Marketing plans, like interiors, need some freshening up every now and then. After a while, they become too familiar and fail to attract interest. If you’ve noticed lately that your marketing plan is stale and no longer attracting as many clients, it’s time to re-evaluate and modify it.
Is the problem something other than the marketing plan?
What is your current situation? Queries may have fallen off because of external conditions, such as a weakening economy or severe climate events. Those clearly are not marketing problems. However, they are good opportunities to reach out to current and previous clients to see if their needs have changed.
Perhaps you’ve been extra busy and have let your marketing efforts slide, or business has been slow so you’ve cut back on how much you’re spending on marketing. Those aren’t marketing problems per se, but they will have a negative impact on your ability to attract new business. For a marketing plan to get good results you need the right strategy, to spend the time and money to execute it properly, and to do so consistently and relentlessly.
Identify what’s not working any longer
Let’s say you’ve done all those things, and they’ve worked well for you in the past. Recently, though, something has changed. That’s a sign your plan needs a refresh. The following steps can help to get your plan back on track.
1. Test your messaging
Clients’ needs, situations and attitudes are always changing. Are you sending the right message that speaks to them now? If you don’t know what that is, try out several different messages by sending each to separate small samples of your marketing list and seeing which gets the best response. You may need to do this a few times to hone in on the most effective messages. Try to stay relevant and timely in your messaging.
2. Upgrade and freshen your look
Assuming you don’t need a full brand makeover (which is an altogether different matter), try switching out the photos, graphics, fonts, and other imagery on your website, social media, emails, and marketing materials. Be sure they look professional and are of high quality. A new look almost always attracts attention. Even changing an element from one brand color to another can be eye-catching.
3. Narrow your target audience
It might sound counterintuitive to target a smaller audience. Don’t you want to broaden your audience? That works for some consumer goods, but you provide a specialized service. If you’re marketing to a broad audience, you may turn away the clients you want who don’t identify with “the herd”. Likewise, you might waste time on prospects who are not good fits, but ended up being on the receiving end of your marketing efforts. Focus your outreach, messaging and look to attract your ideal client. Remember quality over quantity.
4. Set yourself apart
There are many designers and decorators out there offering similar services. What makes you and your firm unique? Tap into that segment of clients who are looking for something different or exclusive or for someone they can identify with. Don’t be afraid to narrow and focus your marketing efforts. A well-placed message is more effective than a scattershot approach, and there are more than enough prospects to keep you busy without worrying about the competition stealing everyone from under your nose.
5. Re-do your marketing mix
If you’ve always done marketing one way but it’s no longer working, try using some other marketing platforms. These days there are many options to choose from, especially in the area of digital marketing. Unlike a website makeover or redesign of printed materials, you can test out various digital campaigns quickly and for a relatively low cost. Try out a new social media platform, place an ad in a new location, or create a new kind of email newsletter.
6. Re-think your strategy
From past success, you may believe you know the best way to attract new clients. You might want to consider that there may be even better ones you haven’t tried yet. There are some excellent books and online classes to stimulate your thinking. And even here at Pearl Collective, we’re not above hiring a marketing consultant to share new ideas and educate us in areas in which we lack knowledge. Talk with peers or other professionals about what works for them. Expose yourself to new ideas. Then try out a few and see what happens. Record the results and learn from the experience.
7. Revise your Call to Action
You’ve succeeded in driving prospects to your website or to contact you. What do you want them to do next? Obviously, you hope that eventually they will hire you. But before that? Help them walk that decision path. Point them the way to getting more information and answers to their questions. Don’t overload them with options right away. They may feel overwhelmed and go away. Keep it straightforward and simple, and keep the main road paved and well-lit!
Be consistent and give it time
There’s a reason there are thousands of marketing books, consultants, coaches and firms. Marketing is a never-ending process of trial-and-error and renewal. Methods and media are always changing, as are consumers. There is no “one size fits all” marketing plan. If your current marketing plan isn’t working, give something else a try. But most important, keep at it. Don’t get anxious if you don’t see results right away. Marketing is a long-term strategy, so give your trees time to bear their fruit.