define-marketing-metrics

How to Test & Measure your Sales & Marketing Plan using Marketing Metrics

So you’ve developed your sales and marketing plan, you’ve started implementing it, and 2016 is racing ahead. But how do you really know whether your plan is working or if you should revise or change it before time gets away? The only way to know is to actually test and measure your sales and marketing plan.

Believe it or not, testing and measuring is NOT new to you – you’ve probably been doing it your whole business life. At its most basic, the ‘trial and error’ method will have given you a catalogue of useful learnings over the months or years. The next step is to make decisions based on that information and adapt your sales and marketing plan for a successful business moving forward.

So, what marketing metrics should you use?

As well as objectives, budget, competitor market overview and SWOT, your sales and marketing plan should include the following FIVE marketing metrics, to make testing and measuring easier:

Metric 1: Direct feedback

You must start asking people where or how they found you. It’s difficult to judge how a particular advertisement is going based on sales alone. From working with thousands of business owners we can tell you that almost everyone will be happy to give you this info. Record this data, it could be a great indicator of what’s working or what in your sales and marketing plan you need to change.

Metric 2: Acquisition Costs

We discussed in a recent ActionCOACH blog the cost of acquiring new customers. The acquisition cost must, at minimum, be less than the lifetime value of the client – that way you know you will make a profit from them and that your marketing budget is sustainable. If it’s not, you will need to revise how you acquire new business in your sales and marketing plan.  Better still, if your Acquisition Cost is less than what you make out of a customer in the first transaction, then you have yourself an unlimited marketing budget!

Metric 3: The 5 Ways

To maximise your chance of increasing each of them, you must track each of the 5 ways: How many new leads did you generate last week/month/quarter?  What percentage of them did you convert to a customer?  On average, how many times did each of your customers buy from you and what did they spend each time?  And what was your net profit margin?  Just starting to measure each of these will often get them moving in the right direction!

Metric 4: Lifetime Value

Closely related to Leads, the lifetime value of a client can be measured against the cost of generating the lead for this client, to work out whether this particular client is sustainable and also whether the methods used to generate them are worth keeping in your sales and marketing plan.

Metric 5: In & outbound marketing methods

Whether you are pushing your message outbound to a wide audience, or making yourself more visible online to attract inbound customers to your business, you can test and measure both to determine how to change them in your plan. Inbound marketing is proving to be a more and more successful form of marketing as the population gets inundated with more marketing messages each day, so look at the cost of these activities closely.

There are many CRMs, databases  and other tracking tools out there that will help you to keep track of these metrics.  One way or the other, every time a prospect or customer interacts with your business, whether a sale is made or not, this must be recorded. If there is a large slice of the budget going to an activity which your CRM tells you has made no sales, it’s time to address and revise!

If you would like to design a sales and marketing plan that you can test and measure to make this your most successful year yet, book in for a FREE 90min coaching session and you will walk away with ideas and tools to put these into place. BOOK HERE or Register for the 6 Steps to Building a Better Business Seminar here.

marketing-communication-strategy

Marketing Communications that actually generate a response

Marketing Communications. Sounds big. So do you need a dedicated marketing communications department with several marketing degrees between them to handle it? Nope. You just need YOU. That’s because YOU are actually the most qualified person to work on your business’ marketing communications.

Why? Because YOU know your business in greater detail than anyone else. Plus, if you have been integral in developing the business plan, marketing plan and know your niche market intimately, YOU can create winning communications that actually generate response and sales, even without a marketing team around you.

To get you started, remember that all forms of marketing communications (be it print advertising, Facebook ads, newsletters, editorials, radio ads, direct mail or any others) should utilise the following principles to gain response:

  1. AIDA – In this order, your marketing communications must grab ATTENTION, generate INTEREST, build DESIRE and then call someone to take ACTION. Test whether your next marketing communication / campaign does this. If it doesn’t, can you tweak it so that it does? You will get a better response if you do.
  2. PAIN-POINT – Speak to a known frustration of your audience, or speak in a way that relates to them. For example if your audience puts up with ‘wet shoes’ in the rain, when all they need to do is purchase your ‘shoe protectors’ to stay dry, your strategy for generating a great response might be to highlight what the problems are when you have wet shoes and need to get on with your day. Don’t shy away from what your audience will really relate and respond to.
  3. WIIFM – Address this important question from the perspective of the audience, “What’s in it for me?” Put yourself in their shoes, even if that means role-playing with other colleagues to determine the communication that gets the best response. If your audience knows how their life will be better as a result of dealing with you, there’s a high likelihood that they’ll contact you.

Once you have been through these steps, the media that your communications need will become self-evident. If you need to tell a certain story, make a point or demonstrate your product to generate a big response, then choose the channel (web, radio, print etc.) that does this best.

Once you’ve said bye-bye to your marketing strategy department, come say hello to a coach at ActionCOACH. Call us on 02 9146 4439.

marketing-your-business

Marketing your Business – Capturing 3 Core Elements in your Plan

Marketing your business can be challenging for some business owners, especially if they are not trained at sales and marketing.  But it doesn’t need to be if you remember to add these three core elements to your marketing plan.

Any good marketing plan will include the following:

Target

We are often surprised when we speak with business owners that many think their target market is “everyone.’ Now while in some cases your product or service may have a broad reach of who you can serve, trying to target everyone simultaneously just doesn’t work!  It is far easier to identify your best targets and aim for them.  If your product or service really does work for so many people, it just means that you’re likely to have multiple segments, but each of them should be defined seperately.

A good place to start with your Target is to have a look at your existing customers.  Which are your favourite?  What similarities do they have, where are they based, age, gender, do they have specific interests, hobbies or community focuses that could help you more clearly define who your target market is?

If you are looking to develop a new product or service that is going into a new target audience that is yet to be defined, have a think about the types of people that you would like to buy your product or service.  Where are these people now, what do they do in their spare time?  Are they already in groups in social media or on community comment pages that you could start researching?

The more detail and the more specifics you have, the easier it will be to communicate with them in a way that actually generates a response.

Knowing who you are talking will help you understand:

  • Each of your multiple target segments/chunks
  • Their observable traits; including behavioural Traits, not just demographic

Offer

What products of services does each target segment require?  What packages or promotions could you offer that would be interesting and valuable to your target audience?

Knowing who your audience is makes it much easier to develop products and services that they need and want.  By developing the right products and promotions for your target audience you are also giving them a reason to buy from you.

Knowing what makes people tick at an emotional level and helping them to understand that you “get what they need” will dramatically increase the chance that they will buy from you.  Makes life much easier doesn’t it?

It is important that your business can differentiate itself in terms of ALL THREE of the Features of its product/service, the Benefits of those features and the Value to the customer of those benefits.

Having a strong value Proposition in 10-second form, like an Elevator Pitch that always answers prospect’s favourite question: “What’s in it for me?” and putting guarantees on your products and services can really give the customer lots of reasons “Why” they should buy from you.

Copy

So now we know who we are talking to and what they want as far as our products and services go. How do we get the message out there?

Through our copy and content.  This could be in the form of advertising, blogging, social media, advertorials, brochures, website and so on.

Knowing who your audience is and what promotions and packages that are of interest to them can really help you to know what to put in your copy and where to put it.

A business should have at least 10 different marketing activities, with several different versions/instances of each.  Having the right copy and content for these activities is instrumental to their success.  Think about what marketing strategies you want in your plan.

At this point, you will be in a position to put together a great marketing plan, which should also include:

  1. Channel Stragegy
  2. New & Repeat (No. of transactions)
  3. Hunting v’s Farming
  4. Inbound & Outbound
  5. A Calendar of Activity

By knowing the Who, What, Why, Where and How of your business makes putting together your Marketing Plan so much easier.

If you need help in putting together your marketing plan you might like to download our free eBook “Working with your Niche so you don’t have to compete on price” here.

Or if you want some real life interaction, join us for the free 6 Steps to Building a Better Business Workshop which you can register for here.

 

strategic-marketing-plan

How to use Strategic Alliances in a Marketing Plan

When building your strategic marketing plan, there’s much to think about.  Marketing messaging, advertising, who your audience is, what goals do you want to achieve for the business, what do you need to do to hit your targets and so on.

Then we need to incorporate all of our lead generation strategies.  If you think about all the ways you can generate leads into your business it can be a little overwhelming! We know of at least 84 different ways to bring new leads into your business, which we help businesses implement every day.

One of the greatest resources we have found for generating leads for your business is other businesses! Huh, I hear you say?

Think about this.  If you are working with other businesses who sell to the same target customers as you, but they sell a different product or service, how beneficial can that be to your business?

How much easier would it be for you to generate leads if you were using the database of a company that already had your potential customers?  And better still what if that business was already working with those customers and they already had an established relationship in place?  Do you think that would be a virtual goldmine for your business? This is how Strategic Alliances work.  By finding ways to promote yourselves to each others’ databases will provide leads and is one of the greatest win-win situations.

Let’s talk about an example.  Say you owned a business that sold Organic Baby Food and you were just starting out.  A great place to start to find your target audience would be mother’s groups, mother’s interested in health and nutrition, pregnancy yoga classes, etc.

What if you set up a strategic alliance with another company that sold Organic Baby Skin Care or Eco Friendly clothes?  Do you think that most of the people that do business with these existing companies might fall into your target audience?

So how can you get creative when putting together your strategic marketing plan? What Strategic Alliances would work for your business and what initiatives and campaigns could you put in place that would help you both? Exciting isn’t it!

If you need a hand coming up with some ideas on building strategic alliances, come along to the 6 Steps to Building a Better Business Workshop.  It’s free to attend and you can register here.

Or you can download a copy of your free eBook “Working with your Niche so you don’t have to compete on price” here.

target-marketing-strategy

Understanding Target Marketing & Customer Acquisition Costs

New customers don’t come along for free, nor do they turn up by accident. They become your customers only after you have invested in finding them, have engaged with them and can provide exactly the right product or service for them. Most people we speak to haven’t considered this when marketing their business, their product or their service.

Once our coaching clients understand that there are certain unavoidable ‘customer acquisition costs’ – their brand’s marketing activities can be confidently backed up with an appropriate marketing budget.

As we discussed in our blog about finding your niche, once you narrow down or ‘target’ – your ideal customers – you eliminate a large chunk of the market that you no longer need to spend energy competing against on price alone. Marketing specifically to your niche is way more cost effective and brings more ‘quality’ customers to your business than if you were to market your services blindly to everyone, without a target marketing strategy.

So, what exactly is a targeted marketing strategy? It’s a planning document that identifies your target, then stipulates how you will deliver the perfect message to someone who wants to hear it. For example someone in your niche market who has been searching for a product like yours online, receives a friendly offer from you in their social media feed and is happy to click on it to find out more. Or it might be someone who is interested in your type of service who opens your informative newsletter and gains some more knowledge about it, for free. We can’t emphasise enough how important it is at this stage to get your message right. Once you’ve had a go at writing a message, run it past your business coach or engage a copywriter to ensure the customer knows what you want them to do! It would be a huge loss if the customer was almost through the door then didn’t know how to engage your service or buy your product and walked away.

Targeted marketing strategies are much more likely to generate a response and a higher quality client – making it a good investment of your budget. ActionCOACH can help you build the most effective target marketing strategy to ensure a great return on your customer acquisition costs.

To find out more about Target Marketing Strategies, you can book into our free 6 Steps to Building a Better Business Workshop here.

 

lead-generation-strategies

Lead Generation – Increasing the number of leads coming into the business

Every business owner we speak with is looking for more new leads. And there’s a good reason or this: the bigger your list of leads, the more opportunities there are to convert into sales for your business. The inability to generate leads is a common cause of small business failure.

So how do you increase the number of leads coming in to your business? Well, you can call off the search party… because new leads are actually all around you! One of the best ways to generate more quality leads is to ask the customers that have already bought from you. These are your referrals.

Referrals are so important in today’s business landscape because of the way people search for and research products and services. Your future customers are increasingly starting their search online, and one of the first things they do is read the reviews and testimonials on the website.

A client that has already worked with you is a walking, talking testimonial and a good reason for new customers to trust you before they even meet you or try your product. Don’t be shy in asking your existing customers for their recommendation or invite them to rate your products and services – it could mean new sales without ANY extra marketing cost to you.

Making a habit of collecting testimonials and reviews and using them on your website and other marketing materials is a great investment in the future of your business, because repeat customers mean repeat business – so this strategy has an exponential effect.

Another lead generation strategy that won’t cost you a cent is to look through your current database and determine how many existing customers you could ask for a direct new business lead. You might be surprised how many would be more than happy to refer you to someone they know.

Want to know more about lead generation strategies? Book in to our 6 Steps to Building a Better Business Workshop here.

 

business-marketing-plan

The Five Key Areas of Marketing and Sales

Writing a Business Marketing Plan. Woah… this sounds like a heavy topic that requires more than just a blog! But the good news is there are only FIVE key areas of Marketing and Sales that you need to focus on and improve on to build your business.

These five key areas are:

 

  1. Number of Leads – how many potential clients do you attract? Attracting lots of prospects happens when you effectively connect to people who want your products and services (your niche), communicate the benefits to them and demonstrate to them the value of your business over your competitors.

 

  1. Conversion Rate – what percentage of leads do you convert into Clients? A lot of business owners ‘wing’ the sales process and hope that their leads will make a purchase. However, planning and documenting your sales process then implementing proven selling tools will improve your conversion rate results and make them more reliable.

 

  1. Number of Transactions – how many times a year do your clients buy from you? Brainstorm ways to encourage clients to buy from you more often and include it in your Sales and Marketing Plan. Existing customers already like what you do, which makes it easier and cheaper to get them to buy again rather than acquiring new customers!

 

  1. Average Dollar Sale – how much do clients spend with you each time they buy? What could you do to increase the average purchase value of each customer? What should you increase it to? Upselling, increasing rates and changing your packages are just some of the ways ActionCOACH helps businesses increase the average value of their sales.

 

  1. Margins – what is the gross or net margin your business achieves? Improving your margin is a quick way of improving cash flow. What can you do to reduce your expenses as a way to increase net margin? Our clients are often surprised at how this, the easiest part of a Sales and Marketing Plan, can make the biggest immediate difference to their results.

 

Between the five areas, there are a total of some 350 different ways to grow your revenue and profit.  Just a 15% improvement in each of the five will be sufficient to double your profits.

This list will help you evaluate where your business is at in each of the five areas. We can also sit down with you and explain each step in detail. Benchmark where you are right now against the five keys, select strategies that have worked for thousands of other businesses, implement them into your business and start to enjoy the results!

We show you this and more in the 6 Steps to Building a Better Business Workshop which you can register for here.

Or download your free eBook called Working with your Niche so you don’t have to compete on price here.

define-niche-marketing-and-sales

Working with your Niche so you don’t have to compete on price

Today, a business cannot be all things to all people. Why not? To start with, the tasks of planning and marketing everything to everyone would be near impossible, even for a very large team to execute. Plus, when a business is too broad and does not define their niche, they have to compete with more businesses across more markets. And no one wants to make business harder than it needs to be!

‘Niche marketing’ is focussing on delivering a small number of things very well, to a specific group of people who need those things.  In any business, you may have more than one niche, as long as each of them are very clearly defined.

You don’t have to go far to ‘find’ your niche, nor do you need a huge marketing budget. Simply sit down alone, with a colleague or a coach from ActionCOACH and identify the one or two people who need what you are selling.

Then, try to narrow each niche down to a single person, if you can. For example ‘Jenny, a 45 year old busy career woman who has two dogs and not enough time to take them for walks every day, and loves holidays’. If you have defined your niche as ‘Jenny’, suddenly the way you need to approach her and sell to her becomes clearer for you, and harder for businesses who haven’t identified her, to sell to her. Plus, if your business speaks to Jenny in the right way and offers her exactly what she needs, then Jenny is likely to pay more for your service or product, removing the need for you to engage in a price war.

Most importantly, once you have defined your niche, you eliminate a large chunk of the market that you no longer need to compete against on price alone. For a simple and cheap marketing exercise, finding your niche can have a significant impact on the way you market your business.

ActionCOACH has a number of tools which we will be writing about very soon to help you to find your niche and compete on service and quality rather than price.

Find out more about how to create that niche in your business by coming along to the 6 Steps to Building a Better Business Workshop.  It’s free to attend and you can register here.

Or download your free eBook called Working with your Niche so you don’t have to compete on price here.