Hard to believe we’re over half way through 2015. But that doesn’t mean we should get lazy when it comes to our small business marketing plans. In fact, now is the time to perform a check-up to evaluate where you are.
1. Have you been sticking to your plan?
If your answer is no, then ask yourself these questions:
- When did things begin to fall apart? Right away in January, or did it happen gradually?
- Why haven’t you been sticking to your plan? Because of time? Money? Lack of interest? A combination of all three?
- Is the plan too aggressive?
Remember, the key to small business marketing is consistency. You don’t need to do everything at once, but you should develop strategies and be consistent (such as sending out a monthly email newsletter).
If the plan is too aggressive and/or you’ve lost interest, scale it back. Pare it down to the items you’re willing to commit to. This means focusing on things each week/month that you enjoy doing (or that you at least don’t hate). Once do that consistently, you can slowly add in other initiatives.
If the issue is time, is it because you’re too busy with new work? Or is it because you’re not managing your time as well as you should? Here are some strategies for dealing with these situations:
- If you’re suddenly dealing with an influx of work, then seriously consider outsourcing some of your marketing. Your marketing should not stop when you’re busy!
- If it’s a time management issue, consider working with a business coach to understand why or outsourcing some of the work so that the plan doesn’t fall apart again.
2. Measure results against the goals you set at the beginning of the year.
If you’ve been consistent with your plan, then you should have eight months’ data to review. But remember it’s easy to get lost in the numbers and if analysing analytics isn’t your specialty, then hand the data over to someone who understands what the data in places like Google Analytics is telling you.
Of course, you don’t need to do a “deep dive” into the analytics. Take a higher-level view and look at things like…
- Website conversions. Is the number where you want it to be? If yes, keep doing what you’re doing. If not, how far off is the number? The numbers might be off for any number of reasons that have nothing to do with your marketing plan. What you should ask yourself is if there’s anything you can do with your small business marketing that might help boost the numbers for the rest of the year, such as creating a new offer, adding new call-to-action buttons on the site, running ads on Facebook, etc.
- Customer engagement with your communications. Look at click-through-rates on newsletters and blog posts, likes on Facebook, re-tweets on Twitter, etc. Are people engaging with your brand in the way you had hoped? If not, what tweaks/adjustments might you try to increase engagement?
- Sales, sales, sales. Obviously, at the end of the day, this is the only number that matters for the majority of small businesses. While you could always be making more sales, how are the numbers? Did the actual sales match projections? If sales are way off, that doesn’t mean it’s the marketing plan’s fault, but it’s important for marketing and sales to talk to each other, which brings us to our next point.
3. Set up a meeting with sales and marketing.
Too often, these departments are pitted against each other. The goals are the same, and the two departments should work in harmony with one another, sharing data and feedback. So the tone of this meeting should be supportive and friendly. Discuss what’s been working and address what hasn’t been working. Agree on any changes/tweaks moving forward.
4. Get feedback outside of your marketing and sales department.
Talk to other people in your company and see what they have to say about your marketing efforts. Think of customer service, receptionists, accounts department etc. and ask them “What do you remember about what our company has been doing to promote itself and engage with customers this year?” See what they remember, what stood out to them, and what feedback they heard from clients/customers.
This is an informal survey and you shouldn’t drastically change direction based on the feedback, but listen for any consistent themes, both good and bad.
5. Relax. Your marketing plan is - and should be - fluid.
A marketing plan is a living and breathing document that you can easily adjust and adapt based on myriad factors. It will never be “done” and there’s always something else you can do. The key is to be consistent, and to continue marketing, even when things are busy, and even when you don’t feel like doing it.
If you still don’t understand what a great small business marketing plan should contain then check out the eBook from the button below:-