Consistency is a key component of success in just about any undertaking. When it comes to marketing, the best way to ensure consistency is to systemize it.
Your system is a set of actions that deliver consistent results: When you do A and B, you consistently get C.
Unfortunately, most small business owners do not have a marketing system. For them, the equation looks more like, “If I do A and remember to do B, I hope I get C.”
If you want consistent results, systemize your marketing.
Marketing System – where to start?
Start your marketing makeover systems work with a CONTENT calendar and budget. Once established honor it the way you would any other calendar or budget in your business.
With a focus on your ideal customer determine the annual events, cycles, and significant touch points in your relationship. This could include seasonal activities like travel or car or home buying peaks and valleys. It could also include trade shows and events that require concentrated effort and planning. Don’t forget to also include in your calendar lifecycle events like annual renewals, birthdays, and customer anniversaries.
After you have your annual elements identified build your editorial and content calendar that aligns with your ideal customers’ need for information and engagement.
Tool download: Content Themes Worksheet
Tool download: Content Plan Worksheet
Once your calendar is constructed, you can now estimate your marketing budget based on past experiences and educated guesses at new plans and activities. You can address your budget in a number of ways, but prioritizing the most important elements will remove frustrations when you need to rationalize the difference between what you have to spend on marketing and what you want to spend.
Tool download: Marketing Budget Worksheet
A best practice is to review your calendar and budget on at least a monthly basis, forecasting and revising as necessary the annual and next quarter elements. No one sets a calendar and budget on January 1 and works an entire year without analyzing and changing. You will need to seek the balance of setting a budget and managing reality.
What does a marketing system look like?
Your marketing makeover includes the systemization of every element of your marketing.
Here are some examples.
- Content development: Create a schedule for both building and using your content. Next, make sure the content you create matches the channel: email, direct mail, website, social media, advertisements, and print. As you measure the effectiveness of your content, divert focus from underperforming areas to those receiving a positive response.
- Content promotion: Developing content is only the first step. Without effective promotion and use, you don’t get the results you hoped for. To ensure your audience receives and benefits from the content you produce, promote it through social media, email, and paid promotion. As above, make sure the content you post is appropriate to the channel you use.
- Social promotion: Look for ways to automate educational content, as well as ways to make it interactive. Keep in mind that engagement and interaction are always easier with a well-informed and educated audience. How can you expect them to interact with your business if they have no idea of what you are posting or talking about? It is your obligation to bring them along with the right content.
- Email: What is the appropriate rhythm for your email marketing? This varies depending on the recipient. For example, with new subscribers, you’re looking to nurture them to become dedicated customers, as well as offering promotions. In general, you will design more email touches for new prospects and clients than long-standing existing contacts and customers. Segmentation is the key to building the right content and frequency.
- Website: Update website content as per the schedule of your calendar. Blog posts should happen regularly, at least monthly but don’t stress out thinking you have to post more than once per week. Again, include them in your schedule. Blogs include a variety of content, including company news and updates, industry news, and educational content. You want a mix of topical and evergreen content in your blog.
- Evergreen content remains relevant indefinitely, which ups its value. These posts are typically highly focused. Think “Five Things I Wish I Knew Before Buying My Daughter Her First Car” versus “What to Look for in a New Car.” The first title has far more value. Common evergreen content includes how-to guides, Listicles, tips, articles, and encyclopedic pieces.
- Topical content loses relevancy in a relatively short period, but it still has value. This includes seasonal pieces, such as holiday-themed articles, but also technology pieces that tend to become obsolete rather quickly. In addition, anything mentioning prices or other information subject to change lands in the topical content pile.
Audience Engagement: Balance “In Real Life” and Automation
When working on your marketing system, do not forget consistency in customer engagement. Create processes for sales and customer support that proactively help customers make decisions, and address customer concerns and answer customer questions.
Some of these touch points can be automated to ensure they arrive at the time your prospect or customer needs them. An example would be an automated email workflow that introduces a prospect to your company and answers their questions before they have the opportunity to ask them.
While automation can help your marketing become more consistent, don’t forget to actually talk to your customers. Seek out their feedback, and integrate their input into your marketing system.
Do you want to know what works and what doesn’t in your business? Prospects and customers are the best people to ask.
Go online and look at the reviews and comments people leave about your business and your competitors. You not only gain better insights into your customers, but you’ll also get some great ideas for content.
Consistency wins the marketing game, and your marketing makeover should include a healthy dose of systemization. Knowing what is working is also important and the topic of the next step in the marketing makeover.