Marketing is essential for your business to grow. Every business owner knows 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.
You Are In the Marketing Business
You must market your business! In fact, I tell all of my clients this statement: You are in the marketing business. Sure, you might do it in different industries (i.e. coaching, carpet cleaning, professional services, financial services, etc.), but we are all in the marketing business. You have to have this mindset in order to be successful in growing your business. When you stop marketing, your business begins to slowly (or sometimes not so slowly) dry up. You have to market your business in order for it to grow. Marketing is a non-negotiable part of owning a business.
With that said, I see a lot of small businesses wasting a lot of money on marketing. They are engaging in marketing activities that aren’t generating the results they want. Or, even worse, they don’t even know if their marketing is working…but continue to throw money at it, fearful that if they stop marketing, the leads will stop coming in. So how do you stop wasting your money on marketing?
Track and Measure Everything
The key is to track and measure everything! Every time you engage in a marketing activity ask yourself these questions:
- What will this activity cost me in time and money? What’s in the budget?
- What do I expect (or hope) to gain from this activity? Get specific with this.
- How long will I invest in this activity to give myself a reasonable amount of time to get a return? 30 days? 90 days? 180 days?
- How will I measure my results? How will I know if this marketing activity is working?
For our business, we have 6 primary marketing activities, and these activities generate the qualified leads I need to feed and grow my business. I have created a spreadsheet 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. You may want to use a CRM to track this data if you have a lot of leads and customers. For me personally, I convert more from some activities (e.g. referral marketing) than I do other activities (e.g. networking events.)
Do you know where your leads and new customers are coming from? Know where every new business opportunity comes from. Chart it and track it. Do more of that kind of marketing! Then see if you can get the cost per lead down. This is the first step in creating a marketing engine. It’s one of the most important behaviors that every Strategic Business Leader practices. By measuring your marketing efforts you will make better decisions, save money, and be able to strategically grow your business.