With another year coming to a close, it’s time get your ducks in a row for the year ahead and freshen up your marketing plan. While you might still have a lot to accomplish this year, a successful marketing plan takes some time to build. If you want to set yourself up for success, now is the time to review your 2017 performance, define your sales and marketing goals for 2018, and update that marketing plan.

Are you ready to put a plan in place and begin prioritizing your 2018 marketing activities? Get your inbound marketing plan on track for 2018 with these six steps:

1. Measure your performance.

The first and most important step to freshening up your marketing plan is to measure your performance against the goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) you set for 2017. Take some time to take a good look at your analytics and data. Compare progress for monthly website visitors, visit-to-lead conversion rates, lead-to-customer conversion rates, and your overall sales performance to date. Once you have an understanding of where you are, you’ll be able to plan out a realistic path for the year ahead.

2. Set your budget.

Oh, budgeting season. Although it’s not the most exciting task, budgeting is a must. Just like you shouldn’t go shopping without having an idea of what you’re able and willing to spend, you shouldn’t start creating a fabulous marketing plan with amazing campaign ideas unless you have an idea of your annual budget. Once you have your numbers in place, you can move on to the fun stuff.

3. Set SMART goals and KPIs.

Once you have a sense of what is realistic for next year, it’s time to identify your goals and set your KPIs. Define goals that are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound), so you can track them and hold accountability. Here’s an example: If your goal is to reach $5M in revenue next year and your average customer generates $1M, you’ll need five new customers in 2018. Ask yourself if that goal is realistic. To stay on track and measure your progress, establish milestones and check your progress along the way. Here are a few KPIs to track each month: website visitors, leads, marketing qualified leads, sales qualified leads, sales opportunities, and customers.

4. Define your lead generation strategy.

Now that you’ve identified your budget, goals, and major milestones, it’s time to create a plan for attracting the leads you need to reach your goals. To come up with a successful strategy that will help you generate more qualified leads, determine what part of your marketing plan is working and what is not working. Review everything from website design and content offers to landing pages and blog posts.

5. Update your website.

The end of the year is a great time to update your website. Since your website represents your brand and works around the clock converting leads, it’s important to update it regularly—and freshen it up from time to time. The new year is a great time to revisit your homepage, navigation, team page, content offers, etc. Make improvements that will help you meet your 2018 goals.

6. Outline your content strategy.

Quality content is an important asset to your inbound marketing efforts. To plan content that aligns with your inbound marketing strategy, create a content map that identifies content for each stage of your persona’s buyer journey. Once your map is ready, build a content calendar with your publishing schedule. This will help you create a schedule for writing blog posts, developing ebooks and checklists, video production, etc. Laying this out in advance will help you stay on track and know what’s ahead.

If you follow these six steps for updating your marketing plan, you should be on track and ready to tackle 2018 with your best marketing foot forward.

A content planner

for busy marketers

Content Planner for Busy Marketers

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Content Planner for Busy Marketers  

The Busy Marketer's Content Calendar Checklist and Worksheet

As a busy marketer, you’re accountable to everyone from executive leadership to customers themselves. This worksheet will help you stay organized and efficient.

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