It is imperative for a small business to make the most of every dollar spent on marketing. Various sources of marketing must be thoroughly analyzed for the immediate return on investment, subsequent return on investment, and general branding.
Unfortunately, many small businesses do not take full advantage of resources available that can stretch the amount of marketing dollars. In addition to traditional marketing efforts, the following are inexpensive ways to obtain customers and increase sales:
Leads and Follow-Up
Following up on leads generally produces positive results. To the contrary, when leads exist in a business but nothing is done to follow-up on a prospect's interest, money is left on the table.
Businesses should track leads. These leads might be generated from a website in which visitors submit their name and email address in order to obtain something...a newsletter, product description, price quote, or free sample. Leads might also be generated from in-store request forms, mail-in offers, completed coupons, or other information gathering promotions.
Once these leads are obtained, follow-up can be via email, regular mail, or phone call. The important factor is that this valuable prospect information be acted upon quickly while interest remains high. This type of follow-up is inexpensive, yet can produce astonishing results. The time and effort put into a regular follow-up lead program is well worth the energy exerted. Prospects need to know that a company is interested in obtaining their business.
Although one additional sale from a follow-up program produces revenue, it is the compounding effect of a certain percentage of customers becoming loyal customers who make repeat sales that really increases future income. Recurring revenue ensures continued business growth.
Target Makes Sense
Different target markets require different approaches. Although a product or service might be the same, targeting to a wide, general audience might actually be an ineffective method to promote a company's message. Different demographics often times seek different benefits and different solutions to problems when making purchases.
If a marketing campaign is off target for any reason, it is basically becomes unproductive. Money spent and efforts exerted are lost. When customers are targeted, however, based on individual factors, behavior, and even location, it becomes easier to target a message that captures a specific purchaser’s interests.
Businesses must know and understand their customers and prospects in order to achieve optimum marketing results. Customers should be studied, and marketing strategies developed that appeal to specific audiences. Targeting the right group with the right marketing message creates the biggest return on investment, thus, lowering the cost-per-lead or cost-per-customer.
Regardless of the type of business, building relationships builds business. Whether a customer is in person at a brick-and-mortar location or a name and email address online, relationships can be built. With the ease of today's communication, there can be constant dialogue between a business and its customers and prospects.
Building solid relationships and constantly engaging customers is a low-cost method of marketing. Unfortunately, however, many times the main interaction between a business and its customer is only when a sale takes place. Little energy is put forth before or after a sale to build a possible future relationship. The customer makes the purchase, has little loyalty to the business, and is ready to seek out the competition when ready to purchase again.
Businesses that understand the importance of building relationships never stop with just a “sale.” If the opportunity arises, they engage the customer before the sale to build trust and rapport. After a sale, they make sure to periodically engage the customer. Continuing to develop a relationship lays the groundwork for repeat business, referrals, and positive reviews...all a low-cost way to market for additional business.
It's Worth the Extra Effort
The easy way to market is to invest money in as many different marketing components as possible and hope that something works. The effective way to market, however, is to methodically analyze what is being done, what works, make necessary changes, and put forth effort that produces positive results. Ineffective marketing is expensive regardless of the actual amount of money spent.
If you are interested in a complimentary Digital Marketing Assessment, let me know. The hour you invested in the assessment can lead to greatly increased revenue and profit.