Marketing & Growth

Does Your Business Marketing Need a Makeover?

By Rieva Lesonsky

Is it time to clean up your business marketing? To find out, grab your marketing plan and get set to take these 6 steps.

  1. Review your marketing plan. What marketing strategies are you currently using? How well are your marketing efforts spread out over the year—are they timed to take advantage of key sales seasons? A lot has changed in recent years, so you haven’t updated your marketing plan in a while, you may be able to substitute some low-cost or even free marketing methods (such as social media) for higher-cost traditional marketing efforts.
  2. Assess your results. You do measure your marketing ROI, don’t you? Ideally, each element of your marketing should have a measurable goal tied to it. For instance, you might run a print ad with a goal to attract 25 new customers, or send out a press release with a goal to get mentioned in two local publications or websites. It’s easier than ever to track the results of each marketing effort, whether by using codes in print ads and coupons, or by using analytics tools to measure the results of social media, SEO and online advertising. Make sure you are regularly reviewing these numbers at least quarterly, and preferably more often.

If your review shows that your marketing is not getting the results you hoped, it’s definitely time for a makeover. As you assess possible changes, consider:

  1. How are your competitors marketing their businesses? Look at their websites, social media posts, traditional and online advertising. If everyone else in your space is doing something you’re not—such as advertising online, sponsoring community organizations or developing a mobile app—it’s time for you to catch up.
  2. How is your target market changing? Markets don’t remain static. As your original customers age and enter different life stages, they have different wants, needs and budgets. If your marketing doesn’t resonate with them anymore, you need to revamp your marketing, find new customers or both. Use Census, chamber of commerce and local data to determine how the demographics of your target market and region are changing and what marketing methods will best reach your new audience.
  3. Has your business model changed? As your business grows and you add new products and services, your marketing collateral may no longer reflect what you have to offer. Ask people who aren’t familiar with your business to look at your marketing and see what they think. Do they get a clear idea of what your business does, what your value proposition is and what makes you stand out from the competition? If not, it’s time for a revamp.
  4. Are you investing enough in marketing? Sometimes you aren’t getting results from your marketing because you’re not investing enough money in it. It’s common for marketing to be one of the first places where small business owners cut back when times are tough. However, if you haven’t loosened your purse strings since the Great Recession ended, it’s time to revisit your marketing budget. Keep in mind that marketing is not an expense, but an investment. When done right, it more than pays for itself by attracting new customers and generating increased sales.

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