We just blew through the end of another quarter, which means several things for small businesses, including taxes. Sigh. Let’s talk about marketing checkups.
If you’re not already doing so, you really should be checking in on your marketing every quarter, especially if you tend to get it started and then go off and do other things, like run your business.
Marketing—like children, puppies, and a lot of other things in life—can’t be just set up then left to sort itself out. You’ll end up spending too much money for too little result.
All that said, you don’t have to take a huge part of your already busy schedule to run this marketing check.
Here are the four top quarterly marketing checks that we recommend – and none of them should take too long:
Check-in on your website. You may not have the occasion to look at your website very often, but remember, it’s the most important marketing tool you have in your arsenal. Look at it. Make sure it’s still working right. Make sure you don’t have broken links, as they are terrible for SEO. Then pull up Google Analytics and go over your usage data. Has your web traffic stayed about the same month-over-month? Are people staying on your site about the same amount of time? Has your bounce rate suddenly increased? Ideally, you should be staying steady or growing your traffic. Any changes in the wrong direction could indicate something going wrong elsewhere in your marketing implementation.
Check in on your ads. Next, take a look at any digital ads you are running (non-digital ads are harder to measure). Check the click-through-rate (the percentage of people who see the ad that click through to your site: total clicks/total impressions = CTR). Check on how much you’re paying per click. If you notice your click-through-rate plummeting or your cost per click going up, it may be time to rework your ad or your audience. For instance, audiences can get “blind” to an ad that they’ve seen too much, and stop clicking, no matter how good the original ad was. You want to catch that and fix it. It’s also helpful to just look at your ad again, and see it with new eyes – especially if it’s been up for awhile. You may notice improvements you can make.
Check on your marketing efficiency. This is especially important in small business marketing, where budgets can be usually are tight. Take a look at your marketing channels, and look at how much you’re spending vs. how much you’re generating from them. Unless you’re deliberately putting a lot of money into brand awareness advertising to grow your business, you absolutely don’t want to be pouring money into a marketing channel that’s not showing results. We recently discovered that a new client had spent more than $200 to sell about $40 worth of product. This sort of deficit can make sense as part of certain marketing strategies, but you absolutely don’t want to be doing it accidentally. If a channel isn’t working to support your marketing goals, ditch it fast and test a new one. Marketing pro tip: a marketing channel that most people forget to check ROI on is branded swag. Buying a bazillion logo pens rarely, if ever, pays for itself in marketing returns.
Check in on your marketing goals/take a marketing reality check. Finally, take a step back from the daily grind and all the data and details and look at your marketing in the macro sense. Is your messaging still supporting your overall strategic goals? If your business focus has shifted, have you made sure to shift your advertising channels and audiences as well? Make sure everything still aligns with what you’re trying to achieve with your marketing programs.
The great thing about doing this quarterly is that you’ve had time away from it so that you can see everything with fresh eyes. And it doesn’t have to take that much time. Set aside about an hour of uninterrupted time, and dig in. Then go do your taxes.
Happy small business marketing!
Katie & Theron