Ahh, Spring. For me, it’s such a joyful time of year. The weather starts to warm up, the blossom starts to bloom, and the world seems to be full of opportunity again. Admittedly I am not a hay-fever sufferer, so I’m probably more pro-Spring than most. But I really do think that Spring is the time we come out of our winter fog & start feeling positive again. It’s the perfect time for renewal.
If you’re anything like me, you probably will have been doing the same thing over and over to promote your business for the last 6 months, because winter is so damn unmotivating, and people are grumpy & cold & don’t care about your marketing efforts. But it’s a new season, friends. Time for a little spruce up to reinvigorate your business, your marketing, and yourself!
So grab your favourite drink and work your way through these easy steps to overhaul your marketing efforts and get your business back on track for online success!
7 Easy Ways To Refresh Your Online Marketing
Go Back To Basics
Time to dust off the old business plan and have a good hard look at whether your marketing activity is helping you get you to where you want to be. It’s crucial that we check in with our goals periodically to make sure we’re still heading down the right path – or whether we need to redefine our business goals entirely.
It’s easy to get set in our ways with marketing & promotion, and keep on flogging the same activity over and over again, hoping for a better result. But CHECK YO’SELF BEFORE YOU WRECK YO’SELF…is the product or service you are offering, your price point, your promotional activity & the channels you are marketing on, in line with what your ideal customer wants / is willing to pay / responds to / regularly spends time on? If not, it’s time for a change before you do some permanent damage to your biz.
It also pays to check in with who your customer actually is. Many businesses (mine included!) start out with an idea of who their target market is, only to find a year or two (or ten) down the track that there is an entirely different demographic actually buying your product or service. If that’s the case, you may need to look at your activity, tone of voice & marketing distribution channels to ensure you’re communicating with the customer who will cough up the dollar bills, and not the ones your ego wants.
Check In With Your Analytics
Ok, let’s get real honest here. Hands up if you don’t check in with your website analytics as often as you should (you can’t see me but I am raising my own hand in shame). I will crow ‘til the cows come home to my clients about the necessity to get intimate with your analytics, but it’s one of those things that’s easy to put on the back burner when you’ve got a million and one things to get through. Do as I say though, not as I do…
Your analytics are such a great tool to really understand where your traffic comes from, how people flow through your website, where they are landing, and where they are jumping off. By checking in with it regularly, you can start to see patterns emerging. Is there a particular page where your bounce rate (where users click out of your website) is particularly high? Ask yourself why. Do you spend most of your time marketing on Instagram, but your analytics are telling you that your highest social referrer is Facebook? Time to rethink your strategy. Don’t see a noticeable spike in traffic whenever you post a blog? You might need to look at your SEO.
Try and make it a habit to go over this regularly and make necessary tweaks & adjustments. Your business will thank you for it.
Talk To Your Customers
How long has it been since you actively sought feedback from your customers? They are an absolute gold mine of valuable info, and it’s a good a time as any to start asking them some questions.
You could do a little phone around and ask if they could give you some insights into what you’re doing right and where you could improve. If you’re not comfortable doing a one on one interview (it can be really confronting for the uninitiated!), consider a quick online survey. Tools like SurveyMonkey or Typeform are simple to use and easily emailed to a database. The downside to surveys is that they are easier to ignore than a phone call! If you want to go this way, consider offering a reward such as entry into an exclusive competition to maximize your responses*.
The answers you get from your customers will give you valuable insight into what you need to tweak within your marketing plan to offer even better value.
*Writing survey questions is an art form. The trick to getting the most valuable, honest information from your clients or potential clients is not to ask leading questions. If you’re unsure how to phrase your questions for the best insights, I suggest you seek professional help from a copywriter or research marketer.
Cast An Eye Over Your Branding
Businesses – especially small ones – can be ever-evolving beasts. Every 6-12 months, it pays to look critically at your branding and ask yourself if it still represents you & your business. Does it resonate with your ideal customer? Do your website, social profiles, packaging & communication pieces appear cohesive? If there is a disconnect, it might be time for refresh. This can be anything from small tweaks to a complete overhaul.
Small tweaks can be done easily, with minimum expense & effort, and the transition can often go unnoticed by your customer (an ideal scenario!). A complete overhaul is the opposite – it’s time-consuming, expensive, and if it’s not done properly and for the right reasons, can do more harm than good. If you’re going in for the overhaul, really think about why you’re doing it. If your business is heading in a new direction or your target market has changed dramatically, you might need to invest the time & money to do this. If it’s simply because you’re bored with your current brand, take a deep breath & wait. Don’t do something you’re going to regret later.
Revisit Your Content Plan
We’re all about valuable content here at Little Star, so planning to put your best foot forward online is something we can get behind!
Check in with what’s working & what’s not. Look at your posting days & times, and see if you can spot any trends emerging. Forget what the “experts” say about when you should post. If you notice you get the most engagement when you post at 10am on a Monday or 12pm on a Sunday, keep doing that! Have a look back at the last 3-6 months and pull out what posts did the best for you in terms of engagement & conversions (whether that’s visits through to your website, sales or enquiries). What do they have in common? Do more of that!
If you’re one of those people that flies by the seat of their pants when it comes to posting on your socials, consider planning out a calendar in advance to keep yourself on track, even if it’s only for the next week. It will save you from faffing about in a tizz every day, wondering what the hell you’re going to talk about or what in god’s name you can take a photo of.
Need help with your visual content? Get in touch with me!
Refresh Your Hashies
If you’re an Instagram-a-holic like I am, you’ll know that hashtags are one of the greatest tools you can use to increase your visibility & engagement on the platform. If you find that your engagement is stagnating or dropping, perhaps it’s time to shake up your hashie game. I wrote a blog post a while back on how to use hashtags effectively on Instagram – you can read that here. By changing up what tags you use, you can access a new pool of potential customers, meet new people who could become friends or potential collaborators (or both), and open you & your content up to new hubs & communities.
Just make sure your hashtags are relevant & still reflect the product or service you are offering – for example, if you are a baby clothing designer and you use the hashtag #plussizefashion simply because it’s super popular & will garner you a bunch of likes from spam bots, that is straight up dumb-assery. I know that will seem like common sense to most of you, but I’ve seen it happen and it needs to be said out loud #notsorry
Set One Big Goal For The Next 3 Months
Rather than putting yourself under incredible pressure trying to do all of the things, streamline your efforts by focusing on just ONE major outcome per quarter, then break that one thing into smaller, manageable projects & tasks to smash that goal out of the park!
Work backwards from your major yearly objective (say, ‘increase revenue by 15%’), then identify the four major things that will help you achieve that (these might be: increase incoming leads / enquiries by 50%, launch new product line, secure coverage in a major national publication, and design a collaborative campaign with like-minded brands). For each of these major goals, create a 3-month project plan that will help you achieve them. Stick to it, and you’ll put yourself in the best possible position to achieve your goals without stressing yourself the f**k out.
I’d love to know if these tips work for you and your business! Please get in touch or let me know in the comments below.