Is fear of marketing holding your business back?

Marketing

It’s no secret that many business sectors have been through some tough times in the past year. For the many it’s been one set back after another- natural disasters, loss of consumers to the online market, a strengthening Australian dollar, a suffering economy and higher interest rates – all putting pressure on already struggling sectors. Many are preparing for the new financial year with new budgets hoping the futures look very different to how it has in the recent past.

A recent survey we ran of small-medium sized businesses and found that 45.5% are expecting sales to increase. What’s interesting is that 56% don’t have a marketing plan, 51% don’t measure the ROI from their marketing and 70% of business either aren’t sure or don’t feel that their marketing is managed by someone with experience.

So why is it that businesses who want to grow don’t get their act together when it comes to marketing?

My guess is that it’s mostly got to do with FEAR.  So many businesses I talk to just see marketing as an expense and one that they’re not sure delivers any real return.  This comes from:

●      A misunderstanding that marketing = advertising

●      Poorly executed ad campaigns not run consistently

●      A lack of time investment vs $$$ investment

●      Poor planning and marketing systems resulting in inconsistent activity

To make marketing work for you you need to follow some simple rules.

1. Measurement, measurement and more measurement

No one marketing tactic will work for every business and it will depend on so many variables- your business, product, target marketing, location, just to name a few. So you really need to make sure your money and marketing is working for you.

There many cheap and easy ways to measure your ROI and once you set it up, it shouldn’t take much of your time.

Use the tools Google has made available. You have Analytics, Insights, and Keyword research tools that will give you invaluable information that will guide you in the right direction.

Creating a database and communicating with them regularly is simple and cost effective.  Use crm tools like zoho, highrise or capsule to create a database that integrates with email marketing systems like mailchimp.  You can start to track revenue by customer segment and lead source. Our tracking shows social media pages are consistently amongst the top sources, even though we do use advertising. We have different phone numbers for different marketing tactics, so we even know where our phone calls are coming from.

2. Conduct a survey about what your clients want

It’s amazing what insights you can uncover about your business if you simply ask honest questions. The easiest way to do this is through a survey.

Structure your survey around information that will help you find new opportunities to add products or services or review the ones you have. You might even be able to create a press release on any interesting findings. It may also be helpful to get a friend to go through the sales process, website, and marketing material and give you honest feedback on first impressions. It’s easy to overlook things when you see the same material every day.

3. Create a Plan

Creating a focused marketing plan and activity calendar will help you have consistent marketing activity throughout the year.  You can then measure results against set targets.

Do you create a marketing plan each year?  Have you found this has improved your marketing performance and helps you maintain consistent marketing activity?

– Take advantage of Michelle’s exclusive end of financial year marketing health check offer before the 30th of June.

  • Dave Gardner

    Thanks Michelle.
    Great article.
    It took me years to look at marketing as investment vs. cost.

    On the CRM side – I’m using http://www.pipejump.com and it’s been phenomenal for managing my sales and contacts. I use Mailchimp as well but I consider switching to campaign monitor.

    • Hi Dave, Thanks! I’m glad to hear you are one of the converted, I think for many business owners they see at as an expense because it’s been poorly executed and therefore doesn’t deliver results. I know others that use Pipejump and recommend it. Curious to know what’s made you consider switiching from mailchimp?