The Marketing Minefield: What to do when it just ain’t working
Is your marketing strategy working? How can you tell?
The best, and probably only way to truly measure the effectiveness of your marketing strategy is very simple: leads. If your strategy isn’t generating leads, then it isn’t effective. It isn’t working.
After all, the point of marketing is to generate leads which turn into conversions. It attracts prospects and compels them to take action, whether it’s to sign up for your newsletter, download a publication, or make a purchase.
When it isn’t doing what it’s supposed to do or isn’t performing as expected, it’s better to address it early and make the necessary changes to turn things around.
Ask these questions to get a better perspective and get back on track.
Do you have a strategy?
You would be surprised at the number of people to jump right into marketing without any type of plan then they get upset when it doesn’t work. Strategy is so important. You need a plan so you can not only achieve your marketing goals but know if those goals are being met. While the shotgun approach may hit here and there and bring in a handful of leads, a well thought out strategy will give you more bang for your marketing buck.
Do you stand out among your competitors?
When you line up against your competitors, is there anything that sets you apart? If you look just like everyone else, you are essentially invisible. Find ways to stand out in your market, to set yourself apart from your competition. What do you offer that your competition does not? Find those things that make you extraordinary and focus on that.
Are your tactics right for your expected outcome?
Marketing is not a one size fits all program. You have to consider your brand, your audience, and your goals in order to determine your specific tactics. For instance, social media marketing is very effective, but different platforms appeal to different audience and even audience needs. While Facebook is great for community and relationships, LinkedIn is much better in a more professional capacity. Look at your tactics and make sure that they line up with what you are trying to accomplish and who you are trying to reach.
Do you have an ample marketing budget?
A marketing budget does not necessarily need to be huge; it does need to be ample enough to support your efforts and allow you to achieve your goals. Keep in mind that your competitors are spending money to make their marketing programs effective. Your marketing budget should be about 7% to 8% of your gross revenue if your sales total less than $5 million a year and after all expenses your net profit margin is around 10% to 12%.
Are you using the appropriate channels?
Should you use direct mail or SMS? Is it better to call prospective leads or should you get them to visit your site? That depends on your customer. Certain customers enjoy receiving emails while others would prefer to read a text from your company. Your job is to determine which your audience would respond to best.
Do you have clear goals?
You need goals in order to run an effective marketing campaign. Without goals, you are shooting in the dark. Before you begin working on your marketing strategy, take some time to define both long term and short term goals. These will help guide your strategy and give you a clearer picture of where you are going. Set both long term and short term goals that will challenge you but are achievable. Keep things flexible, though, in case you need to modify or rethink some goals.
What is the audience that you want to attract?
It may seem like going with a generic message that appeals to a diverse audience would be a good idea, but it isn’t. Again, the shotgun approach is very rarely effective. What typically happens is that no one finds your content interesting. You are better served to clearly define your target audience and get to know them. Then construct your marketing material to speak directly to them.
What are your customers saying?
This is the big on that so many brands overlook. Find out what your customers are saying. In this age of social media and the internet, many are publicly posting their reviews and opinions for everyone to see. What are your customers saying about your brand? If you don’t know, you need to find out – sooner rather than later.
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Stephanie M is a writer living in East Central, Alabama, but she didn’t always lead such a peaceful, carefree life. A few years ago she made a daring escape from the “cube farm” at a Federal Agency in Washington, D.C. (after eight very long years) where she worked. as an analyst focusing on disaster response, technical writing, program management, and FOIA.