Temps are cooler, leaves are changing and there is noticeably less daylight now than there was just a few weeks ago. This is Mother Nature’s way of telling us that summer is over, fall is upon us and before we know it, we will talk about this year in the past tense.
For many of our clients, this is when things quiet down. For our mortgage customers, the busy home buying season is past and things tend to go quietly until years end. For our bank and insurance customers, things pick back up with New Year’s resolutions to get things into financial order and in tax season. With the quieter days, this the right time for you to do some fall digital housekeeping with the following checklist:
- Review Your Results: What were your sales, acquisition or growth goals for this year? How did you plan to achieve those? What part of that was online? Year end reporting and planning is right around the corner. Now is the time to take inventory of what worked, what did not work, where are there data gaps that you need to fill before year’s end? Pulling the answers to these questions together now will make the rest of this year run smoothly.
- Create a Content Strategy: Do you create content regularly? Blog for your company? Have a customer newsletter or emails? It’s either time to start doing these things, stepping up your game and planning ahead. You can create your own topic and timeline chart in excel, Google Docs, or start using one of many online tools available to you. Having a running topics list and a timeline is more than half the planning battle. Start building one today.
- Assess your technology: While we might be biased, we can objectively say that digital is still as important as ever. Lots of companies are adopting new systems and processes at a faster pace now than ever. Your customers are tech savvy and craving ease of interaction. How are you doing with your current tech?
- Website: Is your website built from the mobile first approach that Google is now rewarding? Does it render properly across all devices, from large desktop monitors, to tablets and cell phones? Are there elements on your site that are need updating? If so, start a list of these so you can plan for changes in this upcoming budget cycle.
- Content updates: Can you update content easily? If yes, great. If no, consider an upgrade to your CMS. Content is indeed King, so you need to be able to add content easily on a regular basis.
- Automation and integration: Are you still doing things manually that should be automated? Account opening, taking 1003 data, uploading Facebook form lists, or other manual processes? There are many tasks that could and should be automated. ROI on automation projects are often faster than expected and you free up valuable resource time for more productive tasks and speed up your whole process.
- Upgrades: What new tools or systems do you need? What upgrades do you want to make to the site? Think about new calculators to add, or new subscriptions to services that would make your job easier. Having a list of those and gathering pricing now will make them easier to get approved and in the budget for next year.
- Plan your holiday messaging: Thanksgiving and the year end holidays are coming. Before November is upon us, now is a great time to start to develop your message themes, images and cadence so nothing is overlooked and no one is missing to get these delivered, as many times team members take time off as the holidays arrive.
- Start Building Your Digital Plan For Next Year: This message is woven throughout this post. Take your assessment of what worked and what did not work this year, paired with the goals for next year to determine what you will implement next year to achieve those objectives. Using your answers to the questions above as a guide, planning for the future should make planning more straightforward and data driven.
- Start Budgeting For Next Year: What will it take to implement your plan? Include projections for your digital marketing campaigns, upgrades, the tools you want, conferences you and your team want to attend, etc. You can start itemizing these costs now so you know what you need in year-end budget discussions.
Taking the time now to inventory were you are and where you are headed can help your end-of-year reporting, budget discussions and planning.