Marketing your event business can be difficult when you can’t foresee the future of the industry. All it takes is for a new Instagram algorithm or a fresh competitor on the scene for your hard work to seem fruitless. Change is inevitable, so it’s important to be prepared for any situation.
When it comes to marketing, understand that your plan is a living document and will need to be adjusted regularly to adapt to the changing situations that life throws at you. This requires a careful audit of your current efforts to determine what is working and what needs to be changed up.
When is the right time for an audit?
If your marketing plan is brand new, subject it to quarterly audits for the first 12 to 18 months. This keeps your efforts flexible and can provide you with some useful information about what is working well and what kinks need to be addressed.
If your marketing plan is more established, I recommend reviewing and adjusting it after peak season wraps up, since you’ll have a lot of fresh insight from the busy months. For wedding pros, October is usually a good time to assess your plan as there is plenty of time to rework your strategy before engagement season starts.
How do you plan an audit?
A careful analysis takes time, so make an appointment with yourself to audit your marketing plan. Allocate at least four hours, but even a full day can be advantageous. This is not something to squeeze in a 30-minute break on a busy day.
Prior to your appointment, take some time to gather all of the necessary data, including monthly social media, SEO, and Google Analytics reports and annual sales information, so that you can be more efficient when you sit down for your audit. Keep in mind that weddings and events are seasonal, so it’s better to compare this January to last January than just during your primary events season.
What needs to be audited?
This greatly depends on what your personal goals and KPIs are for your rental business, but there are several standard things you’ll want to consider from audit to audit.
• Your Ideal Client Avatar (ICA): Review the performance of your content from the perspective of your ICA so you can tweak your approach for more success in years ahead. Ask yourself what content categories were especially successful, as well as what new information you can gather about your ICA based on the latest data.
• Your objectives and goals: Assess your year-over-year goals to see if you are pacing up appropriately and make any necessary adjustments based on historical data. Be sure to carefully look at your sales and be honest on where you need to be to hit your true goal.
• Your campaign timelines: Take a look at campaigns from the past year to evaluate whether you met important deadlines, and whether you need to build in more or less time for new endeavors.
• Your competition: Take a moment to review your competitors and their performance since your last audit. How do you measure up? Is there anything you can test in your own marketing efforts? Are there any gaps that you can fill?
• Your passions: Marketing tends to be more successful when you enjoy the campaigns and the strategy behind them. Ask yourself what tasks you loved, as well as which were a drag. If you have tasks that you simply can’t stand, consider outsourcing them or finding a software solution to help tackle these need-to-dos and get you focused on dumping creative energy into your passions.
• Your technology use: Social media, search engines, and other tech resources are constantly changing and it’s up to you to keep up with them. Recognize the major updates that affected your business since your last audit and see if there are any ways that you can be more adaptable in the future.
Auditing your marketing plan doesn’t need to be a major investment of time and resources, but allocating just a few hours several times a year can make a significant difference in your company’s success. A regular marketing assessment can ensure that your business is flexible and adaptable, even when things aren’t going as planned.
Christie Osborne is the owner of Mountainside Media, a company that helps event industry professionals brands develop scalable marketing strategies that brings in more inquiries and leads. Christie is a national educator with recent speaking engagements at NACE Experience, WIPA and the ABC Conference.