I don’t know about all of you but with my own business and the majority of my clients’ and colleagues’ businesses, this last three months has gone by in a FLASH! Hopefully you all jumped into this New Year prepared -- with your long-term growth goals firmly in place, but chances are you might not have? Either way, Spring is here and it is a great time to review your business’s performance in this first quarter of the year then take some time to plan out your growth goals for the rest of 2018 and set short term objectives that will start to move you in that direction. I call myself a ‘professional spaghetti thrower’ because I’m constantly quantifying what is working, and what isn’t, then deciding what to ‘shelf’, what to ‘trash’, and what to ‘invest more time and money into’. Many of us are visual thinkers and this analogy seems to resonate with many of my clients – I thought I’d share it with you!
Understanding how busy professionals and business owners, like you, are I thought I’d share a simple process I use ALL THE TIME here, and one that I highly recommend you take and practice on your own business ASAP.
The Self-Awareness Audit!
· Who are you?
· What do you do?
· WHY do you do what you do?
· What do you enjoy doing in your business?
· What do you think you’re exceptionally good at?
· What do you think you are NOT doing well?
· What don’t you enjoy?
· What do you think your clients or customers love about what you do?
· What do you think they aren’t happy with?
Diving deep into each of these questions is where the real gold is and I promise you’ll gain clarity that is the key to all the other parts of your marketing and growth strategies and campaigns when you do this exercise. This is the foundation of it all. The more time you spend on this the better, for it is truly the base, and the more solid your base the easier and more efficient the rest becomes.
Who is your audience?
· Really peel back the layers of the onion here. Who is your real target audience or audience segments?
· Are they men or women? Groups? A very specific age demographic, etc...
For some businesses it’s pretty simple and they have a very clear niche audience, but for others it might be multiple segments they are targeting. Again, clarity is vital to everything else you’re building within your marketing and growth strategies and campaigns – cannot stress this enough (wink). Clearly understanding your differentiator and unique value proposition, honing in on what you enjoy doing in your business, what you’re good at and what your clients and customers appreciate (from above) should always be step one, but this second step is just as important. When applicable we really recommend diving even deeper to identify the nitty gritty details of your target audience(s), such as habits, behaviors and on and on, but having a clear basic understanding is a great start.
Where is your audience’s attention?
Now that you’ve gotten really clear on what makes you so special, and who you can help with your amazing products and services, it’s time to figure out where their attention is. You can’t craft your marketing content until you know who you are and who you are trying to reach, right? Now that you’ve gotten super clear on those vital first steps it’s time to figure out what engaging content you’re going to create and where it needs to go. Your website, for most anyway, is a no brainer… and it is no longer like days of old where it was basically an online portfolio, it should now be the base camp, the core of your digital marketing strategy.
Aside from your website, permission based email marketing campaigns are fantastic ways to reach both your target audience, as well as your brand advocates. Email remains one of the most important tools in your toolbox and even though we continue to be bombarded with way too much in our inboxes…we’re there everyday. Social media is here to stay, not going anywhere, and identifying which platforms make the most sense for you to be sharing and building your brand is super important. If your target audience is a very specific decision maker within a certain enterprise IT department, then LinkedIn and Google Adwords is probably going to be a much better investment of your time, money and energy than Instagram and Snapchat. Make sense?
We’ve just tipped the iceberg here, but this is an overview of the three of the most important exercises that need to not only be done once, but revisited often (I recommend at least quarterly) to make sure all of your marketing efforts are aligned properly.