Are your marketing efforts making you sales?
Most marketing is all pray 'n spray
It’s very common for small businesses to have a scattergun approach to marketing — why should you know the ins and outs of all this marketing stuff when you’re busy being an expert at what you do?
You know you need to put something out there, so you or your team spend time and money creating content that gets a few views, fewer clicks through to your website or your sales page and has no long-term strategic value for your digital footprint (is it at least helping you be found on Google?!).
I get it! I used to be one of those people!
Over the years I wasted loads of money, many staff hours (that’s more money) and stacks of my own time (yep, more money again) on marketing that was literally a complete waste of effort. Because it wasn’t targeted and it went nowhere. My articles were on whatever sparked my interest that week, or on things that were interesting to me, but probably not all that interesting for my clients. In a nutshell, it was all misdirected.
Don’t get me wrong, I thought I had a marketing plan, but looking back there was nothing strategic about it. My wins were pure luck. Of those wins, many were for things that didn’t directly speak to my target market, so they were attracting all the wrong people for work that I didn’t actually want to do.
I’ve come a long way since then. After many years working with over 500 small businesses in the tech and services sector here in Sydney, and a great deal of marketing study in my spare time, I’ve completely reformed the way I go about all this marketing stuff. As with most things, the key is to be strategic. Not airy fairy fluff strategy. No. Strategy that comes directly from the data.
Strategic marketing for ROI
Let’s say your business goal is to increase revenue by $100,000 in the next 12 months. And to keep the math simple, let’s say each client spends an average of $1,000. You therefore need 100 new clients over the next year.
- How much engagement do you need on a social media post (or any marketing activity) to create one click through to your website?
- How many click throughs can you expect per post?
- How many of those leads turn into sales?
- Are you targeting those leads when they are ready to convert?
- How many times do you need to do this to reach 100 clients?
- What specific content will help you reach those goals?
Knowing your business goals, planning every step of your user journey and being able to measure success, gives you more power to ensure that every piece of content you create impacts your bottom line. As for the content itself — it needs to carefully align with your target market, specific to where they’re at in their user journey (are they researching, considering, buying?) to ensure a higher likelihood of conversion.
Using data to improve performance and reduce effort
There are a lot of variables that will impact on your data to work out exactly what amount of traffic you need to reach you goals. For example, if your marketing content can convert 1% of leads into paying clients, you need 10,000 leads to get 100 new clients. If you’re looking at the data and able to really fine tune exactly what your leads are doing and where they’re dropping off, you can optimise both your website and your marketing materials to increase your conversion rate to, say 2% — where you’d need only 5,000 leads to get 100 new clients, or 3%, where you only need 3333 leads to get 100 new clients.
Knowing what your data looks like, and being able to update your strategy in line with that data means that every time you launch a new marketing initiative, or even post a new article, you are improving your success rate with less ongoing effort.
Get clever with your marketing and win more clients
Most small service-based businesses have very small teams, with one or two office juniors who generally take care of most marketing tasks. These people are great at getting stuff done. But are they doing the right things?
Strategic marketing checklist:
- Marketing objectives aligned with business goals.
- Marketing objectives reflected in content plan and social media plan.
- Post-by-post content calendar and social media calendar that can be traced all the way back to your business goals.
- Systems for easy management — take advantage of automation to reduce the time needed for marketing tasks (more on this in a future article).
- Analytics — know your data and how it tracks to your business goals.
- Improve and iterate to make it all easier as you go.
If you can properly set up your marketing with a clear focus on achieving your business goals, you’ll get results out of your team that will have ongoing value beyond their time with the company, and you’ll start seeing real conversions for growth you can rely on.