Have you stopped to take some quality time to review your current marketing efforts?
If not, it’s time for a marketing checkup!
Just like having a checkup with your doctor or dentist can help correct any potential problems, conducting a marketing checkup can guarantee that your marketing plan stays on track.
A marketing checkup is a perfect time to reevaluate your marketing goals and strategies, figure out what problems need solving, and solve them before you spend any more marketing budget! Then continue on your way to growing your business.
Here’s the deal:
As you read this and start to jot down notes and adjust your marketing goals, you need to make sure you’re creating SMART goals.
You don’t want to make vague goals like “increase new leads,” “bring more visitors to our website,” or “increase brand awareness.” You want to make SMART goals.
Developing SMART Goals
Here are some guidelines to make specific goals that can be measured more effectively, SMART goals:
Specific: Set real numbers with real deadlines. Don’t just say, “I want more website visitors.” Define as much as possible, who needs to be involved, what needs to be accomplished, where it will be done, why it needs to be done, and any constraints or requirements that exist.
Measurable: Make sure that you can track your goal. Again, don’t just use buzzwords like “increase brand awareness,” “brand engagement,” or “social influence.” Make sure progress can be measured. Define how will it be known that the goal is accomplished?
Attainable: Work toward a goal that is challenging but possible. Don’t try to take over the world in one night.
Realistic / Relevant: Be honest with yourself, because you know what you and your team are capable of. Don’t forget any hurdles you may have to overcome. Make sure the goal is worthwhile and meets your company’s needs. Even if it’s a short-term goal, make sure it fits into the long-term vision to grow your company.
Time-bound: Give yourself a deadline. Don’t keep pushing towards a goal you might hit “someday.” This helps to create a sense of urgency and prompts better time management.
Your SMART marketing goals should align with your overall business goals and corporate values.
Examples of SMART Marketing Goals:
- Increase website traffic 15% from 2015 Q4 to 2016 Q1
- Increase the number of monthly leads by 10% by a July 1st.
Again, be realistic and accountable when setting your goals. Start by setting three major goals and work from there. Don’t overwhelm yourself by setting 100 unrealistic goals.
Now let’s dive into the checkup.
First things first, do you have a marketing plan? Or are you a fly by the seat of your pants kind of company? If you haven’t put together a marketing plan, jump over to How to Create a Marketing Plan for some guidance.
If you have a marketing plan, now’s the time for a revisit! Look at the goals that you outlined for your company. Are they SMART goals?
Keep your marketing plan handy as we go through this exercise to evaluate your current marketing efforts.
Marketing Plan Checkup:
- Have you created a marketing plan?
- Does your marketing plan include SMART Goals?
- Does your marketing plan need to be updated?
- Does your marketing plan have any holes in it?
- Are you on track for meeting your marketing plan goals?
- How to Creating a Marketing Plan You’ll Actually Use: Templates, Guides & Samples
- How Much Should You Spend on Marketing?
- Your Guide to Creating a Successful Marketing Calendar
A market analysis is a quantitative and qualitative assessment of a market. It examines the market size, various market segments, customer buying patterns, competition, and economic environment.
From time-to-time, there will be changes to the marketplace that affect the way you should marketing to your potential customers. As technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace it could have a large impact on your marketplace.
Market Analysis Checkup:
- Have you conducted a market analysis?
- Are there any changes to your marketplace that require you to make adjustments to your marketing plan?
- Is it time for you to break into a new market?
- Would operating in a new marketplace align with your overall business goals?
Your marketing plan should include your target audience (a.k.a buyer personas or customer avatars).
If you don’t have one, then think about your business. Think about who the target demographic that your business serves, or aims to help. Write down everything you know about them and what your company does for them.
Identification of your target market is very vital. If you are aware of your ideal audience, you can easily come up with effective marketing strategies and tactics that can target them and motivate them to get their problems resolved through your company.
You need to meet your ideal client where they are. Buyer personas help you outline how and where you should connect with your target audience.
Buyer Personas Checkup:
- Have you created buyer personas?
- Are your buyer personas up-to-date?
- Do you need to map out new buyer personas to correspond with a new market or product offering?
- Complete Guide to Creating Buyer Personas
- 20 Questions to Ask When Creating Buyer Personas
- Learning your clients’ lingo: how to speak to your customers
Logo, Brand Identity, and Personality
Examine your brand story profile, typical messages and visual identity, including logo, colors, and typefaces.
Make sure that your NAP matches in all online and offline listings. NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone. If you’ve moved locations, added a location, closed a location, or changed any phone numbers do and online and offline audit to confirm that your NAP is up-to-date.
Logo, Brand Identity, and Personality Marketing Checkup:
- How do your customers view your branding?
- Is it time to invest in a branding upgrade?
- Does your brand identity match throughout your marketing efforts?
- Are the photos you’re using professional, up-to-date, and images your target audience can connect with?
- Has your corporate mission changed, and if so is represented as so in your marketing materials?
- Does your NAP match on all online and offline listings?
- Essential Guide to Branding Your Company
- Why You Need to Find All Your NAP Variations Before Building Local Citations
- Get Found Locally Online – 10 Simple Local SEO Strategies
It’s critical to understand your customer’s journey (a.k.a. buyer’s journey). The customer journey refers to the path followed by a customer, including all touchpoints before making a purchase. It takes a person coming in
Customer Journey Checkup:
- Have you mapped out your customer journey?
- Are you providing your potential buyer with the proper content to push them to the next stage of the sales cycle?
- Are you missing out on touchpoints you should add to the customer journey?
- Connecting the Dots Along Your Customer’s Journey with the Right Content
- A Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing
- Content Marketing Planning Templates & Other Awesome Resources
Retention / Customer Loyalty
It’s estimated that it costs between 4-10 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one.
A study showed that satisfied customers tell nine other people about their positive experience.
A 5% increase in customer retention can increase a business’ profits by 25% – 125%!!!
Make sure you’re not just focusing on new leads and new clients, but also make sure you have plans in place to help with retention.
When it comes to revenue, customer retention is hugely vital to the consistent growth and financial planning.
Retention / Customer Loyalty Checkup:
- Have you increased, decreased or had the same amount of sales? What were the reasons?
- What marketing methods did you use and what results did you achieve?
- Which marketing tactics gave you the best results?
- How do you stay in contact with your current customers?
- Do you connect as frequently as you should with current customers?
- What actions can you take to increase retention?
Website & On Page SEO
Long gone are the days that you can simply copy your company brochure to your website, sit back and expect to reap the rewards of climbing to the top of Google.
In the ever so overpopulated online space, you have to do more than just have a website that serves the basic needs.
Your website should be your best salesperson.
Website & On Page SEO Checkup:
- What role is your website playing in your business?
- Is your website generating new leads?
- Is it a good representation of your business?
- Is it mobile friendly?
- Are pages, images, and site structure properly optimized (on page SEO)?
- Does your content focus on your core keywords?
- Do you have any broken links?
- Do pages load quickly?
- Does it have any outdated information on it?
- Have you added any new products or services that should be featured on your website?
- Do your blog posts have social share features?
- Do all your pages have meta tags?
- Do you have analytics installed?
- Are you continually adding fresh content to your website?
- Is it SSL secure?
- Are the images on your website correctly sized, and are all image alt tags labeled?
- Do site visitors have enough information?
- Is your contact information clearly visible on every page?
- Does your website include clear call-to-action, lead magnets, and an email opt-in?
- Have you included trust factors like customer testimonials, social proof, success stories, etc.?
- Are your essential elements “above the fold”?
- Is your website GDPR compliant?
- Have you recently checked your Google Console to make sure there aren’t any errors?
- 9 Steps to a Successful Website Campaign
- 31 Horrible Website Mistakes You’re Making and How to Fix Them
- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): What you need to know
- The Future of SEO
- 10 Simple Local SEO Strategies
- Growth Marketing Toolbox 085: SEO Tools and Tactics
- How Voice Search is Evolving SEO
- Mobile’s New Impact on SEO
After you’ve analyzed your website, it’s time to take a look at your social media presence. Just like your site should include best SEO practices, each social media profile should also be appropriately optimized.
Social Media Checkup:
- Are your social media profiles complete and correctly optimized?
- Are your header, profile pictures, and posts sized properly with the correct resolution?
- How is your overall social media presence?
- Are you interacting with your audience?
- Does your social media presence link to increase sales?
- Are you using a social media scheduler to save you time?
- Are you scheduling your posts to go out at the optimal time for maximum exposure?
- Does social media improve your customer service?
- Do you know what your audience cares about / are you providing the right content?
- Are you on the right social media platforms?
- Are there new social media platforms you should try?
- SEO Cheat Sheet for Facebook, Google, Yelp and Pinterest
- Get Found Locally Online
- Social Media Cheat Sheet for 2018
- Best Time to Post on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+
- 21 Simple Ways to Boost Your Content’s Viral Potential
- 5 Key Roles Social Media Plays in SEO
“Content marketing is more than a buzzword. It is the hottest trend in marketing because it is the biggest gap between what buyers want and brands produce.” – Michael Brenner
Content marketing is a marketing method based on the creation of relevant and valuable content, to drive a specific call-to-action—usually to attract and retain customers.
Content Marketing Checkup:
- Have you clearly identified the needs of your target audience?
- Does your content marketing strategy contain SMART goals? Are you on track to meet those goals?
- Have you addressed your customers most frequently asked questions?
- Do any of your current content piece have any mistakes or outdated information?
- Does each piece connect with your buyer during the proper stage of the sales cycle?
- If the pieces of content are on your website are they properly optimized (SEO)?
- Do you have an editorial calendar in place?
- Is your content considered valuable to your potential customers?
- Is your content easy to share?
- Is it easy for potential customers to find your content?
- Is your content easy to read / easy to scan (headings, subheadings, digestible content with bullet points)?
- Does each piece of content respect the audiences understanding level (i.e., not too technical)?
- A Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing
- Content Marketing Planning Templates & Other Awesome Resources
- 13 Industry Experts Chime in About Content Marketing
- Your Next Great Blog Post: 40 Proven Blog Post Ideas That Will Leave Your Readers Wanting More!
- Good Grammar is Always in Style with Grammarly
Online Paid Advertising Campaigns (PPC and Social Media Paid Advertising)
From Google AdWords to Facebook advertising, paid online ads can be a good investment when they’re running correctly. It’s always a good idea to continually review and optimize these types of campaigns, by making small tweaks.
Conversions and conversion-related metrics (such as conversion rate and cost-per-conversion) should be the first place you look to judge the success of your account.
Adjusting ad copy not only provides you with better ads but gives you the data for SEO campaigns by showing you which copy perform best. Take the best performing ad copy and apply it to your SEO strategies (i.e. page description tags).
Are your ads as robust as they can be? Many people do not realize that they can take advantage of sitelinks and other ad extensions to make ads larger and contain extra links and information.
Online Paid Advertising Campaigns Checkup:
- Do you need to optimize your ad copy?
- Do your ads display correctly across different devices?
- Do you need to make adjustments to budget allocations?
- Do you have conversion tracking set up?
- Are your ads as robust as they can be?
- If images are attached to your ads, are they properly sized?
- The Official Facebook Advertising Playbook
- 30-Minute AdWords Health Check for Beginners
- Instagram Ad Costs: The Complete Updated Resource for 2018
- YouTube Advertising: An In-Depth Guide to Advertising on YouTube
- LinkedIn Ads: Everything You Need to Know to Get Results
- Twitter Advertising – The Complete Guide For Amazing Results
Partnership / JV (Joint Venture) Programs
I still can’t believe that more organizations don’t partner with non-competitive businesses on marketing initiatives instead choose to go it alone.
By partnering up, you can share the cost of the project and double up on distribution.
In Hinge’s High Growth Study, the company asked respondents to rate the impact of 24 possible marketing techniques. Of these, the technique partnership marketing was rated as having the most impact. One-third of the high growth companies surveyed rated its implications as significant (they rated it a 9 or 10 on a ten point scale). How many no-growth firms gave partnership marketing a high rating? Zero.
Partnership / JV Marketing Checkup:
- Do you have a partnership program in place?
- Are their non-completive businesses that would be beneficial to partner up?
- Have you set aside co-op funds for these types of marketing projects?
- A complete guide to partnership marketing
- Five Questions To Determine If Partner Marketing Is Right For Your Business
- How to Create a Partnership Marketing Plan that Drives Growth
This category refers to using mass email marketing (i.e., MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, or Constant Contact), not the individual emails you send out. By regularly housekeeping and maintaining a permission-based, clean email list, you can be sure that the individuals who have opted in to receive your content are actually getting it.
For those subscribers who haven’t opened your emails in a long period of time, it’s time to either remove them (scrub your email list) or make one last-ditch effort by sending them a re-engagement campaign.
Email Marketing Checkup:
- Are you using an email marketing platform?
- Are you emailing your database regularly?
- So you have link tracking active in your email campaigns?
- Do they contain an option to unsubscribe?
- Was the summary (or pre-header) added?
- Are the images and text correctly formatted for multiple devices?
- Do you need to scrub your email list?
- Is your email content engaging?
- Do your email blast include proper calls-to-action?
- Are You Getting the Most You Could Be from Your Email List?
- 8 Email Marketing Mistakes Every Business Should Avoid
- Email Marketing Optimization Checkup in 3 Simple Steps
- The Ultimate Re-Engagement Email & Win-Back Email Success Guide
- 34 Creative Email Ideas to Send Customers Today (Other Than Newsletters)
Customer Testimonials, Reviews, & Reputation Management
Customer testimonials (and reviews) are a powerful tool for creating trust. But before you can showcase your reviews, you first have to collect them. Make it easy for customers to leave reviews by claiming your business on Yelp and setting up profiles on other social media platforms. If you need further help collecting reviews, look into review management software.
When was the last time you googled your name or your business? Set up Google alerts to help you manage your online reputation.
If you get a negative review (which happens) make sure you respond in a professional manner, attempt to rectify the problem and let them know that you care about their experience.
Customer Testimonials, Reviews, & Reputation Checkup:
- Have you set up Google Alerts and other notifications so you can monitor your online reputation?
- Is it easy for customers to review your business?
- Are there bad reviews floating around that you need your response?
- Why Customer Reviews Are Crucial to Your Small Business
- What Every Small Business Owner Needs To Know About Online Review Feedback
- 10 Tactics to Get More Positive Reviews for Your Business
I know in the digital age, it’s easy to overlook print marketing, but printed materials are still valuable. According to a new survey by FedEx Office, professional printing services have helped four out of five small business owners stand out from the competition.
The survey also found:
- Nine in 10 consumers agreed that the quality of printed materials is an indication of the quality of service provided by a business.
- 85% of consumers said they are more likely to shop with a small business that has custom/professionally printed materials, such as business cards, signs, flyers or banners.
Print Material Checkup:
- Do all print materials have updated information?
- Are the font, colors, logo, taglines and overall message in alignment with your corporate brand image?
- Is it time to update any of your print materials?
- Are there any print advertising opportunities you should look into?
- If you’re running any print marketing campaigns, are you able to track your ROI (Return on Investment)?
- FedEx Office Survey Reveals Enduring Preference for Printed Materials in Today’s Increasingly Digital Environment
- New Study Proves You Should Not Go Completely Digital
Marketing Tools & Software (SaSS)
Take a few minutes to confirm that all content marketing tools that you’re currently paying for are worth the money you’re investing. These (sometimes small monthly) fees can add up fast, and if there are some that no longer serve you, it could be time to kick them to the curb.
On the other side, it seems like almost every day there’s a new content marketing tool on the market. It might be time to look into a few tools that could save you time and energy in the long run.
Also with many of these tools, you usually get a discount if you pay for them on annually instead of monthly. Once you’ve accessed which tools are best for you, it might be time to switch the payments to annual terms to save some money.
Marketing Tools Checkup:
- Are you paying for any marketing tools that are not giving you a return on investment that makes them worth keeping?
- Are there any marketing tools out there that would be worth the investment?
- Are there any marketing tools that you regularly use that you should pay for annually instead of monthly to save money?
- 6 Top Tools to Transform Your Content Marketing
- 15 Content Marketing Tools You Can’t Live Without
- Improve Your Productivity With 8 Content Marketing Tools
Educational, Media, Presentation & Outreach
Outreach marketing has the power to help businesses break free from the “background noise” all marketers fight against in today’s over-saturated media environment. It humanizes, connects, and encourages the deep development of networks that often produce potent results far beyond any simple SEO or content marketing plan.
Educational, Media, Presentation & Outreach Checkup:
- Are all presentations up-to-date?
- If you’re involved in tradeshows or other events that require display materials: Are your displays up-to-date?
- Are there out-of-date media items online that misrepresent your company?
- Are you submitting press releases?
- Are there educational marketing materials that you could create to push your potential customers through the sales cycle (i.e. white papers, case studies, FAQs)?
- Are there any business/networking affiliations you should join?
- Are there any business/networking affiliations you are currently paying for, that aren’t providing a sufficient ROI?
- Are there any classes you should take or certifications you should look into taking?
- Have you considered outreach programs like:
- Attending conferences / tradeshows / networking events?
- Guest blog writing or presenting on a podcast?
- 5 Powerful Outreach Marketing Strategies
- 3 Attention-Grabbing Outreach Marketing Techniques
- Top 8 Influencer Marketing Trends
Revenue, Tracking, Budgeting & ROI
Bring together all the marketing benchmarks your company has set and all the results from any campaigns or experiments you ran that have finished, how would you rate your overall results?
Revenue, Tracking, Budgeting & ROI Checkup:
- Are you currently tracking the ROI of your marketing efforts?
- Have you set and followed your marketing budget?
- Are you on track to meet your marketing goals?
- What could you do to improve the ROI of your marketing campaigns?
- How to Creating a Marketing Plan You’ll Actually Use: Templates, Guides & Samples
- How much should you spend on marketing
It’s Time to Review Your Current Marketing Efforts
I hope you’ve gone through this marketing checkup exercise and found a few ways you can improve your current marketing plan.