Whenever I sit down with a new client I ask them what they think are the key things they need to grow their business in the future. 8-9 times out of 10, they say “I need to spend more time and money on marketing our products and services”. My response is “Not necessarily so!”
Please don’t get me wrong. Marketing is important. In fact, I love marketing. I’ve helped develop successful marketing programmes for a multitude of different companies and types on businesses.
Trying to grow your business by just pouring more time and money into marketing that is already ineffective will waste a great deal of your hard earned profits and precious time.
You’re probably thinking: “But in order to get new customers I need leads, and in order to get leads I have to advertise… or at least do something!” However, in the majority of cases, the answer isn’t simply doing more; it’s doing it in a more focused and dynamic way.
Firstly – establish a system for measuring your marketing:
Every advert, blog, email, postcard or letter you send should ask your prospective customer to do something as a direct result of seeing or hearing your message, so that you can track the precise results you get. (This action doesn’t necessarily have to be a buying decision- often it’s simply the next step in your sales process). Then, you must measure how well your marketing initiatives perform. Once you know which methods are effective and which aren’t, you have the information you need to make a lot more money by using those that bring leads in, and disregarding those that don’t.
Secondly – begin measuring your results by implementing high-impact, low cost marketing tactics:
Here are some of the most effective ones…
1. Ask for referrals:
If you’re like most small to medium sized business owners, between 50-100% of your new customers come from word-of-mouth referrals. However, many companies have no formal, incentivised referral system in place. I’ve had clients more than double their lead flow by implementing a formal and systematic referral process. This includes you being more proactive in giving as well as receiving referrals.
2. Create a rewards programme:
Reward customers for buying frequently! Create a membership or rewards programme, so your customers feel more involved and encouraged to come back more often. Everyone loves to feel like they belong somewhere or get special care just because of who they are.
3. Invite inactive customers back:
Send periodic invitations and special offers to customers who haven’t bought from you in a while, they already know you, so you will get many more responses than a cold list.
4. Understand why people leave:
Take great care to track your customers so that you can become aware when they’ve stopped coming back to you. Whenever you lose a customer or client, see if you can find out why they left. If possible, speak directly with them and ask what you could have done to retain their business. It might be a little painful to hear about complaints or problems, but if one person has had a negative experience, the chances are others have experienced something similar. This information will be invaluable so you can make systematic improvements in your business to increase the retention of your customer base.
5. Send regular email communications:
If you want to maintain relationships with your customers, even when they don’t have an immediate need for your products and services, the answer is simple: communicate with them often so you are always near the front of their mind. One of the easiest ways to do this is through e-mail communications. Send them interesting, informative articles that they can use in their daily business lives.
If you don’t have someone who can help you do this, contact me on 020 8429 8800 or firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to recommend someone.