I recently made a short presentation at a business networking event covering five quick steps that you can implement to help to improve your marketing and stop wasting money. This is a topic I frequently get asked about by business owners, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to cover this in more depth on our blog and hopefully provide some guidance along the way.
Step 1 – Set Some Goals
I’ve covered the need to set goals in past articles, but I can’t stress how important this is. Look to keep your goals simple, but think about what you want to achieve – more leads, more revenue, market growth. Where do you want your business to be? Fast forward a year and what would you define as success? Once you understand where you want to be it’s a lot easier to ask yourself how are you going to get there and assess whether you’re doing things right now.
Step 2 – Be Realistic
Now you’ve set some goals, ask yourself are they achievable and at the very least realistic. I meet with a lot of people who inform me of their aggressive growth forecasts, which should read unrealistic growth forecast. In general I have significant reservations when your goal is to increase revenue by $2 million, but you have no existing marketing infrastructure in place or budget plans.
Set yourself a budget and understand what you can afford to invest. Outside of the financial side you also need to consider whether you have the resources to not only support and manage the implementation of any marketing initiatives but also how you’re going to manage success and meet potential demand increases. Finally take a long hard look at your budget and if needed go back and re-evaluate your goals.
Step 3 – Understand Your Market
Straight forward enough, but something that many businesses forget to consider when evaluating and developing their marketing. Before you spend any money you should always take some time to understand your market and the ways in which you’re going to engage with them and drive sales. Ask yourself the following simple questions and you will have a clearer understanding of the types of marketing tools that you need to employ:
- Who are our clients?
- How do they find us?
- How do we engage with them?
- How do we communicate with them?
Step 4 – Do An Audit
At this point you should hopefully have your goals, a budget and understand your target market. The next step is to complete an audit of all of your existing marketing tools and initiatives to evaluate whether they are going to support you in achieving your goals. Are they up-to-date, do they promote the business as required and do they contain the right message for your business?
If you’re currently actively marketing, hopefully you have some measurement tools in place, so you can understand how much you spend and evaluate it’s effectiveness. At the very least the audit will give you a clear indication of how much budget and resources need to be invested in developing the tools you’re going to need.
Step 5 – Measure
If you looked at step 4 and asked “measurement, what’s that”, step 5 is for you. To avoid making the same mistakes year-on-year you need to understand whether what you’re doing is working. Firstly understand success in terms of your marketing effectiveness and start to think about cost per lead and analysing the cost per conversion. Measurement doesn’t need to be rocket science it can be as simple as asking new leads how they found your business or “quote this code” if you’re running a promotion. If you are active when it comes to digital marketing ensure you have some form of analytics code embedded in your site.
As with everything in life you only get out what you put in. All of the steps covered do require you to invest time and effort into getting it right and making it work. However, if you do take the time to follow them I guarantee that you’ll stop wasting time and effort on marketing plans that have no impact for your business.