March is here, and that means spring is on the way! This past weekend the weather was so beautiful we dug the smoker out of the garage and cooked up some ribs. It’s hard to believe that just two weeks ago we were buried under nearly a foot and a half of snow, and I’m sure the Pacific Northwest’s trademark winter gloom will return soon, but for now I’m soaking up as much vitamin D as I can.
For businesses, March also means a rapid end to the first quarter of the year and the perfect time to review the early results of your annual marketing strategy. As much as we would love for a marketing strategy to be a “set it and forget it” feature, it’s something that needs to be routinely checked up on and updated for the latest trends, data, and effective tools and strategy.
While your timeline may be a little different depending on the nature of your business and schedule of your campaigns, quarterly is a good guideline to start with – a chance to review what’s working and what needs improvement in order to enhance your digital presence and encourage business growth.
Here are five reasons from the web design firm 97 Switch on why you should constantly be revisiting your marketing strategies.
You Can See What’s Working And What’s Not
By taking an in-depth look at your marketing strategy campaigns and the numbers, you can see what’s been working and which areas need more attention or change. Since the digital world is always changing, chances are, if something isn’t working out the way you thought it would, someone has created a new way to communicate with your target market using updated tools, apps and website features. By staying on top of technology and adapting your marketing strategy accordingly you may find you’re serving your clients better and your success rate will reflect that.
You Can Learn From Data
What’s the best way to learn how to improve your marketing strategy and drive results? Learn from your data. There’s so much of it available at your finger tips and it can all be accessed for free using platforms like Google Analytics, Bitly, Matomo and more. The easy to read charts and graphs will let you know (sometimes in real-time) how people are finding you, what they’re clicking on, and how long they’re staying. Check these numbers as often as you like (but at least quarterly) and watch the trends shift.
You’ll Stay Organized
We know just how quickly work can pile up, but taking time to prioritize your marketing strategy is important! If you have an established, routinely scheduled review on the calendar it will be easier to follow-through and make time to look at your progress. If something isn’t working, you don’t want to let it run unchecked.
You Can Actually Achieve Long Term Goals
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! Long term goals are important but thinking about the big picture can be intimidating. Break them up into smaller quarterly chunks, or even monthly if necessary. With smaller milestones along the way, you increase your chances of hitting those big finish lines on time.
You Can Stop “Failing” In Certain Areas
No business is perfect. No matter how well you’re doing, there’s bound to be at least a few factors that aren’t performing as well as you may have hoped and predicted. When this happens, it’s time to rethink your marketing strategy and try a new direction. Keep testing different variables: keywords, content type, schedule and advertisements. It’s all about trial and error, but you need a review process to spot the error and adjust.
How To Review Your Marketing Strategy After Quarter One
Back at the end of 2018, what did you have in mind when building this year’s marketing strategy? Ideally you took all your ideas and visions and narrowed them down into a list of SMART goals.
Not sure what those are? Here’s a quick crash course:
- Specific. Ask yourself what exactly you hope to get out of your marketing strategy technique. Do you want more website traffic? An increase your social following? Higher sales? Get specific. How much of an increase do you want to see?
- Measurable. In order for your goals to be successful, you need to be able to measure them against some benchmark. Trying to increase web traffic? Use Google Analytics to determine how many visitors you have before starting your campaign and as a guide to measure your success at the end of the campaign.
- Achievable. Make sure your goal is reasonable and don’t set the bar too high. To expect a dramatic return immediately is not an attainable goal. Consider the time and resources you are able to dedicate to your marketing strategy, as well as the industry you’re in, when determining how achievable your goals are.
- Relevant. How will your marketing strategy help your customers and your company? Having a social media account, blog or newsletter just to have one is not doing any favors for your business. Incorporate your goals into how these content platforms will improve your business and provide a true benefit for your customers.
- Timely. Three and six months is a great time evaluate the progress you’ve made so far and make a few necessary changes, but your time limit to consider a new strategy overall should be set for significantly further in the future. That being said, make sure you do set a time limit to reach those goals. Not setting a deadline for success will make it hard to measure your results.
Did you set SMART goals ahead of time? Go ahead and look at them again. Go over your marketing strategy wins for the last three months. It’s crucial to understand what worked in the last quarter and what didn’t.
Take a hard look at your failures, too. Falling short or completely missing your goal is a hard defeat to swallow, but evaluating what went wrong can help you avoid making the same mistakes in the future.
Try not to get too discouraged – some of the greatest successes in history were preceded by repeated failures. These lows may lead you to a greater high than you had planned!
Make Marketing Strategy Plans For Quarter Two
Prioritize The Future
Using the past quarter as a guide, start planning the next three months! Determine which goals will take priority, and what steps you will take to reach them. If it helps, make a list of everything you will be working to achieve. Rank the list by first, second and third priority, and – if you have a team of marketers – assign tasks to be completed by the end of quarter two.
Build A Road Map
Depending on the goal, even imagining it on a quarterly basis might be a bit much. If that’s the case for you or a member of your marketing team, create a weekly breakdown of how that goal will be achieved. For example, say one team member has a quarterly goal of successfully pitching their travel agency client to the media before summer. The weekly breakdown might look like this:
- Week one: build an electronic press kit.
- Week two: brainstorm pitch angles and story ideas.
- Week three: build a custom media list for targeted pitching.
- Week four: actively pitch and generate leads.
- Week five: coordinate media requests.
And so on. Like I said earlier, eat the elephant one bite at a time.
Check In Regularly
Once April is here the next quarter has begun! Hold weekly meetings with your team (or schedule time to sit down by yourself) and review progress. Personally I prefer to make a physical chart or list that shows exactly what tasks are in progress, completed and still to come. It helps everyone be on the same page and understand what’s been done.
These weekly check-ins will help you or your team spot any early warning signs that the project is getting off track while there is still time to fix them. It’s also an opportunity to brainstorm solutions and identify any common problems that may require a larger intervention.
Stick To The Marketing Strategy, But Be Flexible If Necessary
Even the best laid plans of mice and marketers, right? There will always be unforeseen circumstances that pop up in the middle of your beautiful road map. Sometimes priorities shift or expand, adding new tasks to complete before the deadline.
It’s a good lesson to learn sooner rather than later – but only accept these additions or changes if they are absolutely necessary. It’s ok to pivot in a new direction if there are signs that you plan isn’t working or achieving the desired results, but make sure you give those changes thoughtful review before forging ahead.
Ask yourself this question: By adding a new initiative, will the benefit be substantial enough to risk using up resources that may get in the way of achieving the current goal? If not, express appreciation for whomever suggested the idea and gently explain why it may not be feasible at this time. But if it is, make sure you inform the rest of your team and update the plan immediately.
Let Three Girls Media Handle Your Marketing Strategy
We know you’re already working hard, so why not let Three Girls Media take some of the pressure off? Contact us today for a free 30-minute consultation to go over your marketing strategy and how Three Girls Media can help you achieve your quarterly and annual goals.
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