Oftentimes, as business owners or managers, we think we need better marketing. Usually we do and I am of the mind that most everything can be done better or more effectively or more efficiently. My goal for my clients is to improve inefficiencies and increase profitability and if you’re an entrepreneur, that is likely your goal too.
Sometimes it’s not about the marketing, though.
Yes, you should always look at your marketing strategy – I would have no business model if I didn’t believe that. You should look at your brand and how your messaging resonates with your target audience. You should look at where your leads are coming from and evaluate which marketing tactics are working and which ones aren’t. You should look at your competition and your pricing, your product differentiation and relative advantage; and you should always keep an eye on threats and opportunities for new products or markets.
Sometimes, though, I recommend not investing in more marketing; sometimes you need to improve your business processes.
Maybe you need to look at your sales process, your customer service, your product, your human resources practices or the technology you use. Maybe you can realize higher conversions or greater repeat business, more referrals or increased social media engagement just by improving things on the operations side.
Some have heard me say I don’t believe in digital marketing. In fact, Bruce Philp will tell you there is no such thing as digital marketing and if I’m honest, I love what he’s saying and he’s entirely right. I know it sounds incredibly odd coming from someone who started a digital marketing agency but let me explain: digital marketing tactics ideally should only ever be carried out under the umbrella of a sound brand strategy. For that reason, I always aim higher. I always think bigger.
So then… when I sit with my clients and we begin to think bigger together – when we really look at what is going well and what isn’t – we usually find something in their business that needs attention. It’s not always more reach, more traffic, more leads that are needed, but an improvement to a business process.
What are you doing with the leads you already have?
Whether it’s web traffic to your online store, foot traffic to your brick & mortar store or phone calls to your office. How’s your sales process working? What’s your system? Are you deliberate – strategic – purposeful? Are you intentional? Do you collect feedback?
Today I met with a client. He has new leads coming in all the time and he does a great job of servicing those incoming leads. He is prompt and courteous, provides quality service, provides an estimate and has a a solid close rate of 40%. Not too shabby considering an average deal is worth $20k or so. Today we talked about the ones he doesn’t close… he is so busy servicing new leads and managing jobs that he hasn’t paid much attention to all those leads he didn’t close. He doesn’t know if they bought from a competitor or just haven’t completed the project yet.
Here is a smart business man running a good business who is sitting on about 100 estimates that he hasn’t followed up with since they weren’t in a position to close the deal immediately. What if even 10% of those leads that didn’t convert would be ready to make the investment in a year’s time? He will never know without a plan in place to follow up. And that is a problem.
Fortunately it’s a problem that we can solve easily, though, through digital automation. His CRM program already has the functionality built-in to set reminders to call or send automated emails to follow up. It’s a relatively easy fix but one that could provide hundreds of thousands of dollars in increased sales each year.
Take a good look at your business. What areas should you be looking to improve your business processes? Where can you find incremental sales without throwing new dollars at marketing? Look for areas of customer retention, repeat business, loyalty and referrals.
- Is your business a hotel? How’s your housekeeping?
- Is your business a restaurant? Are you asking for reviews?
- Is your business an education session or seminar? Are you soliciting feedback?
- Are you a Realtor? Are you staying top-of-mind by connecting with your database?
- Do you sell software? Is your documentation easy to understand?
- Are you a florist? How is your delivery service?
- Is your business a retail store? How effective is your employee training?
- Do you run a cab company? How clean are your cars?
It’s not always about marketing.