During these rough times when everyone needs to cut back on budgets it may be hard to keep spending on Marketing. It’s probably even harder if you don’t really understand how your marketing efforts should go and what kind of results to expect. Do you even know if your marketing worked last time, are you tracking it?
We want to make it easier for you to understand marketing and all the different tactics involved. So we are sharing several tips on “how to” do it yourself here on this site. This way you can understand marketing and do it yourself to save a little money. Marketing doesn’t have to be complicated but it does need to be ongoing. Marketing isn’t something you can do once and then get tons of results. It’s something that you need to keep going with and adding to. One of the biggest mistakes I see small businesses make is by trying some marketing once or for a month then stopping for months. Check out this great story about people’s habits and advertising’s effects brainloaf.com/2008/05/18.html.
Instead of waiting for the sales reps from the Yellow Pages, the radio, the newspaper come after you, you need to start this year fresh with a plan. I know already you are thinking I don’t have time for this but it is super important to put a marketing plan in place every year. It doesn’t need to be super complicated, it can be a simple list with some budget numbers attached. You can add to it each month when you start seeing or not seeing any results. This is called tracking or measurement. It is critical that you track the results of your marketing. If you are considering signing up for any type of marketing with a media (radio, TV, Newspaper, etc.) rep, make sure to ask how will we track the results. Yes WE. They are selling you a product (the ad) and you have every reason to see that it is working. Most likely they have been doing this for a while and can help you with tracking suggestions.
You will see that with traditional marketing like radio, TV, newspaper ads, Yellow Page ads, it can be hard to track or measure the success. There are things that can be done in ads, like saying “mention this ad” or “bring in this coupon.” However this means that the responsibility of tracking your marketing has been pushed off on your customers. Is that really their responsibility? Can you trust them with that responsibility? Probably not. Instead you and your employees need to take on this responsibility. When a potential new customer calls or emails you and all employees need to ask “how did you hear about us.” Create a simple form to be filled out for new customers – name, phone, email, how they heard about us. If you have a store or restaurant, ask when the sale is being made or when the order is being taken. Reward an employee for tracking where the most customers came from – your newspaper ad, yellow pages, Google, etc.
Online marketing, like emails, website forms, search engine marketing can be a little easier to track because they provide an electronic trail of where that customer came from. Make sure your website has a form and you can see the stats of who is filling it out every month. If your website designer can’t provide that to you, it’s time to find a new designer. If you sell things online, make sure each sale can be tracked back to a source. Did they come from Google, an email, LinkedIn, etc. It may cost extra to have this functionality added to your site but it will be worth knowing where the sales are coming from, not just the window-shoppers.
In case your still not convinced to track and measure your marketing think about this. If you loaned someone $5000 would you want to know when they repaid you or would you not stay on top of that? Well if you pay $5000 for marketing, it should be tracked. You need to know if you are getting your moneys worth or if you’re just wasting money and time. Different tactics work for different businesses in different areas. You need to know your ROI!
ROI is return on investment. Did the marketing you spent $500 on bring you sales of $0, $500, $1000 or $20,000. This is something you should track so you can repeat it, tweak it or stop it depending on your results. If you results were amazing, go ahead and repeat. If you broke even or just did a little better you may want to tweak your message or creative look and try again. If it didn’t bring anything back at all you have a hard choice to make. Is this something that people need to see over and over again to really work AND is this something I can afford to keep trying. If you decide your not going to to keep going with this tactic, replace it with a new one. Don’t give up and don’t say you are too busy.
If you are trying to run your business and trying to do marketing it can be overwhelming but you have to stick with it. Check out some of our other articles to help you out and get you motivated.