Figuring out a marketing plan for your business is hard work. Many small businesses don’t have the funds to revamp their strategy frequently, so it’s easy to keep doing what you’ve always done. The problem with that approach is a stale marketing strategy that no longer meets the needs of a growing organization.
According to the United States Small Business Administration, companies making under $5 million a year should spend up to 7% of your gross revenue on marketing. As a general rule, business to consumer (B2C) companies should spend more than business to business (B2B) brands.
Just where do you put all those dollars, though. When do you know it’s time for a complete revamp? Maybe you just have areas needing tweaking.
How Do You Know If Your Marketing Strategy No Longer Works?
There are numerous ways to see if your promotional attempts work. First, dig into your analytics. Are sales up or down?
Smart marketers set up individual landing pages and promotional codes to easily track what efforts work. Pay attention to the things your target audience responds best to.
Talk to your top customers. Ask them what drew them to you in the first place. Would the strategy still work today? How can you best reach those they know who need your products or services?
If you’re losing a lot of leads, people land on your website and bounce away or your revenue is down, your marketing is in serious need of a revamp. Even if things are going well, you can always fine-tune aspects of your promotional efforts.
Four Simple Steps To Fix Your Promotional Efforts
Fortunately, fixing your marketing strategy isn’t complex. Here are four easy steps you can take to make sure you’re hitting all the right notes with your target audience.
Step #1: Map Your Sales Area and Competitors
Mapping is one of the most powerful tools you have to grow your business. You can use mapping in several ways.
- See where your competitors are. Do they have a particular market saturated? Perhaps you should place your marketing efforts on an area they aren’t serving? Or maybe you need to step up efforts to match their pace.
- Give salespeople distinct territories. You’ll lose a lot of time if you have multiple people reaching out to the same leads. It’s better to divide and conquer. Assign people to specific areas and keep track with your maps.
- Create sales goals maps. You can look at where you’ve sold the most in the past and use maps to create objectives for future revenue. You’ll know what types of promotions to run and where to advertise to reach specific areas.
Mapping gives you a clear picture of where you are and also lets you plan for where you’d like to be. You can study your efforts, those of competitors and reach new audience segments.
Step #2: Choose a Strategy
Marketing professionals often use a four-step approach to creating a promotional strategy. For many, these steps include:
- Discovery—Gather the details about your audience and past efforts.
- Planning—Come up with a plan for how you’ll promote to your customers.
- Implementation—Putting ads into place and moving forward with marketing.
- Measurement—Analyze the results and keep what works.
Once you have a clear idea of who your target audience is and their needs, it’s time to come up with a plan for the year. Will you mainly use online tactics or a mix of offline and online efforts?
You may even discuss some general marketing concepts at this point. What is the unique value proposition (UVP) of your brand? What is the benefit to consumers? You should probably come up with a voice for your company as well. Are you a young company with a hip vibe? Perhaps you prefer to be seen as steady and reliable.
Step #3: Segment Your Audience
Evergage’s 2020 Trends in Personalization report surveyed 326 marketing professionals to gain an understanding of the importance of customization. They found 99% of marketers feel personalization improves customer relationships.
No one wants to feel they are just another number in your bottom line. To make each person feel special, you should segment your audience into groups. Create distinct buyer personas and promote to them the UVP that makes the most sense for their needs.
Any of your marketing attempts should aim specifically at a group. If you send out an email, customize it to each segment of your audience. Share offers those people would be most interested in.
Take the time to create a custom solution for each customer. Your marketing efforts will be much more effective if you hone in on smaller sections at a time.
Step #4: Embrace Organic Interaction
The Global State of Digital 2021 report compared data from 220 countries. Researchers found social media use jumped 13% in the past year. There are about 4.2 billion people on social media platforms.
The problem with social media advertising is you’re throwing a lot of money at ads without any promise of return. While a strong strategy includes both paid and organic efforts, placing your focus on more organic interactions helps develop strong customer relationships.
Take the time to create content that solves pain points for your target audience. Excellent material is more likely to be shared. Make sure you appoint someone to interact with people who comment, like and post on your business social media pages. People want to feel seen and heard. Don’t just throw something up on social media and then ignore people when they respond.
Organic interaction is like the residual income of marketing. You create the material once and gain traction for months and sometimes years. Yes, you’ll need to respond when someone comments, but the initial creation of the content is already done.
Make Changes Consistently
To keep your marketing from growing stale, you should constantly try new tactics. Make it a habit to study the results of campaigns. Lose what isn’t working and replace with new strategies. Over time, you’ll gain a following online and offline that helps with word-of-mouth marketing. Embrace new ideas and watch your promotional efforts win.
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a digital marketing agency before becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philadelphia with her husband and pup, Bear.
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