Don’t Leave Money on the Table

September 22, 2016

It is imperative for a small business or SME to make the most of every dollar spent on marketing. Various sources of marketing must be thoroughly analyzed for immediate return on investment, subsequent return on investment, and general branding.

Unfortunately, many small businesses do not take full advantage of resources available that can stretch the amount of marketing dollars. In addition to traditional marketing efforts, the following are inexpensive ways to obtain customers and increase sales:

Leads and Follow-Up

Leads that are followed-up on produce results. To the contrary, when leads exist in a business but nothing is done to follow-up on a prospect's interest, money is left on the table.

Businesses should track leads. These leads might be generated from a website in which visitors submit their name and email address in order to obtain something...a newsletter, product description, price quote, or free sample. Leads might, also, be generated from in-store request forms, mail-in offers, completed coupons, or other information gathering promotions. 

Once these leads are obtained, follow-up can be via email, regular mail, or phone call. The important factor is that this valuable prospect information be acted upon quickly while interest remains high. This type of follow-up is inexpensive, yet can produce astonishing results. The time and effort put into a regular follow-up lead program is well worth the energy exerted. Prospects need to know that a company is interested in obtaining their business.

Although one additional sale from a follow-up program produces revenue, it is the compounding effect of a certain percentage of customers becoming loyal and making repeat sales that increases future income. Recurring revenue ensures continued business growth.

Target Makes Sense

Different target markets require different approaches. Although a product or service might be the same, targeting to a wide, general audience might actually be an ineffective method to promote your company's message. Different demographics often times seek different benefits and different solutions to problems when making purchases. 

If a marketing campaign is off target for any reason, it is basically rendered ineffective. Dollars and efforts are lost. When customers are targeted, however, based on individual factors, behavior, and perhaps location, it becomes easier to target a message that captures specific individual's interests.

Businesses must know who their customers and prospects are in order to achieve optimum marketing results. Customers should be studied and marketing strategies developed that appeal to specific audiences. Targeting the right group with the right marketing message creates the largest return on investment, thus, lowering the cost-per-lead or cost-per-customer.

Build Relationships

Regardless of the type of business, building relationships builds business. Whether a customer is in-person at a brick and mortar location or a name and email address online, relationships can be built. With the ease of today's communication, there can be constant dialogue between a business and its customers and prospects.

Building solid relationships and constantly engaging customers is a low-cost method of marketing. Too many times, however, the main interaction between a business and its customer is when a sale takes place. Little energy is put forth before or after the sale. The customer makes the purchase or transaction, has no real loyalty to the business, and is ready to seek out the competition when ready to buy again.

Businesses that understand the importance of building relationships never stop with only one sale. If the opportunity arises, they engage the customer before the sale to build trust and rapport. After a sale, they make sure to periodically engage the customer. Continuing to develop a relationship lays the groundwork for repeat business, referrals, and positive reviews...all a low-cost way to market for additional business.

It's Worth the Extra Effort

The easy way to market is to invest money in as many different methods as possible and hope that something works. The effective way to market, however, is to methodically analyze what is being done, what works, make necessary changes, and put forth effort that produces positive results. Ineffective marketing is expensive regardless of the actual amount of money spent. Effective marketing on the other hand can be very low-cost, yet successfully yield increased revenue and profits.