It is easy to continue working ‘in’ a business, but it’s essential to work ‘on’ your business as well to stay on course for success and growth. An important tool you can use is a marketing audit. Periodically evaluating what is (or is not) working, what’s outdated, etc., will help you get the most of your marketing investment, and keep your message focused and targeted. Things to review include:
1-Taglines and logos. If someone doesn’t know your company, would your tagline and logo accurately explain it? A tagline should quickly highlight your product or service or capture what it is that makes your business different from competitors. Logos can be font-based, image-based or abstract. Keep the design simple but memorable, and consider the impact of color. Remember, it has to work in different sizes and across various mediums.
2-Brochures and ads—Effective brochures and ads have good headlines, clear, concise language and a call to action. In a brochure, use high quality paper with a glossy finish to make it stand out. A firm brochure is the equivalent of a firm handshake; a thin, flimsy brochure will signal that you put little thought and even less effort into developing your marketing materials. In advertising, select a provocative image but leave room for your logo and make sure contact information can be easily found.
3-Website issues. A website needs to be visually appealing and not too busy. Keep it simple and allow for adequate empty/white space.
- Design: A color scheme with two to three primary colors is enough. Colors should blend well and create the right mood or tone for your business. They should also reflect or enhance your company logo. Three to four images per page is plenty, and quality photography is crucial. Generally, its best to not select a specific font, rather, define the font to be used as serif or sans serif. Sans serif fonts are usually easier to read on computers.
- SEO: Be sure you are using the right keywords so customers can easily find you when they do a web search. To find all the keywords you’re already using, get a free BoostSuite account. BoostSuite will crawl all of your pages and show you a list of all of your keywords automatically. Also, if you already have a Google Webmaster Tools account you can export a list of keywords from there. If you do not post regularly in a blog, consider doing so since it also helps boost you in search rankings. Need help? JigSaw can help you develop content and even post it for you.
- Content: Your audience is looking for information that will help them make a decision, so the text on your website should be informative and relevant. Keep copy short and organized, label topics and break into small paragraphs. Also, be sure to update it regularly. No one wants to read the same thing over and over again!
4- Promotions and special offers. Periodic promotions and special offers go a long way to keep existing customers coming back and new ones arriving. If you haven’t tried one (or it’s been a while since you did), here are a few ideas to consider.
- Contests- People like to win prizes. Sponsoring contests can bring attention to your product without making your company too overtly salesy. Have a trivia contest about your firm, invite customers to share photos of your products in use, etc. The possibilities are endless!
- Coupons and discounts-No need to run a direct mail campaign. Print discount offers to give customers a break on their next purchase or service. Another way to achieve this is to have a special code (a certain phrase to be repeated for example) posted on your website or social media which can give them a discount when ordering.
- Customer referral programs-Create a reward system for other businesses or individuals that refer your company. You can give a discount or even hold a customer appreciation event for the most referrals given.
- Sponsorships of local causes and charities-For a minimal investment you may be able to secure a partnership at a local event. This gets your company name circulating as well as generates goodwill for your business within the community.
- Branded promotional items-Giveaways like die-cut magnets, pens, envelope openers, post-its and the like are inexpensive ways to keep your company front and center in the minds of your customers.
5-All of the above. Perhaps most importantly, as part of your marketing audit take a step back and see how all of your marketing materials and tactics look and work together. Are you using consistent messaging? How about colors or typefaces? If your website is green and gold and still has your old logo while your new letterhead shows off your spiffy new branding, there is a disconnect that can confuse consumers and reduce the effectiveness of your marketing. If you’re not sure how cohesive everything is, ask your team, partners or even clients for their input, or remember JigSaw is always here to help as well!
While certainly not comprehensive, these items make a good checklist of what to review during a marketing audit of your business. It may require some time, but in the end it’s worth it to ensure your materials are on point and you are leveraging the latest and best marketing practices.