Increase Marketing Sales Today
With 2015 now upon us every business owner should be thinking about how they will grow their business this year. We’ve prepared a 10 Step Marketing Plan to help increase marketing sales in 2015. Once you have completed your plan you may also want to use the Promotional Calendar with key dates including public and regional holidays, celebrations and events and government dates to help plan your monthly marketing activities.
- 1. Set a realistic marketing sales goal. You’ll be surprised how many people overlook starting with the end goal. If you’re at an early stage of business (say less than 2 years) you are probably needing double or triple digit revenue growth in order to reach breakeven. If you’ve been in business a while in a mature market your growth rate is probably less but with higher turnover.
- 2. Write down who your target customers are. Think about demographic (age, sex, location), their needs and wants in relation to the solution you are offering them.
- 3. Understand your competition and research what they are currently offering. This can be a great source of inspiration and help you to redefine your offer so it is competitive. Often you may wish to engage a friend or colleague who can act with some independence in assessing how you stack up against your competitors.
- 4. Record what your Unique Selling Proposition is. This can change with improvements to your offer and what else is happening in the market. Have other competitors caught up or copied your offer? Do you need to redefine your USP to stay relevant and ahead?
- 5. Revisit and freshen up your offer. Can you bundle your offer or provide a strong ‘entry point’ to draw in new customers? Is there a guarantee you can offer to reduce perceived risk to new customers who have yet to try your service or product?
- 6. Think about your conversion strategy. We often come across businesses that get a good volume of leads but the conversions to sale aren’t happening. This could be due to your offer (is it competitive) or personality of the person tasked with closing the sale. Perhaps it’s the process that needs to be looked at or your website just isn’t working due to mixed or poor messages and navigation issues. A third party who is separate from your business should be engaged at some point to take a hard look at this area as all too often there are opportunities to improve conversions that are overlooked by those inside the business.
- 7. Referral strategy. If your business is like ours there will be a strong element of referral business coming your way in 2015. Rather than being reactive and waiting for referrals to come in, seize the moment and work out how you can influence referrals. Can you partner with people who are likely to generate more business? Is there a reward mechanism in place to encourage future referrals? Should you actively ask your existing customers if there’s anyone else who can benefit from what you have to offer?
- 8 Retention of your existing customers. You will have already heard time and again it’s easier and cheaper to hang on to existing customers than acquire new ones. One great way to lift customer retention is to go to your customers and find out why they choose to do business with you and if there are any areas you can improve your service. Either a survey tool (perhaps online) or even by picking up the phone or visiting them in person could yield valuable data for your business.
- 9. Update your marketing collateral. Now that you’ve gone through the process of thinking about your USP, competitor review, target market and overall offer, you may need to update your business cards, website, flyers and other marketing collateral.
- 10. Financial Projections. With new key insights and strategies for your marketing plan you now need to write down all the channels to market (think online including Google, social media, offline such as radio, letterbox drops, referrals) and document what revenue you will derive from each. This can be based upon a mix of historical data, some guesswork and online research to figure out likely returns on investment by channel. Does this projection add up to the goal you set yourself for 2015? Is it realistic and what budget do you need to execute this plan? As a rule of thumb you should allow from between 3% to 10% of your revenue for your marketing plan to be effectively carried out.