Marketing isn’t something you can put on autopilot and hope for the best – it’s a set of practices that are constantly evolving (particularly, digital marketing) which is why it requires ongoing research, analysis, brainstorming, testing, and more to deliver the kind of results that your business needs. It’s easy to spot when marketing is working thanks to tracking tools and sales reports, but it’s a little trickier to tell when your marketing isn’t working, or better yet when your business has a marketing problem. Here are 15 signs that your business has a marketing problem and the actions you can take to fix it.
1. You’re not meeting or exceeding your Business Goals
It may seem pretty obvious, but it’s worth mentioning because sometimes businesses can become so focused on tactics that they lose sight of the bigger picture and the marketing goals that they’re supposed to be working toward. Or, there are businesses that know they’re not meeting or exceeding their marketing goals. As a result, their attention is focused on other areas of the business so they do nothing about it.
Recommended action: Review and analyze the results of all your marketing tactics and see how they compare to your marketing strategy and how that helps you accomplish your business goals.
2. You’re not setting measurable Marketing Goals
When thinking about your marketing goals, how can you tell when you meet or exceed them within metrics? When your marketing goals are vague and unmeasurable, it’s difficult to tell which aspects of your marketing are actually working and add value to your business. The drawback is that we’re so overwhelmed by data and metrics, that it can be difficult to determine which goals are relevant. Businesses continue to run the risk of tracking vanity metrics that add nothing to the goals of the business.
Recommendation action: Use the popular goal-setting method ‘SMART’ to make your marketing goals clear and measurable. SMART is an acronym that stands for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. The method can be applied to all types of marketing goals such as increasing email subscribers, reducing cost-per-clicks in Google Ads, generating leads, and more.
3. Your profits are stagnate
A glaring sign that you have a marketing problem is that your profits haven’t grown. This is likley a result of when your marketing goals don’t align with overall company growth goals. The whole point of marketing is to grow your business – when it’s not doing that, then something needs to change. Profit is merely fuel that powers the vehicle of your business to where you want to go.
Recommendation action: Meet with other departments to see if there are any bottlenecks that are holding your company back. Before ramping up your marketing or making widescale changes, you should first determine if there are any internal processes you can simplify, automate, or fix to make your marketing more effective. For example, you may discover from the sales team a way to improve your lead nurturing process which will convert more leads into customers.
4. The competition is beating you
When competitors are doing better, it’s normal to feel threatened. However, lowering your price or offering discounts may seem like an easy, quick solution to getting more customers, but once you raise prices and the discount ends, those customers will probably end up leaving you anyway to chase a lower price. Instead, see how you can improve your marketing to acquire and keep customers.
Recommended action: With Disruptive innovation, we only look at the value proposition of competitors and how they are communicating that value proposition, but we never benchmark ourselves against them as this can be determinantal to our strategy. If the competition if fast and cheap, look at being slow and expensive (premium). At the end of the day, your goal isn’t revenue, market share or followers – your goal is profit. Start with finding out what your competitors are doing that’s making them so successful. Is their website easier to use? Do they have amazing content? Don’t copy what everyone else is doing, but take inspiration from what’s working for competitors and brainstorm ideas to disrupt your industry and make your company more competitive.
5. It’s been several years since you’ve had a marketing audit
Regular marketing audits are a great to improve your current efforts and determine where new efforts should be focused on. Obviously, this if a full evaluation of your current strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities in your strategy and tactics. If it’s been a while since you’ve done a marketing audit, then it’ll be harder to know whether or not your marketing is working.
Recommended action: A marketing audit can be done at any time, but having it scheduled twice a year or every quarter will make it easier to follow through with it. Also, hiring a consultant to perform your marketing audit can give your business a fresh perspective and solutions that you or your team haven’t considered. To request a Marketing Audit contact us.
6. Your messaging is no longer resonating with customers
The messaging that your website and marketing materials started out with years ago may not resonate with customers today. People, tastes, and buying behaviors change over time, and if your messaging hasn’t evolved, then it will fall flat with customers.
Recommended action: Before changing your messaging, it’s important to know what your brand is about. When businesses don’t have a clear idea of who they are and what matters most to their customers, then it’s much harder to create messaging that will resonate and engage. Nail down your brand first and find out what customers want (through customer discussions, surveys, polls, etc.) to ensure that your messaging is on target.
7. Your marketing strategy and tactics haven’t evolved
When your marketing strategy and tactics stay the same, so do your results. In fact, being stagnant can end up hurting your business since competitors won’t be standing still. While you’re doing the same old thing, they’re evolving and gaining greater market share.
Recommended action: Gather your marketing strategy/tactics documents from the last three to five years and see how they compare. If there isn’t much difference between one document to the next, then your marketing hasn’t evolved. Change up your marketing strategy and tactics by researching trends, learning new tools, testing new ideas, or hiring a consultant.
8. Your new customers come primarily from only one source
As the saying goes, “Don’t put your eggs all in one basket.” Your company should have multiple sources of getting new customers to buffer the impact of slow sales, market changes, new technology, etc.
Recommended action: There are many ways you can acquire new customers like social media, mobile marketing (email and SMS), referral programs, affiliate marketing, event sponsorships, guest blogging, sponsored content, and more. With research, testing, and analysis, you’ll be able to create additional sources for acquiring customers.
9. You’re not capturing and nurturing potential customers
Not only should you be capturing leads, but also nurturing those relationships to convert them into customers. You can’t expect customers to drop into your lap – you must have a strategy and tactics for capturing leads, separating qualified and unqualified leads, and nurturing the qualified leads to convert them into customers.
Recommended action: Websites are very effective for capturing leads whether it’s through contact forms, newsletter signups, downloadable content, free demos, and more. There are other ways to capture leads outside of your website such as Facebook lead ads, contests and giveaways that require a name and email to enter. Once you’ve figured out how to capture leads, next determine how you will nurture those relationships like a drip campaign (i.e. a series of scheduled emails with a ‘call-to-action’ such as “Sign Up Now” or “Book an Appointment”) or a follow-up email or phone call from a sales rep.
10. Your website is dated
Customers will judge your entire business based on your website so it’s important that it has a responsive design to ensure it looks and performs great across various devices (i.e. desktop, smartphone, and tablet). Your website should also have a clear flow to convert visitors into leads or customers.
Recommended action: Unless you have a web developer or designer on staff, it’s best to leave your website to the professionals. Partnering with a digital marketing agency offers the best of both worlds as they will have the capabilities to update your website to a responsive design while also ensuring the website supports your marketing strategy and tactics.
11. You’re not investing in content
It’s not enough to have a website, you need content marketing to keep prospects engaged throughout the buyer’s journey (awareness, consideration, decision). Furthermore, content is an essential component of search engine optimization (SEO) which helps your website show up in Google’s search results pages. It’s also an effective tactic for capturing and nurturing leads.
Recommended action: Perform a content audit to better understand the material you have on your website and improve your efforts to engage customers. There are many types of content such as blog posts, videos, case studies, white papers, infographics, FAQs, and more. With any content that you create, make sure that it serves a purpose in the buyer’s journey.
12. You’re not effectively using email
Email is one of the most effective types of marketing thanks to its high engagement rates and ROI. If your business isn’t effectively using email for marketing, sales, and customer service, then you’re missing out on opportunities to capture/nurture leads, increase sales, and improve customer satisfaction.
Recommended action: Businesses use email for multiple purposes so it’s important to evaluate your company’s needs and goals to see how you can use email most effectively. There are many email automation tools available, which is why it’s crucial to know what you want to get out of email to make it easier to find the right solution for your business.
13. You don’t put in any effort to acquire customer reviews
Customer reviews serve as ‘social proof’ to prospects that your product or service is truly what it claims to be. Without reviews, prospects will be more reluctant to give your product/service a try. While some customers might take it upon themselves to leave your company a review, many won’t which is why you need a process for acquiring customer reviews.
Recommended action: Make it as easy as possible for customers to leave you a review. You can do this by sending a follow-up email asking for a review after they’ve received an order, having a prominent link on your website for reviews, setting up a business profile on popular review platforms (e.g. Google, Facebook, Yelp, TripAdvisor), training your staff to encourage customers to post an online review, and so on.
14. You’re doing everything manually
Doing everything manually not only is time-consuming, but it’s also ineffective and prone to human error. There are many marketing automation tools and customer relationship management (CRM) software to allow you to do more in less time.
Recommended action: Find out what are the most time-consuming tasks in your marketing, sales, and customer service to see what can be automated and research potential solutions. It can be difficult to get people on board with automation, but emphasize the benefits of automation to them such as reducing email time, generating leads, simplifying appointment scheduling, streamlining document signing, etc.
15. Your marketing budget isn’t properly allocated
While it’s common for businesses to cut costs wherever they can, it’s imperative that your marketing budget is the right size and properly allocated for the goals you’re trying to achieve. There are times when you’ll need to invest in technology, training, consulting, etc., to improve your marketing’s effectiveness which will ultimately increase profits and justify the investment.
Recommended action: Review your marketing budget and how it’s being allocated with a fine-tooth comb. You may discover that you’re paying for a tool that offers little returns or a tactic that has a high ROI but is being underfunded. If you have to get approval to increase your marketing budget, create a budget proposal that explains why a budget increase is necessary and how it will benefit the company.
Fix Your Marketing with Expert Help
Whether you’re an established business or a startup, it can be challenging to know where to even begin with your marketing. That’s why partnering with marketing experts like us can make all the difference in creating a marketing strategy that actually benefits your business. Through creativity and analytical thinking, coupled with unique tools, we help businesses and entrepreneurs achieve tangible results through comprehensive marketing solutions. Take the first step in fixing your marketing today by scheduling a marketing strategy session with Mavericks Marketing!