during which there’s not much to do and most people are twiddling their thumbs and counting down the days. However, if you’re a marketer or a business owner, now is the perfect time to start planning for 2018 to make sure you hit the ground running, miles ahead of your competitors on 2nd January. Here are our top tips for using the last seven working days of 2017 to your advantage.
1. Put Your Festive Spirit on Hold
Before relaxing in your turkey-induced coma, put your festive spirit on hold for just a few more days and take this downtime to start planning for 2018. This is a valuable time for planning and implementation of 2018’s activities and strategies and, on 2nd January, most of your competitors probably won’t even be back in the office yet and, when they do arrive back in the office, they will be swamped with emails and calls with the strategy on the backburner again!
Start by reviewing your 2017 performance. What worked and what didn’t? Once you know this information, you can start putting your plans for the New Year in place.
2. Update Customer Profiles
Developing customer profiles will help you to focus your efforts on the correct people and help you to get the best results from your activities. You will probably already have these in place but you might not have reviewed them for a while. This quiet time couldn’t be better for conducting this research and making sure all of your activities and strategies are on point in the New Year.
Use Google Analytics to find out more about the people who are visiting and engaging with your website and social media channels. Can you make your website more relevant or easier to use? Sales team data will also help you to see patterns and trends to get a better understanding of who your customers are and where they go. This will help you to form an idea of your customer journey too so your marketing can be used to guide them through this process.
3. Think About Your Content Strategy
Interesting, informative and relevant content is an extremely valuable part of any marketing strategy. Spend time mapping content around each stage of the customer journey to provide the information your customers are looking for and set yourself as an expert. Think about blogs, videos, images and infographics to maximise engagement. If you write a piece of content every day for the next seven days, that’s a few months of content ready and something you don’t have to worry about in the New Year! This content will also fuel your social media channels so getting it in place now will be highly beneficial.
Your content strategy should also include promotions you’re going to run throughout the year. Look at key dates in 2018 that relate to your products and services. Adding National Days, special events and holidays into your content calendar will help you to think of content ideas that will create interest in your brand. This approach means you can be far more proactive and leave your competitors playing catch up because they’ve forgotten all about days you will have been promoting for weeks before it even falls on their radar.
4. Look at 2018 Trends
You can never do enough research. Look at emerging trends in your industry and spend time looking at how you can latch onto these in the New Year. Does your current marketing strategy lend itself to those trends? Or do you need to change course to make sure you’re ahead of the curve? Which marketing activities are set to get the most engagement next year?
Make sure you pay particular interest to the buying habits of customers in your industry and the tools you can put in place to influence their decisions and set your business as the market leader. With the rest of the year being packed with calls, emails and meetings, now is the time to make sure you put that downtime to use and understand your customers as much as possible.
Google Trends is a great tool that allows you to see how often relevant keywords, subjects and phrases have been searched for during a specific period of time. Knowing this information will help you to refine your content and make sure your business appears in those searches.
5. Take a Closer Look at Your Competitors
When was the last time you had a detailed look at what your competitors are up to? With daily tasks getting in the way, finding the time to look at what others are doing can be difficult. Most businesses are guilty of focusing so much on our own promotions that we sometimes forget that some of our target audience is being engaged by more creative, interesting or relevant campaigns than our own. You might find that more people are engaged by your activity but it’s good information to have!
Is your competition utilising their website in a better way than you to guide customers through the sales funnel? Are they more proactive on social media and responding to comments? Looking closely at all of these elements will help you to tune in to what others are doing and start thinking about how you could do better or identify the elements you do best.
6. Align Your Team
If you spend the last few working days before Christmas preparing your strategies and activities, if you don’t have your team behind you and ready to get going, you’re still going to find it difficult to hit the ground running. The greatest long-term competitive advantage of any company is its talent. Your team have a wealth of knowledge and expertise so put it to good use! Make sure you keep them informed of everything you’re doing so that they can implement activities and engage with customers who will feel more confident in your staff and business as they display their knowledge by providing relevant, quality information that offers real value.
7. And Relax...
Most importantly, once you’ve taken all of these steps, you can relax and enjoy your break. What better feeling than to leave the office on 22nd December knowing that you’re ready to tackle the New Year head on miles ahead of your competitors and with your team fully on board?
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