With the new year fast approaching, it’s as good a time as any to take stock of your year in marketing and plan for the future. While you may not necessarily need to overhaul your marketing strategy in 2017 (though you should consider refreshing it), there isn’t anyone who couldn’t benefit from an honest status review of what you’ve accomplished and a plan for how to build on your success.

Not sure where to begin? Find our top four picks of essential marketing items you should review to start 2017 off with a bang.

Review your framework for ROI

Understanding your marketing budget and how to generate the best return on investment is essential as you plan out the tactics you’ll use next year.

How much money does it cost to acquire a lead? How many leads must a marketing channel generate in order to know it’s worth your money?

If you don’t know (or if you haven’t checked in a while – these numbers WILL change over time), you can use this handy formula to figure it out:

Average profit per client x conversion rate = value of a qualified prospect

Example: If you earn an average of $1,000 per client and have a 5% conversion rate, your formula will look like:

$1,000 x .05 = $50, meaning you can spend $50 per qualified lead to break even.

If your business generates recurring revenue from clients, you’ll also want to calculate your customer lifetime value. Our customer lifetime value calculator can help you meausure the profit your business makes from a given new customer and understand how much you can spend to acquire each new customer.

Knowing that you can spend up to $50 per qualified lead before you’re losing money, you can determine how many leads each channel you use needs to generate in order for it to be worth its cost:

Channel cost / value of a qualified lead = total leads


If you are spending $500 on Google Adwords, and you can spend $50 per qualified lead, your formula will look like:

$500/$50 = 10 leads must be generated by AdWords for the channel to be worth investing in

Make sure your PPC campaigns are making the most of your budget

AdWords! Bing! Facebook! Yelp!

If you’re paying per click on these channels or anywhere else on the internet, it’s wise that you check in to see how they are performing (beyond just knowing if they’ve generated leads or not).

If you thought we were done crunching numbers, well, bear with me a little longer. You’ll need a few things in order to determine if your PPC campaigns are killin’ it or if they are actually killing your budget: access to the web dashboard/analytics for each advertising platform; a list of leads tied to clicks on these ads; and information about those leads, including how much revenue they’ve generated if they converted.

Here’s what you should find out:

What is the average cost per lead?

The formula:

Total cost of your campaign on each platform / number of leads tied to the campaign = cost per lead

Is your cost per lead above the number you found in the framework for ROI exercise? If so, you’ll need to consider how to reduce the cost per lead in order to allow this channel to be sustainable.

What ad groups are underperforming?

If you are running multiple ads within any of these platforms, pit them against each other.

Ask yourself:

  • What ads are generating the most leads? The least?
  • What ads are helping you acquire leads for the most amount of money? The least?
  • What ads are generating the most qualified leads? The least?

Any ad groups that are too costly or are not generating enough leads relative to your ad spend should either be eliminated or refreshed.

Which brings me to…

What new opportunities are available?

It may have been a while since you’ve researched keyword opportunities, updated your targeting or checked out who else is competing for your audience’s attention with ads of their own. Things may have drastically changed since you last tweaked any of your keywords or considered who your ideal target audience is. You might find that you’ll need to make updates here to best reach your audience or stand out amongst competitors.

How are you demonstrating value?

What did you do in 2016 that demonstrated value to potential clients?

It’s no longer good enough to simply have a website with an “About Us” page, a social media account and a few good testimonials to share with the world. You need to offer something of value – for free – to attract people to your website in the first place and to convert prospects into leads.

If you haven’t created useful content for your audience in 2016, put this task up at the top of your 2017 to-do list. It’s that important.

Here are some examples of content that can be shared to get your audience interested in working with your organization:

Once you create these items, share them with the world. Build a landing page, write a blog post about them, push out onto your social channels and tell people about them in your marketing emails. You want everyone to know about these content pieces.

If you did use this type of content to attract leads in 2016 (way to go, you!), now is the time to review their success.

In addition to reviewing the success of your campaign (including conversion rates of people downloading content and the number of prospects that become customers), see where there is room for improvement with future campaigns.

Did you see little interest in your content? Perhaps there’s a better topic to focus on next time.

How did people learn about your content? Determine what channels were best able to drive people to your content so you can emphasize your marketing efforts in those places in the future.

Determine how your marketing processes can be improved next year

We all screwed something up this year. I did, you did, we all did.

Now that we’ve established we all could have done some things a little bit better, it’s time to figure out how to make sure we screw up a little less in 2017.

Many of our errors can be traced back to processes that need updating (or creating). Was a deadline missed? An obvious typo not noticed until too late? Did miscommunication cause headaches for you, your team or a client?

Step back and figure out what went wrong (honest reflection is 100% required here). Ok. Now that you have something (or a few things) in mind, make a plan to avoid doing that again next year.

Here are a few common process-related issues and proven solutions to help you avoid them in the future:

Problem: Your 2016 goal of regularly updating the blog? Didn’t go quite as planned.

Solution: Create an editorial calendar, with blog topics and deadlines set for every person involved with blogging.

Problem: You kind of forgot about that one campaign you were running and never checked in to see if it needed to be tweaked at any point.

Solution: Setup a recurring meeting in Outlook (or whatever email/calendar program you use) to do a weekly, 15-minute check-in on your campaign.

Problem: Your colleague just sent you their part of the project and…it wasn’t what you thought they were going to send you.

Solution: Assuming this project isn’t a unique, one-time event, you should create clear documentation outlining the goals, expected outcomes and examples of what should be included in the project. Don’t be afraid to get the team together to review the documentation to make sure everyone understands the expectations.

As we race toward the end of the year, take some time to position yourself for success in 2017. By reviewing these items before you launch campaigns in the new year, you’ll be better equipped to make the most of your marketing budget, ensure your paid campaigns are driving results, delight your leads into customers and make work easier for yourself and your team.