Are you 100% happy with the sales results you’re getting in your business? If you are, then great – stop reading.
However, if you’re like MOST business owners, you’re looking for growth. So what are you doing about it?
Two-thirds of the calendar year have passed. As we look at the final quarter of the year, as well as forecast for the coming year, marketing plays a critical role in your growth. If you keep doing what you’ve been doing with your marketing, you can’t expect different outcomes.
Elevating your marketing is a three-step process: Evaluate, Adjust, and Execute.
When we go through the Snapshot Business Planning process with clients, we ask two very simple questions:
- What’s Working?
- What’s Not Working?
Identifying what’s working and not working with marketing means tracking where your business is coming from. Do you have a system in place to keep track of where each of your sales is coming from? This starts at the initial lead source. When you’re tracking, ideally you’re identifying where the lead came from, whether or not it ultimately converted, and how long it took from initially coming in through closing of that sale. This allows you to make adjustments – perhaps implement some training on conversion – as you move forward.
Look at all the sources of business. Which ones are resulting in the most sales? Compare this with your list of marketing spends. What was the cost to generate those sales? You may be surprised by the comparison – we’ve experienced clients who spent tens of thousands of dollars on Internet leads, for example, and discover in this process that the actual revenue generated as a result was only 50% more than what was spent. A return of 1.5 to 1 might not be your best investment. Could you invest that same amount in another source that will get you 3, 5, or even 10-to-1 return?
What are you spending money on that’s not resulting in any closed sales? In some cases, you may have brand awareness-based marketing that you can’t directly attribute to particular sales, but that is still giving you value in supporting your overall recognition in the marketplace. However, don’t let this become your excuse for hanging on to every marketing expense you do. Challenge yourself to hold each marketing dollar accountable to a positive outcome.
Now that you’ve examined the reality of each of your sources, it’s time to make some decisions on what you’ll do differently going forward. First look at your plan for the 4th quarter. What adjustments will you make to the plans you’ve already laid out? If you aren’t in the habit of planning out your marketing for the year in advance, download our Annual Marketing Plan Overview template here. Fill in the things you know you’re definitely going to do – that client appreciation event that always gets you a great turnout and residual referrals; that e-newsletter that’s sent out each month; you get the picture.
In terms of what to do about each marketing effort, based on the results you’re seeing, consider these 4 options:
- STOP completely. No more money to be spent there.
- START something new.
- CONTINUE what you’ve been doing, because it’s working!
- TWEAK your existing effort. Change your calls to action, your offer, your target audience.
Let’s say you’ve been farming a geographic area for a couple of years and haven’t yet seen any sales come as a result. You might decide to stop the campaign altogether; you might decide to tweak the copy on what you’re sending with a more compelling offer and call to action. Or perhaps your current farming campaign is getting GREAT results – you might decide to launch it in a new target area and see how it does!
Whatever you plan, in order to ensure you execute, you need all of the following:
- timelines for completion of all the steps needed to get the plan done;
- specific person (or people) responsible for following through on the execution of each step; and
- accountability to ensure that the efforts stay on track.
Marketing money spent should MAKE you money. By evaluating what’s working and not working, making adjustments, and executing on your revised plan, you’ll no longer be reinventing the wheel, so to speak – you can move forward with confidence to better profits!