To say that COVID has thrown a wrench in the works for businesses would be a serious understatement. “Business as usual” has essentially lost all meaning. Just as your customers’ day-to-day routines and priorities have shifted pretty extremely, so have those of your business (at least, they should have). People are working from home, meaning traditional outreach techniques like taking a prospect for lunch or dinner are no longer viable. Trade shows are cancelled or have moved online meaning getting exposure for your brand is harder. Trusted partners introducing leads are also most likely in the same boat.
When pivoting to exclusively online, many businesses have struggled to stay afloat/profitable, cutting costs and reducing staff in the process. Even those businesses fortunate enough to have remained profitable or see growth during this period, may face an unpredictable future; the tough times are not over yet. Attention has been solely focused on making money, particularly in the short term, which while making complete sense, is risky in the long term. However, this tunnel vision can mean the minutia of your marketing/growth plan fall to the wayside. For better or worse, COVID has meant it’s more important than ever to find creative ways to get in front of your audience and convince them that your business has the solution to their needs.
So you’ve thought outside the box and found creative ways to reach your customer…How do you know that your recent efforts are sustainable? If you’ve seen growth there is going to be a focus on retention to ensure those year on year growth figures don’t give you a nasty surprise next year.
It’s time to take stock, look at your marketing efforts and ask yourself, could my business benefit from outside expertise? Not sure where to start? These five pillars are often those I find where clients and potential clients are missing the mark/falling short.
1. Tracking & Analytics
This is arguably the most important consideration because what is marketing if not spending money to make money? You need to know if your efforts are having the desired impact on your pipeline and bottom line. This means knowing your data inside out. Too many businesses are investing in certain strategies or marketing tactics without taking the time to track and assess the ROI. That’s because it’s both time consuming and complicated. Diving into Google Analytics, frequently monitoring CRM and pulling reports not to mention the team meetings to discuss these insights and figure out what actions to take to optimize your efforts, all take significant time and commitment.
On the flip side, what makes this year unique is the importance of remembering that results/data from this year won’t translate directly to 2021. It’s not going to be as simple as looking at the numbers and optimizing or replicating accordingly. Our team dig deep into the meaning behind those numbers to really understand the trends and consumer behavior in your market – chances are, we’ve already figured it out for someone else! This saves you time and ensures you’re getting the best ROI year after year.
Health check: Am I consistently monitoring ROI? Do my efforts have the desired effect on my bottom line?
2. Content & Website
You’ve likely heard the phrase “Content is King”? Bill Gates said it way back in 1996 before just about everything as far as the internet is concerned. And there’s a reason it still applies today, particularly where SEO is concerned. Based on the principle that good content not only answers a question for the reader, which in turn gets their attention on your brand (great), it also improves your site ranking and therefore your visibility. But it’s complicated stuff.
Content marketing is not as simple as producing the odd blog or an annual report or brochure. Your content needs to serve a purpose. Whether that’s to increase brand awareness, drive leads or even add revenue, content requires strategic consideration and planning. Our content experts look at your content strategy and existing calendar (you do have one don’t you?), making sure you’re communicating across multiple channels and that the message/tone of voice is consistent across these.
More and more businesses are seeing the value of video.
“Video on a landing page can increase conversions up to 80%.” – Hyperfine Media
Content also provides a springboard for a lot of your other marketing techniques.
TIP: For B2B businesses, infographics are the King’s right hand man.
Health check: Do I have a proper content strategy in place? Am I utilizing all channels? Is my brand voice consistent across them?
If content is King, conversion is Queen. And guess what, leads don’t convert on their own. Email marketing is one of the easiest and most effective tools to nurture warm contacts or partially qualified leads. It’s a straightforward way of getting information in front of your audience and is reminds them of the value you have to offer. Once leads come into your funnel, they don’t want to be left alone. They want to be engaged and spoon fed more information, more answers to their questions, more solutions to their need (cue your solution).
Once you have your content sorted, there should be no shortage of what you can send them. But a word of caution, too many emails or emails that aren’t of value to your customer will quickly see them hit the unsubscribe button.
We’ve helped clients who aren’t sure of who to email and with what content. Our team will build this critical channel into your overall strategy and get your leads/warm contacts moving down the funnel and ultimately converting.
Health check: Am I utilizing this channel as effectively as I could be? How long is my closing cycle? When do we see clients typically leave?
4. Pulse Check (on Competitors)
This is fairly self-explanatory right? What are your competitors doing? I’m always surprised by the number of times people I speak to are not in tune with their competitors. Often this is done at the launch of a new business or brand or before the annual strategy is put in place and then forgotten about.
In part, I imagine this is because it takes time. You’re focusing your efforts inward, and rightfully so. But market and competitor research is just as good at showing you what not to do as much as it might guide you what works in your target market. An idea you had might have been hashed out too many times – got a new angle on it? Great! If not, great too, you can invest your time in your more original/unique ideas.
The other part is we only know what they’re doing after it’s too late. The trick is being able to predict what your competitors are likely to weigh in on, react to, have a white paper about etc. You’re in the same industry as them, facing the same or similar challenges – so in part this is about looking at the market and making sure your marketing isn’t purely reactive. Use and sort through your competitors techniques and tactics to inspire your own – but do it better!
Health check: What are my competitors doing? How does my offering differ?
5. Branding & Messaging
Brand is about the aesthetics, the message, the identity of your business which ultimately determines how it’s seen by the world. And no-one knows your brand better than you. Still, this is another aspect of marketing that it really pays to have an expert look at. One reason is to make sure your branding is resonating with customers – and an outsider can do this with an objective lens.
What’s more, with changing times it’s important your customer knows you’re tuned into what’s going on in the world. That might mean altering/updating the message or your value proposition which maybe hit the spot a few years ago (or even last year) but now falls a bit flat or doesn’t address the pivot your business has taken.
Health check: Is my original message/value proposition still relevant? Is it in line with my customers’ current intrigue?
So what’s stopping you?
Chances are you already know your business will benefit from a health assessment in one or all of these areas. Or perhaps you’ve done the assessment and things aren’t looking too good… I’ve worked with hundreds of businesses in all sectors who’ve seen tangible benefits from recruiting outside expertise. Did I mention we offer a free consultation? It’s as easy as completing the form linked below.
Still unsure? Read my last blog where I debunk the common objections that might be holding you back from marketing prosperity.
This article originally appeared by our friends at HawkeMedia.