This article was featured in the Fall Edition 2014 of Move Up Magazine
During the best of times and the worst of times, there’s one thing your business needs – marketing. Marketing is a core business function, yet it continually hits the back-burner for many companies. Here are five actions that will help you efficiently spend marketing dollars while increasing sales and revenues.
1. Determine Your Goals
Like any entrepreneur, you’re going to want to increase revenues, but you want to do it efficiently. Setting goals for your campaigns help you increase your ROI because each goal is treated differently.
Goals can include selling more of a certain product(s), increasing online engagement, generating leads, raising awareness about the new location… the list goes on. Regardless of what your goal might be, when you carefully select methods to reach those goals you’ll be much more successful.
2. Set a Budget
Many business owners are concerned with spending too little on their marketing, but should also be aware of spending too much. Simply throwing money at something is not going to increase sales – strategically spending dollars in the right places is.
We were once promoting a client in three places (online, social, addressed admail), and because the channels were chosen very carefully, the message saturated that target market in just the right way. The client was set in front of the target market, and customers responded by saying that they “saw the client everywhere.” Not a lot of marketing dollars were spent, but the return was very high.
Budgets also help you avoid the “Random Acts of Marketing” that so many businesses end up with.
3. Build a Campaign
This is where you can really fine-tune. Campaigns that are built with specific demographics in mind are always more successful; your message is more likely to be seen when it’s for someone, not just at someone.
A bit of a ridiculous example, but let’s say you produce shoelaces of all kinds. You want to sell more 5mm round laces to men who wear classy dress shoes. You are better off to create a high-end, elegant campaign than use a fun, pink font and lots of sparkles.
You’re now at the point where you will choose media channels and decide how they fit together. The more integrated your campaign, the better success you’ll have. This includes the imagery, message, and overall presentation that your audience will see. Consistency is crucial here.
You may choose to use blanket channels (publications, billboards, flyers, unaddressed admail) to funnel leads into a measurable medium, such as an online form or social media channel. Remember those sparkles you couldn’t use in the last example? Let’s use them to promote a coupon for free sparkly purple laces to parents of young children. You’ll want to catch the parent’s attention where they might be, such as a billboard outside a daycare or using Facebook advertising with specific targeting. You can now track how efficient your marketing is by counting how many coupons were procured by your audience.
By measuring your results, you can calculate your ROI. This analysis allows you to see how much each goal completion cost and gives you information on how to improve your next campaign.
Using the last example, let’s do some math. You spent $10,000 on advertising within your various channels, and 365 coupons were acquired by your customers. That sets each goal completion at approximately $27.40 per customer.
That might seem expensive, but you were smart. In return for the coupon, you’ve collected priceless data about your customer. Now you can use email newsletters and direct mail to reach them in a much more targeted way. The cost per acquisition will be reduced with each message you send to them, and if your campaigns follow the first four rules, you should see some repeat sales.
As you become more practiced at these five actions, you will see an increased efficiency in your marketing. You’ll have some triumphs and make some mistakes, but no matter what, you’ll be able to adjust your course using measurement as your guide.