Part of the appeal of being self-employed is that among all the titles you hold—marketer, accountant, customer service manager and more—you’re also the CEO and president with official “buck stops here” veto power.
But just because you’re not subject to traditional performance reviews, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have one. And while you may be at the top of the org chart, it also doesn’t mean you can’t earn a promotion—even if it's for your company, and not yourself.
Putting Marketing in the Spotlight
If you want to grow your business and reach that proverbial next rung on the career ladder, one of the most important things you can do is to evaluate your business's marketing performance. Doing so will give you insight into what your customers are really thinking. After all, they have a lot of say—and a lot of control—when it comes to your future.
Start your marketing evaluation by taking a closer look at the following three areas.
1. Email open rates and sharing statistics. Find out if your prospects and customers are actually opening and reading your content and which content is being shared through email and social media.
2. Increases in newsletter subscribers. Is your list growing? And how much of that growth comes from opt-in subscribers who came across your great content?
3. Quality of social media engagement. Look beyond the numbers, and assess your progress based on the number and type of interactions you have with your customers and the quality of the new followers you’re attracting. Be sure to look at all the platforms you're on—Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.
Whether you were delighted or disappointed by the information you just uncovered, a true entrepreneur realizes that even the most stellar results leave room for improvement.
To take things up a notch, consider these three ideas.
1. Invest in your ongoing education. Take advantage of free online learning and in-person seminars that expand your marketing knowledge and help grow your business. It may seem impossible to make time for this, but if you consider it an investment in keeping customers versus the costs of acquiring new ones, you’ll find that it actually saves you both time and money.
2. Expand your network of business partners. Joining forces with other businesses allows you to quickly learn a lot while also doubling your marketing firepower. One of the obvious first stops is the Chamber of Commerce and other local business groups. Yet instead of just being another business card in a pocket at a networking event, use these groups to find other like-minded business owners who want to cultivate a tighter network that meets regularly with a focused agenda for exchanging business tips and collaborating on marketing campaigns.
3. Freely share your expertise. A lot of entrepreneurs mistakenly believe that sharing what they know will cut into their profits. In reality, it demonstrates why your business is the better choice, and it drives word-of-mouth marketing, which is more powerful than any marketing language you could use to describe what differentiates your business from your competitors.
What does the next step for your business look like? It’s more than just realizing a healthy bottom line. It’s about getting things done more efficiently without compromising quality. It’s seeing existing customers visit more frequently and volunteer positive feedback. It’s experiencing an uptick in new customers and online sharing and engagement.
To ensure your continued success, remember to conduct a marketing performance review on a regular basis. Knowing where you stand in this critical business area—and taking steps to improve your company's marketing efforts—could give your business just what it needs to get to the next level.
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