The weather has started to turn warm, so you know what that means, fewer sweaters and more t-shirts and capris. And so begins the annual closet swap as you put away the winter clothes and take out the summer ones. As you are moving things from one closet to the other it is a good time to drop a few clothes in the discard pile. That dress you haven’t worn in three years, or the favorite pair of slacks which are showing wear.  

You go through the annual ritual of spring cleaning with your closet, but what about your marketing? While there is no specific cleaning season, this is as good a time as any to clean out your marketing closet. Ready for a marketing evaluation? Let’s get started

Does it still fit?

You may love that green sweater, but if it is two sizes too small or just too worn out, it is time to let go. The same is true for your marketing. Just because you have sent a postcard every spring, doesn’t mean you have to do it again this year. Take a look at results from previous years. Do you still get consistent returns or have you seen a drop off each year? In many cases, what worked in the past just won’t work anymore so you need to look at new designs or maybe even new strategies. Maybe it is time for an email campaign. 

Is it still in style?

It is harder to let go of a perfectly good pair of pants because they are out of style, but you have to. You can’t go around looking like someone who is frozen in time. The same is true for your website. With rapidly changing technology the life expectancy of a web design is about two years. There are even web fashion trends. What was hot just a few years ago (sliders), now looks dated and  more mobile friendly styles (parallax scrolling and tiles) are hot. So take a good hard look at your website and then go look at your competitors. If you look like the shabby sister it is time to update your web wardrobe. 

Less is more

I have several shirts in the back of my closet that I don’t wear. Every season I think this will be the year that I will, but I know I won’t. So it is time to streamline and get rid of clothes that are just taking up room. When they are gone, maybe I will go out and find a few new things. The same paring back can be helpful with your email list. Every year you add new people to your list. Over time, as the list grows, you see your open rates fall. This is a clear indication that many people have stopped reading your newsletters.  

Don’t take it personally, maybe they have a new job, a new email address or maybe they just aren’t interested. Keeping them on your list gives you a false sense of how big your prospect list is. And, if you pay for your email newsletter service based on the number of contacts or emails you send, the cost of carrying dead contacts can add up. 

So it is time to purge. Look for people who haven’t opened an email from you in six months. Send them one more note, then take them off the list. It can be hard to watch the size of your list shrink, dramatically (our list has gone from 8,000 to 2,500) but you will feel better as your open rates rise. Now you know you are focusing your messages on people who are really interested. And with a smaller, more qualified list other marketing activities, such as direct mail can become an affordable and productive alternative. 

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