If you’re anything like us, improving your marketing is the first item on your New Year’s Resolution list. Okay, maybe marketing isn’t your first priority, but you know the importance of it. What better time to start taking your marketing strategy seriously than in the new year?

Whether you have been strengthening your marketing strategy for years or are just getting started, these steps will break down the process and set you on the right track come January 1st.

1. Review and Update Your Personas

Reviewing, updating, and making changes to your ideal customer profile, or persona, is the first step in taking control of your marketing because they are at the core of all your strategies. Throughout the year, your audience has likely shifted and it is crucial to know what these individuals are looking for. For example, you might have been working with middle age individuals who are now getting closer than ever to retirement. Your strategy, then, might shift to having more content catered to retirement planning.

What has your audience been up to in the past few years? Does your content still get the same traction as it did in the beginning of 2016? If not, you might need to reevaluate who you are marketing to.

2. Confirm Your Value Proposition

After reviewing and updating your personas, think about what you have to offer these target clients and decide whether or not these values, or your UVP (unique value proposition) aligns with their needs. In the example above, the updated persona is looking for more detailed retirement planning. Do you have the resources, knowledge, and credibility to answer their questions?

By addressing your client’s pain points, you will strengthen your UVP and set yourself, and your marketing, apart.

3. Review Your Website and Online Marketing

Once you have your personas and UVP nailed down, do a thorough audit of your online marketing materials to make sure these values are represented. We always recommend doing a website refresh every couple of years, including updating the content and images on your site. In addition, make sure you are fully harnessing the power of online tools by thinking about the upcoming 2017 website trends and getting on the bandwagon early.

4. Segment Your List

The days of blanketed, generalized marketing are long gone and personalization is the golden rule of 2017. In fact, marketers that deliver personalized content get double digit returns in marketing performance and response. Alison Lewis, Chief Marketing Officer of Johnson & Johnson, says it best — “content needs are exploding as we move to a world of precision marketing and 24/7 engagement.”

In order to fully take advantage of this successful strategy, you must segment your contacts into categories and create drip campaigns depending on their behavior. For example, an easy way to start would be to split up the contacts in your Dashboard to “clients” and “prospects”. This way, when you send out campaigns (such as our Monthly Market Insights campaign), you are sending it to the right audiences. Another way to segment your lists may be based on age, income, planning needs, and more.

5. Automate

Lastly, automation is your friend. Once you have the skeleton of your marketing strategy built, automation tools can save you a lot of time and money. Use scheduling tools such as Hootsuite or Buffer, and automated content tools like our Campaigns to save time, money, and marketing stress.

These five steps are a jumping off point for any marketer, new or experienced, to get started marketing in 2017.