to evaluate your marketing
Business owners often find it difficult to
know whether their marketing tactics are
working. This can be especially tricky when
you use a combination of marketing
activities simultaneously, or if using
personal-contact tactics such as networking.
No matter what business you're in, your
marketing should be accountable. So here's a
few ways to evaluate how well you're doing.
1) Look at
your sales (or fee income). They should
be going up! But be careful about what you
measure. Some firms have a longer sales
cycle than others. To get an accurate
picture you might need to also measure the
number of new leads being generated, or the
number of appointments, or the number of
billable hours achieved. Remember discounts
or variances in fees will affect total sales
2) Ask your
clients. Check to find out where they
heard of you. Most businesses never ask this
question and miss out on gleaning valuable
insights into how clients select a service
3) Does your
advertising and/or promotional activity
produce direct responses?
It should. If your answer is "I don't
know" then you've got some work to do. In
addition to 2) above, there are some things
you can do to improve response rates.
Firstly, make sure you are advertising in
the right media. Choose media to suit your
selected audience. Be as specific as
possible. And avoid rejecting options just
because they don't look "exciting", such as
trade journals that might have relatively
small readership. Importantly, check with
your audience to make sure they actually do
read the publication.
Use a strong headline that asks a pertinent
question, or gives a solution-oriented
Include a clear call-to-action. Tell people
what they should do. For example: Ring today
for your free appointment; Ask for our free
Include multiple methods of contact. Phone,
email, and web site are all important. Give
prospects a choice of how to contact you.
4) Do your
networking activities create new
opportunities for you? One of the major
principles of effective networking is to
"give" rather than "sell". That is, you
should look to help others as you spread
word about your services. But this softly,
softly approach can make it hard to measure
To measure your networking activities make
sure you track the source of incoming
enquiries. Then see if any of your
visible/tangible tactics can be credited
with generating the enquiry. If not, then
maybe you can safely say it was a referral
generated by networking. This is made a lot
easier if you're a member of a
lead-generating club such as BNI or Leads.
You'll get specific feedback each week from
5) Do your
marketing tactics make it easier to sell
your services? To do this your marketing
activities and/or material should do the
Attract qualified prospects (who have shown
a specific interest in your services).
Anticipate and diffuse potential
questions/concerns from prospects.
Be easy to use when personally selling to
prospects. For example: material should be
relevant; images/charts easy to understand;
and be presented in a format the prospect
will be likely to keep.
Focus on your client needs and your points
of difference (Unique Selling Proposition).
your sales conversion rate. The best
approach here is to look at your historical
records and determine whether your
conversion (or closure) rate has improved.
"Selling" is an important part of the
"marketing" function, so make sure you
assess your success at closing the sale,
rather than just focus on generating new
7) Does your
plan have a positive return on investment (ROI)?
Does it bring in enough new/repeat business
to justify the expense? Rather than just
look at the "marketing budget" as one total,
you really need to evaluate the cost
effectiveness of each specific marketing
activity. Even if you think you're getting a
great ROI overall, maybe you can do even
better by changing or eliminating
Stuart Ayling runs Marketing Nous, an
Australasian marketing consultancy that
specialises in marketing for service businesses.
He helps clients to improve their marketing
tactics, attract more clients, and increase
revenue. For additional marketing resources,
including Stuart's popular monthly newsletter,
visit his web site at
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