This is a guest post written by Nicky Rudd from Padua Communications
I’ve had many conversations with clients who can’t understand why their marketing isn’t working. As lots of marketing practitioners know, this is often because there isn’t any marketing plan in place, and so there’s no structure or strategy to work with.
There are many clients, though, who say they have a marketing plan. And when you come to look at it, you find it’s several years old and no longer works for the way the business is currently run. My advice in these circumstances is:
- Update your current plan to match the purpose and goals of the business.
- Keep checking in with your plan to make sure it remains relevant.
In my business, I diarise time to check in on my own marketing activities, making sure that they are supporting what I want the business to achieve. This includes thinking about:
is it still the same? As your business has grown or diversified, has your target audience changed? The better you understand your customer, the better able you are to help them. And don’t just stop at general profiling – think about which customers are most profitable to you and why. Similarly, which customers are the most loyal, and why?
The benefits you bring
you may have updated your products or services, so do you still deliver the same benefits, or have they changed? Are you communicating those benefits well? Do you have a clear proposition that you use consistently across all your marketing?
The channels you use
are these still the best way to reach your customers? Have they moved to different social platforms, or are they more likely to respond to online advertising than organic posts? Have you got a good enough mailing list to focus more on email campaigns and newsletters? You should always be checking that the marketing channels you use are the right ones – and that your strategy is delivering results.
The results you want to get
All marketing should be measurable, so you need to set targets for what you want to achieve. This gives you something to measure your actual results against, so you can see what needs changing, and what you could do more of.
data is invaluable when it comes to better marketing planning and execution. Without knowing what’s working, how can you become more effective? Use Google Analytics to measure the activity on your website, for example, or social media metrics to see which posts get great engagement. Sending your email newsletter out through a dedicated application like MailChimp will give you great insights into who opens your emails and what they click on when they do.
Here are the top three tips I give to clients to help them keep their marketing manageable and useful:
- Religiously stick to how much time you have allotted for marketing in your working week. If you decide a day a week is what you need/can afford, put a day in your diary and keep that day for that activity
- If social media is part of your activity, be strict about how you manage this when you are on there. I spend 20 minutes in the morning, 20 minutes at lunchtime and 20 minutes at the end of the day on social activities every day. It’s easy to get distracted on social media, as we all know, so make sure you keep to those timings.
- Think about doing your marketing planning away from your desk. Choose an environment where you feel creative and where you cannot be drawn from the task in hand. If you can’t get a mobile signal for a couple of hours, even better!
Of course, having a session – or several – with a marketing consultant can make a huge different to how you approach your marketing, both in initial planning stages and as an ongoing activity. Just having someone to touch base with, bounce ideas off, or even work on specific campaigns with you, can help businesses to bring their marketing up to speed without breaking the bank.