Stuart from Colorado had talked to a number of marketing firms and gotten estimates for designing and printing his marketing materials and building a web site for his business producing promotional cds. One firm quoted $100,000 to build his web site alone. He sensed something was missing or wrong, but couldn’t put his finger on it, so he called me.
I asked Stuart how the various marketing pieces and activities were going to work together to help him generate leads. I asked him what his business marketing strategy was. He drew a blank. The small business marketing firms he had talked to had provided detailed information on what they were going to produce for him, but none had discussed a coordinated plan to generate leads and sales.
Marketing without an integrated strategy is like playing poker, tennis or football without knowing the rules, keeping score or having a game plan. You could put in a lot of time, energy, and capital, and still end up losing the game. Has this happened to you?
Winning at business is the same as any other game, whether your objective is to beat the competition or just to be the best in your industry. To be successful, you need to know the rules of the game, have a clear strategy and track your progress.
The Rules for Winning at Strategic Marketing and Sales
Here are some of the most essential rules to follow to succeed at marketing your business.
1. Written goals are motivating and can help you succeed. Define your objectives for revenue, lead generation and conversion rates for the year and then break those down for each quarter. Commit them to writing. Next list the weekly and daily tasks you and/or your employees need to accomplish in order to reach your goals.
2. The more qualified prospects you can attract, the more clients you’ll have. A clearly defined lead generation strategy will bring in the new prospects you need to be profitable.
3. It’s easier to convert prospects to clients when they are looking to solve a problem. It’s much harder to convert people who don’t have a current need or concern, even if they are members of your target market. Instead of seeking prospects, prompt prospects to look for you.
4. You’ll get a better response from marketing messages that are focused on client problems and concerns, not on your credentials or descriptions of products and processes. If you’re not getting the response you’d like from your mailings, ads or web site, take a second look at your marketing message. A few changes in your marketing copy can increase response by factors of ten or more.
5. Integrate your tactics and message across your marketing materials, ads, and web site to prompt people to seek you out and contact you. Trying to generate leads without an integrated strategy is like playing football without a set of plays for the quarterback to use with the team. He’d end up throwing the ball only to find the receiver had gone the other direction or go for a field goal on the first down.
6. The purpose of having a web site is to generate leads. Once you have a lead you can use it to generate sales. Once you get prospects to your web site or reading your marketing materials, make sure you prompt them to contact you.
7. Most sales are the result of a relationship based on your credibility and the value of your products or services. Developing these relationships can take weeks or months to build. Your marketing strategy should facilitate this process of building relationships over time, with multiple opportunities for contacting prospects.
8. The easiest people to sell to are past customers. Prompt first time clients to buy from you again and again.
In order to know if your strategic marketing is working you need ways of keeping score. Which marketing results are you tracking? Which additional ones should you define each month and quarter to track? Keep track of these important ‘scores’ to evaluate your
1. How many prospects seek your firm out each month? Is this number growing each month by five to ten percent?
2. What percentage of people who are exposed to your ads, your web site and other marketing materials give you their contact information so you can stay in touch with them?
3. How many people are on your house list of qualified prospects? How fast is this list growing each month?
4. How many people buy from you each week? What is the dollar volume of each sale?
5. How many sales come from repeat customers?
Whether we’re talking poker, tennis, or marketing your small business, the objective is to improve your performance and succeed more often. When you have a game plan, know the rules and track your scores, you can continually find ways to improve your marketing and be more successful.