The end of financial year is done and dusted. Most of your clients have had their tax planning and review appointments, you’ve sent off reams of advice, and the election is the next thing around the corner. You’re looking forward to finally having a bit of downtime in your advice business.
Now is the perfect time to review your marketing and communications.
If you’ve already prepared to review your budget and activities, congrats – you’re ahead of the pack. If not, here are some tips to help you save money and improve your marketing results this financial year.
Start by gathering all available information on your current activities. For example, on the digital marketing front, generate your analytics reports for any SEO, display advertising, and social media that you do. Then get the discussion started by running through these questions with all staff with marketing responsibilities.
Review the past year
Make a comprehensive list of all the different marketing activities you’ve undertaken in the past year. Then ask yourself: did we undertake all the events or activities we’d planned/wanted to do this year? If not, why not?
For each activity you’ve undertaken, it’s a good idea to review three things:
Consider who is responsible for each activity, and how many hours are they spending. This is particularly important if they’re responsible for managing multiple areas across the business.
Next, you’ll want to get a clear idea of how much you are spending on marketing activities. Look at the tally for the year, then look at the budget you’d set at the start of last year. What proportion of your overall marketing budget went to each activity?
What kinds of results are we getting? NB: this will vary depending on the activity. For example, for SEO you’ll be looking at website traffic, for email you’ll be looking at open rates and click rates, for social media you’ll be looking at engagement, etc.
It’s not always possible to attribute income items directly to marketing activities, but it’s worth trying. For example, if you ran a seminar or education night, and signed up a new client afterwards, that’s a pretty direct link. But if a new client has seen multiple different marketing materials from you before making an appointment, it’s hard to work out. If there is no directly attributable income from a particular activity, ask yourself: how has overall business income improved in the period we have been doing this?
The coming year
After you’ve reviewed the past year, you’ll be in a better position to plan for the year ahead. Start by working out what activities you can cut out/cut budget from. Then run over each activity that’s left and work out whether you can reduce the spend without compromising quality. This might mean automating or partially automating the process, outsourcing, or shopping around for suppliers of an identical product. It also might be time to look at new activities to trial or investigate further. To help streamline time spent, decide whether you can plan activities ahead of time. This might involve producing your first formal marketing plan, or adding tasks to your calendar. Speaking of timing, this is a good chance to look at the way your marketing results are measured, analysed and evaluated. Choose a regular time at which to look over the results you’re getting – monthly, quarterly etc. You may also decide that you need to improve the way you measure results. For example, if you don’t have analytics set up on your website, it’s definitely worth spending the time to get it going. Or, if you mostly do snail mail, you might want to start keeping a manual spreadsheet of contacts after each mailout.
Taking decisive action
You may find that you work through the questions and points above, and nothing much has changed in your plan for the year ahead.
Your results will vary depending on the complexity of your current marketing activities. But as a guide, it’s a good idea to have at least one action item that you can move forward with. It could be as simple as creating a marketing calendar or researching an outsourced service. The aim is to build on your marketing results in a sustainable way, and to keep the momentum going.
For each activity ask yourself: what are three strategies or techniques we can try out to improve our ROI on this activity? This may take some brainstorming or research. Try looking at what successful practices similar to yours are doing, or look at new products/services/platforms online. There are a lot of exciting options out there, and while not all of them will be suitable for your business, just investigating can give you a fresh perspective on your practice’s marketing.
Finally, if you feel like you’re stuck in a rut with your client comms or content marketing, you can always reach out to the Advant team. Drop us an email to let us know where you’re at. Chances are we can show you a dynamic new way to use the Advant Plus platform to boost your results dramatically by the time next year’s review rolls around!