When a new client signs on with me, the first thing I do is perform a full inspection of their current marketing campaigns, platforms and systems. This not only gives me a sense of exactly what they need but also educates the client on marketing avenues or tactics they may have overlooked or didn't consider in the first place. Clients typically come to me because they've been committing 1 of 3 no-no actions in their marketing efforts:
- They didn't set goals with each one of their platforms so they have no idea what is working.
- They copied another person's funnel because it worked for that person, so why not them?
- They dropped off marketing altogether for large chunks of time.
So this is a sample slice of the full assessment I perform, but could definitely help you get back to the drawing board and take stock of what you already have.
Here is a 6-Point Inspection to get you back on point with your marketing strategy. It contains different methods to consider implementing with your current efforts. Over the next few weeks, I'll be breaking down each of these in detail on the blog and in exclusive content for email subscribers (so you can opt-in at the bottom of this page).
1. Website and Online Presence
You need some kind of web presence. This is the 21st century. Even if you don't have a website (which is a little quirky, but hey--it CAN work for marketing purposes), you need to make sure you have some kind of Facebook page, Google location page, or Medium blog going that drives online traffic to your offline home base. If you have a website, take a good look at it. Does it have a clear call to action on every page? How are you gathering lead information? Are you making people fill out a long, intense form? How are you using stories and visuals to sell? Is the web presence cohesive and does it feel like a natural flow from page to page?
2. Social Media Marketing
There are typically two types of clients when it comes to social media: the clients who would rather get a root canal than log into Facebook, and the clients who want to use every social media platform that's released even if they don't know how to optimize it. We're looking for a nice middle ground. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, Peach, Snapchat, Vine...more platforms pop up every few months. Sometimes people are shocked when I tell them they're wasting time and resources on Twitter and they don't actually need it for their specific niche. It's true...not every social media platform is right for your business model. And that's okay. The trick is to get really good at using one platform at a time to talk to people who are interested in buying your stuff. Social media is for: talking, educating, and entertaining...but all with the end goal of bringing in the right customers. If you're randomly pinning pretty things on Pinterest without a funnel strategy, think about how each Pin serves to entertain/educate/communicate AND drive traffic to take a specific action.
3. Email Marketing
This can be an area where most clients bottom out. It shouldn't feel stressful writing a monthly newsletter or weekly email to your customers, but for some business owners it becomes the task they avoid. I don't know what to write. I don't have three hours to sit down and write this. What if no one opens my email? Every email you write simply needs three elements: it needs to surprise, it needs to help people, and it needs to prompt people to take action. That's it. Just start writing. Also: look into the beautiful process of automating email campaigns so you can write emails ahead of time, schedule them and BAM--they're sent out while you sleep. This saves time, money, and stress.
4. Print or Digital Advertising
The biggest mistake you can make in advertising is creating an ad you can't track. You have to be able to see the results from your investment. Consider our biggest culprits, newspaper ads: business owners will pay anywhere from a couple hundred to several thousand dollars for an ad, but they forget to put a tracking system in place, such as a special landing page URL on their website, so they have no idea whether it was a good use of their money. There are solutions for tracking ads. Get Google Analytics in place! Other ways to track advertising: you can set up a Google phone prompt in front of your Google ad so when someone sees that ad and calls your store, you get a brief "Google call" message to alert you. Or you can ask callers or visitors on website forms where they heard of you or how they found you.
5. Customer Nurturing
With a current customer, you have an exponentially higher percent chance of selling to them again than you do with a potential lead. So why are you leaving current customers in the dust after you ship their purchase or finish their service? Throughout the entire customer lifecycle, you should be marketing to them. Marketing is part of their experience--at every touchstone: web or store visit, initial purchase, shipment, upgrade or downsell, email, phone, customer service, customer appreciation, similar recommendations, referrals, social invitations. Take a minute to map out your ideal customer lifecycle. Combine products and services to discover how many ways a customer can "graduate" from one level of experience to the next in your company. Then ask yourself how your marketing intertwines with the experience on each level.
6. Media Outreach
You don't have to be in the Wall Street Journal to get people's attention. (It helps, but half the people reading probably aren't going to fit your niche, so don't sweat it.) Are you reaching out to other bloggers or media in your industry to announce your presence? You should. By creating a media outreach calendar and contacts list, you can aim to introduce yourself every month with different pieces of content to different respected leaders in the field. Get to know them, then pitch your business. Do you have a helpful video or blog post you can place with a blog whose audience is dying to know what you know? How about sending a sample of the product to someone who regularly reviews in your industry? Can you make yourself available for interviews or quotes to the local or regional press? How about having someone on your team go on air as a guest for a podcast? Not only is media outreach a great way to drive traffic to your site, it's a great way to position yourself as an authority and introduce yourself to the right audience--so you're not shouting into the void. It takes time and effort, but it pays off big.