by Lori Prosio

A clear marketing strategy not only enables you to promote your business, but the mere act of planning ahead allows you to be more proactive and can help bring order to your tactics, as well as sanity to your work life.

Marketing efforts should never be considered “one and done.” It’s crucial to foster your plan, regularly analyze your tactics and make necessary tweaks to continue to build on your successes.

When considering a new business pursuit, I look at two things: Will the new company benefit from my firm’s skills and capabilities, and will the business add to my company resume in a meaningful way. I like to think of my marketing efforts as an ongoing job interview — the more consistent my efforts are, the more appealing my business is to other potential new clients. Here are five things I do every month to keep my marketing efforts fresh.

1. Audit and prioritize

Every month you should ask yourself what’s working, what’s not and which activities need to be repositioned. Review your marketing plan line by line and determine what can be improved upon, where you can grow and how to properly shift your focus based on your business’s immediate and long-term goals. Think of it as a mini analysis of your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Capitalize on the positive and identify your needs, while prioritizing areas to improve and grow.

2. Identify opportunities

While networking is critical to the success of your business, it’s also time-consuming and overwhelming if you aren’t strategic in your approach. Seek out professional organizations and industry groups, and identify and keep a list of networking events. Don’t be afraid to ask around about networking opportunities — some of the best ones come by word of mouth from colleagues or vendors. And remember, as a business owner it isn’t possible to attend everything yourself; enroll your team and empower individuals to represent you.

3. Recognize trends

Stay connected to your industry and your various communities by keeping on top of market trends and remaining aware of how small shifts are affecting those around you –and how they can affect your business. Is there a new technology that your firm or your clients can benefit from, or a tilt in consumer behavior? Staying knowledgeable allows you to modify your plan to embrace the positive changes and circumvent the negative impacts.

4. Review website analytics

While you can breathe a small sigh of relief when your website goes live, you should never consider it complete. A website can be the easiest way to consistently tell your company’s story and make modifications to that story, ensuring it’s interesting, timely and relevant to everyone.

Chances are that you already have analytics built-in — use that information to measure traffic and make improvements. Where are people spending the most time? Keeping a close eye on what’s bringing people to your site in the first place can help you adjust the keywords to continue to generate interest and business.

5. Summarize and track efforts

Create a monthly summary and tracker that includes detailed information that highlights your marketing activities. What events did you or your staff attend? What follow-up is needed? What would you consider your monthly successes? You should also track what may not have worked — so you can either make it better or shift your focus.

Your marketing plan should never be considered final. Your business can only thrive with consistent attention to your brand, and your willingness to get in and do whatever it takes to foster its growth.

A version of this article originally appeared in the April 8, 2016 edition of the Sacramento Business Journal.