As the end of the year is fast approaching, now might be a great time to take a step back and analyze your business evolution so far - to examine your past actions, ask yourself important questions and gain a clear understanding of your current situation. This will help you get ready for the next chapter of your venture and find new ways to drive your business forward.
If your marketing efforts haven't produced the desired outcome, despite all the hard work you've put in, you must find the root cause of the problem. Marketing is an ongoing process where you tweak and adapt your approach based on the results you get and your business' needs, so it's never easy to come up with a flawless strategy. That's why it's important to review your marketing strategy constantly and find out what's working, what's not, and, most importantly, what's missing from your marketing plan.
Finding the gaps can be a difficult task, so keep an eye out for the following things that might have slipped your attention when building your marketing strategy.
Getting to know your audience
Creating a successful marketing strategy starts with understanding your target audience. So, the first question you have to ask yourself before you take any action is who are you marketing to? Without knowing who you're targeting, all your marketing efforts are just wishful thinking.
Keep in mind that it's not enough to have a vague idea of who your potential customers are, because that won't help you win their hearts and get them to choose you over thousand other competitors. You've got to speak their language, otherwise you'll get lost in translation. Do your research, analyze your existing customer base, conduct surveys and create a detailed buyer persona that will help you tailor your marketing approach to your customers' needs and expectations.
Setting clear goals
A list of goals can't be called a strategy, but a strategy can't work without clear goals and objectives either. How will you know if your marketing efforts are paying off if you haven't defined what success means to you? Obviously, every marketing strategy has the purpose to improve business performance, but this definition is a bit too broad to help you build an effective plan.
You should break this down into smaller, more specific goals for each stage of your marketing plan, figure out what steps you have to take and what tactics you should employ to get where you want. The benchmarks you set for your marketing strategy will also help you keep track of your progress and evaluate the efficiency of your actions.
Creating a follow-up system
Attracting customers to your business is just part of the equation when building an effective marketing strategy. The other part is learning how to keep them interested in what you have to offer and encourage them to return.
Let's say someone chooses to buy a product from your company and after the purchase has been finalized, they don't hear from you anymore. What happens next? Chances are they'll forget you exist so they won't come back to you for their next purchase. Following up with your customers is of the essence if you want them to return to your business in the future and build a long-lasting relationship with them.
No matter what type of products or services you provide, customers are always a tough crowd to please. With their ever-changing behavior and increasing expectations, keeping up with their demands is a challenging task. But there's one thing that every customer appreciates about a business and that's brand consistency.
Consumers expect an impeccable experience on every channel they use to interact with you. Whether they visit your physical store, use an app, or explore your website, they'll want to enjoy a seamless experience. So if your website hasn't been updated in a while, it might be time for a website redesign and make sure all consumer touch points maintain constant communication.
Finding the right talent
Your marketing strategy is only as good as the team behind it. These days, everyone seems to know a thing or two about marketing, but there's a big difference between having an idea about it and having an in-depth understanding of how marketing really works.
When you want to build a marketing team, pay attention to the people you hire. They'll be the ones calling the shots later and leading your marketing campaigns. You might not have the resources to hire experts, but a thorough recruiting process will ensure you'll find the right talent for your marketing department.
Keeping an eye on the competition
When you're a business owner set on achieving success, you've got to mind your own business, but you've got to mind other businesses as well. It goes without saying that the primary focus should be on running your company as best as you can, but you have to keep an eye on what other players in your niche are doing as well.
Ignoring the competition is never a good idea, because you must know what you're up against if you want to stay in the game. Taking the time to analyze your competitors and staying up to date with everything that's going on in your market is crucial when you're building a marketing strategy.
Taking advantage of social networks
Everyone knows that social media is a great marketing tool, yet most business owners aren't taking full advantage of social networks. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and other giants provide amazing marketing opportunities as they can help businesses promote their products and services worldwide and connect with their customers on a deeper level.
Posting on your social media accounts every now and then won't do the trick. You've got to become an active presence, share valuable content and engage with your audience on a regular basis to boost your digital marketing strategy.