It is always a great time to review your current marketing tactics. Did any new marketing strategies yield a higher ROI from the previous year/quarter? Are there any strategies that did not yield enough leads or sales that you should abandon? Now is the perfect time to re-evaluate your marketing program and break any bad habits that could be hindering your program from its full potential, and focusing on what is working for you.
Marketing tends to be an area that is self-taught, especially for budding businesses. Learning the ropes of all the venues available for online marketing can be a challenge, albeit a very rewarding one, if done correctly. I’ve seen promising programs lift off the ground but not maintain a steady flight and veer off course. I’ll discuss some of the common bad habits that can develop within any marketing program, and how to change them for the better.
Creating a Plan
It happens. Marketing can be a forgotten child until crunch time. Not having a plan in place before getting started isn’t a good idea but it can occur. It can lead to feeling overwhelmed and disorganized. Don’t be afraid to rely on others and tackle everything together as a team. There are also great resources out there to help you execute a great marketing program that will begin with planning and strategy.
It can be tough, but make sure to stick to that plan after you have launched your program to continue progress. Review your program two or three times a year if you can to check on progress and methods that may be hindering and/or not contributing much to your overall ROI. Start a trial account for a new service that might be worth using, most have a week or up to a month for free. Technology is constantly evolving with new innovative ways to market your products or services. Devoting the time to update and take advantage of these services will help you find what works.
Update your Tool Arsenal
A huge misstep at this point in the online marketing world is the lack of mobile optimized/responsive email campaigns and websites. Mary Meeker predicted the change-over in KPCB mobile marketing trends regarding more opens and website interaction on mobile devices.
Technology is changing the business world towards complete mobile access and therefore users are sitting down in front of a computer less and less. Updating your website to a responsive design is a great launching point for your marketing program that will allow your potential or current customers to navigate easily on their mobile device.
Automation is a wonderful concept for social media content. Publishing posts on a set schedule or setting up rules for your customers to receive email campaigns can provide continuous interaction with prospective or current customers, without much effort. But don’t “set it and forget it.”
A badly-timed tweet or expired content only cause embarrassment to the brand. Make sure to review your social media content calendar often enough to eliminate old content and update future entries. A good rule of thumb if you are using multiple networks is to keep the content fresh and unique. Posting the same content on Instagram and Twitter can frustrate your friends and followers, so it’s good measure to tweak posts within each network and post varying content if you have enough.
Email campaign automation is another area to review from time to time. Check your scheduled campaigns to make sure all content is up to date. Review your set queries to make sure the subscriber isn’t receiving the same email over and over. Set a rule to only allow entry every 30 days to allow time before re-entering or create multiple versions of the email so if subscribers enter frequently, they will not receive the same email each time.
Curating the Content
The content itself can be the stressful part. Figuring out what to come up with, what tone to use, which angle to use. A lot of times the focus of the piece will be on yourself and what you want to say. It needs to focus on the audience and what information they can benefit from instead. Spend a few hours mapping out different topics to discuss on a content calendar.
What can your audience learn from you? What do you stand for? Share your story or key information about your industry that can help others. Use current topics to relate to your business and respond to your commentator’s questions as a way to connect with your community. Write a guest blog on a non-competitor’s site to grab more traffic back to you and have them do the same.
Figuring it all out
After completing your plan and launching your online marketing program out into the digital world it can feel like you’ve finished the race. But it’s important to review and research what is working and what isn’t. Figure out what is the best time of day your customers are retweeting, liking, or sharing a post. Are they opening your email campaigns at a higher rate when you send out at 10am or 2pm? Is the content your publishing giving you a higher traffic rate than before? Is your website regularly updated and sending out relevant information?
The best way to collect potential customers and keep your current customers is to engage with them. Continuous engagement will build relationships that last. Consistency and engagement is the key to long term marketing success but don’t feel overwhelmed by the entire process. There are experts out there, such as ourselves, ready to help you succeed! And it all starts with a plan.