What are you doing this week?
Are you using this quiet period between holidays to evaluate 2014 and make plans for 2015? If so, you aren’t alone! In the next few days we’re going to be reading article after article focusing on preparing ourselves for the new year, setting goals and changing the way business is done.
Sometimes it gets overwhelming.
Simplify Your Marketing with Filters
This year, I’ve given myself a set of filters to use for my 2015 content creation. Your filter will probably be different, but you may find some inspiration to help you screen out the extraneous mental clutter and focus on what will move you forward in 2015.
Filter 1: Know Who You Are
It’s a constant temptation to try to be a one-stop shop for our clients, providing any marketing-related service they need. This is a temptation for a couple of reasons. One, I really like our clients and hate to disappoint them by saying no to something they genuinely need! And two, like any small business, we are fond of paying our bills. It is tempting to take jobs that fall outside our core services just to keep our cash flow, well….flowing.
We’ve learned, however, that we serve our clients far better when we concentrate on what we do best: telling and marketing great stories. Everything else we refer to a growing list of amazing partners who love to do what they do best.
- Do you have a good grasp on your core services?
- Does your sales team have the self-discipline to know when to say no?
- Does your marketing reflect your services accurately, or does it feel a little like a flea market of services?
- Do you need to stop offering any services that detract from your main objectives?
Filter 2: Know Your Audience
When working primarily in the digital world it is easy to see the hordes of traffic on the internet and assume that they are all your audience. We want traffic to our website, readers for our blog posts and interaction on social media.
The truth is, however, that not every piece of content is intended for everyone who stumbles across it. The secret to great content is that it is written to specific people – to a specific buyer persona. You don’t want just any audience; you want the right audience.
At Visual Creatives we have even named our semi-fictional buyer personas so that we can think of them as individuals. Each buyer persona has a different need, a different problem to solve, and a different way of thinking about that problem. Great content is tailored to each buyer persona to solve that one specific problem for them.
- Do you know who your buyer personas are?
- Do you need to do some buyer persona research this year?
- Does each piece of content you produce have a specific audience?
- Do your buyer personas accurately reflect your ideal customer?
Filter Three: Know What Methods Work
Once we know what problem we are solving for a particular buyer persona, we need to know what method will work best. Every person processes information differently, and the art of our business is realizing how our audience needs to receive their information. Does this buyer persona watch videos or download reports? Is their greatest challenge a lack of time, in which case we need to create a bulleted checklist rather than a whitepaper? Using this filter helps us tailor the method to the message.
- Do you use more than one method to communicate with your customers?
- Have you neglected one or more mediums? Video? Print? Digital?
- Do you need to outsource in order to explore other mediums?
- Where do your buyer personas get their information? Are you there?
- What worked best in 2014?
Filter Four: Know Your History
Using analytics on our content helps us evaluate what hasn’t worked and what has succeeded. We obviously want to eliminate what isn’t working and focus on what has. If you don’t spend time looking at the data from your marketing, you will not know where to invest to increase your ROI. We use HubSpot to make that process simple and effective. Whatever tool you use, take the time at the end of the year to do a deep dive into your past performance and tweak your plan.
- Do you have the right software in place to give you the data you need?
- Do you remember to evaluate your marketing performance weekly, monthly and yearly?
- Does your past history help determine your goals?
- Do you have access to the data you need?