6 Month Marketing Review
Just like an annual check-up for your body your marketing needs a health review as well.
Like our bodies, the marketplace is fluid.
It is always moving, shifting and changing. It never, ever stands still. This is particularly true in the world of online marketing.
There are new competitors, new audiences, new devices, new pricing, new platforms, new trends, new behaviors, new hot things, new old things.
One has to keep up with all of these changes and the best way to do that is to do a Marketing Review.
This post is being written in June of 2014 – the half-way mark of the year. If you had great plans for what you would achieve in 2014, now is the time to review what is / is not working before the entire year is over.
I’m all about keeping things simple, so let’s use the old marketing funnel as a straightforward illustration.
Think of the funnel as a visual of the mental process your buyers go through before they make a purchase. You want your marketing efforts to address each stage of the funnel.
First, they need to be aware of you and what you offer.
They then need to be educated and informed about why you deserve their serious consideration.
Finally, you need to present them with the opportunity to purchase.
Alongside each stage of the funnel is a sampling of some of the various marketing techniques that can be used. You can use other techniques as well, but you get the idea.
Marketing Review Checklist
So what does a Marketing Review include? It’s pretty simple.
First, you want to review the assumptions made when you put together your marketing.
Are these assumptions still valid or has something shifted in your industry or with your audiences?
Second, you need to review the combination of tools you are using to make people aware, to educate/inform and to get them to purchase. You want to make certain you haven’t strayed from your original goals and are paying attention to the results you are achieving.
Third, where needed, you want to take corrective action. If something isn’t working and you feel you’ve given it sufficient time to gain traction, move on and try another approach.
This is why you need a Marketing Review.
There’s nothing magical about the questions I’ve outlined here. They’re just ideas to get you thinking about your own marketing. Feel free to adapt this list to fit your market efforts and your audience.
Ideal Customer Profile or Buyer Persona
If you haven’t already, make certain you walk through the exercise of crafting your own ideal customer profile or Buyer Persona. You can read more about that process and find a template to help you do just that here.
Let’s begin with your ideal customers or Buyer Persona.
- What is changing for them – in their lives, in the communities in which they live, their family structure?
- Will these changes impact how they want or use my products or services?
- Is there some service or aspect that I could add to my business that might address these changes?
- Do I understand the mental arguments my Buyer Persona may have regarding my product or services as they go through the purchasing process?
Let’s move on to your online hub, or at least what should serve as your online hub – your website.
- Is the content up-to-date?
- Is my site easy or a labor to read?
- What image or perceptions would first-time visitors have of my company seeing this website?
- Am I leveraging my Unique Value Proposition?
- Do visitors immediately understand who I work with or for whom my products are the best fit?
- Is it immediately clear what I do or offer and how I do it?
- Am I offering something of value to my audience so they would be willing to share their email address with me?
- Am I using images and language that reflect my Buyer Persona?
- Is it clear where website visitors can connect with me on social media?
- Is there fresh content on my website, in my blog or in free downloads that answer the questions and concerns my Buyer Persona will have as they go through the purchasing process? Is it easy for them to find this information?
- Am I using specific landing pages to present my products and services?
- Does each webpage have one very specific goal?
- Do I have clear calls to action in my blog posts, inside document downloads and throughout my site?
- Am I continuing to use my keywords in strategic places on my website?
- Are the traffic sources (organic or paid search, social media, related blogs, etc.) I’ve been using to attract my audience working? Are there other tools I should investigate?
Each social media platform has its own unique traits. But these questions should cover the broad strokes of your social media engagement.
- Am I using the right platform to reach my Buyer Persona?
- Am I using images that reflect my Buyer Persona in my posts and updates?
- Am I using their language in my posts and updates?
- Am I posting when they are most likely engaged in social media?
- Have I optimized my profile information including the URL of my website?
- Are my cover images sending the right messages?
- Am I commenting and liking their social media accounts?
- Am I consistently engaging with them when they like and share my posts and updates?
- Am I paying attention to the social media data that tells me which posts get the most engagement so I can do more of these?
- Am I paying attention to the social media environment and posting in the format that is most engaging on that platform?
- Do I offer a mix of messages to attract those who are in the first, second and third stages of the funnel?
- Am I doing all that I can to capture the email address of my fans, followers and connections so I can continue to nurture them through the process?
Public Relations – Online and Offline
Don’t overlook PR. It continues to be a valuable media to raise visibility of your company and its activities. It has the added advantage as being viewed as being more credible than does advertising. Online, public relations can serve as great back links to your website.
- Am I using every opportunity (new staff, new products, awards, sponsorships, etc.) to generate publicity for my company?
Advertising – Online and Offline
- Am I using the headline to call out my Buyer Persona in my advertising?
- Do the images and the language used in my advertising speak directly to my audience?
- Are my offline ads integrated with my online sites (e.g. website URL and social media)?
- Am I tracking the results of my advertising so I know if and which specific ads are working best?
- Am I calculating the ROI of my advertising efforts?
- Am I communicating with my email subscribers on a regular basis?
- Have I segmented prospects and current customers so I can create specific communications for each audience?
- Is my open-rate or click-through rates holding steady or slipping?
- Am I paying attention to which subject lines and which types of materials receive the highest open or click-through rates?
- Am I giving my readers value 80% of the time and pitching them only 20% of the time?
- Am I optimizing my Google+ pages to help with page rankings and with local search?
- Am I periodically encouraging my customers to provide me with +1s and/or Yelp reviews?
- Am I continuing to use the keywords or phrases on my website, in blog posts and in social media postings that my ICP uses in their searches?
I know this looks like a lot of questions, but they need to be asked and this list is not exhaustive.
You may not have answers to all of these questions right now. That’s okay. The point is you want to be aware that these are the critical issues that can dictate your level of marketing success.
If you want to achieve your 2014 goals, it is far better to ask these Marketing Review questions now, then to wait until January 2015. Right?
Tell me your thoughts? Does it make sense to do a Marketing Review now?
Are you going to do a Marketing Review for your business? If not, why not?