I have heard that 20 percent of marketing works, but which 20 percent is working is often a really good question! There are no hard and fast rules about how marketing works, but we CAN track the results of that marketing.
In the old days, we knew some good numbers about marketing, send out a mailer and get a 2 percent response rate. Follow it up with a phone call and increase that number to 4 percent. Ah, the good old days!
Recently I sat down with a prospect who was throwing numbers around and he asked me point blank, how many percent of the people who will use our service are going to come from Social Media. I told him in NO UNCERTAIN TERMS, I do not know. Understandably, he wanted to be able to quantify any investment he would make in marketing, but guessing and throwing around numbers before we knew more about how it would play out is silly to me.
The way I quantify my success in marketing is how many new prospects are created, how many turn into clients, and how well their retention rate is. Lets break those down:
- How Many New Prospects – Marketing is all about getting new opportunities. I have heard all the mystical stories about how millions are made online without ever having to talk with anyone, but most of my clients are in the service industry or small business owners. I have NEVER sold my services without talking with someone or meeting with them at least once. My prices are not inexpensive for small biz owners and I understand completely that they want to know that there is a real human who knows her stuff at the other end of the line. Those new opportunities that marketing creates are part of the activity of getting new clients. You are just trying to get X number of people to show an interest in your product or services.
- How Many Turn Into Clients – Even if you have 1,000 leads a day (from my mouth to God’s ear), if you don’t have a followup program to remind them that they are interested, you cannot sell them. To me the beauty of newsletters, twitter and facebook is that you can stay in front of your prospects without SELLING SELLING SELLING. I generally get a new client every time I send an email, BUT those people first got onto my email list through my blog, a speaking event or through social media. Additionally, when you follow up with a phone call from time to time, your conversion rate will climb exponentially.
- How Well You Retain Them – Keeping your clients happy with your business starts before the sale. If their expectations of what you are going to do for them are not in line with what you actually produce, you will spend a lot time getting new people into the system and spitting them back out. Not good for your bottom line OR reputation!.
Here is a funny Dilbert that shows this PERFECTLY
Marketing does rely on a good product and consistent message, and just being the one talking the loudest will not win! So which 20 percent of marketing works?
To me the marketing that works best is a consistent message, over time (NOT expecting immediate, glorious results), with a clear product offering. I cannot tell you how many small business owners (1) are not sure of what they are selling or (2) change their offerings as often as they change their clothes. Do not get me wrong, I have launched some products that died an ignominious death, BUT I have never changed my target audience or providing the best, most time-relevant offerings possible.