If you’ve been reading this series of blogs (starting at Number One here) you’ve carefully planned your marketing – you know exactly who your ideal clients are and how to attract them. You’ve worked out what you can afford to do, who will do it and when. Your marketing is going really well and new business is coming in. But how much of your marketing is effective? Which activities are working best? Are some performing better than others and bringing you more of the right sort of clients?
A huge number of coaches and consultants don’t actively measure their marketing. They put time and effort into planning and carrying out their marketing and that’s as far as they go. Then, a year down the line, they realize that they haven’t got as much new business as they had hoped for, or they have spent more money than they had planned to, just to get enough new clients.
Successful businesses measure their marketing activity. They know what is working, what is not working and how much it is costing them. They are able to adjust their marketing as they go along, to get even greater benefits. They understand the importance of measuring their marketing.
What Should You Measure?
So what should you measure? The answer is everything! Any marketing that you do needs to be measured. You can start by measuring the number of enquiries that you generate from each activity and how much it costs for each enquiry. Go a stage further and measure the number of new clients generated from those enquiries. Some activities may generate many enquiries, but if they’re not the right sort of enquiries – not your ideal clients – you will not get the conversion to clients that you want.
When you are measuring the cost, take everything into account. If you attend a regular networking meeting, include the annual fee and cost of each meeting. You can even include the time that you spend at each meeting and your time to travel there – this will show you if it’s worth you driving for two hours to that networking meeting, even if it’s free to attend.
Be really specific with your measurements. For example, for networking meetings, measure the effectiveness of each group you attend, as this will show you if some are better for you than others. If you advertise in newspapers or magazines, measure the results you get from each one.
Measure and Review
I suggest that you create a table or spreadsheet to start measuring your marketing. Once you’ve filled in your spreadsheet, have a look at it. Are there any surprises? Do you have some activities working better than others? Are others not working as well as you thought? To use your marketing successfully, you need to be ruthless and stick to the activities that work really well for you. However, don’t make any hasty decisions just yet. You need to measure your marketing on a regular basis. It’s worth updating your spreadsheet once a month and comparing the figures to the previous month. Once you have results from two or three months, you’ll be able to see trends and think about making changes.
Why wait for so long before changing your marketing? Because ad hoc marketing does not work and new marketing doesn’t start working overnight. When you provide a service such as coaching or consulting, prospective clients need to get to know you and trust you before they will work with you. Going to one networking meeting and telling people in just one minute what you do, won’t allow you to build the strong, trusting relationships that are needed. You need to attend a number of meetings over time, getting to know the other people there and giving them time to get to know you.
Once you have data from two or three months, look at it again very carefully. What’s working? What’s not working? For the activities that are working, how can you capitalise on them and do more of what works? For those that aren’t working, you need to look at why. Are you saying the right things in your newsletter, blogs or tweets? Are you giving the right sort of advice and information, that your ideal clients are looking for, or are you attracting not quite ideal clients by what you’re saying? Are you getting your message across at networking meetings, or is what you say just confusing people? Take all this into consideration before you make any changes – don’t stop going networking all together, just because it doesn’t ‘seem’ to be working. Focus on the groups that do work and look at why; think about refining your marketing message and trying something different, before you give up entirely!
When you do decide to stop using one particular marketing activity, you can divert the time and money you were spending on it, into one of the activities that is working, which will make it work even better. Then keep measuring and keep reviewing, as you go along, and watch what happens to your results!