You don’t continue to offer merchandise, menu items or services that don’t sell, so why would you continue to use marketing techniques that don’t perform well? With a new year just around the corner, it’s time to conduct a marketing checkup.
You can’t tell what is working and what is not without defining your overall business goals and identifying marketing objectives that address those goals – in other words, creating a marketing plan. You also need measurements that track engagement as well as results, so you have something to compare to your goals and objectives. You should track:
- Detailed website and social media analytics.
- Visitors, engagement and mid-funnel conversions.
- Quantity of sales or customers.
- Expenses associated with marketing.
Your goal is more profit, not just more gross revenue. When you compute the difference between revenue and expenses – your profit — you can easily see where you’re getting the greatest return. Don’t forget that time is money. The more time-consuming a marketing activity, the lower your return.
Eliminate anything that does not clearly help achieve your goals. Then reallocate your budget, to beef up your most productive strategies or fund new marketing ideas.
Money isn’t everything.
Outright sales are just one goal. You use marketing for brand awareness and securing greater customer loyalty, too. These marketing goals are not so easily quantifiable. Brand awareness and reputation-building are vital to grow your business over time, because they support sales-related campaigns. So measure reach and sharing.
Referrals, reviews and testimonials are also vital to grow your business. Measure quantity, and watch which sites customers are using to post comments about you. If you aren’t getting enough reviews on, say, Google+, you can create a campaign asking people specifically to post there.
Evaluating results from a financial standpoint is obviously important. But so is reviewing the tools you’re using to achieve those financial results:
- How long has it been since you refreshed your website design? Is content fresh and relevant for your key target audiences? Responsive design is rapidly becoming a must-have for businesses that want to ensure the most personalized visitor experience.
- Which offers, calls to action and landing page designs are converting best for you?
- Are you making the best use of custom design and targeting to generate excellent response from your direct mail marketing?
- Is your media list up to date? Sending press releases to the wrong people won’t help you get coverage. If your local paper or business magazine has a new reporter, make an effort to meet them in person or introduce yourself online.
- Budgeting time for networking is important, but make it count. Your goal is new contacts, not lunch. If you’ve already met everyone who attends Business After Hours, plan to attend less often and spend more time with a new group. Broaden your visibility with volunteer service, speaking opportunities or joining a co-ed softball team.
- How is your customer retention? Did you create a loyalty rewards program yet? If not, make that a priority for 2015. Having a formal program ensures you can do more to thank repeat customers in meaningful ways, and it gives you an easy way to track progress.
- Are you using your marketing personas to guide your promotional planning and execution? What are their needs and goals that your marketing can help achieve in 2015?
- Are you publishing blog and social media posts consistently, with content that is relevant and timely for your targets? Or do these areas need more attention in the coming year? Your blog and social networks are prime resources for driving traffic to your website and physical location.
Now that you’ve completed your marketing checkup, resolve to review your analytics frequently in the coming year. Nothing will be more useful to show you in real time what’s working and what’s not.