Get a Fresh Start on Marketing This Year

Have you taken a moment to look back to reflect on last year yet? Did you reach all of your goals? Whether you did or didn’t, do you have a good feel for why your business performed the way it did?

Many business owners don’t take the time to reflect on their successes or failures which I believe is a big mistake. Neither success nor failure is an accident! So learning from either is equally important! Obviously, if you achieved your business goals you have a different learning process to apply to the coming year and building on last year’s achievements. If you didn’t achieve your sales/marketing goals last year then I would suggest that you use that as an opportunity to review the critical elements of your plan for the coming year.

In either case, here are some of the elements that you should consider.

  1. Do you have a clear sales goal? A sales goal is a bit like an elephant, for many businesses it is a large thing that is hard to get your hands around. For that reason we recommend that you break your sales goal into more manageable baskets of sales/marketing areas. For most businesses, three of the baskets are going to apply universally-
    • Sales from current customers (includes recent past customers),
    • Sales from your sphere of influence (we define that as people/businesses that know who you are and like you but haven’t yet done business with you)
    • Referral partners
    • Additionally, many businesses are going to want to have a couple other sales/marketing baskets that are specific niches (e.g. industry categories, geographic territories, associations, etc.)
  2. Evaluate what your past sales were from each of the above categories. Understanding your past performance is critical to the future. You don’t have to break down sales to the penny (particularly if your system makes that very difficult) but you should at least be able to quickly identify the difference between current/past customers and new customers (first order was in 2014). This is very telling information that not only can reveal important information about your marketing but potentially about your operations. If two years ago your sales were 1,000,000 and this year sales were $1,100,000 it should be pretty easy to determine if that growth come from new clients or from existing customers or a combination of both.
    The “easiest” sale for the vast majority of businesses comes from a current client so evaluating whether you are maximizing the potential from current clients is very important. Having a goal of business growth from current clients is important. Likewise, infusing “new clients” into the company is also important and so most businesses are going to want to have some of their growth come from new clients.
  3. Looking at this is important, using the above example, if your sales from current clients were $700,000 and sales from new clients were $400,000, that suggests a different set of issues compared to having sales of $1,000,000 from current clients and $100,000 from new clients.
  4. Decide on your total marketing plan for the year. Executing marketing on an as you go basis typically will not produce as good of results as when you plan out your marketing program for the year. For one thing, there are periods of time when you are going to get busy, and working as you go, means that during these extremely busy times probably no marketing is going to happen- that of course isn’t good. You should be thinking about the frequency of contacts, and then also the types of contact you want to have. You should have a number of different types of contacts- there is no one best way to reach people! So think of a mix of contacts including direct mail, email, hand written notes, phone calls, in-person visits, social media, etc.
  5. Think about short term and long term exposure. It is very important to make sure that your marketing activities include both types of exposures.

There is a lot to do at the beginning of the year, but I would encourage you to make sure you think about your marketing plan early in the year. Marketing is not typically an instant gratification activity, so having more time is better than less! Of course, if you have any questions about this topic, please don’t hesitate to contact Steve Bocher, at 303-789-4663.

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