It might feel tempting to close the door on 2020 and hope for better next year, but don’t give up: There are six months left to turn things around and plan for a better second half. After a rocky start, however, if you’re feeling a bit discombobulated, it might be best to stop, regroup and refocus.

Put the last half of the year in the past and look to the future: What if you used this new Q3 to strategically plan for your Q4 and end-of-year marketing plan? Instead of throwing ideas and messages out there willy nilly for the next six months, hoping something will stick, take a breath, put on your marketer’s hat and re-establish your goals for this year. What can you accomplish yet in 2020?

Here are seven tips to help you start thinking about your year-end marketing plan:

1. Know what’s happening in your industry.

For example, in the restaurant industry, takeout and to-go orders have skyrocketed compared to last year. So, restaurants have had to shift to trends like curbside pickup or home delivery to stay afloat in our current climate. If you’ve been hunkering down in “survival mode” this year, take a minute to do some research and learn about any new trends or advancements in your particular industry so your marketing messages and goals for the rest of the year resonate and reflect what’s happening in your space.

2. Learn more about your competitors.

What are their current marketing messages? What are they saying, how are they positioning their products/services and who are they targeting? Market research isn’t anything new, but because of all the rapid changes in 2020, it might be even more essential now. Pay attention to what’s resonating with their audience and pick up on the high notes. You might even be able to learn from what doesn’t seem to be relevant or compelling to people and adjust your message accordingly.

3. Refocus on your brand.

“Oh, hello, brand—nice to see you again, let’s take a minute to catch up.” Kind of like that. It’s so easy to get lost in the details of our day-to-day operations—to get caught in the weeds, so to speak—that we sometimes forget to pull back and look at the bigger picture. Does your brand look tired? Dated? Does it need a refresh? Are all your marketing channels and messaging platforms working in sync to showcase a clear and consistent brand? At Firespring, we dig brand work, so we can help you sort this all out, if you’d like us to.

4. Redefine your objectives.

Let’s be frank: Your original goals for 2020 may have flown the coop once the pandemic decided to come and stay for a while. That’s okay—reset new ones. What do you want to accomplish over the next six months, especially in Q4 now that you have time to plan a strategy for it? Do you simply want to grow brand awareness throughout the rest of the year? Get more referrals from loyal customers? Drive online traffic to your website? Drive in-store traffic? Define your goals, then decide how you’ll achieve them: email campaigns, direct mail, new signage, radio ads or a combination of any of all of them. Once you know where you want to go, determine how you’ll get there.

5. But hone in on where you’ll make the biggest splash.

In other words, don’t spread yourself too thin—understanding which activities will make the biggest impact will help you maximize your time, energy and budget. For example, if you want to drive more online revenue but your website looks so 2010, it won’t make sense to invest a ton in direct mail marketing to drive people to your website until you’ve cleaned up your website. Make sense? So, start with what will give you the biggest bang for your buck. In this case, invest some dollars into updating your website. If you want to turn more heads in the offline world, look at your signage: Is it faded, boring or outdated? If so, invest in that.

6. Get buy-in from your staff.

Once you’ve established (or re-established) your goals for the rest of 2020 (and into 2021), be sure to share them with everyone else in your company or organization. “Hey guys, we’re going to focus on getting more referral business throughout 2020, so please like, share and post about our new referral program that’ll reward both current and potential new customers.” This way everyone knows what the goal is and can support you and your team in the best ways possible, which leads us to the last tip.

7. Don’t try to be the lone ranger.

You might have some brilliant ideas for how to turn 2020 around for your business or brand, but you don’t have to save the day (or year) on your own—enlist the help of as many people in your company as you can. Be the facilitator and map out your strategy, but get everyone on board and include them in your plans, if possible. This has been a tough year for most brands, businesses and organizations, and the ones that band together and work toward a common goal will be the ones that weather this storm the best.

In line with that thinking, get us on board! We’d love to be a part of the team that helps you achieve your goals for the rest of 2020, especially as you make plans to end the year strong with a big compelling campaign that activates your target audience. What do you need from us: website help, email marketing, printing services, brand strategy, content or copywriting, professional design work? We can provide all of that and much more, and we’re ready to get started today.

Let us help you finish the year strong.