Let me share two simple keys to creating and implementing an effective marketing program: Measure effectiveness and focus on results.
First, establish a system for measuring marketing effectiveness. Every ad, blog post, postcard or letter should ask your prospect to do something as a direct result of seeing or hearing your message.
This allows you to track the precise result you get. Once you know which ads are effective, you have the information you need to save (and make!) a lot of money. Simply use those pieces that bring in leads and disregard those that don’t.
Second, use results to focus on high-impact, low-cost marketing tactics. Here are five of my favorites:
1. Ask for referrals: If you're like most business owners, anywhere from 50%-80% of your new customers come from referrals and word-of-mouth. And yet, many companies have NO formal, incentivized referral system in place.
2. Create a rewards program: Reward customers for buying frequently. Create a membership or rewards program that helps your customers feel more involved and encourages them to come back more often.
3. Understand why people leave: Take great care to track your customers so that you can become aware when they’ve stopped coming back. If possible, speak directly with them and ask what you could have done to retain their business. This information will be invaluable as you make systematic improvements to increase retention over time.
4. Invite inactive customers back: Remember: you can't get what you don't ask for. Send periodic invitations and special offers to customers who haven't been in for a while. You'll be amazed at how much more responsive a list of former customers is than a cold list.
5. Send an email newsletter: If you want to maintain a relationship with your customers, even when they don't have an immediate need for your products and services, you need to communicate with them. One of the best ways to do this is through email newsletters. Send them interesting, informative articles they can use in their daily lives.
If you don't have time to create a newsletter, check out Elance.com or Guru.com and search for copywriters and content writers. You can usually find affordable providers who will take on the burden of your newsletters so you don't have to.
Next post: Implement a Sales Management System
(Excerpted from my eBook 6 Keys to Rapid Business Growth. Click the title for a free copy.)
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Dwight Grant is a seasoned businessman with over 30 years of leadership experience. He lives in CO where he enjoys whitewater rafting, mountain biking and spending time with family.