10thingsThis is the time of year when many of us are counting down the days until being off for the holidays, but I want to draw your attention to a few housekeeping issues that need to be completed before year-end that will make your new year sunny and bright. You must plan for success; it will not just happen in your business. Proper planning will ensure that you will be around and thriving when 2017 hits. Here are 10 things you should take action on before 2017:

Update your website: Your website is your #1 sales tool. What is going to be new about it in the new year. Your website is your marketing engine. It’s the best places to nurture relationships with new and existing customers. Think about what you want to accomplish in 2017. Then give your marketing copy a refresh in the New Year. Make a list of other changes can be made quickly. You might not need a complete facelift. Try adding a new header graphic, free giveaway, or a video series. Add some testimonials from your latest client projects. Just make sure there something new to see and experience on your website. Give them content that helps them make a decision to work with your company.

Check-in with customers: Don’t wait until you’re chasing the current month’s sales goals to start making customer calls. Make a list and call 5 customers a day. You should send holidays cards, and if they’ve done significant business with you send a token of your appreciation. Be sure to check what the company policy is on gifts. Major companies such as Wal-Mart, do not allow gifts of any kind, so you don’t want to break any rules. When you contact your customers, invite them to do more business with you. If you are really close, ask if they’ll refer a new client or give insight on renewing your current contract. The magazine business is a perfect model for client follow up. Long before your subscription expired, they were inviting you to renew. Make a list of clients that you can start calling to confirm business for 2017 today.

Get a New Headshot and Update Your Bio: I am sure you have new accomplishments to share, so it’s the perfect to update your bio and put it on your about page on your website. Invest in a new professional headshot, and ladies be sure to hire a make-up artist too. You are the brand. Reinvigorate all your social profiles with a snazzy new headshot. Make sure your look like what you want to accomplish in 2017.

Make an Editorial Calendar: Don’t let content development stress you out. Get a jump-start on the new year by mapping out an editorial calendar at least for the first three months of the year. If you have a little quiet time over the holidays you can event start cranking out content or videos. As you are planning, look at what key marketing events will happen and during 2017. Are you releasing a new book or product? These are natural opportunities to pitch your product to potential clients via your blog content.  Developing a content plan in advance will help you stay ahead of your content schedule so that you can manage peak times of year in your business. Be sure to put together a budget that will help you prepare to staff up for the help your need to develop, edit or promote your content in social media too.

Create a Social Media Contest: If you want to start a #revenue revolution in your business, you can never go wrong with giving a gift. Everybody loves FREE stuff, Right? A unique way to promote your business to create a giveaway contest. Choose a social media platform and develop a contest to engage your audience. Offer one of your own products or work with a major brand partner to provide amazing giveaways like I did for #12DaysofGiveaways. (By the way, It’s not too late to enter by the way Contest. It ends Dec 16th) Whether you are doing business online or off, a social media contest can create buzz about your business, help you build great relationships with major brands and drive traffic to your email list and your store.

Launch a Email Marketing Campaign: Use an email marketing tool such as Aweber, MailChimp or Infusionsoft to keep in touch with customers. Stay on top of mind with a weekly newsletter. Consider hiring a professional copy writer to help you set up sales funnel that starts with an email series that goes out in a sequence that you can automate to save time.  Determine at least four products you want to promote via email through your sales funnel before the end of the year.

Try a Direct Mail Campaign: Some old school stuff still works. An attractive direct mail campaign with the right call to action, can still drive customer’s in the door, especially for local retail businesses. People are somewhat overwhelmed with email, so it makes it easier for your mail piece to stand out. Look at sending a double sided postcard to keep the postage budget low. If you have a bigger budget, put a coupon in your local neighborhood mailer.

Invest in Online Ads: Online advertising is an effective way to target specific customer online.  With mobile devices playing such a big roll in online search traffic you want to make sure you are not missing opportunities to capture people who are ready to buy.  The best thing about online ads is that you can find out quickly how well you are doing. Set up a campaign with 3-5 ads for week and then see which two ads convert over the 7-day campaign. I suggest you test with just one service. Using Facebook, for example, for $10 a day you can develop a campaign that would help you to target buyers that have indicated they like a competitor’s product. Starting with a small campaign is a good way to experiment to learn how to leverage online ads.

Review Your Progress: Every year you’re in business, you’ll have the opportunity to learn and develop stronger process. Take the time to celebrate your personal and professional victories. At the end of the year it’s always good to review and reflect, so that you don’t repeat mistakes. It’s also good to evaluate your team to see if you need to add any new skill sets or replace any bad attitudes. This process will help you to think about what you can do better, and help you set your business and revenue goals for 2017.

I know that the last thing you want to think about before the holidays in another to-do list, but I promise if you take the time to look into at least half of these suggestions, your 2017 will be off to an amazing start. Happy New Year.

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