Back to School Means Back to Business
Summertime is full of vacations, outdoor activities, festivals and relaxation. With so many co-workers and clients out of the office, many meetings and projects tend to get pushed out a few weeks. Then Labor Day hits, the kids go back to school and business owners get back to business. Back to school time is synonymous with renewed energy and enthusiasm with dedicated focus on finishing the year STRONG. But with so much to do and so little time (before you know it, the holidays will be here) it can be challenging to get started. I have a couple of ideas to help on you make 2018 your best year yet!
REVIEW YOUR GOALS
It’s time to dust off your business and marketing plans. If you’ve been reviewing them all-year, awesome! You already know what you’re working towards and which activities to focus on. When you’re fully engaged in goal setting and planning, you’re 10 times more likely to achieve your goals (according to a Harvard MBA Program Study).
If your marketing plans have fallen by the wayside, it’s probably because you were too busy with sales, staff and daily operations. While this is not ideal, you can still make time now for marketing. Review your strategy and objectives, take stock of your accomplishments and prioritize the activities that you can achieve. Start with any “low hanging fruit” and marketing initiatives that you started but didn’t launch. Don’t be tempted to jump on the latest trend just to make something exciting happen – unless it meets your key objectives. When goals and tactics don’t align, it can be a waste of money and time. Keep it simple by focusing on your most important goal(s) and map out the specific activities that will accomplish those goals.
REFOCUS YOUR MESSAGE
Is your messaging trying to be all things to all people? When you’re talking to everyone, it tends to be so general, that you may not connect with anyone. Focus on your niche and their specific challenges to develop stronger client relationships and attract prospects. When you know exactly who you’re talking to and what problems you solve for them, it becomes much easier to create marketing content that resonates. Highlight HOW you help clients with their greatest problems by using benefit-oriented language. Take a fresh look at your messaging, to see how if there’s an opportunity for stronger connections. This can be as simple as changing a few words or sentences for greater impact.
REVISIT YOUR WEBSITE
Your website is the central hub for your marketing activities so it’s critical that it communicates your unique message to target clients. Set aside some time to review your website – paying close attention to your home page and bounce rate. Bounce rate is the percentage of people who leave your site shortly after arriving. While industry averages vary, financial service industry sites average about 50%. This means roughly half the people click away from a website without any interactions. If your bounce rate is 50% or higher, it’s time to refresh your messaging, content and layout to improve site effectiveness.
REFINE LEAD GENERATION
Content marketing has become increasingly effective for converting leads. Adding compelling and unique content to your website provides so many benefits: it shows your expertise, builds trust, increases SEO (search engine optimization) and helps you stands out on social media. Attract more leads with a “freemium” offer that gives prospective clients valuable information and ends with a couple of paragraphs on who you are and how you can help them. Collect email addresses in exchange for providing this content. Once you have the email addresses, take the extra steps to ensure you’re nurturing those relationships with timely emails. Create an automated email marketing campaign that provides additional information. Focus on providing great value not on products or selling. Far too often business owners bring the hard sell before establishing credibility and trust.
REFRESH YOUR CONTENT
In our increasingly digital age, it all comes back to your content. A lot of business owners have created custom content which is promoted a couple of times and then quickly forgotten. Content marketing takes time to reach prospects so it’s not once and done. Continue to promote your content across social media channels and in email throughout the year. It’s also important to repackage and repurpose your content for maximum effectiveness. Create blog posts, videos, infographics and even webinars from your custom content.
Don’t underestimate the power of case studies and storytelling – it’s the perfect way to demonstrate how you’ve helped similar clients overcome problems. Create compelling content with a case study that focuses on the value, outcome and future results instead of talking about products or services.
GET BACK TO BUSINESS
Now that you’ve got some ideas to help grow your business, it’s time to get to work. There are about 4 months left in the year (actually 3 months if you count the holidays). To recap:
Or, if you just don’t have the time, look to a marketing partner who can kick it out for you. Either way, you’ve got this. Plan to finish the year strong so that 2018 is your best year yet!
Diana is a content marketing strategist and virtual marketing director specialized in financial services. She has 20 years of marketing expertise, including campaigns for top brands such as Johnson’s Baby and Band-Aid.