We’re half way through the year, as I write this blog post in June 2017. How has the first half of the year been for you? Are you on track to reach your goals for this year? I’m assuming that you do have goals for your business this year, because without clear goals you simply can’t build a successful business. Trust me – I’ve learnt the hard way here!
But having an annual goal isn’t enough to grow your successful business. If you leave it to chance and wait until the end of 2017 to see how you’ve done, you could be really disappointed. You might be way off your goal and by the middle of December it will be far too late to do anything about it. So let’s look at a better way than leaving your business success to luck.
One of the secrets of great marketing is to find out what marketing works best for your business and then to do more of it. How can you work out what works best? By measuring your marketing on a monthly basis – by looking at the effectiveness of the different activities that you use to promote your business and find new clients. Here’s a simple process that you can follow, to make this really easy.
Step One – “How did you hear about us?”
Every time the phone rings and someone asks you if they can buy something from you, ask them how they heard about your business. Each time you receive an enquiry email, when you reply, ask them how they heard about you. Get into the habit of asking every time. If someone says that they can’t remember, you need to press them a little, to encourage them to remember, as you really need to know their answer. When someone tells you that a friend recommended you, ask who that friend is. If they say that they searched the internet and found your website, you need to ask them what they were looking for. Get them to be as specific as possible with their answers.
Step Two – Record the answers
At Appletree we have a database into which we put details of all the enquiries we receive. We record how each person heard about us. We know which networking meeting we met them at, which friend recommended us and which issue of this newsletter prompted them to call us. Yes, we can go to that level of detail!
Step Three – Review on a monthly basis
Once a month we look at all our clients and how they heard about us. We can do this really easily because we have all the data in our database. We also look at any enquiries who haven’t yet become new clients and see how they heard about us. Then we put together a pretty pie chart, like the one shown here, because we like the visual effect! But we also look at the numbers and the latest ones showed what we’ve known for a long time – that networking and referrals are the most effective ways in which we promote the business.
Step Four – Look at your monthly goals
Once you’ve assessed the effectiveness of your marketing, you need to relate this back to your monthly goals. For example, at Appletree we have a turnover goal for each month of the year. (Some people would call that a Cash Flow Forecast!) We are usually working on the next three months, looking at how close we are to the goals and what else we need to do, in order to reach them. If, in June, July is looking a bit lean, it means that we need to a bit more marketing, in order to reach our goal. But we don’t leave that marketing to chance – we know that networking and referrals are where most of our new clients come from. We also know which networking groups work best, so guess what we do? A bit more networking in the right places! And a bit more great service for our clients, so that we can ask them for new referrals.
Take some time this month to look at what you want to achieve this year and see if you’re on track to get there. If you’re not, then now is the time to do something about it. And if you’re not measuring your marketing on a monthly basis, now is the time to start doing that too, instead of leaving the success of your business to luck.