10 Quick tips for end of the year planning

With the end of fourth quarter upon us, it can be a smart time to take inventory of your past years' marketing and plan for a prosperous 2018. Here are 10 easy steps to complete an effective assessment.

1.    Assess your 2017 plan progress. How did you do this past year? Did you hit the goals you set out for yourself this past year?  Look at any areas of your 2017 plan that you have not yet accomplished and aim to complete them in the remaining weeks of the year, or roll them over into your 2018 plan.  

2.    Review your current cash flow. Take a deeper look at what you are spending your money on each month and determine what opportunities there are to find “painless savings”.  One of the biggest mistakes many agencies make is that they look at overall cost without calculating their ROI or close rates.  Using these metrics will make sure you stay ahead of the curve even if you had to spend a bit more to get there this year.  Are your current efforts paying off for you?  Maybe you will find some easy ways to save a few extra dollars for your long-term goals.

 3.    Calculate your revenue allocation. Sometimes companies change advertisers or google changes their algorithm which may have decreased your close rate which increases your total allocation and you may be spending more than you are comfortable with and not seeing the returns you need. If so, look at making some reallocation – and don’t forget to consider the implications of any move between vendors.

4.    Estimate if you are on track to maximize your returns. Try not to leave any open opportunities as the year ends.  Do you have people you have yet to close?  Are there potential clients on the fence?  Reaching out to your potential new clients now when many people start their holiday breaks is a great time to catch them at "the right time" when many competitors might not be reaching out.

 5.    Talk with your vendors and customer service advisers. Explore other ways to save on your bill. There may still be time to take action, but time is running out!  Some companies offer end of year matches, others have specials for the start of a booming new year.  Like the saying goes... you don't know unless you ask!

6.    Cut your losses. At this point in the year you should have more winners than losers, but not all vendors are created equally. If you have some lower close rates with one vendor over another, consider spending less on that vendor and more on one that you have a higher close rate. 

7.    Plan for any changes in the new year. Do you have upcoming changes in the way your agency works?  Are you planning to hire more staff, or worse cut back?  Knowing what you're working with will help you know how much you can spend on marketing by keeping in mind the overall workflow of your agency.  Pre-planning for the new year will give you peace of mind during the holidays.

8.    Check your business accounts. Determine if you have an unspent balance inside your budget. Many corporate plans have a "use it or lose it" feature. Maybe you’ve been putting off spending on marketing as a rainy day fund. If so, use your funds now to help the purchases for the rest of the year and the start of the new year.

9.    Review your upcoming policy reviews. Do you have a large amount of policy reviews coming up in January?  Are there clients you know well and can get an early start now to secure?  Working ahead of the curve will help your team focus less on service in first quarter, but more on closing new policies and bringing new business into the office!

10.  Consider what life changing events you may face in the new year. This harps back to point number 7.  If you know you have major changes coming to the office, don't wait to change your marketing strategy!  By staying ahead of the curve, you minimize the disruption your office may see in productivity and will keep you moving along and growing instead of experiencing stagnation in the new year.

The marketing planning process is continual and never ending. Reviewing year-to-date progress and anticipating future needs can lead to better results. So use this year-end period to assess your current situation and identify future planning opportunities.  From all of us here at Avenge Digital, we wish you a safe and happy holiday season, and a prosperous New Year!

Tell us what you think!  What are you doing to set yourself up for success in 2018?  If you haven't yet, take some time to speak with one of our marketing experts on how we can help you plan for a successful year using our cutting edge platform of click to call traffic to bring your agency to the next level.  

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