A marketing strategy is the key to growing your small business. But this isn’t possible if you’re using the same tactics and methods since you opened your doors. Consumer trends change rapidly, and so should your digital marketing plan.

So in this guide, we’ll show you:

  • What to look for when testing your marketing strategy
  • How to test your marketing strategy
  • How to revise your marketing strategy

This way, you’ll have the tools you need to revise your small business marketing strategy for 2022 and beyond.

What To Look for When Testing Your Marketing Strategy

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Only two-thirds of businesses survive past two years. If you’ve made it past that, only half of that number make it to year five. It’s one more reason to keep your marketing strategy fresh.

Testing your marketing strategy regularly is key to ensuring you’re getting max results. Creating a strategy and sticking to it for years isn’t optimal. Some marketing experts even say you should revise your strategy each quarter.

What works in the fall may not work in the winter. So, if you haven’t tested your marketing strategy lately, now’s the time to start. But where should you begin?

Here are several questions to help you pinpoint the issues in your marketing strategy.

Are You Using the Best Methods to Reach Your Target Audience?

Social media marketing. Email newsletters. Downloadable e-books. Webinars. The list goes on. These are only a handful of the methods marketers use to promote their small businesses. But not all offer the same results.

Depending on your point of view, this can be a good or bad thing. It’s good because you don’t need to invest in every channel or method to make your strategy work. Yet if you find yourself using several methods that aren’t panning out, then it means back to the drawing board.

“The best way to test your marketing strategy is to find out whether your strategic elements are making a difference. How? Take a marketing technique like hosting webinars. Find out whether hosting any webinars hurts your pipeline. Alternatively, double the number of webinars you host and see if it helps your pipeline. If it hurts or helps, that means it matters. This “does it matter” test optimizes your strategy and establishes your competitive advantage.” — Lee W. Frederiksen, Ph.D., managing partner at Hinge

Frederiksen goes on to explain the signs to look for when deciding to revise your strategy. The two significant red flags are:

  • You’re generating leads that don’t convert
  • You’re working to increase visibility, but it generates no leads

By using the “does it matter” test, you’ll identify what’s not working and remove it. Amplify your efforts on whatever is generating favorable outcomes.

Do You Understand Your Customers’ Needs?

Well, of course. You did your market research before opening your doors and feel you know their pain points. While that’s great, it doesn’t mean what you learned at the start of your business still holds true today.

Markets change and so do your customers’ needs and desires. Even their shopping behaviors change, which means you need to adapt to stay relevant. Take time each quarter to survey and interview your customers and prospects to learn their problems, hesitations, and desires.

But don’t stop there. It’s also important to analyze your competitors.

“You need an arching strategy that measures the competitors’ sophistication in marketing, their positioning and messaging, their strong points, their weaknesses, etc., and how you compare against them in those areas.” — Leslie Gilmour, marketer, at ServisBOT

Doing this enables you to find ways to stay ahead of the competition. Are they using a channel you overlooked? Maybe it’s time you start. Maybe there’s a format that performs exceptionally well. Look for gaps in their strategy to see where you can fill it and stand apart.

Is Your Product or Service Meeting Your Customers’ Needs?

Your product or service sells well. Does this mean you shouldn’t look for ways to improve it? Most definitely not. Successful brands are upgrading their offering constantly to make them more appealing to past and future customers.

To do this, analyze customer satisfaction rates and feedback. Use surveys and reviews to learn what your customers think. You may find clues about what they like, dislike, and wish you offered instead.

With this intel, you can find ways to further differentiate your brand from competitors. According to Gary Beckam, marketing specialist and financial consultant for MetalicCards, using ads as feelers in a new or expanding market.

“Running test ads gauges demand and [you’ll] gain valuable customer insights on your product and marketing strategy. Create a landing page containing your value proposition with an option to register with an email. Then use the emails you gathered to run surveys about your product and content. This can give you a better idea of what strategies will give you better conversion rates before you even start.”

Are You Using the Right Channels to Reach Your Target Audience?

Always consider different channels to reach your target audience. You’ll find some mediums work better than others. For example, some consumers prefer social media over traditional advertising. Others prefer direct mail. Many are now accustomed to branded email newsletters.

The key here is identifying the channel that works best for your particular situation. Then, you can build a plan around that channel.

Does Your Message Resonate With Your Target Audience?

Never assume your message resonates with your target audience. Instead, learn more about them so you can create messages that speak directly to them. Do this by asking questions like:

  • What are their values, beliefs, attitudes, interests, concerns, motivations, fears, likes, and dislikes?
  • How do they spend their free time?
  • Who influences them?
  • Where do they hang out online?
  • How do they communicate?
  • What are their goals?

The answers help you learn more about your target audience and how to position your brand messaging in the future.

Signs That Your Marketing Strategy Needs To Be Revised

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There are several ways to identify whether it’s time to revise your small business marketing strategy:

Your Sales Aren’t Growing

If your sales aren’t increasing, it means that your current marketing strategies aren’t working. It might mean that your product isn’t meeting the needs of your target audience. It also might mean that your messaging isn’t resonating with your audience. Either way, you need to revamp your marketing strategy.

Your Marketing Budget Is Shrinking

If you’re spending less money on marketing each year, it’s probably because your marketing efforts aren’t successful. Refreshing your strategy can potentially improve results and give your marketing budget the boost it needs to support your efforts.

Your Leads Aren’t Converting Into Sales

If you’re getting fewer leads but not seeing any increase in sales, then you need to reevaluate your marketing strategy. Your lead generation could be off track. Perhaps your messaging isn’t resonating with your audience. In either case, you need to rev up your marketing strategy.

You’re Losing Customers

If you’re losing customers to competitors, it’s likely that your marketing strategy isn’t effective enough. Maybe you need to adjust your messaging or offer. Maybe you need to expand your marketing beyond just one channel.

Do these sound familiar? If so, it’s time to revise.

New Competitors Emerged

If new companies have entered your market space, then it’s time to revisit your marketing strategy. Look at what they’re doing to attract customers to see how you can make improvements.

Perhaps your messaging isn’t resonant with your audience anymore. It’s also possible that your products don’t meet their needs. Either way, you should review your strategy.

Sales Are Decreasing

If your sales are declining, it’s possible your marketing strategy needs tweaking. It may even be hindering your growth.

For example, a drop in sales from social media advertising may signal ads not resonating with your target audience. Look at other channels, such as email marketing and SEO.

If you notice a decrease in sales from email, consider switching up your layouts, themes, and subject lines. If those don’t work, then add more value to your offers. It’s possible you may have to rethink your segments or channel if nothing else works.

Your Business Is Growing Too Fast

If your company is expanding rapidly, the need to revamp your marketing strategy is inevitable. You may need to look at how you’re engaging with customers. Perhaps you need to add more content or create a blog. You may also want to focus on customer service.

Ensuring your customer experience is exceptional is key. So look for ways to offer more value (i.e., via your blog and email list) and improve the shopping experience. The less friction, the better.

How To Revise Your Small Business Strategy

two women pointing at macbook laptop

Revising your marketing strategy doesn’t have to be difficult. Once you know what the issues are, it’s time to make moves.

Here are several ways to keep your small business strategy ahead of the curve.

Stay on Top of the Latest Trends

It’s important to stay current with industry changes. For instance, if there are new technologies emerging, you’ll want to learn about them. When it comes to marketing strategies, you’ll want to know which ones are working best.

See how customer habits changed over the past quarter (or year). Are you expecting more social media support from brands in your industry? Is it possible that they prefer chatbots over phone sales and support.

Understanding the changing needs of your industry is key to maintaining a well-oiled marketing strategy.

Be Open to Using Automation

Automation has become an integral part of many businesses’ marketing strategies. But some still aren’t taking full advantage of its benefits.

There are two main reasons why:

  1. They haven’t found a solution that fits their needs
  2. They haven’t tested it out yet.

Many tools offer free trials and demos, so there’s no reason to hesitate. Look for solutions to improve your productivity, efficiency, and sales. Automate whatever you can so your team can focus on revenue-generating tasks.

Make Customers a Top Priority

When it comes to improving your marketing strategy, it’s crucial to prioritize your customers. That means making sure they feel valued and appreciated.

You’ve probably heard this before, but it bears repeating: Customers are the most valuable asset any business owns.

So think about what makes your customers tick. What do they expect from you? How can you provide more value than anyone else?

Once you know what makes your customers happy, it’s easier to figure out what you should be doing.

Think about what you can change to make your customers happier. Is there anything you could remove? Could you add something new? Can you tweak your product or services?

The answers to these questions help you decide what to focus on what’s next.

What To Do Next

Now that you know what to look for when trying to revise your small business marketing strategy, it’s time to implement changes.

Create a plan to regularly test your marketing tactics to see what’s working. Then, embrace an iterative process to rapidly update your strategy on the fly.

This gives you the competitive edge needed to succeed as a small business owner.

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