Now is the time to be thinking about the future. What are your goals for 2019? What markets do you want to reach? How are you going to do it? Before you commission any more advertising, marketing or social media activity you should be thinking about your broad plan for 2019 so that you can start putting it into action in January.
Who are your customers? Keeping it local?
For businesses around places like Macclesfield, Knutsford, Crewe, or Chester who choose to work with adigital marketing agency Cheshire is likely to be where your agency is based. Why? Because even in the digital era knowing the local landscape is essential. Towns like Nantwich have their own independence from their larger neighbours, but to an agency in London checking the map, it’s easy to assume it’s just a suburb of Crewe. The local touch is vital to your audience.
It is crucial that you understand who your digital audience is when planning your digital marketing strategy. Knowing which digital channels they are using to find your business will allow you to know where to target. Don’t forget that the digital landscape is changing and that you may need to start new social media accounts if your customers are moving to a new arena.
What goals do you have?
Now is the time to dust off your business plan and look at what you are hoping to achieve next year. How much are you expecting to grow your business by? Are you planning on extending your geographical reach? Are you looking to appeal to younger or older customers? Or are you simply intending to consolidate? Analyse your goals to determine where your marketing needs to be taking you.
Assess your current position
Take stock of how much digital marketing you are currently performing and how well it is doing. If it is under-performing, then take advice on how to improve it. Do you need to provide more content? Do you need to engage with your followers? Would recruiting an influencer or two be desirable? How much of each type of media are you currently marketing through?
Types of digital media channels
The easiest digital media channels to plan are your owned media channels. These are accounts that you, or your digital marketing agency, have total control over. Facebook, Twitter, your website, blog entries, mobile sites and apps are all owned media. This is where you choose to run your marketing campaigns and how you recruit followers.
Once you start using digital channels, you can begin capitalising on earned media: shares, mentions, retweets, reviews, reposts. Anything, where one of your followers makes a comment or passes on your campaign, is considered earned media. Encouraging the growth of earned media should be one of the goals of any digital marketing strategy.
The third type is the ones you actively pay for. Pay-per-click advertising (PPC), display ads, targeted stories, paid influencers and so forth. Paid media can be helpful in recruiting new followers and can increase your exposure, thus gaining more earned media.
Plan for each channel
Owned media and paid media are easy to plan for as you have a degree of control over what you post. Take time now to familiarise yourself with the calendar for next year, and ensure that your marketing plan matches up to significant events in your businesses field of expertise. For example, if you specialise in gardening equipment, you will want to ensure that your owned and paid media channels are focussed on the RHS flower show at Tatton next July.