Make your business stand out!

Imagine what would happen to your business if you added one or two new marketing strategies to your mix every month for the next 12 months.

Throughout this year join us on our “Business Boosting” journey as we work through a month by month marketing plan! Each month we will provide you with some general business marketing ideas as well as some website boosting ideas, to work on during that month.

Plan your marketing.

During January we will be looking at setting up the foundation of your marketing for the year. This is a really important step, and if you haven’t already done so take the time now to plan your marketing for the year (remember to leave a bit of flexibility to add our monthly ideas!)
Start by thinking about who your target audience is and the size of your marketing budget. Next decide what strategies will suit both your audience and your budget, and lastly how you will measure your marketing efforts.

1. Target audience

Target marketing can be the key to a small business’s success. We all like to think that everyone would want to buy our product, but of course the reality is that only a limited number of people will ever buy our product or service. Your task then is to identify who these people are, and then focus your marketing efforts and dollars toward them. You will be more successful if you DON’T try to be all things to all people. Focus on the group that you are most confident about and have had the most success with in the past. This group will give you your best return on your marketing investment. Only when you have had success with this group should you move on to the next.

2. Marketing budget

Businesses everywhere are looking for ways to reduce costs, and marketing is often one of the first things to go. You can make your business stand out from the rest by strongly and regularly promoting it.
How much money should you be spending on marketing?

It’s a tricky question and the answer will differ from business to business. However a general rule of thumb to get started is 10 – 20% of your revenue (or estimated revenue if you are a new business). If you chose 20% and you are currently making $50,000 a year, then you would plan to spend $10,000.

Most decisions to not spend money on marketing are based on the "fear of spending money" when the decision should be made on the return you are getting. If you knew that every marketing dollar that you spent, was going to return you $15, then I’m sure your marketing budget would be as much as you can possibly afford because you would know that no matter what the cost, it will always generate more money. The secret is knowing exactly how much every marketing dollar is returning.

Marketing should be treated as a fixed cost, like rent, that needs to be paid every month, even when you are flat out. Marketing generally has a lag time, so if you stop advertising, and the work slows down, it can take awhile before it ramps up again. Don’t wait until you are desperate because it creates too much pressure for results.

3. Strategies

Many businesses rely on just one or two marketing strategies to attract new business. While these strategies may generate some leads, the secret to marketing success is to use a cross-section of marketing strategies. It’s the little things that add up when put together. The more ways your customers hears about you, the more chance you have that they will recognise your brand, see you as credible and finally be prompted to respond to your offer.

Your integrated marketing strategy would most probably include a well-planned website marketing strategy, as well as a range of other activities that cater specifically to your target market. Think about networking, newsletters, referrals, advertising, article writing, cold calling, direct mail, providing guarantees and improved customer service. Be patient. It can take time, but be assured that using a variety of methods, will build awareness and generate new business at an exponentially higher rate than one method alone will ever accomplish.

4. Return on Investment

How will you determine if your marketing is working?

It is not the cost of the marketing that you should be concerned with, it is how much it is costing you to acquire a customer. If you knew that every dollar spent on marketing would generate $5… would you do it? Of course you would. Unless you knew that by spending that $1 somewhere else, it would generate more.
So what does it cost you to acquire a client?

Let’s say you send out 5000 DL postcards (printed by BizBoost of course). If the cost to:

plan (always include your time in your analysis)
print (.15c each)
and send out (via unaddressed mail service)

was $1740, and your response was 1% (50 calls), then those leads cost you $35 each. If you are able to convert 25 of these to sales, the cost to acquire a customer is $70.

If this is a reasonable figure compared to the sale value, then your question becomes… how many customers do I want to acquire this month, and you would adjust your mail out to suit.

If your sale is too small to make this work, you would need to look at a different form of marketing.
Of course, what you can’t put a direct value on is the positive impression that you may have made on many other potential customers, which will be sure to pay off eventually either directly, or indirectly by referrals. It may just take a bit more exposure to your services before they respond. Impossible to measure, but still very important.

Another thing to consider is that people who buy from you once, are likely to buy from you again. So as your sales per customer go up, your cost to acquire that customer will go down considerably.
If you carefully track each of your marketing methods, you'll be able to see which activities get the best return. You might be surprised when you see the true cost to acquire your customers. If so, you can re-allocate your resources to get the greatest return on your marketing investment.

Things to do

1. Who is your target audience? Focus on the group that you are most confident and have had the most success in the past. This group will give you your best return on your marketing investment. Only when you have had success with this group should you move onto the next.

2. What is your marketing budget? Set your budget for the year and make sure that you spend it every month, regardless of how busy you are.

3. Review your marketing mix. Have a clear picture of what it costs to acquire a customer with each strategy. Make sure you know what is an acceptable cost. Stop using any marketing strategies that are not working for you, and invest that money in those that do.

4. Each day, ask yourself: “What is one thing I could do today to move towards achieving my marketing goals”.

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