The key to marketing is to be as efficient with your spend as possible. Each dollar spent will chip away at your profit margin, so make sure you're tracking the dollars out and the revenue in.
The media platforms you choose to spend in, and even the products you choose to promote, 0
should be the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.
Spend your marketing dollars where you get the most return
Marketing can give you the ability to choose the part of your business that you want to grow. To decide this, understand what your best-selling product or service is and understand where you make your best return; that's where your marketing dollars could go.
If you're a hairdresser for example, perhaps you have a big margin on certain hair treatments. You can afford to discount these treatments to attract new customers, because those customers probably won't just come in for a treatment, they'll have a cut, and a colour, and a shampoo, which adds to the bill. Marketing for the hair treatment lets you cross-sell your other services.
The key to making informed decisions about marketing is having a good understanding of the data around your business, as well as having a good understanding of your customer.
Have a digital media 'war chest'
Modern marketing is mostly digital , which is split into two categories:
- Paid online advertising (in which case, your sales are probably directly influenced by how much you spend)
- 'Organic' campaigns (which rely on your existing customers and followers to return and to spread the word.)
One way you might want to test out your marketing ideas is to gather feedback from your existing customers. You might want to start with a few offers and see which ones are more attractive to your customers:
- Special offers such as “cash back"
- Free trials or gift cards
- Money-back guarantees
- Bundle offers - package up some different products and services or have a time-limited discount offers.
Give new customers a reason to try your products. Once you know the offers that appeal to people, you can invest in your digital media campaigns.
Tap into the network effect
Cultivate the networks that are going to help you market to your target customer. The 'network effect' means that when more and more people join a network, the growing mass benefits everyone in the network.
Facebook and LinkedIn are good examples of the network effect. Many networks are two sided, such as eBay, which needs sellers and buyers.
In the recruitment industry, it was important to be a part of SEEK and other major jobs networks ; if you're in automotive or in real estate there are also a range of key networks. For any business, it is important to think about how you can maintain a strong presence on key relevant networks, so that you can leverage those communities that bring together potential customers.
As your business grows, the network effect can generate a positive side-effect that then builds your business even more.
Using the coffee and sandwich shop example one last time, maybe you've joined a loyalty or points-sharing network that brings you more business. That's the first benefit - another benefit is that the busier you are, the fresher the food and the fresher the coffee beans. That's a side-effect that adds to your appeal and improves your marketability.