By Nicole Yuen
It’s the summer and as the weather heats up, it’s a perfect time to “check-in” to ensure that your marketing is on fire to end 2014 with a bang.
Use this 11-point checklist to ensure a successful mid-year marketing check-in and your marketing is on track.
1. Conduct a mid-year content audit.
Update your content inventory with any new content that you’ve created this year. Review your analytics as well as input from your front line teams such as Sales, Product and Customer Service to determine the type of traction each piece of content is getting. If revisions to the content need to be made or if the piece of content has to be retired due to non-performance, now is a good time to make those determinations. Identify where content holes exist and devise a plan to close the holes. How about the content that received the most engagement? Should you repurpose that content?
Check your total content mix and the percentages of each content type being used. For example, do you need to add more video and less white papers or vice versa? Is it time to add or remove something, or change percentages of your content types?
Ensure appropriate calls to action (CTA) for every piece of content. And ensure the CTA landing pages are engaging.
Review each content channel. How are your blog, online community, video, mobile, social media and other channels performing? Who is subscribing? Why are they subscribing or unsubscribing? Review your content distribution plan and really focus on the “why” of each channel used.
2. Check-in with Sales to ensure alignment exists.
Meet with key members of the Sales team to ensure there is alignment. If something is off-track, create a plan to get back on track. Consider going on some sales calls. Participate in win-loss analysis and make sure that any recommendations that both of you agreed should be implemented into your marketing is implemented.
3. Ensure you know your audience.
Get back to basics through listening in to your social networks and online communities, engaging with your audience and obtaining market feedback from customer-facing teams. Know your audience’s pains and motivators, needs and wants so you can deliver content that resonates with them.
4. Update your buyer personas.
Take any new information you learned above and update your buyer personas accordingly. Are your personas covering all your key market segments? Ensure you have coverage.
5. Participate in customer visits.
Remember you not only have to nurture prospects but also nurture your customers. Find out any new pains or motivators. Knowing this information is very beneficial to any cross-sell or up-sell opportunities.
6. Revisit your prospect/customer nurturing maps.
Ensure the right messages and right content are being introduced at the right point in the pre-sale and post-sale journeys. Always laser-focus in on and be improving your prospects and customers’ overall experience.
7. Do a deep-dive into your overall analytics.
There is always room for improvement. And with the C-suite focusing on metrics and expecting you to provide metrics frequently and show improvement, it is paramount you have a handle on analytics. Your focus should be on three metrics: website page views and downloads of your content, social shares, and conversion of visitors to leads to customers. Analyze your metrics and determine where you can improve to meet your goals by the end of the year.
8. Review the organization of your website.
Ensure there is a logical flow of your website and that the who/what/why of your business is clear to any website visitor. Revisit your value proposition and messages, and tighten up the copy where it makes sense. Don’t forget about your mobile website so ensure visitors have as great an experience with your mobile content as they do with your online content.
9. Analyze your influencer strategy.
What needs to be tweaked? Are there any new influencers you want to add? How are you building your relationships? Check the temperature of your existing relationships and revise where appropriate.
10. Keep tabs on your competitors.
Review the content that your competitors are distributing. Find out what your customers/prospects are saying about your competitors. Make sure you know how you compare.
11. Review your overall Marketing plan.
What grade would you give yourself at this point? Do you need to update your SWOT Analysis? Do your 3rd and 4th quarter activities make sense or do you want to make some changes? Do you need a re-charge or more inspiration? Read thought-leadership and case-study articles. Keep a swipe file of cool ideas. Consider attending some conferences to see what others are doing.
These tips will help ensure that you are on track for the rest of 2014. Here’s to a fantastic finish for 2014.
What are you doing mid-year to ensure you are on track to end 2014 with a bang?
Nicole Yuen is an intern at M4 Communications, Inc. this summer. She is a rising fourth year economics student at Willamette University.