Don’t you love spring?
After a long winter, everything is fresh and new. Sunshine floods into all your dark corners, and makes you realize …
“Uh-oh. I need to do some clean up!”
The same thing happens with your marketing. At some point, you look at your marketing materials and realize there are a few items that are a little off kilter and messy. They’re not as consistent as you’d like. Or they’re promoting things that no longer reflect the direction of your business.
Time to update your marketing and get it working again!
How do you know it’s time for a marketing makeover?
A few warning signs your marketing needs an update:
- The way you talk about your business isn’t consistent across the media you use to market your business.
- Your visual brand looks different on different platforms.
- You have several “sub-brands” that make no reference back to your main brand, and may be diluting your brand overall.
- Your brand isn’t recognizable. People don’t remember the name of your business, and don’t understand what it offer.
- You are marketing products and services that don’t reflect where you want to take your business in the future
Tackling a marketing update may sound overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. We’re going to use tried-and-true spring cleaning techniques to get through this task quickly and easily. Read on.
Step 1: Inventory your marketing assets
The first step to cleaning a closet is taking everything out of it. Once you’ve got it all in front of you, you decide what to keep, what to donate, and what to throw away.
We’re going to do the same thing with your marketing. The first step is to take inventory of what you’re doing now.
To do this step, I want you to put together samples of your brand across the web and in print. For your web-only marketing, take screenshots. (Learn to take screenshots here.) For print marketing materials, gather samples. And if you have marketing items in PDF form, print out a few pages (including the covers) so you can look at everything side-by-side.
Here’s what you want to gather together:
- Screenshots of your website, including the home page and your most-visited pages
- Screenshots of your social media profiles
- Samples of social media images you may have shared over the past few months
- Business cards and any print materials you may have
- PDF ebooks, worksheets, or checklists you may distribute for your business (print the covers and a few inside pages)
- Printed samples of your invoices
- Screenshot samples of your email marketing
Step 2: Compare and contrast
Now take your marketing elements and lay them out on a nice, large surface where you can see them side-by-side.
Time to compare them. Ask yourself these questions:
- Which ones seem “off brand?” Like they don’t quite belong with the others?
- Which ones are so “on brand” that they should be used as standards for your brand style?
- Which marketing items are promoting products and services you want to continue to offer? Which are promoting things you want to stop offering?
Chances are you’ll see some items that you’re very happy with.
And you’ll see others that make you cringe.
That’s OK: even large organizations with massive marketing budgets get off track. It’s easy for your marketing to deviate from your overall plan, and that’s why these occasional inventories are valuable.
The important thing here is to know where your marketing stands so you can formulate a plan for the future.
Step 3: Process and plan your updates
Now that you’ve seen how your business appears to the outside world, it’s time to spruce it up.
Here’s how to sort through and process everything you gathered together:
Category 1: Toss it:
Eliminate any branding or marketing piece that isn’t accurate for your business anymore. Our businesses constantly evolve, and sometimes an inventory like this reveals a product or service you’d forgotten about. Sometimes it simply doesn’t fit with where you are trying to take your business.
If either of these ring true, eliminate the marketing item so you can focus on what you do best. Clearing away offers that aren’t working frees you up to focus on those that are.
Category 2: Update it:
Sometimes your marketing reflects something you still want to offer, but it’s not offered in the best way possible.
Maybe the branding is a little off. Maybe it needs a new sales and marketing process to be built around it.
The items that fall into this category are the ones that will end up on your to-do list. Plan to hire people to help you update them as needed, or carve out time to do the work yourself.
Category 3: Keep it:
These items are perfect as is. If they’re “on brand” and selling well, consider using them as models for future products and services.
To do this, try to decipher what makes an offer successful. Is it the marketing process you used? Does the product or service itself meet a specific need? Is it the price point?
Sometimes we’re so focused on learning from our failures that we forget to examine our successes!
Spend some time dissecting why your best marketing elements work well. The lessons you learn can be applied to everything else you do.
How much time should this take?
Your marketing inventory shouldn’t take more than a day.
Gather the elements you need, and spend time looking them over. The first step toward making any major change is to acknowledge where you’re starting, and that’s what this inventory will do.
Spend your marketing inventory day comparing the items you have, and then scheduling the work you’ll do to update the marketing items that need it.
The result? Refreshed marketing and new energy to spend developing the areas of your business that truly work for you.