A good business is always trying to maximize its profits. The best way to do this is to increase income by attracting more customers or creating new products and services. Besides that, companies are looking at reducing their overhead by becoming more efficient in how they allocate resources and people. What business doesn’t do enough is to track how cost-effective their marketing program is. Many companies and organizations throw good money after bad at their marketing plan without knowing it!
Like every aspect of a business, you must do checks on your marketing. It is an aspect of your operation that changes and evolves as quickly as anything else does. Many companies fall into a rut of continually doing things the same way they always have. If that is the case, you need to sit down and give your current marketing plan a proper examination. Here are five things to specifically look to see if you are getting a bang for your marketing buck.
1. Too much reliance on social media
Social media has always been a two-edged sword. It enables everyone to put their message out there to the world. The problem is that it allows for everyone to put their message out there to the world! Back whenever a social media platform was in its infancy like Facebook or Twitter, anybody getting on board early had a clean playing field. That is not the case these days.
While advertising on some of these platforms is reasonable, even that is getting more and more expensive. If your goal is to put your brand or product in front of people, you may need to spend more time and effort into increasing your email database. Yes, there is a lot to learn about composing your email to be opened and read, but at least you know you are sending it directly to an interested audience.
2. Huge expectations
We live in a world of immediate gratification. We have become programmed that whatever we do, we’ll see results quickly. Order a refrigerator from Amazon; it should be in our kitchen the next day. Call for pizza; it better be there before you hang up the phone. Send an email to someone; you wonder why you haven’t heard back from them within ten minutes.
Are these all exaggerations? Yes, but not by much. This type of mindset is easily transferable to whatever we do with our businesses, including the impact of marketing. Too often, we look at marketing as a sprint when it is more of a marathon. Marketing is not advertising. You can advertise for a Memorial Day weekend sale and see the immediate results when it is over. A good marketing campaign takes a while to gain traction, and you need the patience to see its impact. Too often, a business feels that a marketing effort is failing, so it yanks the plug. The money spent amounted to nothing. Don’t waste your money by not giving time to your plan.
3. Who’s your audience?
As fundamental as this question is, it is not one that some businesses spend enough time discussing. Not knowing your audience is akin to going on a trip and not knowing your destination. If you are setting out to go somewhere, you want to know where you are going. Likewise, putting together a marketing campaign without knowing your audience will be a waste of time in the long run. You might attract a small audience, but it is nothing like you feel you should have done.
It is challenging to have a product or service that appeals to everybody. They do exist, but most successful companies service a niche market. That audience might encompass a specific gender, socioeconomic status, age range, geographical region, and several other criteria. Whoever the audience is, that is to whom you want to gear your marketing plan. Then, the time and money you spend on your marketing will have a higher return on your investment (ROI). As you put together your original strategic plan for your business (you did do that, right?), determining who your primary customers are should have been a big part. You can then funnel that information to the marketing function.
4. How is your marketing doing?
Here is another fundamental question, but another one often asked, and not always answered. At least with most social media platforms, they have a great many built-in analytics. Which begs the big question – do you use them? Something like Google Analytics can give you a good idea of how effective your marketing is in terms of who you are reaching and how many of them there are.
It takes a little time, whether it is a Google-related platform or something else, to learn how to read and use their analytics. In comparison, you can pay for different programs or services to track your marketing, use the free ones first. For many small businesses or start-ups, there is a wealth of free information utilized from social media.
Different programs will also help you track your progress with email or other marketing elements you use. The point is to know how you are doing with each component of your marketing plan. You might find it is worth spending more money in one area and cut back on another. However, if you don’t track results, you won’t know.
5. You have too many marketing programs.
One of the hardest things for a business to do is the focus. It is true for many sectors of a company, including marketing. If you have too many different facets of marketing going on, it becomes impossible to figure out what is working and what is not. As you can see by what we discussed, marketing needs to be as well-planned and systematic as everything else you do in your business.