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4 Questions You Need to Ask to Keep Your Business Thriving in 2020
The economy is cooling down, and that could spell trouble for your business. This is how The Balance sums up the most recent economic forecast, from 2018 to 2021:
"U.S. GDP growth will slow to 2.1% in 2019 from 3% in 2018. It will be 2% in 2020 and 1.8% in 2021. That's according to the most recent forecast released at the Federal Open Market Committee meeting on June 19, 2019. The projected slowdown in 2019 and beyond is a side effect of the trade war, a key component of Trump's economic policies."
WHAT CAN YOUR BUSINESS DO TO PREPARE?
That incremental drop year over year in gross domestic product (GDP) might not seem like much, but it will have a direct impact on how much consumers buy—and that means competition among businesses in your industry will almost certainly intensify. For businesses like yours, a slowing economy means 2 things (1) you'll need to find effective ways to cut costs; and (2) you'll need to ramp up the impact of your marketing.
TIME TO TAKE STOCK AND GET MARKETING RIGHT
Spring is the best time to get the dust out of your house. Fall is the best time to get the bugs out of your marketing program. That means many things—and of course different things to different businesses. Above all, you need to find out what's working—and what isn't—in your marketing strategy.
For example, did you achieve your key marketing objectives? Are you generating enough quality leads to fill the top of your sales funnel, and is your marketing team effectively nurturing those leads to provide your salespeople with real sales opportunities? And, given an economy in decline, are you effectively leveraging marketing channels with relatively low cost and relatively high return on investment (ROI)?
TO STAY COMPETITIVE, YOU NEED A SMART PLAN
Said differently, your business needs to fashion a strategic marketing plan for 2020, one that increases the likelihood you'll reach your principal goals and move your business to the next level. Again, every business is different, and only you can decide after you've done the requisite research which strategies will work best for yours. That said, some planning components transcend the differences between one business and another. To ensure your plan is robust and effective, you need to ask yourself the following 4 questions:
1. ARE WE EFFECTIVELY LEVERAGING MARKETING TECHNOLOGY?
Emerging technologies like those for marketing automation and customer relationship management (CRM) will enhance your ability to meet the needs of existing customers and to acquire new ones. For example, a robust CRM platform will boost customer service and sales by giving service reps and salespeople easy, intuitive access to each customer's entire history of interactions with your business, increasing customer retention and boosting profits. Marketing automation tools will allow you to send personalized emails triggered by key actions customers take on your website, eliminating the need for human intervention and saving you money in the process.
2. HOW WELL ARE CURRENT MARKETING STRATEGIES WORKING?
You can't enhance your marketing efforts is you don't know what's working—and what isn't. Assuming you established realistic measurable goals at the end of last year (if you don't have such goals, you should), you need to ask yourself which you achieved and where you missed the mark.
If for example your goal was to generate 20% more quality leads by year's end and have made little or no progress, you need to find out why. Perhaps your content isn't resonating with prospective customers (you'll know that if you have a strong analytics program like Google Analytics), in which case you might need to create new, more effective blogs. Maybe your landing pages aren't doing what they're supposed to. Whatever the problem, carefully reviewing what happened last year will put you in a far stronger position to improve performance next year.
3. WHICH MARKETING CHANNELS ARE DRIVING THE HIGHEST CONVERSIONS?
The insider term for getting the most bang out of your marketing is "conversion rate optimization" (CR0). So, what does that mean?
To begin, "conversions" refer to customers taking actions you want them to—actions like downloading content, filling out a contact form or making a purchase. Obviously, those actions are at the very heart of your marketing strategy's effectiveness, so it's important to know which marketing channels are providing the conversions you need. To optimize conversions, you need to look at things like the strength of your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, the effectiveness of sponsored ads, the clarity of calls to action (CTAs), the impact of your content and the user-friendliness of your landing pages, among other things.
4. WHAT ARE OUT PRINCIPAL GOALS FOR 2020?
The reason you do all these things is to enhance your marketing strategy. Knowing what strategies are working this year (and which need a few tweaks or outright elimination) will help you establish attainable goals for next year. Make sure those goals cover the entirety of your business challenges, that they're realistic (read, informed by the data you've gathered) and measurable for best results.
Keeping your business thriving next year and beyond with sound marketing strategies can be confusing—at times downright overwhelming. Fortunately, there are experienced marketing agencies who can give you the guidance and advice you need to succeed.
To learn more about the ways our CRM, SEO, creative design, marketing, training and analytics services can keep your business vital and growing—and take it to the next level—sign up for a live demo today.
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