We are often asked how to identify which marketing activities will provide the best ROI, and how to stop wasting money on marketing that doesn’t work.
In a small business, any purchase is a big purchase, so committing to marketing campaigns can be a huge decision. We’ve put together 6 tips on ensuring you get the best value for your money.
Know your market
This may seem obvious, but when you are busy trying to build business it can easy to overlook the time you should have spent on getting to understand your market. By completing these 3 simple steps, you will put yourself in a much better position to understand what marketing will help you as a company.
Step 1: You have to start by knowing yourself. Take the time to define your aims, your values and your ethic. You will not truly know your competitors, until you know what you are trying to achieve.
Step 2: Find your competition. Use local directories and web searches to discover who is around you, and what they are doing. Though you may not consider Mr Joe Bloggs Freelancer or Big Corp Corporation a competitor, as they are not the same size as you. If they are offering any of the same services as you, you need to understand their business, and why customers may pick them over you.
Step 3. Know your own audience. To grow your audience, you need to understand the customers you already have. Unless you are in a very niche business, most companies cannot follow a ‘one approach fits all’ method. You need to define your ‘buying personas’ the people who buy from you, why they buy, how they buy, when they buy. Once you know these traits, you will be able to appeal directly to other people with these traits.
Once you have defined these 3 steps you should have a good idea of how you should approach your buying personas, how your competitors are approaching their audience, and why you are different. These will all help to then define your activities.
Be up front about budget
Talking about money is always awkward, especially if you are just growing and the money just isn’t there yet.
Even so, you may find yourself swept away by a sweet talking sales rep into taking on the fanciest direct mail campaign you have ever seen. Where every recipient receives their promotional letter with a free mug with your company logo on, delivered by the earliest post so they can use the mug for their morning cuppa etc but if you don’t have the budget, then don’t commit to it just yet.
There is always an element of risk in marketing, as we humans can be quite fickle, and we can change what we like to react to as quickly as the weather. So almost bankrupting yourself for one campaign is usually not worth it, even if it does sound pretty amazing.
If you want to do the big campaigns, prove yourself through the little campaigns first. Use what you have put together from knowing your market, to try some ideas out. Spend a little of your budget to gain knowledge of what works, and hopefully make a profit. You will be in a much better place to start your first big campaign.
It can be a common misconception, as you’ve seen above, that if you throw a large amount of money at a marketing activity or campaign, you are guaranteed good results. This is just not the case.
Marketing works on the psychology of people, and what they will react well too. If you just throw anything out there you cannot predict what the results will be, so taking the time to work through your marketing messages is essential.
Let’s take the example above. You’ve been pitched to about this brilliant direct mail campaign; everyone’s going to get mugs, everyone’s going to have their morning cuppa in them, or take them to work, and your company logo is going to be everywhere, and you will be swarmed with calls. But what if your buying persona is actual fitness focused, does not drink caffeine, and goes out for a morning run before work? The phone may be a little quieter.
If you know your buying personas, you know what type of person they are. You know if they prefer to be contacted by letter, email or phone.
Take the time to consider what you are trying to say, and how your audience will best take that in. Throwing money at marketing is not a substitute for time. Sit down with your colleague, team or agency, and it will produce better results and give you more return in the long run.
This is something we say quite frequently, but it is true.
If you have completed the above, you should have a good idea of when your campaign should start paying off. However, it can sometimes take a little longer to work, especially if you are looking at something involving social media.
Not everything is instant. This doesn’t mean the campaign hasn’t worked.
If you follow the below step, you should know when is time to move on to the next campaign. But if you still aren’t sure, wait another day, and look at the results again.
Monitor the results of your efforts
You will never know the outcome of your expenditure unless you actually monitor what you are doing.
There are many ways to measure, and it doesn’t necessarily matter which you use, just as long as you are measuring. Once you start, you will learn the best ways or software to monitor, but you just have to get started.
By doing the above you should know what to expect, whether that’s an influx of calls, meetings or actual sales. You can then monitor to conversions, and see how much money you actually made off one campaign. If you don’t do this, you will never truly know if you are wasting your budget or not.
Make the most of free marketing consultations which most agencies offer
The majority are no obligation and can pinpoint where your efforts should go for your specific company. If you have done the first few tips, you should be able to get some advice quite quickly. The agency will discuss ideas with you on what they think is best and you can go from there.
And remember, though you can tackle some things on your own, if you are looking at a campaign bigger than what you have done before, or are just not sure what messages to send in your marketing, maybe it’s best to pass it to the professionals.
If you want to take advantage of our free marketing consultation, call one of our friendly team now on 01543 495752, and you can have a cuppa, cuddle with the dogs and maybe even a slice of cake.