If you don’t have a marketer, or you’re trying to decide if you need one, it’s good to do an assessment of the current state of marketing in your business. You’re likely doing quite a bit with social media and posting but what else could you be doing to drive business? These questions will help you understand if what you’re currently doing is enough or if it’s time to bring someone on.
How Well Are You Doing? 12 Questions to Take the Pulse of Your Marketing
These questions will help you gauge your marketing strengths and decide what you need to pay more attention to:
- Is my business telling a story or just talking about itself?
For some business owners. there is a subtle difference between boring their audience with the “you” show and telling a story that customers will want to be a part of. To avoid sounding like a snore, tell your story as it matters to your customers. Make it about them and show them how you can transform them into a hero. They don’t want to hear what year you started. That’s not your business story. Your story is in your “why” you started and “why” you continue helping who you do.
- What does your business do better than anyone else?
It’s your unique value proposition but if you can’t answer it, you’re going to have problems. How are you helping to solve the need of your ideal customer? Also, try to stay away from claims on customer service or price. Everyone thinks they excel in those areas. Drill down to specifics about how you excel there.
- Who is your ideal customer and are you serving them right now?
This is the biggest struggle for most businesses. If you don’t know who you can help, you can’t personalize your message. Don’t say you can help everyone. While that may be the case, there is someone who needs you so badly, they are willing to pay well for it. If you can become the best, and known for success in your niche, when people need your service, they will think of you first.
- Are you using numbers?
Data helps in every aspect of marketing from telling your story to understanding who is most likely to buy and when. You can save yourself a lot of time if you analyze the data. Begin with your website and Google Analytics, it’s free and there are numerous articles and help to get you started.
- Are you tracking promos?
Whether it’s direct mail you’re using or a discount email/SMS code, do you have some way to track what people are using so you can tell what’s working and not working for your audience? Direct mail isn’t dead and email/SMS discounts can be effective. But you need to find out what works for your (intended) customers and you can’t do that unless you track it.
- Do use inauthentic language?
Use copy that sounds conversational. Don’t be inauthentic. Some people would even argue using the word “inauthentic” is inauthentic. Speak in your target market’s tongue. Don’t use industry jargon, unless that’s the only way your ideal customer feels comfortable. Today’s most effective marketing is non-marketing. If it looks like marketing, people don’t like it.
- Are you making it easy to refer people?
Ask for the referral. People will produce for you. Tell them how they can help and consider incentivizing them for doing so.
- Are you set up for word-of-mouth marketing?
Not only should you ask for people to refer others to you, but make sure they understand how much you value their reviews of you as well. Remind them how important they are to your business. If you have a brick-and-mortar location, post reminders with QR codes that take them quickly to referral sites. A lot of people will do it while they’re still at your business, especially if you have the type of place where they’re lingering, like a coffee shop or ice cream parlor.
- Are you keeping it fresh, lit, live, etc.?
Using the language of your people is important but so is your demographic. If you’re targeting Baby Boomers keep your posts slang-appropriate. Don’t use all the coolest words just because other brands are using them. Along the same line, if you’re targeting teens and young 20s, don’t use words like “jiffy.” It won’t resonate.
- Do you post too much or too little?
Too much and people tune out. Too little and they can’t remember you. Posting with no consistency doesn’t build patterns. Post at least 1-2 times a day; more if your audience responds. You know you’ve gone too far when people start unfollowing or “unliking” you but as long as you are posting valuable content (to them), they’ll stick around. Also, be consistent in your posting. If you’re absent for long periods of time, they may wonder if you’re still in business.
- Are you blogging?
There’s no easier way to build a brand AND make search engines love you than blogging. But it is time consuming because you want to create content your audience needs and give it to them in a form they enjoy. If your audience likes 200-word tips, great. If they love long-form meaty posts, terrific. Just take the time to figure out what they like and give it to them on a consistent posting schedule. Most marketing gurus agree that it needn’t be a daily activity. 1-2 times a week is usually enough to stay top of mind for the average person.
If you hate to write, consider a podcast or video blog. Ask your audience if they listen to podcasts. Audio is quickly becoming a fan favorite.
- Are you doing something with your fans?
If you’re posting like a rock star and people are enjoying your content, continue to produce more, but make sure you’re also asking them to do something. Give them a call to action. Invite them to shop your online catalog. Ask them to subscribe to your newsletter. When you want to grow your relationship with someone, you invite them to do things. Your business audience is no different.