Sometimes, a business owner has great luck with a marketing campaign. The tactics are successful, the messages elicit responses, and customers can't help but throw their money at the company. But sometimes a marketing campaign that was working well suddenly stops working without warning or clear reason. No idea where to go next? Maybe some of these small business tips will help you find the answer to what to do when a tried-and-true marketing plan fails.
Take note of all current marketing strategies
Whether small biz promotion tactics entail a small-scale campaign or a full-blown, multichannel extravaganza, it's best to start at the beginning. Take note of all current marketing channels as well as what types of marketing strategies have been explored. If responses were tracked with customer relationship management software or programs, include all of that information as well. It may even be helpful to rank the marketing avenues and campaigns in order–whether that order is from most to least successful or by budget is up to you.
Once the list has been created, take a good, hard look at it, and do a bit of self-assessment. What could possibly be going wrong? Is a majority of the budget funneled into one strategy while others are left to fend for themselves? Are you hanging onto traditional direct marketing strategies and have no idea why? Most importantly, include the issue of consistency into the marketing plan self-evaluation. Are you doing an OK job sending just enough marketing goodness that people are intrigued, or is the target audience left feeling under or overwhelmed?
Did you test?
This section may not apply to everyone, but it is certainly directed to the small business owners who consistently churn out marketing materials and have no idea how they perform. Sure, it sounds easy enough to send out a well-planned email and then sit back and wait for new customers to beat down the door, but it's just not that simple. Before revamping an existing marketing campaign, and before spending oodles on the marketing budget on random marketing strategies that you think potential customers will like, test. Then test again. Keep track of open rates for email newsletters and use unique promotional codes that determine what kinds of productions and services your target audience is looking for. And while we're on the topic, do you know who your targeted audience is? Testing can solve the mystery for you!
Take a few baby steps
Small business owners are pressed for time under normal circumstances, let alone when they are creating or modifying an entire marketing campaign. Once the self-assessment and testing are done, it's likely that a few answers about why a campaign isn't fully successful will be revealed. Maybe a glitch along the way led you to believe that most of your resources should be used for social media, when really customers are digging email communications? Whatever the reason, changes need to be made–but not all at once. Baby steps are where it's at. Work on one small project or strategy within an individual marketing avenue at a time rather than taking on a ton of extra pressure and stress that will lessen the likelihood a marketing campaign will ever be successful.
By Saul McGoveran