It’s the middle of the year and by this time you’ve been running a series of marketing strategies. Some have worked and some didn’t. This is a good time to stop and debrief about what worked in your marketing plan and why and what didn’t work and why. Use this handy checklist to see where and how you can tweak your strategies to get the desired results.

  1. Focus on your strength – the best strategy for inexpensive and effortless marketing is to build it around your natural strengths. I call them signature strengths. A marketing strategy that comes from a conversation that you are excited about has so much more attraction power than a message that’s structured around something that “should” work because someone else has done it.To identify your strength, just think back to a customer you gained and look at exactly what it is about that relationship that is so successful.What is it about YOU that is so appealing to them It could be your energy or the fact that you deliver quickly. Whatever it is — build your natural ability into a competitive strength.
  2. Turn your strength into a success- process — know what you need to be successful and be rigorous in defending it.Don’t take on any customers that don’t fit your formula for success.
  3. Identify your ideal customer. Just because a company has a well-known name and is giving you money doesn’t make them an ideal customer. An ideal customer is FIRST a profitable customer. That means that the business system that you’ve created meets their needs and provides enough value that they are happy to pay the price. The third element is, of course, that there is a mutual like of doing business together.
  4. Find out what’s important to your ideal customer. It’s not uncommon to have a customer you like that likes you back, and an offer that they are willing to pay for, but if there’s something that’s important to them that isn’t covered, a dream customer will turn into a nightmare.
  5. Know your competitive advantage.Take the time to do a thorough exploration and analysis of what sets you apart from other alternatives your customers are considering.Embrace your advantage.Be sure that your competitive advantages address potential objections that your customers might have
  6. Create a compelling brand story – and tell it often. The way to really make marketing easy, effortless and inexpensive is to leverage your brand story. What is it that drives your business? Why did you start your business? What is it that you believe or value? Is there a dirty little secret in your industry that you reveal? Create a story that’s centered on the value that you discover and bring to your ideal customer.
  7. Use a keyword rich catch-phrase. Dr. Phil is known for his phrase How?s that workin? for ?ya?. It’s something he says often and it goes with his in-your-face style. What is it that you find yourself saying often? Become known for a phrase or two in your business and you’ll have a wonderful branding and marketing tool that you can really leverage.
  8. Fish in your ideal customer pond. Once you’ve identified your ideal customer be where they are. It’s that simple. Think about attending the trade shows that your customers attend and exhibiting there. Don’t just go to industry shows where your competition is go to the shows where your customers are. If you can’t exhibit there, create an educational or informational topic your customers will appreciate and present it.
  9. Reject customers and projects that don’t fit your ideal. If you’re going to focus on your ideal customer, you’d think it was logical to reject anyone who doesn’t fit that profile, but, most businesses don’t. Create a sales process that weeds through the wrong customers to get to the right ones. Any prospect that doesn’t fit your ideal profile has a high probability of becoming a dissatisfied, disgruntled customer that will make your life and your bottom line a living hell.
  10. Connect with influencers and help them build THEIR brand. Become laser focused on those people and organizations that are connected to large groups of your ideal customers. Take the time to choose those centers of influence with whom you can create a win-win scenario and help them build their brand. In return, you will see your influence and brand grow as well. Back to the Oprah examples of Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz and the rest of her discovered talent. They served Oprah well and in return, she grew their brand beyond anything they could have done themselves.
  11. Run a referral strategy. Referrals are not a surprise or a gift or a happy accident. They can be a function of a referral, word-of-mouth process that you work as diligently as any promotional communications strategy that you come up with. Create a referral guideline to educate your centers of influence and help them refer you. Make sure you have at least five referral conversations each day where you get to tell your brand story. And be consistent and persistent with this process. You’ll notice a steady stream of ideal customers come your way in no time.

Notice that the biggest investment that each of these items requires is thinking time. The items on this list would belong in Covey?s Sharpen the Saw? chapter. If you’re like me (and many other folks) you’ll want to dive right into action. But the power of this checklist comes in the quality of thinking and analysis more than in the implementation.