Marketing for Business Growth
Marketing for Business Growth
Even though marketing is complicated, people often overcomplicate marketing.
Marketing, simply put, is the ongoing process of aggregating attention for the purpose of generating interest or a lead.
Everything you do to promote your business falls under marketing.
Yes, even that small chat where you casually mention that you’re the owner of Brand X is already marketing.
Your primary goal in marketing, of course, is to attract, engage, and get customers. The role of marketing is to have a steady stream of interested, qualified people to feed your sales pipeline.
Marketing is an Investment
Let’s get this out of way first: there is no such thing as a free client or customer.
That’s right. Because there are no free ways to get clients.
Even clients who come from referrals or networking are not free. You may not spend money outright but you’re spending time and relationship capital. Your time is worth money. So even if you don’t spend on paid advertising or social media, all of the things you do to get customers still require some type of equity.
Still, a lot of business owners treat marketing as an expense when it should be treated as an investment. They see the marketing budget as a good-to-have instead of a necessity.
If you want to grow, you have to shift your mindset.
Think of marketing as the fuel that runs your engine. You scrimp on fuel, you shouldn’t expect to get to where you want to go.
You have to be willing to invest in your marketing if you’re aiming for growth in your business. You have to keep the flow of potential customers going. What you need to do, however, is to be smarter with your marketing spend to get the most attention and return on investment (ROI) you can.
Sourcing Your Customers
Now that we’ve cleared what marketing is and what it means for your business, it’s time to focus on the source of your business.
Whether you’re just getting started or you’ve been in business for some time now, you have to have a regular organic customer base. But if you’re looking to grow, you know you can’t rely on referrals forever. Your business needs a steady supply of new potential customers to achieve your growth goals.
It’s crucial to identify several customer sources and to always be on the lookout for opportunities for sourcing your customers. If most of your customers right now come from referrals from your existing clients, for instance, you might want to consider taking a new approach, such as rebuilding your online presence, creating content or whatever makes sense for your business.
Diversifying your customer sources not only ensures that you can grow your business. It also protects your business from the threat of your existing source running out or slowing down.
Using Targeted Marketing
A lot of businesses out there are still using the spray-and-pray method when it comes to their marketing.
Of course, this often leads to poor marketing performance. If you want to improve your ROI from marketing, you have to learn about targeting.
Targeted marketing is about getting the right message out to the right people at the right place, and at the right time. This means that you need to tailor your messages to your ideal customers depending on their current situation. For instance, people may need your product or service but they may not see the need for it right now. In this case, your “buy now” messaging would simply not be motivating enough.
You want to put hot triggers in front of a motivated audience. But you also want to have messages that cater to those who are just not ready to buy yet.
Understand the Customer Journey
Understanding the customer journey is key to doing targeted marketing.
You have to know the path that people take in their buying journey in order to create and deliver the right messages at exactly the right time for them.
The customer journey outlines people’s behaviors and intent as they go through the stages of their purchase decision-making process. Someone who wants to buy a car, for instance, doesn’t simply walk into a dealership to get one. They engage in several pre-purchase activities such as comparing different brands and models, researching their financing options, and doing a test drive on their preferred cars.
People will have different needs depending on where they are in their customer journey. For your messaging to be effective, it should be created with these specific needs in mind. Continuing with the car buyer example, someone who just started their purchase journey would have different needs than say, another buyer who is further down. The former would probably want information about the different car models while the latter would already have a specific selection and just needs to narrow down their choices to a specific make and model.
The customer journey isn’t uniform either. It will differ from customer to customer, from one industry to another, and across products. Business-to-business clients, for instance, usually take a longer sales cycle compared to direct to consumer. Within direct to consumer segments, you can expect journey differences, such as when you’re selling high-ticket items versus cheaper commodities.
So by learning about the customer journey, you can understand the exact path that potential customers take to find you. You can anticipate their needs. And you could also engineer the path to be optimal for both you and the client.
Optimizing your Marketing Assets
Once you understand your customer’s journey, you can start using this knowledge to maximize your marketing assets.
Marketing assets are the materials and platforms you use to gain business exposure (eg. ad banners, emails, flyers, etc.). Your assets need to generate leads and revenue. Otherwise they’re just a waste of time and resources.
If you have a website or social media channels, you can optimize these platforms for more effective lead generation.
You can tweak your copy and design to match the customer’s specific information or persuasion needs based on their journey. You can run tests and measure how well your optimized assets perform in terms of increasing engagement or generating new leads for your business.
Knowing Your Acquisition Costs
Marketing is an investment, so you have to measure your return on investment or ROI.
You have to know how much exactly it costs to acquire a new client.
This means you need to do the math to determine how effective your current marketing is.
The simplest way of calculating Return on Investment is:
ROI = Net Profit / Total Investment * 100
Imagine you’re the owner of a new software company that has recently developed a video editing app for mobile phone users. You’re running paid Facebook ads to drive traffic to your app landing page. Your goal is to get new free trial subscribers with the goal of ultimately converting them into paid users. Paid users have to pay a $39 monthly subscription. Maintaining the app has costs so you get a net profit of $15 out of each paying user.
Let’s say you spent $1000 on your ad campaign and got 1200 landing page visitors. Of these visitors, 500 signed up for the free trial. Then 200 went on to become paid subscribers.
This means that your acquisition costs for this specific campaign look like this:
- Cost to get a lead (free trial subscribers) – $2
- Cost to get a customer (paid user) – $5
Your ROI for the ad campaign will be = Net Profit ($15×200) /$1000 *100 = 300
So this ad campaign tripled your investment.
It’s important that you know these figures so you know how to scale out your marketing. Since you know your acquisition costs, you can easily set a realistic budget for your marketing campaigns that’s in line with your growth goals. You’ll also learn if you’re charging enough to stay profitable in your business.
Ultimately, marketing is about consistently generating leads at a profit.
The Attention Economy
People’s attention spans are getting shorter so you have to constantly remind them about your value. You stop marketing and your audience will instantly forget about you.
That’s why consistency in your marketing efforts is crucial. You have to make sure you stay top of mind because your audience is often interested but isn’t ready to buy.
The key to constantly staying in front of people is to be helpful. Find out how you can be of help to them even if they’re still in the early stage of their customer journey. Let them know that your business cares about their problems and getting them to the right solutions.
Maximize Your Marketing Investment
Marketing is the fuel that keeps your sales pipeline working.
Once you’ve set up a budget for your marketing activities, you need to make sure that your marketing is efficient and effective.
The key to this is prioritization. The Pareto principle or the 80/20 rule is useful here. In a nutshell, the 80/20 rule would predict that 80 percent of your leads and customers would come from 20% of your marketing activities.
What this means is that not all marketing activities are equal.
Focus your resources on the channels and activities that have the most growth potential. For instance, if your data indicates that your website brings you the most qualified leads, then you should prioritize it. In the same way, you should also pay attention to the most profitable segment of your customers.
This doesn’t mean you should abandon the 20 percent altogether. You can still do these activities as part of a comprehensive strategy. Just make sure that your time and resource spend are aligned with your marketing priorities.