Marketing is essential for your business to grow. Of all of the systems of your business, if you don’t get marketing right, you will eventually go out of business. We all know this. Yet marketing is often mysterious, unpredictable, frustrating, and expensive. When I start working with a new client I typically see one of two things.
- Either they have almost stopped marketing because they are frustrated with it, or
- They are spending a lot of money but are unsure if it is worth it or if it’s generating results.
You must market your business!
In fact, I tell all my clients that we are in the marketing business. Sure, we do it in different industries (i.e. coaching, carpet cleaning, professional services, etc.), but we are all in the marketing business. When you stop marketing, your business begins to slowly (sometimes not so slowly) dry up. With that said, I see a lot of small businesses wasting a lot of money on marketing. They are doing things that are not getting the results they want.
The goal is to create a marketing engine that will produce the results you want when you want them. But how does a business owner go about creating that kind of engine?
It takes predictability. You must figure out, for sure, if your marketing is actually working. Too many small business owners don’t actually know if their marketing is working.
So how do you know?
Track and Measure Everything
The key is to track and measure everything! When you track and measure your marketing, you will know for certain whether that marketing effort is working or not. You will be able to look at actual data and make a judgement. Instead of relying on emotion or fear, you can make an educated decision about your marketing efforts!
Every time you engage in a marketing activity ask yourself these questions:
- What will this activity cost me in time and money?
- What do I expect (or hope) to gain from this activity?
- How long will I invest in this activity to give myself a reasonable amount of time to get a return?
- How will I measure my results?
In my business, I have 6 primary marketing activities. These activities generate the qualified leads I need to feed and grow my business. I have created a marketing dashboard where I track my activity, I record the number of leads I receive from that activity, and I monitor my conversion rate by each activity. For me personally, I convert more from some activities (e.g. referral marketing) than I do other activities (e.g. networking events.)
Creating a Marketing Dashboard
You can create a marketing dashboard as well! It’s very simple. You just need to track these data points across a time frame:
- The marketing activity (i.e. Networking)
- The desired amount of leads
- The actual amount of leads
- The appointments or sales that resulted from the leads
You can track it every week or month, whichever make sense to your business. You can also assign a value to each result to see how much each lead “costs” you. Then compare that to how much you are actually spending to see if that marketing activity is worth it! If you are spending more on that marketing activity than the sales generated, you may want to rethink that marketing effort. If you are spending less, then congratulations!
You can get as detailed as you like on your marketing dashboard. Some businesses need more information than others.
How Do I Know When to Stop?
If your marketing efforts aren’t generating the results you want (based on the data) there are a couple of things to think about.
First, you need to give certain marketing efforts longer to work than others. Sometimes you don’t see the results immediately from certain marketing channels. There are also intangible results from some marketing channels as well. You’ll have to decide how long you want to track a marketing activity before you call it quits.
The other thing to mention is that sometimes it just takes a little tweak to start generating results. Take Facebook Ads for example. According to all of the data out there, Facebook Ads are a great way to spend marketing dollars. But what if they aren’t working for you? Should you abandon ship? Maybe it’s your marketing copy that needs some change. Or your images. Or your landing page. There are other things you can do to tweak your marketing efforts before you call it quits.
Do you know where your leads are coming from? This is the first step. Know where every new business opportunity comes from. Chart it and track it. This is one of the most important behaviors that every Strategic Business Owner practices. By measuring your marketing efforts you will make better decisions, save money, and be able to strategically grow your business.
Need some help? Contact us to set up a Marketing Strategy Session so we can get you started in creating a marketing engine that generates real results for your business.