August. It’s unbearably hot and humid in Atlanta, Georgia, right now. And I feel bad for the kids because it’s time to go back to school.

Students and parents start planning for a new school year in July. Stores have big displays filled with school supplies. They run campaigns about back-to-school sales. And some states even run a tax-free weekend on things students need for the new school year.

For some reason a new school year almost feels like a second chance at a New Year’s Resolution. We realize the end of the year is about five months away, so we revisit that list of goals we abandoned in January. And as a result, the things we tried in January (going to church, reading more books, growing our business) all receive a new level of focus.

Why? Because we know we still have plenty of time left to end the year strong. And if you’re running a business, you can leverage the remaining months of the year to meet or exceed your goals.

Thankfully we only need to look to our local school to know what we can do to elevate our marketing, sales, and business for the rest of the year. No, I’m not suggesting you go buy a new lunchbox (but if you want to, send me a picture of what you bought), nor am I suggesting it’s time to go buy a new Trapper Keeper (#throwback).

Instead, take a few minutes and work through a simple back-to-school marketing checklist. Once you walk through these simple steps, you’ll have a clearer  vision of where you are and where you need to go in order to crush your business goals in 2018. 

Five ways to audit your marketing today

  1. Review personas just like a teacher looks at the class list. Know who you’re talking to and ensure your message is right for that audience. A 10th grade English teacher would fail if she thought she was speaking to 2nd graders. It’s about delivering the right message to the right people. Don’t know where to start? I recommend either reading Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller or attending his live workshop in Nashville.
  2. Review your current platforms and tools just like a school supply list. What are your current tools and platforms in your marketing? Think email, website, social media, and whatever you do offline. Review analytics, check the platforms for basic mistakes and see where you can make things more consistent. I take clients through an exercise where we create a company pitch, then use that everywhere the company has a presence online.
  3. Review your marketing strategy just like a teacher reviews a lesson plan. If you don’t have a marketing plan, then you’re living in the world of assumption marketing, just hoping everything works. It doesn’t have to be a sophisticated or complicated solution. Simply list your overall goal and what marketing steps you need to take to get there.
  4. Review how today connects to tomorrow just like teachers build topics on each other. I think the most practical piece of the StoryBrand Framework is The Plan. By knowing next steps, it’s much easier to lead people down the path toward becoming customers. Make sure you have a plan for how people go from browsers to prospects to customers. (I love this tool to help my clients visualize the process.)
  5. Review the seasonality just like how teachers think differently based on the semester. Fall semester is about football, Thanksgiving break, and surviving until Christmas. Think about your ideal client and what’s going on in their world between now and December 31. Then consider how you can shift your messaging or build campaigns that connect to the season.

This list of five things should take less than 30 minutes to review, and you’ll walk away with enormous clarity and confidence in your marketing plan.

But reviewing isn’t enough. Just like in the classroom, you need to put that newfound knowledge to work. Prioritize that list based on what you can do now, what you can delegate to a team member, and what you can partner with someone else to handle for you.

Need help working through this list? Sign up below to get a handy marketing checklist to help you navigate each of the five steps. You walk away with a clear plan on what to do next, ensuring your company gets an A+ in marketing this semester.

Download your marketing checklist now

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