If you’ve been to any of my workshops, listened to any of my webinars or read my book, Magnetic Marketing, then you will know that there are two secrets to really effective marketing. The first secret is that ad hoc marketing does not work – more of that in another blog. The second secret is that for your marketing to really work, you need to do more of what works and less of what doesn’t. And the only way to know which of your marketing activities is working and which aren’t, is by measuring them.
I am continually surprised when I ask business owners how they get new business. “How do your clients find out about you?” I enquire. “We don’t really know” is the answer I hear all too often. So you’re spending money on promoting your business and yet you don’t actually know what’s working and whether or not you’re getting any return on your investment? That’s an interesting way of using up your hard earned cash!
Every couple of months I look at our list of current clients, to see how they all heard about us. I know how they found out about us because we record the source of every single enquiry in a database. Each time the phone rings and someone asks if we can help them with their marketing, we ask them how they know about us. When someone asks to connect with me on LinkedIn, if I don’t already know them, I ask how they know me. Each time someone tells me that they’ve been recommended to me by someone else, I ask who that someone is.
I’ve just updated our figures and it shows that nearly half our current clients have been recommended to us by other people. I know exactly who those people are and they’ve all received a bottle of champagne, an invitation to dinner or something else to say a proper thank you. Over 20% of the businesses that we’re working with now have met me at networking meetings – including my annual networking skiing trip (yes, we really do network while skiing and it really works!) A further 30% of our clients came to us after taking part in one of our workshops or webinars. Of the rest, one client found us on LinkedIn in 2009 and we’ve been working together since then. Another found us listed on the Federation of Small Business website when she was searching for a local marketing company; she has been a client for five years now.
Do More of What Works …
What does this all mean? It means that referrals, networking and public speaking (through talks, webinars and workshops) are the most effective ways of promoting Appletree. So that’s where we focus our marketing efforts – with a few blogs and newsletters for back up! Whenever we receive a referral, I send a hand written thank you card – even before the referral turns into a client. As and when they do become a client, that’s when I properly thank whoever recommended me, by sending them something lovely or taking them out to dinner. This is one way to encourage more referrals from people who are impressed with what you do. We regularly receive recommendations from people who aren’t even clients – they might have been to one of my workshops or heard about what we do. The best way to generate referrals from your clients is, of course, to provide the very best possible customer service to them – on a consistent basis.
Knowing what marketing works for Appletree also means that I focus most of my marketing time and effort on networking events (a whole week, in the case of skiing!) and delivering webinars and workshops. These are often free, which I am happy to do, especially when they are organised and promoted by organisations who know plenty of my ideal clients. I am currently being asked to speak about marketing by many coaching groups around the UK.
… and Less of What Doesn’t Work
I don’t pay for any advertising. I don’t do Facebook Live or spend time listing Appletree in online directories. Our website is only optimised for my name and that of the company and we don’t use Google Ads. I don’t print endless leaflets to hand out, buy mailing lists or do any cold calling. I don’t exhibit at conferences (unless I have been asked to speak at the same event.) I rarely go to free networking meetings. “Why not?!” I hear you cry. Because for the last 18 years, none of those marketing tactics – and I have tried most of them – have brought me the same quality of clients as the tactics that currently work. We have a minimal marketing budget and we use it wisely, to attract the clients we really want to work with. (Even 5 years of Netski has paid for itself through the new clients it has generated!)
When did you last measure your marketing? Do you know what marketing works for your business and what doesn’t? Can you do more of what works and less of what doesn’t? If the answers to these questions are along the lines of ‘Not for ages’, ‘No’ and ‘Not really’ then please either measure your marketing right now, or get in touch to talk about how we can help you to do this. Call me on 01635 578 500 or click here to email me.