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They say every dollar counts, and no more so than during the current economic climate.  No business can afford to waste its limited marketing resources on hit-or-miss campaigns.

It’s essential to plan and track marketing efforts so you can evaluate what does and doesn’t work.  You can then focus your efforts on marketing that generates tangible results.  This update discusses five simple yet effective steps to ensure you get the maximum return on your marketing dollars.

Identify Your Target Market

Assess your market to define the target customers whom your business will benefit the most.  Remember that target markets are not your core market.  Targets shift depending on strategy and goals, while the core customer typically remains stable.  Rather than going for the one-size-fits-all marketing strategy for every product user, consider targeting heavy, light, and occasional users.  This allows you to customise messages and are more likely to gain a reaction and drive a response.

Know Your Customers

Gain insights into your target customers by asking questions.  What are their characteristics?  Find out their thoughts about your product, why they buy it, and how and when they use it.  You can create simple surveys, questionnaires, and customer satisfaction queries with return mail postcards or online forms.  Offer a gift or benefit for their participation, like a voucher or a gift that participants can claim.  You can also do phone research.  You may be surprised by the results.

Quantify Success

Ensure you define the desired results and set appropriate expectations for the marketing you choose.  It’s important you know what success looks like for your business.  To help set goals, you can get advice from various sources, including industry groups, small business mentors, or marketing agencies.

Your goal could be a total number of acquired customers within a year or one new investor by the end of your financial year.  Success could mean a shift in consumer perceptions or greater customer satisfaction.  Whatever the result, you need to set the desired outcomes upfront to assess whether the marketing worked.

Calculate Your ROI

Take the time to compare the cost of proposed marketing against the profit you expect — not sales, actual profit.  Monitor the range of customer responses throughout the sales process, so you clearly understand what brought customers through your door or to your website.

Once you have acquired a lead, how much did it cost in time and money to secure the sale?  Can you make that process more cost-effective?  Did customers return to buy additional products or services, or did they move on?  With this information, you can ascertain how much it costs to get a customer’s attention.  You can also put a price tag on what it takes to drive a response and close the deal.

Track Results & Adjust Efforts

By capturing data, updating results, and tracking your progress, you create increasingly integrated sales reports, financial analysis, and customer databases.  That will tell you what’s working — and what isn’t. With that knowledge, you can customise the key marketing templates.

Don’t test once and stop.  Keep refining your tactics and messages.  Build up to larger, more expensive, and more proven marketing with low-cost, low-effort experiments.  Besides fine-tuning your research and analysis, there’s a simple rule about whether your marketing is effecttive.  If you’re spending more on marketing than the business it generates, stop doing it and create a new campaign.

Work Smarter, Not Harder with Bartercard

For more business and marketing tips to help you work smarter not harder in your business, contact Bartercard.

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Author Anna

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