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Making Your Plans for 2018

     -     Jan 3rd, 2018   -     Search Engine Optimization   -     0 Comments

Most of you reading this blog post are hopefully at the end of the budgeting process and are ready to implement your plans for 2018. For those who are stuck in the budget approval mode I empathize with your situation. Waiting to learn what projects are approved and not approved through budgeting can be tedious. Whatever your situation, it’s important to ensure you can make progress towards each strategic goal(s) you have outlined. Engaging and cultivating your audience(s) is essential to success in the marketing world – whether traditional or digital. Most of our clients are focused on digital marketing and have goals like identifying additional business through the website, gaining more likes, shares or re-tweets, or launching a blog that targets a new audience. We work with one firm who has made it a goal in 2018 to conduct an industry survey and develop their audience through survey distribution. It seems the goals are as diverse as the firm’s we work with. However, there are a set of standard criteria that I believe all firms should be focusing on throughout the year. To provide clients and others with insights into these items I have outlined the most important below.

  1. New Business Tracking – I have worked with firms of all sizes, locations and niche specialties. A common theme I see amongst marketers (and accountants) is many don’t know how much new business is being generated by the website. In fact, they are often delighted when they learn that a partner got a call from someone who visited the website and reached out for a proposal. While it’s always good news to hear this it also reflects the fact they don’t have a proper process in place to track leads. This is dangerous because it not only creates a situation where leads could fall through the cracks (someone forgets to follow up), but also because your digital marketing efforts won’t get credit for the success. This is very important because (most often) marketing is tasked with managing the website, content and overall site performance. If you are not able to accurately track the amount of business coming through the site, then how can management can a clear understanding of the value your efforts are driving. This puts the marketing department in a compromised position because you are not able to prove your value. So be sure that you have a robust tracking process in place that allows you to fully understand the amount of new business coming through the website. Note that you will want to track the number of opportunities, corresponding value, what closed and what did not. As a side item, I always advise clients to try (as it’s not always possible) to understand why opportunities didn’t close.
  2. New Business Goals – Once you have a process in place which allows you to track the new business coming in through your site, it’s important to set a goal. If you have been tracking this number for a while, then review past performance and set a reasonable goal based on this. I strongly believe if you are not growing then you are dying. The good thing about SEO and content marketing is that time is an ally. This means that the content you created and published will have an increasingly positive effect on search engine optimization (SEO) and other ranking factors. Now when I state have a goal it doesn’t need to be something you tell everyone about. It can be kept private within the department. Sometimes it’s enough to simply goal for an increase in new business by 10%. I work with a client that closed $150,000 in new business in 2017, and $125,000 in 2016 and $75,000 in 2015. There is a pattern they can use to determine what a realistic revenue goals for new business through the website should be for 2018. Whatever the method, it’s important to have a new business goal to meet.
  3. Content Development Goals – This is always a tricky one because in most firms’ new content isn’t something that marketing has exclusive control over. They often rely on outside vendors, internal professionals and others to help create it. While this is true it’s still important to have a goal for this Why? Google values the consistent publication of additional content to a website. The more recent and engaging the content the better the site will do on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). For this reason, if you simply take what comes without attention to consistency I can almost promise you that site ranking will be drop. In fact, I would say set your watch to it. So, make content development goals for your firm. I work with one client that was publishing one piece of content, per month, when we started working together. Now they are publishing six and the lead flow has completely changed. Not only is there a more regular flow of leads but they are of increasingly better quality. Consider creating goals for total parcels of content to be published per month, by niche and if you are more seasoned, make goals for type of content (written, video, infographic, etc).

In Perspective

There is something important about goals that I recently learned. To be transparent I used to hate goals. I didn’t like them because I didn’t think they really did anything. After all who REALLY cares if I met my exact goal or not. Whether it’s the amount of new content published or how many miles I jogged this week? What I have learned is that human grow from the process of trying to meet goals. We find out what works, what doesn’t and have to improve. In some cases, we simply must change the goals because we have found a way to blow away the prior. The real growth comes from the progress we make when attempting to meet our goals. Whether it’s personal or accounting marketing related it opens the door to discovery and a chance for improvement. At the very least, it allows you to see the progress being made – and everyone loves progress.


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