Periodically, you should evaluate how you market your business and decide if you need to make any changes. Here is a list of questions to ask about your efforts and help you decide if your marketing is effective.
Is your social media increasing your online reach? Have you added fans to your business Facebook page this year? Have you kept posting regularly? Are your customers and fans responding to your posts and engaging in conversation with you? Do they share the information you post because it is interesting, entertaining or informative? Social media works better when it is a regular activity and creates conversation. Don't use it to sell yourself; use it to create relationships with customers.
Are your online advertising dollars creating a Return on Investment (ROI)? If you have Pay Per Click, or PPC, advertising, are the clicks resulting in sales? Do you track that? A non-performing PPC campaign can be due to ineffective ad copy, inadequate funding of the campaign, or a poor or missing landing page. Do you know which one of these needs to be improved? PPC is one of the easiest advertising tools to track and using Google Analytics and AdWords to do that is free. If you are buying from local media outlets, make sure they are giving you weekly reports on your clicks and the CTR - click-through rate.
Do you use traditional advertising? How do you measure the effectiveness of print ads, radio, TV, billboards, etc.? They are measurable but having the sales person tell you how many people might have seen your ad is not the same as people coming in the door and the phone ringing. Make sure you are taking steps when creating your ads to allow for tracking. Use a separate phone number just for print ads, or add a promotional code on a radio commercial. Combine your traditional marketing with your online marketing to increase your marketing effectiveness.
Identifying Your Target Market
Do you really know your target market? Who are your customers and what do they want? Great marketing means that you are providing your customers what they want or need, right when they want it. So it is important to know up front who your customers are and what they want and you may need to do a little research for that. Make sure you are talking to the right people because spending money to advertise to customers who have no interest in buying your product or service is a waste.
Are you spending enough or too much on your advertising? A lot of businesses can't really answer that question because they did not set up trackable goals before they started to spend. Remember, there is no magic formula for how to spend your money or how much to spend. The most important thing for any business owner to know is how much it costs to acquire a new customer, and how much a new customer is worth to the business. Obviously, you want the cost to be less than the value to the business in most cases (loss leaders not included). A solid marketing plan will help you create measurable goals so you will know for sure if your marketing is effective.
Lastly, are you trying to do your own marketing but don't really know how? Marketing is an art and a science and for most business owners, it is not their area of expertise. Outsourcing your marketing to a marketing consultant or advertising agency can give you the expertise you need without having to hire additional staff. Plus, you get the added benefit of spending more time doing what you know how to do, taking care of your customers and delivering high quality customer service.