Over time your marketing strategy has to change. What worked a year ago or six months ago doesn’t always work as well today. Maybe it is because your business has changed, or the market is different because new competitors have entered, or maybe external economic factors are impacting your sales. Whatever the cause, with each of these changes your business evolves.
This continual evolution of your business requires you periodically stop and evaluate your marketing. Is it still in sync with your business objectives and delivering the best results? If not, it is time to do something more, better or different.
While this sounds good in theory, many business owners don’t take the time to review their strategy even though the process is relatively simple.
Step One: Create an Activity List
Make a list of the five things you do regularly to generate sales. It might include things like cold calls direct mail, email newsletters , public seminars and networking events. If you can’t come up with five things, don’t go any further. You should have a minimum of five lead generation activities you are conducting regularly.
Step Two: Clarify the Strategy Behind the Tactic
Next, think about why you are doing each of those things. Which of your marketing objectives does the activity support? Does it help you reach new customers, connect with old customers to tell them about additional products? Is it designed to move someone through your sales channel? If you can’t define why you are doing something, it may be time to take it off your list and replacing it with something different.
Step Three: Measure Results
For each of the five actions you should have specific measurements in place. The number of email opens, web visits, leads, conversations, questions, requests for actual proposals or sales are possible measures. Not every activity will have the same type of measures, but each piece of your strategy should be held accountable for results.
Step Four: Rank Your Activities
Compare the results and determine which ones are doing their job. Email won’t necessarily make the phone ring, but it should drive traffic to your website. Evaluate each activity based on how well it performs against the strategy it supports. Then select the two least effective for further analysis
Step Five: More, Better or Different
Ask yourself three questions for each under-performing marketing activity. Will I achieve greater results if I :
- Do this more often or more consistently – This is a mistake many business owners make. Something isn’t working or working as well, and instead of fixing it, they just work harder instead of smarter. They throw more resources at it instead of making a change.
- Do this better – Is it time to modify your approach? In this case, the trick is to look for small changes to refine or enhance your idea. If the open rates on your newsletter are falling, instead of sending them more often, maybe you need to change the subject lines. If you are not meeting the right people at networking events, maybe it is time to look at where you are going or what you are doing when you get there.
- Do something entirely different – It is hard to walk away from something that worked once, but if it isn’t delivering the results you want, maybe it is time to stop. Many home service companies fall into a trap of weekly newspaper advertising. It is in the budget, they have done it for years, so they don’t think about how much better return they could get by investing that weekly expense in social media or maybe radio.