To say we live in interesting times is an understatement. Uncertainty around the world of politics, our relationship with Europe and the economy are occupying our minds daily (if not hourly). Combine this with the fact that despite all the labour saving tools at our disposal (both domestically and in our businesses) we all seem to be “so busy” and there is a risk that we can miss what is right under our noses. This is not to say that we should not take an interest in the wider world, but maybe we should take a few moments to focus on some things that we can influence positively for our business right now.
We have put together 20 questions that you can probably answer quite quickly about the marketing in your organisation. If you look at all of these and can honestly say that you are doing all of them, then give yourself a pat on the back and relax safe in the knowledge that your marketing is in a good state of health and in all probability better than your competitors. Answer no (or yes depending on the way the question is phrased) to any of these and then you probably will have a handy list of areas to focus on to improve the marketing of your business.
1. Do you have a Marketing Plan? If nothing else, have you mapped out what turnover you expect to do each month, that you can measure progress against (too many organisations realise too late that they are not going to achieve their goals to influence the outcome) and a plan of marketing actions geared to deliver these results.
2. Are you reviewing your Google Analytics on a regular basis? For pretty much every type of organisation the web plays a pivotal role in the customer journey. Do you know where your visitors are coming from, how many there are compared with the previous month and the previous year. Google Analytics can tell you this and much, much more.
3. Do you have a plan to increase web traffic to your site? Of course how you rank in search is vital, but what are you doing to influence this and drive traffic direct (where they key in your domain name) through referrals from other sites and of course through social media.
4. Do you have goals set up in Google Analytics? The majority of businesses we meet do not have goals set up for telephone number clicks, email clicks and form completions. This means they may not be accurately tracking what activity their website is driving and what led these people to the website in the first place.
5. Are you using your Google My Business page and your Bing Places page? Have you even claimed your page? If there is a line on your profile that says “Own this business” then you haven’t claimed it. Is your profile complete are you using the free post updates feature on Google My Business or the offer feature on Bing Places. Are you looking at the insights available to see how many people are looking at your business and what actions they are taking?
6. What impression are your reviews giving your potential customers? What is your score on reviews and how many do you have on platforms like Google My Business and Facebook? How does this compare with that of your competitors (particularly important if you are targeting local business).
7. Are you delivering a consistent message and impression. If I look at your website, then your Linkedin company profile or your Twitter profile would I get the same message. Is it as strong as it could be? Ask yourself honestly when you look at yours and those of your competitors – which would you choose?
8. Do you have a Marketing budget? If the answer is no, then how do you ensure that you do not spend more than you should or you intended to? The easiest way to say no, to that advertising sales person that is offering that last minute must buy opportunity, is to say that your budget is already committed or spent.
9. Are you making the most of the enquiries you are getting? Do you respond to every one that you get, do you issue every quote that you should and do you follow up on enquiries as well as you could. Reviewing your sales funnel for leakages and improvements to your sales practices can be a very valuable exercise. Monitor regularly, conversion rate from enquiry to quote, quote to sale and try and understand how this differs by product, channel or route to market.
10. Are you measuring your customer satisfaction and looking for improvements? If not, then how do you gauge whether or not you are at risk of losing them. Ask them to sum up their experience (and if you can use this in marketing) and what one thing you could do to improve their experience.
11. Do you know which are your most profitable products or channels and are these the ones that you are promoting the most (subject of course to the cost per enquiry being satisfactory – see 12 below).
12. Do you know what your marketing cost per enquiry is, and your cost per sale and the £’s taken in sales per pound of marketing spend? Are you evaluating each form of marketing on this basis and making decisions about future spend accordingly.
13. Do you have the skills necessary to run your marketing and evaluate it? If not, what is the best way of plugging this gap. A training course perhaps, recruiting your first marketing specialist or even perhaps using a Marketing Consultant (couldn’t resist that one).
14. Are you making the most of social media? As a rough rule of thumb we would suggest that you should be seeing between 5% – 15% of your website traffic coming from social media. Are you looking at the insights that each form of social media has to evaluate your efforts, numbers reached, engagement etc.
15. Do you market to past enquirers? These can often respond much better than cold prospects – they are aware of you and they were sufficiently positive about you in the past to enquire.
16. Are you marketing to people who have a need for what you offer? Mass marketing can be good for name and brand awareness, but when it comes to response more targeted marketing can work better. Of course to determine this, you need to know what your target customer is and where you are most likely to find those who have a need for what you offer. This is of course why, businesses devote so much effort to being found on google by people who are looking for what they provide.
Take this blog for example, if we have sparked your interest enough to read this blog you are much more likely than somebody who doesn’t want to read this, to have a need for a marketing consultant.
17. Is you marketing integrated? What we mean by integrated is that rather than using marketing tactics or methods in isolation, you use them together in a co-ordinated fashion. Say for example you have a month where you concentrate on one particular product or service and promote it across all channels or direct mail a prospect, then email them, then follow up with a call.
18. Do you market all your products or services or do you expect people to visit your website and discover for themselves. Even with existing customers, how aware are they of your full breadth of services?
19. Do you find yourself describing your business as a best kept secret? If so, then the chances are you are not doing enough to promote your business and get your message out. Of course the cost and effort of doing this needs to be carefully considered, but why should you settle for the status quo?
20. Ask yourself when you last looked at your competitors? You can be pretty sure your potential customers will have done so today. So it is important you keep track of competitors and don’t get left behind.
We hope you find these questions useful and thought provoking. If you decide after going through these that you might need some help plugging the gaps, then we would of course be delighted to hear from you. That is what we do.