At the beginning of the year, most small businesses lay out marketing ideas for what they intend to do during the course of the year. By the end of December, it is usually evident whether those plans have worked or not, and revisions are made for the following year.
But why wait until the end of the year? Isn’t it a much better idea to reassess at the mid-point of the plan so that there is still time to make changes before another year comes to an end? With that in mind, here are some questions you can ask as a small business entrepreneur to give yourself a mid-year marketing check-up:
• Has my business lost customers? Obviously, it is never a good idea to lose customers, but sometimes we don’t even realize when a customer hasn’t done business with us in a few months. It’s time to assess your customer list to see which ones can still be considered customers. If there are some surprises, you need to make a phone call, send an email, or set up a meeting to find out what happened.
• Am I getting repeat business? If you do manage to hold on to your customers, are you getting the business from them that you should? Most companies can estimate a certain amount of income per customer over the course of a year. If you are not hitting that mark, it’s imperative to find out why. Has your product or service declined in quality, or as you simply not keeping in touch as often as you should? You need to keep your company constantly on their minds through strategic marketing and communication programs. If your business is really a one-shot kind of enterprise, then your focus needs to be on drumming up referrals from satisfied customers.
• Am I meeting my new business goals? The life blood of any new business is new customers. New customers keep a company fresh and help it grow. At the beginning of the year, you should be able to project how many new customers you will acquire. If you are not half-way to this mark, your business could be in trouble. Re-evaluate your marketing plan to find out why it’s not doing its job. Did you make marketing plans that sounded good at the beginning of the year, but you haven’t implemented them yet? Do you have an optimized website, updated Facebook page, and a content strategy that propel your name to the top of any search engine requests?
• Am I engaged with customers and prospects? Business today is more about establishing a relationship than just building a better mousetrap and hoping the world will find it. You have got to be ready to communicate whenever a question pops into the mind of a prospective customer. Have people made comments on your Facebook page or posted on your Twitter feed that you have not answered? If you’re out of touch, they will move on quickly.