As the weather warms up and the days become longer, most of us want to ditch the office early to spend time in the sun. Before you fall victim to summertime procrastination, consider this: you could use this time instead to get ahead, while your competition takes a break. This doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on summer fun. If you use your time efficiently, you’ll enjoy the summer more — knowing that your business is on track.

As we head into Q3, now is the perfect time to run a progress report on your business. What’s working, and what needs to be tossed?

Clarify and cleanse your goals with these easy steps.

Reality Check

Just like finally letting go of your favorite old jacket from high school, there may be parts of your marketing plan that you’re disappointed to abandon. Identifying weak links can be hard, but be thorough and honest. Don’t waste your time with ideas that aren’t coming to fruition. It’s time to move on and evolve!

Flexibility is Key

Are you finding weak spots in your marketing plan? Don’t worry! There’s plenty of time to adjust and change. Keeping your strategies fluid allows you to tweak aspects of your plan to work better for you. Do your review with the understanding that your Q1 and Q2 plan will be different than Q3 and Q4, and that is completely ok!

Analyze

There are so many tools to analyze your business metrics, from website traffic to order fulfillment data. Let the numbers do the talking by tracking the analytics. This will also help you to achieve hard and fast data. There’s always room for improvement, especially to keep your website interesting and dynamic. What pages do users spend the most time on, or leave the quickest, or never access? Google Analytics is just one of many tools that can give you that valuable information. But it only helps if you’re tracking, reviewing, and acting on the data.

Map Out Your Goals

Set specific goals that you hope to reach every six months. By listing out your goals, you are also setting a reminder to yourself to work on these things continuously. Decide 3-5 attainable goals that you want to accomplish. From improving customer satisfaction to increasing brand awareness to growing revenue, work towards these goals and review them regularly. For this mid-year review, assess whether you reached these goals. Were all accomplished, or none? This is a moment to reflect on what is truly achievable and what needs to be reassessed.

While performing this analysis, compare your business six months ago when the goals were originally written, to your business today. Were any of the goals disregarded, and why? Are they still viable for the next six months? Look at the changes and transitions that your business has faced in the first part of the year. These could require amending some of your goals, or coming up with completely new ones.

Inspiration

Learn from other businesses and their successes! Which companies do you admire? What are they doing that resonates with you? From leaders in your field to totally different industries, top performers can offer ideas and strategies for your own brand. Oftentimes, the companies that perform well have distinctive and relatable brand personalities. What is your voice, and what can you do to enhance it?

As you look toward the second half of the year, consider these key marketing trends:

Storytelling

Will your audience remember you and your business? Or are you just giving them a list of information? By telling a story, you’re creating a chemical connection that will stand out in their memory. Empathy is important to connect with today’s consumer. The Millennial generation has grown up distrustful of corporations and big businesses. Intelligent buying has become a trend, where people want to know the people behind the business. Many consumers want an awareness of the brand, as a connection that they can support.

How can you tell a story? From announcing new hires and their backgrounds to telling the history of your business, relatable content puts a face on your company. Be transparent and open about your goals, such as charitable giving, supporting local businesses, or reducing your carbon footprint. Even offering customers email receipts or virtual newsletters can demonstrate a commitment to sustainability, as being paperless is something that many Millennials demand from their preferred vendors.

Digital Marketing

Utilizing inbound marketing builds trust, engagement, and long-term opportunities for consumer growth. Inbound marketing is all about putting your marketing to work for you, to generate leads for your business. One of the key aspects of digital marketing is through automated emails. Properly done automated emails are personable and compelling. By sending targeted, customized messages to consumers at the right time, you can create quality leads and develop stronger customer relationships. Become an expert at digital marketing through an in-depth look at tips to improve your email marketing.

Social Media

Who doesn’t love free advertising? Using social media platforms is a simple way to build your brand online, and there are far more options than just Facebook and Twitter. Instagram is rapidly becoming one of the most used platforms, with over a billion monthly users. By mastering this visual platform, you can create eye-catching stories, compelling content, and even track your statistics. LinkedIn is often preferred for business professionals and can be vital in recruiting employees and promoting your company.

There are lots of ways to build your brand on social media without spending a fortune. Engagement is the most important part! Your customer relations department may be just you and your laptop, but that’s all you need to respond to questions, outreach, and comments by online users. Quick responses are essential, to show that you care about them and are there to help.

With half of the year left to boost your brand, it’s an excellent time to ensure that your marketing plan is ready to monitor your efforts, track your successes, and guide you through the rest of 2019. Set your review in motion to make the next months even better than the ones before, and to set you up for a fantastic 2020!

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: Mid-Year Review Checklist