This is a great time of year to step back and assess where you're at with your business prior to the final quarter of the year. One way of doing this is assessing your marketing. Is it performing as it should? Is your marketing material up to date? Are your promoting yourself effectively in order to meet your objectives for the year?

Below is a checklist of 8 key areas to review to help ensure you're on the right track with your marketing. Spending time on this can make your future marketing easier and more effective!

 

  1. Check the content on your website

Review what your site says, the language it uses, how the pages link together. Have a think about how easy is it for your customers to find the information they want. Your website is your sales brochure. Stats state that if a visitor cannot find the information they want in 10 seconds then they will leave your site.

Your website content needs to be concise and to the point, whilst also adding value. Being over salesy can put people off, using jargon can put people off. Having a page full of text and nothing to grab the eye can put people off. If your site takes longer than a few seconds to load, then people will simply leave.

If you have a blog or news section make sure you update it regularly with helpful and meaningful information. You can link to your blog on social media and emails to drive people to your site.

Make sure your site makes it clear how to contact you - simple but often over looked!

So look at your site with a fresh eye, be critical and perhaps ask someone else to give their opinion.

 

  1. Have a look at your marketing KPIs

Do you have Google analytics? Use social media or send out marketing emails? Have you checked your starts recently?

Do a review and assess what has worked and what hasn’t. Has a particular message performed well? How can you replicate that?

Is a media channel not really working? Consider the following:

  • Is it the right channel to target your audience?
  • Are you being as consistent as you need to be?
  • Is it the right message and call to action?

 

Looking at stats and KPIs can help give you a steer on where to better focus your attention, but it can also highlight if you are not doing something right, either in your marketing or in the media channel itself.

If need be speak to an expert to help get your site up to speed, the small investment can help drive traffic to your site and convert into enquiries.

 

  1. Check what email marketing data you have

Have a look at your email marketing data list. You may need to give it a tidy up if your email tool doesn’t already do that – remove any data you haven’t used in more than 6 months. Delete any data that is not interacting with your emails and haven’t done so for more than 6 months. Refresh yourself with GDPR requirements if you need to, it's important to remember you can only send marketing emails to people who have specifically agreed to receive them!

A good email list is not about quantity but quality. 2000 good engaged contacts are much better than 50,000 who never open your emails.

Also consider how you can build your email list. Do you want more leads for a certain product? Think about ways of encouraging people to sign up with you, whether it’s for a regular newsletter, part of a competition or in partnership with another business.

Email platforms such as MailChimp are easy to use, help track your data and show your results.

 

  1. Review all your marketing collateral

If you have got a range of collateral, from sales brochures, leaflets, adverts and more then have a review of it all. What messages do they give, are those messages still pertinent?

Is the creative relevant for your target audience? Will they relate to what you are saying?

Remember your message and creative needs to tap into a need that your audience has, and what solution you can give them for that need.

Be precise and clear, check your spelling and ensure you have a clear action for the reader to follow, that one thing you want them to do! Try not to put too much content in your adverts or leaflets. Keep it simple and to the point.

Also consider the language you use, is it the right tone for your business? Remove any jargon and make sure the wording is suitable for your audience.

Never stop thinking of your target market and their point of view!

 

  1. Review your products/services

Do a review of your product offering. You may think this isn’t a part of marketing, but it’s actually a crucial aspect of marketing, not just sales.

Your products will stipulate who your target market is. Your products will outline what needs you are fulfilling and who has those needs, and vice versa. Your customers will make it clear what products they need. All of this is identified through marketing and research.

Do your products fulfil your customer needs or are you fitting a round peg into a square hole? This requires an honest assessment of what benefits and solutions your products provide. Then a clear review of who these are suitable for. You may think your products appeal to all, but actually if you review your sales and product knowledge you will often bring it down to a much smaller audience.

Focusing efforts on a smaller market can be a terrifying thought for some businesses, but if you are fully giving that audience what they need, then your sales will be more successful, your time spent more efficiently and less resource is needed chasing leads. It’s about a quality target market that will convert to sales.

You also should consider how your product suite complement each other. So what up-sell and cross-sell opportunities do you have? Is there a common easy link between your products that your customers can acknowledge? Use your own knowledge of your current customers, what feedback they have given you in the past and what hasn’t worked as well as what has.

If you need to reduce down your products to provide a more concise and relevant offering then consider doing so. Sometimes a business can spend so much time trying to offer everything to all people, they end up not giving any customer what they actually need. So be ruthless in your review.

 

  1. List your target market(s) – jot down 5 key features about each audience

What do you actually know about your target market(s), or your key customer segments? How many market areas do you have?

You can learn a lot about your target market from the way your customers do or don’t interact with your business. Having a great understanding of your customer is power. It’s not your products that sell, it’s your customers who buy, and with the greatest will in the world if your customer do not need your product or cannot understand what you offer, they will not buy it.

Always, always put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Consider doing some research, and assess what their buying behaviour is. What are the riggers to make a purchase? What life stage are they at? What external factors influence any decisions?

Meeting customer needs can also sometimes be difficult for a business to do. Too many businesses deliver a product based on their own perception of what they wish to deliver and then once it’s in the market place it invariably falls flat. Most of the time this is because the audience needs have not been addressed. Not in the products and not in the marketing of those products.

Knowing your customers, and focusing only on those customer you know will convert is key to growing your business further.

Not many business can be all things to all people, and to do so often costs a lot of money and investment. So reduce your target markets if you need to and focus on high conversion for that customer type and create a customer profile – your ideal customer.

Don’t forget to include their lifetime value to your business. What are they worth to you as they stay with your business and how does that worth grow, through which products or services?

 

  1. Review what has worked for you this year (even though it’s been tough) – be honest with yourself

It continues to be a tough world out there for all businesses, but over the last year there will still be learning’s to take away. If you have tried certain marketing activity and it hasn’t worked, have a look at why. Is it the circumstances, or do you need a new approach or angle to the message due to the impact of the pandemic?

Be creative with how you approach and flex your business. There will be no ‘normal’ for the foreseeable so you have to try something new. Communicate with your customers in new ways, consider new marketing channels.

Critique what has worked for you and what hasn’t, over the coming months there will be new challenges to overcome, but by focusing tightly on your ideal customers then you'll have the opportunity to make key decisions in the way your promote your business.Try to make those decisions with all the above information and with an open approach to trying different things.

 

  1. Create a plan for 2023

It's never too early to start thinking ahead. Write down 3 or 4 main objectives for your business. Keep specific and focused on core objectives which can be long-term or short term goals.

Any marketing plan always needs to start with a clear understanding of your business goals. The marketing strategy or plan is then about how you are going to cultivate your market to help meet those goals.

Your marketing plan brings together all you know about your products and your audience, and then identifies the following:

  • How are you going to acquire new target customers (and you know who they are)?
  • How are you going to keep current customers coming back for more? What other needs do your products fulfil and how are you going to communicate this?
  • How are you going to reactivate customers who have not used you for a while? Are they worth reactivating?

Depending on resource and budget, you’re not going to be able to reach all the above all in one go. You need to be consistently marketing your products through the relevant channels for each customer type. You’ll need one message for acquisition and a different one for reactivation, due to each of these customer types being at a different stage in their buying lifecycle with you.

Create steps you are going to take for each product or market area and simply do them one by one consistently. Try to ensure you have a constant presence in the market. People forget easily so don’t just assume you have a website therefor customers will come. If only it was that easy.

Ensure your plan enables you to market your business regularly within the resource and budget constraints you have. Planning a marketing budget is essential and a much bigger topic than this blog, but do try to have a monthly budget in place if you can. Remember you also need to give some things time to work. Producing one advert will not get you sales, but producing a series of adverts may.

Review your plan every few months and check if you are on track or need a change in direction. You plan and goals will help ensure you keep focused on how you wish to grow your business. Then review all the above steps again, making the relevant changes no matter how hard they may be.