It’s been a bizarre and busy few years for small to medium businesses. Marketing has evolved and morphed even faster than usual and the pace of change is making it tough to know what to prioritise in the New Year.
As such, it might be time to declutter your marketing, to help you get back to focusing on what works best for your business.
If you’re feeling like you’re juggling too many digital marketing strategy balls at once, here’s your guide to decluttering and rediscovering that feeling of being in control.
Cull the marketing strategies that simply aren’t working.
Do a stock take of all the balls you have in the air right now – from email marketing campaigns to pay-per-click campaigns, influencer marketing, social media campaigns, promotions, sales, YouTube ads, and everything in between.
How many of them are giving you worthwhile ROIs? How many of them are simply existing without gaining any traction? How many are actively losing you money?
While the argument could be made that you could work on the laggers and bring them up to speed, you can also simply cull them for now. This will free you up to make improvements to strategies that are doing well, or investing further for greater returns.
File away your notes on any culled strategies so you can return to them at a later date if you wish. You might even hire someone new who specialises in one of these areas, or do training to learn more about them, so they can be more effective the next time you try them.
In the meantime, you can enjoy the freedom of decluttering your marketing calendar right now.
Make better use of available marketing tools.
One of the best things about marketing in the current digital age is the smorgasbord of tools available.
These days, you can find tools that:
- Automate your marketing
- Automate client communications
- Sync online information
- Organise appointments and meetings
- Organises customer data
- Automates your analytics
- Creates and posts social media content
- Turns written content into engaging videos
- Discovers the best keywords for your brand
- And much, much more.
These kinds of tools are a busy marketer’s best friend, and it’s likely that you’re already signed up to a subscription or two.
Therefore, one way you can declutter your marketing in 2024 is to start using some of these tools to help you automate and streamline as much as possible.
Alternatively, you can look into your subscriptions and see what tools you’re already paying for that you could make better use of.
For example, signing up to Thryv and only using it to manage your social media presence would be like investing in the best Swiss army pocket knife in the world and only using it to open wine bottles.
Thryv offers an extensive array of tools for the busy marketer, many of which can take tasks out of your hands and simplify your endless to-do lists. It allows you to organise everything from your appointments to your social media presence, online listings, documents, and more, all from one simple dashboard.
Outsource what can be outsourced.
There are some tasks that are simply too important to cull or too sensitive or difficult to automate with tools, but are too time consuming to continue to handle all by yourself.
Anything that fits these criteria can be outsourced.
Here are just some of the marketing tasks that can be outsourced, either as single tasks or as a package of work:
- Video and graphics creation
- Competition analysis
- Keyword research
- Outreach work
- Content ideation
- Database maintenance
- Customer service emails
- Link building strategies
With both the gig economy and specialist marketing agencies offering exceptional options for marketing managers, it’s easier and more efficient than ever to outsource a large portion of your work to professionals.
From simple marketing tasks to large projects, outsourcing can save you huge amounts of time and stress and clear your plate for other work.
Streamline your messaging.
As your marketing strategies grow and evolve, it can feel natural to introduce different messaging to attract different sections of your audience.
However, this may be making your job, and the jobs of your team members, more complicated than it needs to be.
With a strong USP (unique selling point), you should be able to streamline your messaging to keep it consistent, or at least in the same vein, across all of your platforms, and for all of your audience sectors.
By streamlining your messaging, you should be able to cut down on the number of different iterations you have to produce to reach your audiences. You’ll be able to reuse the same content and branding across different platforms, solidifying your brand and its message no matter who sees it.
Streamlining your messaging is known as integrated marketing and provides customers with consistency across your channels.
Become more niche.
Right now, how many different audience profiles do you have? Is there one or two that don’t have the same interest in your product or service as other audience groups?
Decluttering your marketing can also mean decluttering your audiences. You’re spending time, money and resources targeting various groups, but not all of those groups are going to be big spenders. And, if there’s one, or perhaps even two groups that don’t provide the same returns as you’d like, you might consider cutting them out of the picture.
While this could result in a drop in income, it could also free up your time and resources to focus more on audience groups with higher returns. You’ll be able to better target these groups and do a better job of getting your messages through to them, hopefully increasing your bottom line in the process.
Not to mention that this allows you and your team the breathing room to avoid burning out by taking on too much.
And, after one study found that 70% of marketing executives said that the past year has ‘completely exhausted’ their employees, now is definitely the time to take steps to reduce the marketing work load as much as possible.
Marie Kondo your marketing strategies.
Marie Kondo has become the queen of decluttering in recent years and, while her practices are made for decluttering the home, they can easily be adapted to your marketing plans.
One of her key concepts is that many of us hold onto things simply due to an attachment to the past, rather than for any logical or practical reason. And this is arguably even more relevant to marketing campaigns than to old pairs of socks.
Certain campaigns, emails, sales materials, templates and other marketing pieces can end up sticking around for far longer than necessary, simply because managers are attached to them. Often, we work long and hard on marketing materials, and it’s tough to send them to the recycling bin and replace them with new ideas, designs, copy, etc.
So to declutter, take the time to look at each piece of your current marketing plan and determine if there’s anything you’re still running with simply because you’re attached to it. If it’s no longer serving its purpose, it’s time for it to go.
However, if it’s bringing you ‘joy’ – AKA, returns or revenue – put it in the ‘to keep’ pile.
Talk to your team.
Nobody knows your processes and strategies like your team, therefore nobody knows what’s cluttering up your campaigns like the staff who have been dealing with them day in and out.
Let your team know that you’re looking to pare back your marketing and remove the chaff, and ask for their feedback on what’s no longer contributing to sales or goals in any meaningful way. They will likely be able to highlight various parts of the marketing machine that need to be retired.
This could be unnecessary steps in your usual processes, superfluous emails being sent to clients and customers, excessive time spent on double handling PPC campaign creation, or almost anything else.
It could even be weekly meetings that could be held once per fortnight, or even per month. After all, more than three-quarters (78%) of respondents in one survey felt their meeting schedule was out of control. If employees can spend less time in meetings, they can spend more time getting work done.
Focus on activities that meet (and exceed) customer expectations.
So often in marketing, we focus on bringing new customers into the sales funnel. With new sign-up discounts, promotions, and other tactics, we work to discover new clients. And while these activities are important, they shouldn’t come at the cost of existing customers.
Generally speaking, it’s easier to make another sale to a happy existing customer than it is to bring in a new customer. Marketing Metrics: The Definitive Guide to Measuring Marketing Performance states that the probability of making a sale to an existing customer is 60-70% likely, whereas the probability for new prospects has a likelihood of just 5-20%.
Yet 91% of unhappy customers will not willingly do business with a company again, and many of them will recommend their friends stay away from you as well.
That’s why focusing on simply meeting customer expectations – and exceeding them if you can – is not just incredibly valuable in terms of your return on investment, it should also help you determine where to place your time and resources.
For example, you could spend more time creating strategies on how to ensure a positive experience for the customer, follow up on all complaints and put plans in place to avoid them in future, and follow up with positive reinforcement after every purchase (such as a thank you note, small gift, or discount voucher).
This should allow you to cut back on demanding strategies and activities focused on acquiring new customers and let positive word of mouth and repeat happy customers pick up the slack (and then some).
Get help from the experts.
Perhaps the easiest way to simplify or declutter your marketing is to bring in experts to help.
Not only can Yellow Pages’ digital marketing experts help you to cull the strategies that won’t offer the best returns, we can do the legwork to help you focus on the most beneficial areas. From organic search and SEO, to search engine marketing, digital display, and social media advertising, it’s our business to help your business.
Get in touch to let us know what you need.