This post will be best for businesses who are currently brainstorming what essential marketing pieces need to be in place next year. Of course, your exact strategies, budgets, and timelines will be vastly different. However, there are 3 things I can guarantee should be a part of your success next year.

1) Branded Content Creation 

What is more valuable, renting or owning? Building your own marketing material packs the same benefit as ownership. Branded content includes eBooks, blog posts, videos, and infographics. This content should be fun, educational, and help potential customers learn more about your business. If you are a Ferrari dealer, make a video that shows your collection lined up and looking gorgeous, with some awesome background music: YouTube will eat that up. If you sell wallets, write a blog post about how you should keep your wallet in your front pocket to avoid back problems.

The point is, any business in any industry can create content. Then, promote that content everywhere. Use it to drive visitors to your website.

2) Building a List 

It’s been known for years; an email list is one of the most valuable assets an online business can have. These emails are individuals who have accepted to receive marketing messages from your business. That’s pretty rare! Do everything you can to build and maintain a quality email list. With great power comes great responsibility; use your email list wisely. Provide weekly newsletters and coupons. Do not blast your list with “buy now, click here, don’t wait!” messages.

3) Analyze. 

You need to track something, somehow. If you have a large website, don’t be afraid to install Google Analytics and spend a full day learning the basics. To preform online marketing for an entire year without measuring data is just a fools errand. If you have a small website, at least use goo.gl to start tracking how many people are clicking on your links that you send out in email, social media, or in website comments.

That’s only step one, and step two is much more difficult. You need to make smart, data-driven decisions based on this data. As an example, we recently switched from a daily newsletter to a weekly digest. That digest goes out on Thursdays at 9:30AM, because our emails were opened the most on Thursdays in the morning. With every online marketing choice you make, put some data behind it.

Did any of these truly resonate with your business? Provide yourself an action step; pick one thing, and develop a real implementation strategy on paper. It may seem overwhelming, so continue to break it down into smaller goals.

Success spelled backwards is hard work.