7 Marketing Checks for Your Small Business

7 Marketing Checks for Your Small Business

As a small business owner, it’s easy to lose yourself in the day-to-day reality of running and marketing your business. But in order to make sure your marketing is always up to scratch, it is important to have regular check-ups, to look for opportunities to improve existing activities and to learn from the past.

Here are 7 key areas that you should check up on regularly to keep your small business buzzing:

Check No 1: Branding

Collect all your collaterals, marketing materials, websites and social media profiles and compare their design as well as their content. Are you presenting yourself to the market in a consistent manner? Is your brand represented in the same way over all available channels? And how about the content, are you clear about what you do over all your communications?

Why this is important:
To raise brand awareness (and for people to remember you in their moment of need) it is vital to be recognisable and distinctive over all possible mediums and channels. For example, people should find you easily on Twitter based on your profile on other social media platforms. Your logo and brand design should be the beacon to guide them. When it comes to your message, it’s important that people know what you are offering and what you stand for, or they might choose your competition over you.

Check No 2: Competition

competitionWhile you’re having all your marketing material in one place anyway, how about comparing it to your competitors’ marketing output? If you compare your design and content to theirs, do you stand out? Are you offering something they don’t or are you talking to a different audience? How does your offer look next to theirs?

Why this is important:
As explained in my blog post about USPs and niches, having a distinct profile, being known for something, is the greatest advantage your marketing can give your small business. No matter if you’re a specialist in something, support a specific cause or do things differently, shout about what you believe in and you’ll attract enough like-minded people to keep your small business going.

Check No 3: Monitoring

Another important check is to have a look at all your marketing activities of the past 12 months and see what worked and what didn’t. How much money did you invest? How much sales did you generate? Was the timing right and the offer compelling enough? If it didn’t work, have you asked why people weren’t interested?

Why this is important:
Knowing the reasons why one marketing campaign was a success and another one a failure is a great help for your future marketing. It gives you more control over the outcome of your marketing investments and teaches you a lot about your ideal client’s behaviour. I’ve written about reporting and monitoring your marketing, if you want to find out more.

Check No 4: Retaining Customers

customersThis check is all about your communication with your customers. If you have a closer look at everything you use to keep in touch with existing clients and customers (e.g. emails, newsletters, flyers, brochures, mail shots), do you focus enough on repeat business and referrals? Is the customer experience with your company something to call home about?

Why this is important:
Tapping into the potential of existing customers and clients is a great way to grow your small business. No matter if you are looking to retain clients or asking for referrals and recommendations, if they have something good to say about you, make sure they are not keeping it to themselves.

Check No 5: Processes

As important as your marketing output is, the internal processes are at least as important. Have a look at how your marketing gets done: Who creates marketing activities and what steps are usually taken? What is the allocated time and budget for that and who makes the decisions? Have a look at what could be improved to save time and money and make sure to include your team and/or consultants.

Why this is important:
Marketing costs money and time. In order to make the best of the latter, introduce transparent processes and responsibilities regarding every step of your marketing journey. Make sure you and your team have a clear path ahead of you, from brainstorming ideas to implementing your marketing activities.

Check No 6: Feedback

customer feedbackIt is easy to get lost in our little bubble of small business madness. But listening to your customers and clients is an important thing: Collect all existing customer feedback and talk to everyone who has contact to clients and customers: What do they love about you? What could you do better? Make sure to have a system in place to collect their feedback and action it.

Why this is important:
Every business is constantly evolving. Your target audience’s needs and requirements change, competitors up their game – no matter what happens, be ready to react as quickly as possible and keep up with the market. Your small business depends on your customers and clients, listen to them.

Check No 7: Try Something New

Look at your future marketing, think about what you’ve missed: Is there anything new you could try? A new marketing platform to experiment with? Another business to team up with or a new market to explore? Don’t just do business as usual, try something new every year and mix it up.

Why this is important:
Like all things, marketing can go stale. Only because it worked in the past, it won’t work forever. Try out new things, see if you can improve existing marketing efforts and add some fresh air to the mix. Be creative and don’t be afraid of the trial-and-error approach: It’s the best tool we have!

 


FURTHER READING

If you are interested in reading more about this topic, have a look at these:
Be a Stranger – Branding for Small Business
How to Stand Out as a Small Business
Take Control of Your Small Business
How to Get Referrals for Your Small Business


 

Published byDenise Strohsahl

Denise Strohsahl is an Edinburgh-based marketing consultant, specialising in helping small, local businesses get more of their ideal clients.