Just like going to the doctor for a checkup feel like a chore, so doesn't a checkup on your current business marketing strategy.
As with your body, checking up on the changes and things that just aren't working, are vital to keep a healthy and growing vessel!
But, wait a sec...Before we go any further, let me be clear. No matter what you read out there, many clients have expressed relief and surprise in how simple, fun and helpful handling the chore with Studio Seamonster, actually is! This does not have to be painful people.
Let's skip the fluff and get to the sweet nectar of what is going to be your go-to list for a checkup.
When to tackle this?
There are 2 answers to his question. Answer one - Around the end of the year. You will have much more robust numbers and business patterns to use as vehicle to drive the areas of improvement and that which needs to improve. Answer two - If u are hitting a lull, or dip, in business activity (or conversely a large shift in offerings or vision of your business). It will "reactivate" the energy your current customers had, as well as perk up the ears of those that are not yet clients/customers.
If you are going into this feeling like you are far from having anything that could be considered a "marketing plan", maybe this is a good place to start.
Your marketing plan...
So, to begin analyze your current marketing plan (however organized, or disorganized, it may).
- What are the components of your current marketing plan? (Website, Blog, Frequent ads in local papers, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
- What actions do you take to maintain them and how often? (Weekly facebook postings, monthly blog postings, Product spotlight mailers quarterly, etc.)
- How much does each of the components of your plan cost you (Both service/print cost, as well as your time costing money to take care of those components...especially if you have employees that you pay hourly that have a hand in marketing).
ROI (That's fancy talk for Return on Investment)
- What are the results you are getting from each of those marketing components? (Customer feedback to use as testimonials = customer trust and satisfaction to support other customers in using our services/product, actual increased sales = profit, frequent sharing of social media posts = higher rate of visibility and awareness, etc.)
- Even if you can't plunk it into a dollar figure, they are still positive returns on your efforts. Once you have "quantified" these results, you can compare hem to the investment of time and/or finances to determine if it's worth while continuing with this component of your marketing plan.
What are the tools in your marketing toolbox?
This encompasses everything...
- Your logo
- Your business cards
- Your tri-fold brochures
- The stickers you have on your laptop or iPad out in the field
- Your website
- Your product images, or physical in-store displays, etc.
Now you need to take each of those tools and ask yourself if they still fit the following...The "look", "position in your community", "position in your industry" and "industry trends".
You ready to kick your feet like a three year old yet? Well, sit up straight. Get a cup of tea. Let's focus!
You are almost there. No really, you are!
You are in a position to excel and have the power that no one else has, in addition to a unique vision.
Commend yourself, dammit! Fore, you are in the "now" of your business, not the "some day".
The "someday" attitude will not serve you.
Ask yourself the following...
- Who is/are your key competitors locally.?
- Who is/are your key competitors online?
- What are their stats like in social media? (Sometimes this is a good motivator to re-light the fire under your ass and get more involved with the frequency of posts, rather than let it beat you down)
- How is your office/storefront presence. Is it creatively showing off what you offer or sell? (No faded signage in the windows, no torn rugs, no stained carpets, etc.)
- What is the spirit of your employees? Are they wholeheartedly behind the business/service you offer? Their enthusiasm is promotion in itself! The enthusiasm for what they do will increase their hunger to learn more, translating into an even greater asset for your business.
- Does your staff have the industry training they need?
- Think off the cuff - training that is not industry specific, but vital to being a more of most value? (How about public speaking classes, or professional writing classes...great if email correspondence is a major means of communication for customers)
- Webinars are one of the greatest tools, because they are often less expensive than a formal class off-site and a group of people can sit in on a webinar when only having to pay for the webinar once. Many actually are free.
- Last, but not least, always keep an eye on associations for your industry. Not only consider becoming a member, but make sure you are part of the groups on Facebook and/or follow them on Twitter, Instagram, etc.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
I'm talking about your current customer base! They are so much more powerful in telling you what you need to do to market yourself than you might imagine.
- Short questionnaire style e-blasts or social media marketing posts are a great way to get good feedback!
- Make sure you're attaining their e-mails as much as possible and updating that list in your database, frequently.
Now, for the cleanup...
Keep all this data in one doc on your computer and/or notebook (I suggest using Evernote) in such a way that you can go back at different points throughout the year and fill in updated data for comparison. Comparison will help in the purchasing of new inventory and employee needs. Especially, if your business fluctuates with seasons, i.e a tourist driven areas.
Now that you have the tools to pull this info together, what you do with it is the next step. There are business/financial decisions to be made and their are creative/marketing decisions to be made.