Simple Checklist to Jumpstart Your Marketing in the New Year

The beginning of a new calendar year for a business owner can be exciting and full of anxiety at the same time. 

The holidays came and went faster than you expected and now you’re searching for guidance on how you can make this year the best one ever for your business.

You know that marketing plays a key role in the success of any business. The problem is that marketing feather in your hat sometimes gets pushed to the back because of more pressing matters that continue to pop up throughout your day.

Do not worry. We are here to give you a little marketing guidance and help.  

In this article, we are going to give you a simple checklist you can use to jumpstart your marketing in the new year.

Image of a checklist on a desk next to a cup of coffee


Conduct a Year-End Review

Before you get too focused on the upcoming year, how did last year go?

A year-end review of your marketing is a great way to kick off the new year.

Start by gathering marketing data like the following:

  • Google Analytics/Website Metrics
  • SEO Rankings
  • Social Media Metrics
  • Paid Search Reports
  • Email Campaign Reports
  • Offline Marketing Campaigns
  • Lead Generation Data
  • Sales Figures
  • Marketing Budget/Spend

Don’t get too hung up on how great or not-so-great your marketing performance was last year. The main idea here is to establish a baseline to measure against in this new year. 

Go through your numbers and look for wins and losses.

Most businesses are focused on generating new leads through their marketing efforts so work your funnel backwards. Start with your sales figures and understand the number of new customers you had last year and the total amount of revenue these new customers generated. Determine where these new customers came from and which marketing channels performed the best. 

Leverage the things that worked great and look for marketing channels that underperformed so you know where to concentrate your efforts in the upcoming months.

If you’re not sure where to start, we created a helpful guide for performing a marketing audit.


Set Marketing Goals for the New Year

The next item on the checklist is to establish marketing goals for the New Year. 

Begin with the long-term marketing goals for the entire year. What goal could you accomplish at the end of December that would make your marketing efforts in 2024 successful? These might be larger goals like adding X number of new customers or a certain dollar amount of revenue to your bottom line.

Image of young couple climbing to top of mountain.

These long-term goals are not just going to magically happen without a lot of planning and execution throughout the entire year. Each long-term goal is going to rely on accomplishing short-term marketing goals throughout the year.

Think of these short-term goals as the building blocks of your long-term goals.

It might be easiest to break down the entire 12-month calendar year by quarters and focus on 3-month short-term goals that will contribute to accomplishing your long-term goals.

These 90-Day Marketing Sprints allow you to focus on actionable items that can be measured along the way so you know you’re continually moving the marketing plan forward.

Example: 100 New Customers

For example, let’s say one of your top goals for 2024 is to grow your customer base by 100 new customers. That’s 8.33 new customers per month or 25 new customers per quarter. 

Now, you’re realistic and know this is not going to be a steady process with the same amount of new customers each month or quarter. Your marketing plan is going to bear more fruit as time goes on so you should expect closing more customers in Q3 and Q4 than you do in Q1. Your new customer acquisition goals might be broken down as follows:

  • Q1 – 15 new customers
  • Q2 – 22 new customers
  • Q3 – 28 new customers
  • Q4 – 35 new customers

During your year-end review, you noticed some great traction in a Google Ads campaign but you know there’s room for improvement to get more leads for the same budget. 

The short-term goal of acquiring 15 new customers in Q1 could be accomplished by implementing the following steps to kick off your 90-day sprint. 

Optimize Google Ads campaigns to increase impressions, clicks, and leads by 15%

  • Improve marketing messaging in the Google Ads campaign and on the landing page
  • Optimize keyword choices in Google Ads campaigns
  • Make the form on the landing page more intuitive

Improve Close Ratio by 10%

  • Follow up on leads within 20 minutes of receipt
  • Stick to your defined sales process
  • Offer multiple options in the proposed solutions
  • Follow up on leads 6 times
  • Place dormant leads into an email drip campaign

All of these improvements will make acquiring new customers easier throughout the entire year enhancing all the future tactics you implement in Q2-4 marketing sprints.

Learn More About Marketing Sprints


Polish Up Your Online Appearance

If you haven’t visited your website in a while, now is a great time.

Put yourself in the shoes of your ideal customer and try to experience your website for the first time. Answer the following questions:

  • Does the homepage provide a clear solution to the most important problem your customers are facing?
  • Is the navigation intuitive?
  • Is your contact information easily accessible?
  • Are the photos/images engaging and assist in telling the story?
  • Is there too much or not enough content?
  • Are there clear calls to action (CTAs) throughout the site helping the visitor know what they are supposed to do?

Make a list of all the things you think could be improved and either (1) make the updates yourself if you are able or (2) pass the list along to your website designer to implement.

Next, review your social media channels and go through the same exercise.

Make sure your profile photo and feature/banner photo are consistent with your branding and messaging.

Look for areas of your social media profiles that need to be completed or fine-tuned. Make sure you complete as many of the profile attributes as possible.


Revisit Your Content Marketing Strategy

Your content marketing strategy should be one of the most important elements of your overall marketing strategy. You need to continually create fresh, relevant content that potential customers will find valuable for doing business with you.

Take inventory of the amount of new content you created over the past year. This type of content includes blog posts, webpage content, landing pages, emails, videos, social media posts, and downloadable resources.

Do not be too concerned if your recent activity is underwhelming. Most businesses are continuing to improve this area of their marketing strategy.

Revisit your marketing goals and include content marketing action items in your marketing sprints to help you accomplish a long-term goal of being more active with content creation and distribution moving forward.

Example: Creating Blogs and Distributing Through Social Media and Email

For example, let’s say your goal is to begin creating 3 blogs per month for a total of 36 blogs for the entire year. This is going to require some planning and execution that is completely manageable using these simple steps.

  • Week 1
    • Generate a list of potential blog topics
    • Outline your blog posts
  • Week 2
    • Write your blog posts
    • Add images and formatting to your blog post
    • Publish/schedule your blog on your website
  • Week 3 – 4
    • Share your new blog with audiences through email and social media channels

Repeat this process at the start of each month.

Content creation can be a laborious process for any single person. Leverage the help of others on your team or partner with a marketing expert well-versed in content marketing to help you do some of this heavy lifting.


Configure Reporting to Track KPIs

The last item on the checklist is to make sure you have the access and ability to monitor your progress throughout the year.

The best tracking method is setting an appointment on your calendar once per month for about an hour to access your metrics and review what is working well and where you need to improve.

Do not skip this step. You must take a temperature reading on your marketing periodically. This will ensure that you continue to pay attention to the key performance indicators that need to be met throughout the year to meet your goals.

Hold yourself accountable for this entire process and do not hesitate to ask someone for help in this process. Delegate tasks that you do not have time for or simply are not interested in doing yourself. 


It’s Time to Get to Work

Now, there’s nothing left to do but get started.

Marketing is an ongoing process that will become easier the more you put into the ongoing process and monitoring of progress along the way.

There will be wins and losses along the way but having a plan to execute will pay dividends in the long run.

As always, feel free to reach out to the Neon Goldfish team with any questions. We are here to help!