Over the next 12 months, our articles will go through each major marketing initiative and provide feedback – tips on what to look for, ideas for getting the most out of your initiative and things you might not have considered. Follow along with us throughout the year.
So let’s start by assessing your own business. Here are some good points to review.
- What do you do? It’s surprising, but occasionally we have to dig deep before we figure out what a company is doing. If you can’t tell someone what you do – in just a few sentences – you’ve lost your audience.
- Who is your target audience? You may have more than one, but list your audiences by priority. Your marketing should be written for ONE audience.
- Do you have ALL of your customers and prospects in ONE database? It’s surprising how many companies do not. Instead, they pull names from emails, spreadsheets and paper lists! Choose a program, then put all of your lists together. This is the most important asset of your business.
- Evaluate the marketing you’ve done in the past. What worked? What didn’t work? Try to determine WHY your initiative did or didn’t work. Be honest.
- What do you want to accomplish for the next year? Are you expecting growth? Are you going out to a new audience? Define your expectations.
- What are your competitors doing? Don’t guess. Instead, take some time to look through their information. Go to their websites and review them critically. Do they have a blog? Are they publishing press releases? Go to their social media accounts and find out if they are posting, and how often. Check out their LinkedIn profiles. A little research will reveal quite a bit of information – information that you can use to refine your marketing objectives.
- What’s your differentiator? After you’ve reviewed your competitors, you should be able to determine how you are different. What do you provide that others don’t? That differentiator is the beginning of your communication plan.
- How often are you “touching” your clients and prospects? Marketing is all about being remembered. Are you telling your audience what you do – as well as the value you bring?
- What is your marketing process? Once a client is introduced to your company, what do you do to turn a prospect into a customer? Every company should have a process for nurturing leads.
Be brutal in your evaluations. If you haven’t had time, or the talent to do some of the steps above, make a change. Take your strategic marketing plan seriously and your business will grow. If you need help, contact a marketing firm.