Measuring your marketing

To make your marketing really effective, you need to measure every marketing activity that you carry out.

You can start by measuring the number of enquiries that you generate from each activity and how much it costs for each enquiry. Go a stage further and measure the number of new clients generated from those enquiries. Some activities may generate many enquiries, but if they’re not the right sort of enquiries – not your ideal clients – you will not get the conversion to clients that you want.

When you are measuring the cost, take everything into account. If you attend a regular networking meeting, include the annual fee and cost of each meeting. You can even include the time that you spend at each meeting and your time to travel there – this will show you if it’s worth you driving for two hours to that networking meeting, even if it’s free to attend.

Be really specific with your measurements. For example, for networking meetings, measure the effectiveness of each group you attend, as this will show you if some are better for you than others. If you advertise in newspapers or magazines, measure the results you get from each one.

Once you have started to measure your marketing, take a look at the numbers. Are there any surprises? Do you have some marketing activities that are working better than others? Are there some that are not working as well as you thought they might be? Are there some marketing activities that you should stop and others that you should do better?

This is an exerpt from my new book about Marketing Planning, which will be published on 16 November 2011.  Pre-launch orders now being taken – click here to reserve your copy.

What sort of thing can you write about in your newsletter?

Alice

In my spare time I read all sort of things, and one of them is the National Trust magazine. It has recently been redesigned, bright, colourful and modern, but the thing that struck me this morning was how informative it was about what the National Trust is doing.

There is also a broadsheet-style newsletter-featurette for the local area we live in, giving a more focused approach to the properties and gardens close to home. There always seems to be plenty of news about the new features that are being planned, have just been opened and renovations to existing treasures. The style is informative, educational and entertaining, carefully written to suit all kinds of readers.

I always want to read the National Trust magazine and its accompanying literature because of its positive manner and worth while information. There is never the idea that I would ignore it when it plopped through my letter box, even if I was really busy at that particular time, but it is something that could be put aside for further scrutinisation when I have time.

One of the reasons why I enjoy it is because it doesn’t sell to me. It provides material I want to read, fascinating facts and scintillating stories. It’s style is to entertain and educate, happily, authoritatively, colourfully and regularly. When the next magazine is due I start to wonder why it appears to be late.

This concept could be transferred to your own newsletters, whether online or on paper, when communicating to your readers and mailing lists. This is not a medium in which to sell. It is a place to tell those that are interested in you and what you do more information about yourself and your business that they didn’t already know, should or ought to know, would like to know, would benefit from knowing, and once they did know would more likely react favourably towards your business.

There is nothing more gratifying than being the first to know something before anyone else. It puts you on a pedestal above your peers. Treat your readers as if you were giving them advance notice about a new product or service, letting them into a secret that nobody else knows, educating them into a fabulous tip that would improve their lives or businesses no end, make them feel really special. Then your relationship with them will be increased greatly, which all contributes towards more collaboration in the future.

Feast versus famine – which do you prefer?

Chantal

Do you recognise this scenario? You start your business and you’re not very busy, so you do lots of marketing – going networking, sending newsletters and mail shots and all the rest – and it works! The business starts coming in and soon you’ve got plenty to keep you busy. So busy in fact that you’d rather do the paid client work than worry about doing any marketing. Surely it’s better to spend your time doing work that gets you paid? Enjoy the feast of work and money!

But then the work you’ve been doing finishes. The projects end or the clients decide that you’ve done such a great job that they can manage without you. All of a sudden you find you’ve got time on your hands and no money with which to enjoy it! Welcome to the famine.

Never mind – you’ve got all this spare time, so how better to fill it than with some marketing?! Plenty of time to resurrect your newsletter, send out another mail shot, go to a couple more networking meetings. Gradually, the work starts coming in again. What a relief – you can pay the bills after all. More work comes in and more and more. What a lovely feast. Except that of course there’s no more time to carry on with the marketing again – too much client work to be done. And then the worst thing happens – you actually have to turn work away because you’re just too busy. You tell that potential client that you can’t help right now, so they go somewhere else. Which is a shame, because, after a while, you find that the work is slowing down again and soon you’re slipping back down the slope into famine again.

I have lost count of the number of coaches, consultants and trainers I meet who tell me that they go through the feast and famine of work on a regular basis. From too much work and ridiculously long hours, to no work and no money.

It’s a shame that I see this so often, because there is one simple solution. It’s called Marketing. Nothing new there, you say, because you’ve heard of marketing. What you need is a special kind of marketing – the sort that you keep doing! Posting one blog in six months or going to one networking meeting is not going to work. You have to keep doing it. Even if it’s one networking event each month, or a newsletter every two months, or two tweets a day – you have to keep doing it! Try it and see what happens!

The importance of a personal email list

Alice

None of us like receiving spam. So considering we all hate spam so much, why do businesses still pursue buying lists of contacts to sell their wares? Why is it that they cannot wait to build up a personal communications list – is it because it takes too long, it is too much hard work and is therefore inconvenient?

But this is a world that is becoming increasingly more savvy to email marketing practices, particularly those on the receiving end. It’s not worth bombarding people who don’t want to receive your stuff, especially since, of course, there are mechanisms in place that weed out unwanted material and dump it in a spam folder.

Therefore you need to do it properly right from the beginning, and set up an opt-in email capturing service on your website. How fast you progress in building your list will depend on how much you work at it, how much you are prepared to provide good quality information that readers are willing to receive, absorb, retain and act upon.

The result is the list that you have accumulated is yours only, and nobody else’s. It will comprise of members who have signed up voluntarily, who want to read your newsletters, who value the information you give them, who look forward to next month’s issue, who will comment and leave feedback so you can improve what you provide, both in your business as well as your newsletters.

And why are you communicating with them? To win your readers’ trust, opinion, understanding and appreciation. You extend your expertise and increase your reputation, convince them of your qualities and give them what they desire. After you have won them round to your way of thinking, they are then more likely to buy your products or sign up to your services. Marketing yourself and what your business provides is all about building upon a relationship with your customers, whether they are past, present and prospective, to facilitate business or develop advocates to influence others – and so the list can continue to grow.

And growing your list is important, especially organically. Don’t feel dispelled to increase it with purchased lists, otherwise you’ll be taking several steps backwards. All that hard work to win the trust and build relationships will have been thrown down the drain. This is a case of less is more; what value is there in communicating to a large amount of people who aren’t interested, who only press the delete or spam button, who don’t know you from Adam, and who certainly don’t care a jot? Why should you pander to them, when you could be writing to a list of people who want to know more about you and what you do, because you’ve managed to convince them you are worth while?

One piece of marketing advice given out states it’s easier to sell to existing customers than to find new ones. Think about it…

Don’t waste your time writing that newsletter!

Chantal

I’ve just spent an hour catching up on reading newsletters. I often don’t have time to read them as they arrive, so put them somewhere safe and then read them when I have time. I copied a bunch of these newsletters onto my laptop, so that I could read them, while I sat in a coffee shop, between meetings. After a while I wondered why I bothered.

There were ‘newsletters’ that were pure sales pitch, telling me how great the company was. There was one that just said ‘you might like to read this’ with a link to someone else’s website. One of them was a list of articles that the sender had written over the last few months.

If you’re going to take the time to research and write an email newsletter and build a list of interested people to send it to, the least you can do is send something of use to your readers. Don’t patronise them and don’t waste their time, or they will delete what you send the next time!

How do you integrate your online marketing, to save time and money?

Chantal

The number of ways that you can promote your business through online marketing is constantly growing. It is now accepted that you need an online presence in order to market your business. I was asked to speak about this at a recent FSB IT event in Reading, so I thought I’d share with you a summary of the session. (The full PowerPoint presentation is available from the Free Stuff page of my website, if you’d like a copy.)

So What Online Marketing Can You Do?

  1. Keyword Research – use to find phrases people are actually looking for online. Use keywords for your website, titles for your articles, newsletters, blogs and tweets. https://adwords.google.co.uk/select/KeywordToolExternal
  2. Website – use it to give the key messages about what you do, promote your blog, tweets and newsletter; list your articles. Put Google Analytics on all the pages; do some keyword research.
  3. Google Analytics – see how people use your website; see what keywords they use to find it and put more of those words onto the site.
  4. Newsletters – provide regular advice and comments, promote your website, blog, tweets and articles; use keywords for titles.
  5. Social Networking – keep it business. Post your articles and newsletters.
  6. Networking Groups and Forums – if you go networking, do those groups have websites you can use? Post comments and advice on forums; post your newsletters and articles. Complete your profile page to promote your website, blog and tweets.
  7. Blogs – provide regular comments and thoughts. Promote your website, newsletter and articles.
  8. Google Adwords – research keywords for your website, titles for your articles, newsletters, blogs and tweets. Create specific landing pages on your website.
  9. Twitter – daily tips and advice. Promote your website, newsletter and blog.
  10. PR – submit articles and your newsletter. Promote your website and tweets. www.EzineArticles.com

Summary

The number of online marketing tools is on the increase. If you try to do everything, you’ll end up spending all your time online – leaving no time to do your actual job; or you’ll spend all your money on online marketing with nothing left for old fashioned off line marketing.

Remember these three things – quality not quantity; integrate it and keep doing it.

Can blogs and newsletters exist side by side?

Alice

I’m often asked if blogs and e-newsletters can exist side by side. In my mind it is imperative, because to me visibility on the internet is paramount, and the more places you can publish your message the better. Worries about overlapping should be waved aside, as different people read different forms of media, so if you wish to increase your audience as much as possible, post your message everywhere!

What should come first, the blog or the newsletter? This appears to be like the chicken and egg question, but in reality it depends on you, your customers and your business. What product or service are you providing? Where will your customers congregate? How internet savvy are they? What is your subject matter? How easy do you find writing? How much have you got to say?

Newsletters are relatively easy to accomplish as you can get away with publishing only once a month, but they have the disadvantage of not being interactive. They will get read (hopefully), digested, maybe archived and then the reader will pass on. Only rarely will any bother to respond.

Whereas a blog has the advantage of your post always being visible, even if it has been superceded in the timeline or newsroll. There are archive processes in the form of categories for later research capabilities, and each post has its permalink to publish in later posts or elsewhere. Because blogs are interactive you will more likely get a response, even immediately, which adds to the conversation and interest factor from search engines.

And can newsletters and blogs interact? There is no reason why you cannot republish your newsletter article as a blog, if it is short enough. If not, then dividing it up into smaller sections as a series will certainly help increase your visitor ratings, as readers will want to come back to find out the next installments. That would certainly overcome the ever-ending question: “What do I write about?” and “Help, do I really need to contribute something so often?” You’ll probably find you’ll be able to say more in your posts about your newsletter’s subject, giving you a chance to elaborate and explain the subject more succinctly and in a fuller capacity.