It can be difficult to define a marketing budget, but it helps to look at how peers are allocating resources. We decided to start with ourselves.
Plug the Marketing Leak and Start Measuring Success
If you are like many companies out there, you’re probably not getting the most out of your marketing time and budget. Businesses often confuse “getting their name out there” with effective marketing. However, they are not the same thing.
Let’s start with a few scenarios to help understand what this ineffective exposure looks like:
Scenario #1: Print ad to raise brand awareness
Your company hires a graphic designer to create a beautiful print ad and you place the ad in your local newspaper. It’s quite expensive to run, but you decided to run it because you heard it was a good way to build brand awareness. You placed it based on some “special deals” too good to miss. The ad highlights your firm’s expertise, but it has no offer, no call to action, and no tracking in place to measure its effectiveness.
Scenario #2: Holding a seminar
Your firm hosts a seminar to describe new industry best practices. Many attend, and as a result, several of the attendees express interest in the new concepts you described. Unfortunately, you don’t have a good plan in place to follow up with these individuals in a timely manner.
Scenario #3: Direct mail piece
You decide to send out a direct mail postcard to contacts in your database. Your list is a haphazard accumulation of the people you and your team have in Outlook. The postcard doesn’t drive the recipients to do anything and you don’t measure its effectiveness other than hoping someone will call your firm.
If you’ve executed any of these tactics, you are in good company. These types of marketing efforts are very common, yet ineffective for getting new qualified leads. Similar scenarios cause your organization to hemorrhage money and time.
It’s time to plug the leak
It’s a costly mistake for you to spend so much money on promoting your brand with no call to action, no real expectations of generating leads, and no way to measure results. You are wasting money, time, and energy by advertising your brand to a broad audience who may never hire your company.
The formula to get results: Target your audience, plan your campaign, make a specific offer, follow up, and measure your efforts.
- Start by defining your WHO. Look at your current customers to determine who is profitable, loyal, respects what you do, pays you on time, and is a joy to work with. Then write down all of the characteristics of this person. Include as many demographics and psychographics that you can come up with to describe this person. These can include age, education, income, family size, marital status, magazines they read, hobbies, geographic location, and so on. Be sure to list personality traits that are also important to you, which might include motivated, open-minded, environmentally friendly, or fitness conscious. The better you can define this person, the more likely you are to craft a campaign that speaks to him or her. If you are a company that markets B2B, you will want to include the size and type of company you are targeting. And you still have a person to define – it’s the direct buyer of your services or products. Typically this person holds a specific position in the company and is the decision maker (i.e., IT Manager, Marketing Director, COO).
- Plan your Campaign: Develop a list of prospects that match the WHO you just defined. Reach out to a small group of targeted leads who would be a great fit for your business. Next, determine what the best setting is to reach your audience. If you are trying to connect with a referring doctor, take him or her out to lunch. For busy moms of young children, pick a place with a play area and/or childcare so they can focus on the conversation. For a lingerie store, invite your audience to a fashion show. A software company might want to schedule an online demo.
- Make your Offer: To get results, your campaign must have a compelling offer that solves a specific solution for your WHO. Your audience should be excited about taking action because it adds value to their lives. The offer might be for a purchase, but it also might be to sign up for your newsletter, call you, refer to you, download a demo, join a membership program, or order a catalog. The offer itself is dependent on your business needs, but you should always include a call to action in order to get results.
- Follow Up: Once you’ve made the contact, whether a meeting, presentation, or direct mail piece, be sure to follow up. A one-time effort is ineffective; instead, reach out to your prospects consistently and often, so that when they are ready to take action, your business is the one they remember and call. We call this touch marketing. There are many ways to nurture relationships with prospects; it all depends on what value you can provide to them on an ongoing basis, and what the most effective mechanism is for you to deliver your message.
- Measure your Efforts: We love metrics and tracking data. How many people responded to your campaign? What efforts were effective? What efforts weren’t? Over time, you can use your metrics to increase successful marketing tactics and quit the ones that don’t work. As a result, your marketing becomes more targeted and achieves better results, you get more customers who are a great fit for your business, and your revenue grows.
It’s time to plug the leak and start implementing effective, targeted marketing that actually works to generate new qualified leads and keep costs down.