And just like that, 2018 has come and gone in a flash. As the year comes to a close, you need to start thinking about how to prepare your digital marketing strategy for 2019 so that you can hit the ground running after New Year’s.

It’s important to have a plan in place before the year begins, that way, you’ll know exactly what you’re looking to achieve and improve upon. If you’re unsure of how to begin, here are a few useful tips to get the ball rolling.

Review Your Benchmarks and Data

In order to know what areas performed well and which need to be reworked for 2019, you need to complete a data analysis of your results from this year. If you set goals at the beginning of the year (e.g. gaining 300 social media followers or adding 200 new email subscribers) pull the data that will show whether or not you achieved those benchmarks.

Figure out where your wins and losses occurred. What big accomplishments did you have this year? For instance, did you redesign your website? Or launch a new product line? Use these wins to propel you forward and strive for an ever better 2018. If you experienced losses this year, like an unsuccessful social media campaign or low website views, you’ll want to document those as well, as they will help you tremendously with creating your strategy for 2019.

You’ll also want to ask yourself if you see any patterns that occurred, or if there are any particular times where you saw an influx of website traffic, new leads, email sign-ups, etc. It’s also helpful to compare 2017’s results to see how far you’ve come. Determine which benchmarks performed well and which were lackluster, then utilize those results to formulate a better, more thorough plan for 2019.

Look at Your Website & Social Media

Best practices for website content seem to change constantly, so you need to be sure that you’re up to date with trends. Is your site mobile-friendly? In March, Google announced that it would begin its mobile-first indexing, meaning that the mobile-version of your website is where Google will begin in order to determine your ranking. So, the better you follow mobile best practices, the more likely it is that your site will rank higher.

You should also monitor your website’s analytics. Determine which metrics you’d like to focus on. Here are a few examples:

Users: How many people visit your site within a given time frame.
Sessions: An estimate of first-time visitors.
Page Views: How many times each individual web page is viewed.
Unique Page Views: This metric measures a single page view once per session, as opposed to every time the user comes back.
Bounce Rate: This determines the percentage of people who leave your site after looking at only one page.

In terms of social, you’ll want to take a look back at your engagement throughout the year. Facebook Insights, in particular, can you show various interactions with your posts, audience demographics and how you look next to your competitors.

Determine what variations of content performed well and which didn’t receive any engagement. That way, you can better plan out your content for next year. It’s ideal to keep track of your social engagements monthly, then at the year’s end you can easily look back and see the posting times that generated the most engagement, and the content that performed well.

Develop Your Strategy

Now that you’ve looked at all of this year’s data, it’s time to get started on 2019. Start small by asking yourself what you’d like to accomplish this year and why. Then you need to determine how your digital marketing plan will help you to achieve those goals.

Ask yourself, who am I trying to reach, and how will I reach them? Where do my competitors rank against me? What makes my business unique? How can I make those components stand out? It can be overwhelming to determine all of these answers at once, try working through a few per day. Then you can develop your strategy over a period of time.

Review your revenue goals, social media initiatives, email marketing goals, large projects and website initiatives, then see how you can best intersect these components to work together. Figure out what you’ll need to help you with these initiatives, whether it’s adding additional staff members, implementing new training procedures, adding new tools and programs, delegating duties, etc.