Look Back On 2015 to Improve in 2016

A year ago, we embarked on a 12-month plan to better marketing, spending each month focused on a different facet of your small business marketing efforts. Before you move forward with 2016, let’s look back on 2015 and find ways to take what you learned to apply it in the upcoming year.

Local Marketing

Local marketing is probably the most important thing a small business can do to compete and draw in attention. So back in July our plan called for you to improve your local marketing by improving your website and landing pages and staying current on maps and local listing sites.

Look Back On 2015 to Improve in 2016

So what was the result of the changes you made?

  • Has the number of unique visitors increased?
  • Is there more referral traffic from Yelp and Tripadvisor?
  • Have you seen more in-store traffic?

You should see some improvements and if you don’t, it’s time to make some hypotheses and test them in 2016 until your local marketing is stable.

Reducing Churn

Another critical KPI your small business should be measuring is your churn rate. A churn rate is basically a measurement of your repeat business, a low churn rate means you have a lot of customers coming back. This matters because acquiring a new customer is more expensive and time consuming than keeping an existing customer, yet too often small business marketers focus on gaining awareness and encouraging people to try out our offering.

However, back in January, we recommended that you develop a good plan to turn these one-time customers into long-time advocates for your small business. So how did that plan work?

Review your loyalty programs to see if more people signed up and used the benefits. Pull the number of return website users (non-unique visitors). Hopefully, if your plan is one that is sustainable, you saw not only an initial bump when you launched these changes, but have seen it sustain and grow throughout the year. The question now is; how can you improve this even more?

Subscribers

Finally, it’s critical that a small business have an open line of communication directly to their audiences. That’s why in September, we helped you build out a plan to increase your email subscribers. While it’s only been a few months, those efforts should have yielded you a big jump in your email database.

But look closer. What did the biggest jump happen after you added lightboxes to your website? Or maybe you saw a spike after posting a message on Facebook for people to sign up. Look at the data and plan a second or third campaign in 2016 to keep your subscribers, and business, growing.

We say that if you’re not measuring, you’re not marketing but if you’re not learning from what you measure, you’re definitely not improving. While you take the time to wrap up what you learned in 2015, you can easily start the process over to make 2016 your best year yet!

Image: Photospin

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