“The keys to success with any resolution are:  believing in it, commitment to the outcome and confidence that you will succeed.”  Heidi Richards

 The problem with most resolutions is they are never kept – they may start out with a bang – with every intention to follow through and then somewhere along the way, they get dropped or set aside until such time as we are motivated again to take them up.  At least that has been my experience.  How about you?  Have you ever made a resolution only to find that 2 weeks or two months into the New Year you forgot about it (until next year).  Generally speaking when that happens it is because you either were not committed to it or it was simply too difficult to complete.  Both of which are the keys to failure.

So what do you want to accomplish in your business in the New Year? Do you know how much more money you want to make? How many more people you want to serve? How much of your time, talent, and treasure you can contribute to your community?

Here are myTop Ten Marketing Resolutions that could make a big difference in your image and your bottom line:

1. Look Back – review all the marketing programs you implemented over the past year.  Which ones were successful?  Which ones had less than desired outcomes? How can you capitalize on those successes in the coming year?  Are these programs you can do again with similar (or better) results?  If you feel they would be successful in the coming year, add them to your Marketing resolutions first.

2. Take a Look at Your Brand – Does it truly reflect your image, what you want people to think of when they think of your company?  Or does it need a facelift? Are your marketing materials consistent? How about the services you provide?  Are they consistent with your brand? Is your website in line with your brand? Does it reflect your uniqueness or is it a “cookie cutter” site that looks like everyone else’s in your industry? When your brand works in tandem with who you are and what you provide to your niche market your brand is doing its job – it is positioning you to stand out in the crowd, to differentiate you from the competition.

3. Take a Look at Your Public Relations programs – Are they achieving their goals?  Does your target market know what you are doing? Does the media know you exist? Do you stand out in your community, your industry? Are you sending out media releases with a set frequency (bi monthly, monthly, or weekly)? Are you involved in community programs that help you get the word out about your products and or services?

Do you host (or sponsor) high-profile events that get the media and your community to take notice? Getting involved in a community event is a great way to get the media to take notice and your clients to see you doing good things. Do you have a media kit or an online media room? Does it reflect the real you? Is your photograph current?  Your bio?  Do you have news about your company posted on your website? A good media room will have a biographical sketch of the company principals, accompanied by current photos, and candid shots, maybe some pictures of personnel, and community projects, client testimonials, professional affiliations, and links to other sites you own or are involved in.

Think about how you can raise your profile and increase your bottom line with a good public relations program, media strategy and community events.

4. Write Now – are you writing for your business? If you are, take a look at the image they portray.  Does your newsletter need a new look?  Are you posting to your blog on a regular basis (at least once a week)?  Do you send your ezine out at regular intervals?  Do you contribute articles to industry associations that your customers read?

Don’t like to write?  Don’t have time to write? Don’t think you have the skills to write?  If you don’t have time, don’t have the skills or don’t like to write you can hire someone to do it for you. If you don’t have a newsletter, ezine or blog, now is the perfect time to start one or consider the possibility.  Write down how having any or all of these tools will help your business grow. If there is no way they will improve your image and/or your bottom line, don’t add them to your New Year’s resolutions.  If they will, then consider how you can manage the added responsibility whether it is to outsource the job or do it yourself.  You can hire a virtual assistant to help you with the writing, posting, and distribution of all of these writing tools.

5. Get out of the Office – Do you have a Networking Plan of Action for your business?  Do you “hang out” where your clients are? Is your networking paying off?  Take a look at all the things you spend your time on outside of doing your job (of fulfilling your clients’ needs).  Write down the pros and cons of those things and look at what you can do more of, less of, or none of.  You might be spinning your wheels attending association events with little or no return.  Take a look at the “why.”  If you are only attending events once in a while it might be because people have not had a chance to develop a relationship with you. Or it might be that this is not really your target market.

Regardless of what it is, commit to changing that. Look at all the events and meetings you go to and really see if they are adding to your bottom line.  Where are you spending time and energy that is paying off?  Spend more time doing those things and less or no time doing the things that have little or no return on your investment.  Find at least one new group to network with.  Immerse yourself.  Let people really get to know you. Volunteer a little, or a lot. Take a leadership role. Donate your products and/or services.  Ask for something in return such as publicity, advertising, or a list of prospects.

6. Capitalize on New Media – Do you have a blog? Do you use video or audio to promote your business? Are you tapping into the vast social networking opportunities online? Now is the perfect time to leverage new media to promote your products and services. The beautiful thing is that new media has become affordable and easier to learn than ever before.  And, if you aren’t interested in learning it, hire someone to do the work for you!

7. GET FOCUSED!  Have you ever used a focus group to learn more about the wants and needs of your target audience? If not, the New Year is the perfect time to start.

8. Learn Something New – education has and always will be the ultimate key to success. Someone may be smarter or richer than you are today, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting smarter with each passing day. Do you have a business coach?  Are you up on the latest books in your genre?  Do you know what the competition is up to? Encourage those on your team to learn and grow with you. Education does not end when you get that diploma, degree or certification. That’s when the real education begins. Are you ahead of the pack or bringing up the rear?

9. Close the Generation Gap – Tap into the younger generation for their input.   Bring them into your organization or circle of influence, mentor them and most importantly, learn from them. If you are a part of the “younger” generation, reach out and touch those you know who are “older and wiser.”  Learn from them.  Use the generational differences to learn and grow together.

10. Take Care of Yourself – Without good health, nothing else matters.  Ask anyone who is old and rich and sick. They aren’t able to enjoy their success.  If you asked them today, what is the most important thing to them, most, if not all will tell you their health! It is amazing what the proper rest and fresh air will do for your sense of well-being. Eat right, get plenty of rest, exercise.

Choose just a few things to do. The more things you try to do at once, the greater the chance that you won’t stick to your resolutions. Start with two or three things. As you accomplish one of your New Year’s Marketing Resolutions, you can add another to your list.  As the saying goes, “Success breeds success.” The more successful you are at accomplishing your resolutions, the greater your chances of increasing your bottom line!

Happy New Year!

Heidi Richards Mooney, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief