Revisit your Marketing Plan for Better Results
So we’re into the fourth month of the year. You had good intentions for your marketing plan and budget this year but somehow your efforts have slipped. Or are some of you thinking — what marketing plan? Never fear. Spring is the time for rebirth and renewal. It’s also the time to revisit your marketing efforts, whether you’ve tackled them yet or are just getting started. So give your marketing strategy a “spring cleaning” by reviewing the following checklist:
1. Your marketing plan and budget. Review your marketing strategy for the year, as well as your marketing investment for the first quarter. Do you need to decrease your budget, spend more wisely or increase it to keep up with demand? It’s important to plan what you’re going to spend throughout the year, as well as the best marketing tactics for the dollar. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your money as well as your time and effort. If you find yourself without the time to devote to executing your marketing plan, hire a consultant or internal marketing person to help out, even if it’s just part-time. Or promise to spend 30 minutes a day on marketing your business.
2. Your website. How well is your website performing? Check out your site statistics over the last quarter, or for the past year if it’s been ages since you looked at your web statistics. Where are people finding you? Are they gravitating toward certain pages or exiting on certain pages? Does your site reflect your current company, marketing message and product/service line? Could your website use an updated look? Does it need to be optimized for search engine visibility? Most importantly, is your website properly contributing to your company’s sales goals?
3. Your customer and prospect database. Do you regularly communicate with your prospect and customer base, or do you even know if some of the people on your list are still at that address or phone number? Do you need email addresses for your contacts? Now is the time to consider appending or updating your database. You can hire a company to do this, or you can have administrative staff update the list by making calls or verifying the information online. This will ensure that you aren’t wasting your marketing dollars on people who are no longer working at your prospect’s place of business, and makes your company look more professional. If you need to increase your database, consider a promotional campaign to generate new contacts, or utilize business cards from tradeshows or other networking. If you’re not communicating with your database, consider outsourcing telemarketing efforts, start an eNewsletter or devote an hour a day to prospecting by phone or email.
4. Your brand. Take a look at your existing logo, tagline or even your company name. Is it current and does it adequately represent your brand? If not, maybe now is the time to consider re-branding. Sometimes a new look can make all the difference, and make your company stand out as hip, current and “in the know.” You don’t have to spend a ton of money on a new look, either. Check out some of your competitors’ brands to make sure you are keeping up and that your brand coincides with your position in the marketplace.
5. Your marketing materials. Have you been sending out the same tri-fold brochure or sales sheet for the past five or 10 years? If so, it’s time to take a hard look at your current marketing materials to ensure that you are presenting the right image to prospects. Think about revising both the design and the text to make them more current or simply to offer something new, especially if the materials are not doing the job of converting leads to sales.
6. Your advertisements and promotions. Again, the same here with your advertisements. Are they outdated? Have you been running the same promotional campaigns or coupons again and again? If they are working well, obviously keep doing what you’re doing, but perhaps a few tweaks or tests here and there could make your campaigns even better. If you haven’t been doing advertising or promotions, or you’d like to supplement your existing ads, maybe now is the time to think about how to introduce them or make them better. This goes for both print and online advertising such as pay-per-click advertising.
So wipe the dust off your marketing plan. Maybe your spring cleaning efforts will contribute to a fantastic rest-of-the-year result.
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