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How to save time and money on marketing

by Alison Bradford

Post image for How to save time and money on marketing

Once upon a time, there a was a small business with a great marketing plan.

There were even executing their plan – networking, advertising, social media, referral schemes and so on.

They were getting customers – only problem was they were spending so much time on delivering their marketing plan they were struggling to keep up with demand for their product.

They were also spending lots of money which was impacting their bottom line.

Then, one particularly stressful day when they were signing another cheque to pay for advertising and about to dash off to another networking event, whilst trying to manage their social media at the same time on their smartphone, a fairy godmother appeared.

‘You have one wish I can grant’, she said. ‘What will it be?’

The busy business owner didn’t have time to think about this long and replied ‘How do I stop spending so long on marketing so I can focus on other areas of my business’

‘Measure it’ said the fairy godmother. And in a puff of smoke, she vanished.

‘Measure it?’ thought the business owner, ‘what type of answer is that’.

Whilst driving to her networking event she began to mull over these words and think about how they answered her question.

She didn’t really measure anything right now. As long as she was getting customers to her business, that was the main thing.

But she knew something had to change for her business to thrive and to keep customers coming back.

She had an idea.

‘How about if I start to measure what each of my marketing activities delivers for me. Then I can see which ones are working and which aren’t’.

So, over the next 4 weeks she started to measure by asking every customer ‘how did you hear about us?’

At the end of the 4 weeks it didn’t take long to realise that most of her advertising wasn’t working (except 1 publication that seemed to reach her target market), some of the social media sites were bringing lots of customers and others nothing, referrals were one of the biggest answers customers gave and some networking was effective for referrals and others had produced nothing.

Armed with this information, she changed her marketing plan for the next month. She stopped all advertising, except the one that reached her target market. She stopped managing all the social media sites and focused instead on the ones that worked for her business. She improved the referral scheme she offered and she cut her networking events in half to focus on the ones that worked.

Result of this? She saved money from the advertising and she saved time on social media updates and networking.

She used this time to focus on customer service instead and making sure her existing customers bought more from her.

The moral of the story: Always measure the effect of what you are doing in your marketing plan.

Every business should at the bare minimum be asking each customer where they heard about them.

If you’re not doing this then stop everything else right now and find a way to build this into your process. Whether you need to build something into your website or whether it’s a question you can ask over the phone – add it in now.

If you’re already doing this, great. But have you checked the results recently? Go take a look now.

You need to get really close to what is working in your marketing plan and what isn’t, and then take steps to focus more on the stuff that is working.

Don’t make your business any harder than needs it needs to be.

Have you got any other tips on how to keep your marketing effective? Please share them by leaving a comment below.

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Alison Bradford

Alison Bradford is a business coach who works with smart, ambitious business owners to get clarity about how they can grow their business and increase profit. Sign up here to learn 6 easy ways you can boost profit in your business today.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Nigel Howle April 14, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Great article Alison, and I agree with 99 percent of it. But how do you measure the longterm benefits of (say) breakfast networking at any one given point? I’ve found the benefits don’t really flow until you are many motnhs in.
Also, you fail to mention PR – again a long game as it raises reputation rather than immediate sales.
Best wishes, Nigel.

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Alison Bradford April 15, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Hi Nigel,
Thanks for your comment. Re. measuring the benefits of breakfast networking I agree that you need to allow a reasonable amount of time to realise the benefits. Most of these groups require a minimum membership of 1 year so I would suggest that during the intial year you review the benefits during the year and make any adjustments necessary. For example, if by 6 months you have recieved little or no business, then you may need to change your approach or it may be at the end of the year that a particular group is not the right fit for your business and doesn’t give you any benefits. Talking to other people in the group will help you to understand what can work well and what doesn’t.
Excellent point re. PR which can of course form part of an effective Marketing plan and I again take your point about bring a long game. The important thing here is to measure the result of what you are doing and take considered action, not knee jerk. I see too many people who decide on a plan upfront and then never actually check back to see which parts are working and which aren’t. 🙂

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