Some thoughts about a future marketing strategy for any small business.
Take a look at your current numbers.
One of the things they mean is that your current actions are yielding that number of items sold - or, to put it in a more detailed way:
Your current website
Your current actions in Sales (calls, emails etc)
Your current leaflet distribution
Your current social media presence and activity
Your current press/advertising presence
Your current brochures and/or catalogues
Your current email output to customers
Your current other marketing output
Your current referral offers and activities
all add up together to produce whatever it is you’re currently getting.
If you want to get beyond that, there are two things that immediately come to mind:
1. Improve the VOLUME of promotion on all the channels above - i.e. probably at least doubling calls, emails, leaflets, social media output, adverts, marketing emails etc etc.
2. Improve the QUALITY of all of the above, including any larger materials like catalogues etc.
In truth, you need to improve both volume and quality to achieve real viability.
Four Types of Public
You have to keep in mind that you have FOUR types of public that you are trying to engage with:
Each part of this grid flows to the next. Product naming and targeting starts at the end and works backwards.
If you want 100 units sold in four months’ time (for example), you would need to get about 6 sales a week between now and then.
If we want 6 sales a week, you need 8 to 10 visits a week (based on your sales people having a 50% closing rate, which should be possible if the customer who walks in is categorised as a ‘hot prospect’).
10 visits a week means that you probably need something in the range of 100 marketing material downloads and/or 50 appointments booked each week.
That in turn means that you need something in the range of 1,000 to 2,000 website hits a week.
You probably get much lower than that each week.
You see the order of magnitude.
On the plus side, if this can all be set up, 80% of it is automatic - that means that you can be generating all of this without much attention or cost which then means that you regularly get 6 sales a week = financial viability problems all solved.
Some Questions and Points
• What about traditional leafleting? Some in your marketing department would probably vehemently prefer to drop the leaflets in exchange for boosting social media outflow. While I greatly favour social media, I would first of all want to establish the success rate of the leaflets. Are they successful? What do the statistics say? If the stats say that they no longer produce the effects that they once did, then you need to drop them.
• I keep going on about social media. I’ve written separately about what Facebook could do, if used at all, and that’s just scraping the surface. Social media is probably where the vast majority of your prospects hang out. By not using social media, you are effectively walking past a huge crowd of prospects and ignoring them.
Plus social media is mostly free to use.
It’s also mainly automatic, which means it works 24/7 for you without requiring manpower. That’s how you’re going to get 1,000 hits a week.
• I keep going on about ‘marketing materials’. Next to social media, online, downloadable materials would probably be the things I would want to upgrade the most in any business. A high quality, customer-friendly, super-charged piece of marketing in a downloadable format would turn 100 downloads from the website into 10 visits to your business.
Right now, the marketing materials you have are probably ‘OK’. They answer questions, they’re ‘acceptable’, they ‘look like marketing materials’. But you need more than ‘OK’ or ‘acceptable’ if you want to use them as tools to generate tours of the school: you want a visit-generating machine. You want warm prospects who have already visited your website to turn red-hot after reading them.
That means they probably need a massive injection of energy and life.
• It should come as no surprise that Word of Mouth and the internet are the primary sources of enquiries for most businesses. It used to be, though, that Word of Mouth was always ahead with the internet catching up, and this has now clearly switched.
You need to look again at Search Engine Optimisation - i.e. getting your Google search results bumped up.
• Should you concentrate on servicing a lower paying local public by reducing the amount of attention higher-paying public are getting and putting resources into attracting more and more locals?
Or do you revisit and radically improve your higher-payer marketing?
This is a killer point.
All the marketing that your business has spent money on over the last couple of years - internet, emails, magazines, leaflets, ads, etc etc, not to mention promotional actions and general PR - have managed to produce what you currently generate income-wise.
That puts attention on what happens between the initial reach and the visits: what is being said (or not said) during that time which is creating wastage?
Hence my push for an upgraded social presence and new marketing materials.
If you focus attention on the dialogue between the business and the reaching public prior to any customer walking in, you can build a marketing machine which generates leads and visits all the time.
The trick is to get them to arrive.
There are plenty more where these came from, but these are a good basis for discussion.
Let me know your thoughts.