We have reached that crazy time of the year when everyone is trying to close out their year, looking at their P&L statements and stuffing receipts in envelopes to deliver to their accountants. When I work with clients to set goals for their marketing content and social media efforts we usually talk about those goals on a per project or per effort basis but I always suggest that they do a yearly review as well. I believe it is important to look at the dollars you spent on all forms of marketing (advertising, sponsorships, graphics development, social media, website updates, etc) and ask yourself a few simple questions about each line item.
- Did I get what I expected for my investment of time / money?
- Do I know the measurable results of that spend?
- Would I do that effort / project again?
- What lessons did I learn?
Unless you have a specific background in marketing some of these questions might be hard to answer but I promise there is value in just reviewing them even if just mentally. When doing the review make sure you give consideration to even the “free” marketing efforts like your Facebook fan page and your Blog. While those might not be specific line items that cost you money but if you are doing them properly they are definitely costing you time which as a small business owner is one of your most valuable resources.
Once you have done a basic review of everything you have done in the past year to promote your business take a look at the competition. Look around at your competitor landscape.
What are your competitors spending time on? Are they buying Google Ad words space for key words where you are relying on organic search? Do you know the difference? If not check out this article.
Is your competitor publishing blog content weekly and yours hasn’t been updated since March 2009? Blogging can be a great way to drive organic search links to your site. A 2010 Hubspot Report indicated that B2C companies that blog have 88% more leads than those who don’t.
Once you have finished looking at your efforts and few competitors’ efforts do one last review. Use the Marketing Grader application. It is free and allows you to run it again your website as well as your competitors. Please wait until you have done your own “gut check” review first. Going straight to the automated tool is cheating! How much different is your score than your competitors?
- If you are more than 10 points higher – Congratulations! Go ahead and review the recommendations and see what areas of improvement you can capitalize on.
- If you are more than 10 points lower – Don’t despair! Everything pointed out here can be fixed and most of it does not require an extensive marketing budget. If you are willing to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) your URL and your competitor URL I will review and you might be featured as a “marketing makeover” for a future post!
- If you came out within 10 points of your competitor – you have a very exciting opportunity to differentiate yourself. Take advantage of many of the tools that are already a part of the Doodlekit platform like the blog to move yourself out in front and boost your organic search placement!
Stay tuned next month when I cover Small Business Social Media New Year’s Resolutions. How a little effort can go a long way to getting increasing your brand awareness. And as always, consider Doodlekit when looking at free website builders to make your website!
About the Author: Heather Rubesch is currently the Director of Content for DemandCon, the only industry conference focused on accelerating the entire sales and marketing funnel. Her penchant for collaboration drew her 3 years ago to co-found the Savvy B2B Marketing blog with five of the most talented content marketers in the universe!