So it’s November – can you believe it?! This year has gone by in a flash and, for a lot of us, the really hectic time is looming. December can be so mental thanks to Christmas, wrapping projects up, planning for the months ahead and trying to wind down for a much-needed rest.

Have you planned any time in to reflect on your business and the marketing goals you set yourself this year and plan for the next? Or will it be blind panic come January? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to allow your self some time and space now to reflect, think and plan – I know I’m definitely booking it in.

I have my goals that I set for this year – some I’ve smashed, some I haven’t and that’s fine but what I am proud of myself for is that I managed to keep them at the forefront on my business brain most of the time! My business has grown and changed too and my new goals and objectives will reflect that and I’ll make sure I am realistic and honest with myself when setting them.

I urge you to book a bit of time in with yourself in the next few weeks to have a business check-in, review and planning session to get your head around your business, ask what’s working and what isn’t and where you really want to go. Sometimes, our own brands are at the bottom of our lists and that’s a disservice to all of us who are doing so well! So get a cuppa, clear your diary and have a me and my business day.

Commercial goals and marketing goals go hand in hand and need to be challenging, yet still achievable, so you can aim high but still be realistic and not set yourself up for a fall; there’s nothing worse than an unachievable goal staring at you every day. Urgh.

This is why taking some time to set them right in the first place is essential to a productive year ahead. I always advise setting two or three top line goals with four to five supporting goals. This way you don’t have an overwhelming list, but instead it forces you to focus and really ask yourself what is working, where you’re going and what you really want in your business.

Here are some tips to get you started on setting your marketing goals for 2019.

What area of your business really needs focus

The most common goal for business owners is to grow awareness of their brand and ultimately, revenue. There are so many brands out there with brilliant products or services but sadly, nobody knows about them as their marketing is not targeted and their client base hasn’t been defined. Once you know your customer, you can market to them so understanding this is key. If you haven’t already defined your customer, make sure your main goal is to build your customer profile – give them a name, age, job, hobbies, where the go, what they read and what they do. This will help you understand how to reach and speak to them. Once you have this nailed, you can build a succinct marketing strategy around this customer and your brand will be in a strong place to grow.

Know your numbers

This is key to really understanding your business. And by numbers I don’t just mean revenue. How is your blog/newsletter/video series performing? How many people are opening it and reading/watching  it? What are the growth areas? What are people engaging with?  What is working? How many customers or clients do you have? How much profit/loss are you accumulating a week/month/year? What are the gaps? Do you have time for more clients / customers and if so, how many?

These are the questions that you need to be asking yourself honestly and truthfully and this will formulate a specific goal in relation to growth strategy and one that is based on previous activity and thorough understanding of your business.

What is missing

Have a good look at your current marketing mix. What do you do to engage existing customers and attract new ones? Look at the successes you’re already achieving (e.g., a regular, engaging newsletter that has a good open rate) and ask is there anything you could do to improve your existing offer. For example, if you’re posting on Instagram three times a week, could you up it to five and test the engagement, or if you’ve done a couple of video posts could you increase those in a more structured and regular way? It’s all about testing and seeing what a good level is for you and your customers.

Is there anything from a marketing perspective that you could be offering and aren’t? What are other businesses and brands in your field doing? What’s working for them? A good check list includes: social media engagement, online advertising, a regular newsletter, video content, direct mail, events, press engagement, networking. Is there anything that you feel you should be doing but aren’t and could add as a goal for 2019?

Speak to your customers. They know you and your business and are already engaged, so there is no harm asking them how they would like to hear from you and in what medium. They may – and often do – give you completely different things to think about.

The main thing to try and remember is stay focussed and also that goals can change. Make sure your goals are written out and put them on the fridge/your office pin board/ your computer – anywhere you can see them and constantly ask yourself if what you’re working on at that specific moment is working towards one of those goals, and if it’s not ask why are you doing it? Has your goal shifted or have you lost focus?

I’d love to hear how you’re getting on and how together we can make 2019 the best year yet!