Leanne Hoagland-Smith. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 7, 2013 1:44PM
In reviewing your customers from the last 12 months, who buys what you sell? This may sound too simple and yet is critical to sustainable business growth.
Recently, I had a conversation with Fred McMurray, of Media Vine Marketing and LinkedLocal Network. He asked me, “Who was my target market?”
I quickly replied small businesses under 100 employees with up to $50 million in sales where either the C Suite executives or salespersons are forward thinkers who are experiencing repetitive challenges in overcoming the current status quo.
“Congratulations,” McMurray replied. “Most small business owners and professional salespeople cannot answer that question as quickly as you did.”
Until small businesses know who their ideal customers are including both demographics and psychographics (the whys behind the buying decision), they are in the role of Captain Wing It where they are spraying their actions all over the place and then praying something will stick.
Once the ideal customer profiles are developed, then the next, even more important reflective question is where are these potential customers?
In other words, where can I place my marketing messages to attract attention and begin to build those necessary relationships?
Here is where reflective thought and return on investment meet. Consider taking a piece of paper and create a simple chart. Label the columns across as follows:
• Column 1 – Marketing Channels
• Column 2 – Investment
• Column 3 – First client total sales
• Column 4 – Second client total sales
• Column 5 – Third client total sales, etc.
Small business coaching tip: Use an excel spread sheet to construct this table.
Then under Marketing Channels, list the following:
• Advertising paid
• Associations (general and usually local to regional)
• Business to Business Networking
• Chamber Membership (if your small business belongs to more than one, list each separately)
• Civic Organizations (if your small business belongs to more than one, list each separately
• Content marketing
• Industry or Trade Associations
• Personal Referrals
• Press Releases
• Professional Associations (if your small business belongs to more than one, list each separately)
• Referral Organizations such as Business Networking International (BNI) or local groups such as South Shore Business Networking (SSBN)
• Social Media – LinkedIn
• Social Media – Facebook
• Social Media – Twitter
• Social Media - Other
• Speaking Opportunities
Next record the investment per each marketing channel. Remember to include not only membership fees, but any food costs, mileage, tolls and your time. Years ago I discovered when adding in all those other costs, the total amount exceeded $30,000 for being in one chamber, one referral organization, one civic organization, two professional associations, one tradeshow and one local association.
By examining the actual sales received per each marketing effort will allow you to identify your most effective marketing and then redirect when and where necessary your limited resources of time, energy, money and emotions to those channels that deliver “the most bang for the buck.”
Next week will explore reflection within the sales process.
P.S. Shout Out: Parents as Teachers of Lake County and Housing Opportunities of Valparaiso