I wanted to take a moment today to address something that is important for EVERY business: What to do when a marketing approach stops working.  No matter what business you have, your objective in marketing is to stay in front of – and relevant to – your target market.  So, what do you do if one of your go-to marketing methods stops achieving those goals?

I’ll cut to the chase.  If a marketing approach stops giving you meaningful results, it’s probably time to pivot away from it.

If a marketing approach stops giving you meaningful results, it's probably time to pivot away from it. #business #smallbusiness #smallbiz #smb #entrepreneur Click To Tweet

Results can be defined in different ways.  If you can make an argument that you are getting brand awareness, reaching your intended audience, making a positive impact on your reputation, or adding targeted leads to your sales pipeline, there may be a valid reason to hang on.  Just because something isn’t getting you immediate sales doesn’t mean it is a bad investment of your time or money.  But some value has to be there.

Now, there are two key assumptions I am making here.  Let’s put those out in the open.

First of all, this assumes you are tracking how your marketing performs.  Some marketing tactics can be quantitatively tracked.  Some can’t be, and you need to look for qualitative data instead.  The only way you can know if something is working is to collect and examine the evidence.

The only way you can know if something is working is to collect and examine the evidence. #smallbusiness #smallbiz #smb #biztips #business #entrepreneur #marketing Click To Tweet

Marketing is not necessarily an endeavor that gives you quick results.  Although you may be able to track a big campaign or advertisement in a shorter period of time, what you really want is long-term information.  It may take years for a marketing tactic to pick up noticeable momentum.  Slow progress doesn’t mean it isn’t worthwhile.  But, you need to make sure you understand where that tactic fits into your overall plan.

As an example, let me tell you my experience with my Marketing Tips of the Week.  You are reading one right now.  I have been doing these for years.  I have tons of content out there.  People sometimes message me about their thoughts on a Tip they are reading that I wrote years ago.  Let’s take it even a step further.  I share my Marketing Tips of the Week in my weekly newsletter, emailed directly to my subscribers’ inboxes.  I regularly have people call me and say, “I’ve been reading your tips for 1 year/2 years, and I’m ready to start working with you now.”

How did I know it was worth continuing to write these Tips?  I know, because of all the feedback I get on them.  When I am on the phone with a prospective client, they’ll reference a Tip they read.  I’ll see comments on the Tips.  I’ll see people sharing the Tips.  Another organization will see a Tip they like and ask if they can share it with their audience.  I can see the metrics of how many visits there are to my Tips on Google Analytics.  It would be impossible for me to track the full picture of this in a cohesive way, but there is no question in my mind that this approach adds huge value for my clients, my future clients, and my business.

On the other hand, when you begin to feel that a marketing tactic is decreasing in value for you, that is the time to re-evaluate.  Instead of just leaning in harder because you assume that will get you back to the results you got before, ask yourself if your target market is moving somewhere else.  Or if the platform you are using is becoming over saturated past the point where it is worthwhile.

Here is where my second assumption comes in.  Shifting your attention to another marketing approach shouldn’t be hard to do if you have diversified the ways you are marketing already.

If the bulk of your marketing is happening on a platform that is dying, that is a scary place to be.  If you have other options, there is far less pressure for you when you see any one approach beginning to fail.  This is a great time to scale back on what isn’t working and refocus on what is working, then look for a new solution or two to replace what you’ve lost.

It is too risky to assume that any one marketing solution will work forever.  It won’t. (Read here for my thoughts about this as per the lovely #FacebookDown incident that struck fear in the hearts of some entrepreneurs!).  So, instead of getting caught by unwarranted surprise when what used to be your best way to reach your target market fades into obsolescence, why not be prepared?  If you continually make an effort to track where your audience is, you’ll see where they are going before they fully get there.

It is too risky to assume that any one marketing solution will work forever. It won’t. #business #smallbusiness #smallbiz #smb #biztips #entrepreneur Click To Tweet

If you are at a point where you need to re-evaluate one of your marketing methods, I encourage you to make a simple list.  Write down exactly what value it is bringing into your business.  Is it offering you brand awareness, reputation building, storytelling, quality leads generation?  What boxes does it tick?  And then ask yourself if you see that platform reviving or if you believe it will continue to decline.  If so, decide at what point it will stop being worthwhile to you.

Times change.  The location of our audience changes.  Our means of reaching them changes.  Your business changes.  With all of this change, it doesn’t make sense for your marketing to stay exactly the same all the time.  Prepare yourself well, and asking the hard questions won’t be that hard!

If you feel like you can’t answer how one marketing solution fits into your strategy because you don’t actually have a strategy, I encourage you to check out my Marketing Funnel Worksheet.  This will get you thinking about the big picture, what it looks like for you, and how to building out a plan that generates leads, retains them, and turns them into customers!