As we’re coming into the new year, it’s the time to evaluate not just what our goals are for the new year but to also recap what worked in the the last 12 months.
If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you are overwhelmed with every marketing outlet that’s available to us. Marketing has changes so much in the last few years that it’s opened up a ton of new venues and strategies for us to get the message out about how we help others but it’s now to a point where it’s turned into both a blessing and a curse.
- What’s the best strategy to get in front of your audience?
- What media should I be using?
- How can I use Facebook to cultivate prospects and turn them into clients?
- What about traditional marketing like direct mail? Does it still work?
The list goes on and on.
Let’s face it. It’s no wonder we all feel like we have to work 80 hours a week just to get a handle on it all.
A while back I came up with a simple little formula that I use to evaluate what’s truly the best use of my time, energy and marketing dollar. It’s helped me streamline what I do in my business, cut out the tasks that weren’t producing and optimize what was.
Overall, it’s helped me stay very focused on “doing the right things.”
Stop and take out a piece of paper right now and do this. It’s not hard and spending 10 minutes on this exercise could save you hundreds of hours in the next year.
Step one: Take inventory
List out all the things you did in the last year to market your business.
Networking, Facebook advertising, Twitter posts, public speaking, etc. List them all out. Don’t worry about the details, just make list them out as fast as you can.
Step Two: Put a check mark next to everything that actually produced results for you.
This one you have to be pretty critical on. Let me share an example: Networking is one of my favorite ways to marketing my business. I do local networking, conferences & seminars and also online networking as a way to connect with other entrepreneurs both from a client perspective and also as potential referral partners.
When I did this exercise I realized that I was spending a ton of time on the local networking side and really wasn’t getting results from it. The cost involved (both money and more importantly, time) just wasn’t returning the results I felt were worth the effort involved.
Which leads me to step three…
Step Three: Evaluate each item.
- Why did it work?
- If it didn’t, why not?
- Can it be optimized to be more effective?
Going back to my networking example, I realized that I needed to spend more time working on the conferences and online networking. That’s where I got the most response. I could find one client at a conference that was worth more than everything I did together on the local marketing.
My Result: Focus more time on conferences and seminars.
Spending two days at a conference I did more business than I did in 6 months in a local Chamber.
Now, I’m not saying that joining your local Chamber is a bad thing. I’m just using this as an example. In my previous business I tripled my income in 6 months from one Chamber. So don’t think my example will be the same for everyone.
The goal is to evaluate it and see if it’s working and if not, how can you make it work. (Or eliminate it if you can’t)
Now there is actually a step four that I didn’t mention here…
Step Four: If it worked, DO MORE OF IT!
This is seriously the biggest mistake I see so many people doing. They have something that’s working but they get bored with it or get sucked in to the next shiny object and then let what was working slide.
Make sure that if it’s working you keep doing it. See how you can improve it and scale it up. Then, and only then, should you look at adding something else to your marketing mix.
This simple formula is not anything complicated. Nor does it need any fancy software to figure out. With a single sheet of paper and about 10 minutes of time you can map out your basic marketing plan for the next 12 months.