Recently, I was talking to the director of a prestigious marketing agency here in Maimi and she revealed to me her biggest pet peeve. She said that she absolutely abhors spotting her team aimlessly scrolling through Instagram or BuzzFeed during worktime. This statement took me back. Who the heck has time to digest that brain candy during the workday? I only allow myself to mentally check out while waiting for my flat white at Starbucks. You see, I loathe wasting time. I literally schedule every minute of my workday (one sometimes the weekends too, guilty!). Part of it is because I'm a working mom, but mainly it's because I really like making money, and as far as I know, you don't get paid for watching cat videos. The same goes for marketing.
Do you ever stop and think "what is this all for?" A lot of founders I've spoken to, myself included, sometimes feel that keeping up with marketing is like being on a hamster wheel of death. Writing blogs, preparing videos, recording podcasts all take a lot of time. The summation of which should be working hard to bring in more leads and sales into your business.
Can you clearly state exactly how sales and marketing work together to get you paid?
A good marketing strategy always works to generate qualified leads and get your business in front of new audiences. A comprehensive marketing plan should follow a core structure that takes into account the overall business and sales goals of your company. With this, you must be clear on what your business needs to accomplish. Once this end goal is defined, you can then begin to set the key metrics for your marketing plan which will help support your revenue goal.
Where to Start with Marketing
In order to successfully plan for the upcoming year, it is vital to take a good look at where you are and how your marketing performed in the previous year. This means diving deep into your Google Analytics account and reviewing your sales reports. Here are a few key questions to answer:
Who EXACTLY are your clients? While many businesses build their brand around an “ideal client avatar,” you may be surprised to discover a disconnect between who you think your clients are and who actually purchases your service or product. This is why it is very helpful to dig deep into your website traffic on Google Analytics. In addition to basic demographics like location, age, and gender, you'll also be able to extract interest reports that will give you better insight into the psychology of your core target audience. You'll also want to distinguish between website visitors and website purchasers. You can set up a simple conversion tracking on Google Analytics that will assist you in understanding how and why some visitors complete a purchase, while others do not. Lastly, review all the sales reports and email marketing metrics. Tying together all of these reports will give you a clearer picture of who you should be marketing to and their buying habits.
Which sales channels work best? How do you actually make sales in your business? This may sound obvious, but your marketing strategy should be working hard to push more qualified leads through your existing sales roadmap. Whether you have a brick and mortar business or make the majority of your sales online, there is a marketing strategy that will help increase the profitability of whichever channel you focus on. It is impossible to create a successful marketing plan without having a 360-degree view of your best sales channels.
What Promotions Worked? Did you run any sales or promotions during the previous year? How did they perform? Which promotions gave you the highest return on investment.? As you begin to plan for the upcoming promotional calendar, it is important that your marketing plan coincides with any special events or sales that will be executed during the year. This way, the marketing strategy will be able to create hype with appropriate lead time either thought SEM, social media, email marketing, and more.
The main point you need to extract from the previous year's review is what worked or didn’t work for your business. If you don’t have a year's worth of reporting information for your business yet, don’t worry! The important thing is to start somewhere and then continuously be reviewing the key topics above. Remember, every business is different and actual data is the best marker you can give yourself in order to improve your strategies for growth and success.
Leading vs Lagging Metrics
There are two important types of metrics to track in your business: leading metrics and lagging metrics. Lagging metrics are often the types of key performance indicators that you look at when you review sales. These are the “hard numbers” such as how many sales were made in a given month. They are easy to measure but hard to improve on their own. Leading metrics, on the other hand, are the metrics that indicate the buying journey. Leading metrics could be something like email subscribers or website traffic—the elements that best funnel new clients to make a purchase. So what are your leading metrics? Now that you have looked at your best performing sales channel during the review and analysis, it is important to reverse engineer the sales process in order to see where the opportunities are and how you can capture more people to set them on the purchasing journey.
Once you have set your metrics and determined the current state of your business, you should next boil down your most important marketing goals as they support the overall sales and business objectives. What does the monthly revenue need to be? How will marketing support that goal? What events, promotions or holidays do you need to promote? All of these questions will help you to begin to formulate the framework for your marketing plan.
Your next step is to correlate your marketing activity to improve the leading metrics you determined in the previous section. Now it’s time to set goals. Is there a particular social media platform that is performing better in supporting your key leading metric? How will you influence the success of this platform? Is your database the top leading metric? If so, how will you grow your contact list? These are some examples of how you can begin to create the building blocks for your marketing plan.
A solid marketing strategy always works hand-in-hand with sales. Even if your business doesn’t have a sales team, it is important for whoever is overseeing the revenue to have a close relationship with whoever is handling the marketing. A content strategy or social media presence will only support your business if there is a strategy in place. Otherwise, it's all a big old waste of time.
Need help? I am a virtual Chief Marketing Officer and Sales & Marketing Trainer. Let's schedule your free 30 min discovery call and I'll walk you through the steps mentioned above. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the website for information on how we can work together.