As we head into the new year, you might be looking ahead to what's next for your business. Before you start planning, however, it's important to take a step back and evaluate the current state of your business, and by extension, your marketing strategy. Conducting a year-end marketing audit will help you identify what is and isn't working, along with potential marketing avenues for next year. While this isn't a comprehensive checklist, here are a few steps you can take to get started:
1. Identify your business goals, objectives, and target audience. At Addison Clark, we believe that every marketing decision should be tied back to strategic business goals. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What am I looking to accomplish in the coming year? You might focus on growing your business, expanding your product or service offerings, or even tapping into a new market. Whatever your goals are, write them down and refer back to them when crafting next year's marketing plan. Make sure these are SMART goals and align with your business's mission statement and core values.
- Who is my target audience? It's important to ensure your marketing messages are tailored to a clearly-defined audience. Consider the demographics and behavior of your average customer and how that might impact your marketing efforts. For example, if your business targets younger folks who are more digitally savvy, you'll want to incorporate social media and video into your strategy.
2. Record all of your current marketing efforts. Before you know where you're going, you need to know where you've been! Write down all of the marketing channels you're utilizing, how much you're spending and what messages you're pushing out. This will be a useful resource as you look to set your marketing budget for the upcoming year.
3. Dig into the data. Now it's time to crunch some numbers! The only true way to evaluate the effectiveness of any marketing plan is to look at the data. Here are a few basic metrics from common marketing channels to look at:
- Website traffic: Visits, unique visitors, average pages viewed, average time on site, goal conversions
- Email marketing: click rate, open rate, bounce rate
- Social media: followers, average reach, average engagement
- Paid digital advertising: reach, impressions, clicks
This is a great exercise that will help you identify strengths and areas of growth in your marketing strategy.
4. Analyze what the competition is doing. Make a list of your competitors and look at their marketing efforts. Maybe you've seen their ads on Facebook and Google, but notice they don't have an active social media presence. You'll start to find gaps in the competition's strategy that you can take advantage of. Take it a step further by doing the following:
- Conduct a SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis is used to identify the Strengths and Weaknesses of your business along with Opportunities and Threats you might see from the competition. Click here to learn how to conduct a SWOT analysis. Once you're finished, consider how this might tie into your marketing strategy and messaging.
- Identify what makes your business unique. Every business should have a Unique Selling Point (USP) that differentiates them from the competition. Use the Opportunities and Threats portion of your SWOT analysis to identify your USP. For example, say you learned in your SWOT analysis that your competitors don't provide free shipping. That's a great oppotunity to make free shipping your USP and market that message to consumers.
Conducting a marketing audit can seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be! Addison Clark is here to help evaluate and refine your marketing strategy so you're prepared for next year's challenges. Give us a call today at (804) 864-9190!