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planning for 2024

How to make 2024 your best year yet

By Marketing Plan, Strategic Planning

There’s just a month to go until the year changes from ’23 to ’24 and, if you want next year to be an improvement on this one, it’s time to start planning. So, here are our 12 top tips to help you make 2024 your best year yet

Commit time to working on the business

As the owner of a small business, it is easy to get lost in the business. There’s always something you need to do for your clients, your prospects or your team. Even more so if your business is just you. However, if you don’t spend time working on the fundamentals, you’ll struggle to make 2024 any different from previous years.

Therefore, it’s essential to schedule regular time into your diary to focus on the business as a whole. Ideally this time should be away from your day-to-day responsibilities, or at least away from your phone and laptop. Remove the distractions and you’ll use your time more effectively.

Know where you are now

For 2024 to become your best year ever you need to be clear on a few things. What do you have to achieve? How is your business performing in 2023? Was that better or worse than 2022?

Go through your accounts and your CRM to get the information and then set targets for 2024 for…

  • Revenue
  • Profit
  • of leads and conversion rate
  • of clients

These are just some of the measures you can use for your targets, but you need to choose what will work best for you.

Focus on your Ideal Clients

Every business has clients they like working with and clients they don’t. We all work better and deliver better results for the clients we like (and who pay their invoices), so focus on attracting more of the clients you like.

Develop personas for these clients:

  • Who are they?
  • What is important to them?
  • How can you help them?
  • What does success look like?
  • How can you get in front of them?

If your marketing is focused on the types of clients you like working for, it will attract more of them.

Get your messaging right – it’s not about you

Building on the previous point and being blunt: Nobody cares what you do as a business. They care about how YOU can HELP THEM. If your marketing starts with the word “we” you’re heading in the wrong direction.

Your marketing must demonstrate that you understand their pains, needs and issues – and that you can deliver a solution.

Quick tests:

  • Does your website’s home page talk about your business or your target audience?
  • Is the first thing in your website menu the About Us page?
  • Does the phrase “leading provider of…” appear anywhere on your website or marketing collateral?

If you say, “yes” to any of these (unless you can prove you’re the leading provider), you’re going to alienate people you can help.

Schedule marketing into your diary

We’ve talked about the feast and famine cycle in previous articles (see one of them here) because it can happen so easily. You do some marketing, sell some stuff and then get your heads down delivering what you’ve sold. While you’re delivering no marketing is done and then you wonder why you have no more leads and sales opportunities.

So, schedule time into your diary to ensure your marketing happens. Even if you have internal marketing staff or you use someone like us, you still need to dedicate time to marketing. Outsourced providers will need things from you, such as checking new content is absolutely correct or to discuss upcoming campaigns. So will your internal team. Don’t remove this time. You wouldn’t move a sales/client meeting, so don’t move your marketing time. It’s just as important as a sales meeting.

Make more noise

If you’re converting a decent percentage of your leads, but you want to grow your business more than last year, you need to generate more leads. That means either improving your marketing performance or doing more. If you haven’t measured your marketing performance recently, there’s a great tool here.

More marketing will require a bigger investment (in time or money). However, when it leads to more growth, it’s all good.

Talk to more people

Most small businesses get a big percentage of their leads through referrals. Having a stronger network is highly likely to generate more referrals and introductions for you. BUT that doesn’t simply mean more connections on LinkedIn. This only works with a quality network, rarely with a quantity network (see point 7 here).

And, with the acceptance of Zoom/Teams since the pandemic, there’s no reason not to regularly talk to people so you can maintain and grow your network.

Respond fast

When you get a lead through your website (or other online tools), get in touch with them as fast as you can. Pick up the phone and call them within 10 minutes and you have a far better chance of converting. More stats on lead response times can be found here.

Make sure that your Contact Forms don’t go into your Junk folder. If you aren’t the lead sales person in your company, make sure that person always has their email open. If your website is integrated into your CRM, can you set up a task that tells people a new lead has come in?

Be consistent

Marketing consistency is about frequency and quality. Keeping a regular flow of good quality marketing going out the door does three things:

  • Maintains and increases brand awareness
  • Proves you know what you are talking about
  • Ensures your brand will be remembered when someone has a need for your services/product

If you do find yourself in a quiet period, use the time to create marketing content, collateral and campaigns, but don’t send it all out over a short period of time. Spread it out, so that you maintain consistency and take the pressure off when you’re busy.

Test

Try new things. Perhaps try marketing channels that you’ve not used before. Maybe send campaigns out at different times to normal. You may be getting good results now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get better results by doing something different.

Keep a log of what you test, so that you know what works and what doesn’t.

Measure

The only way you’ll know if 2024 looks likely to be the best year ever is to keep measuring your performance. Your accounts will tell you whether the financial aspect is on target, but to achieve that side, you need the lead flow.

  • Are you getting enough leads?
  • Are they converting consistently?
  • Are they your target audience?
  • What marketing is most effective?

Keeping an eye on the numbers as you go through the year will allow you to adapt things if needed

Get help

As your business grows, the demands on your time will only increase. To maintain the quality all around the business, you’ll need support in the right places. If you’re a customer delivery expert, bring in back office help (marketing, accounts, admin etc.), so there are no issues in those areas. If you’re better in marketing/sales, perhaps an Operations person is what you need.

Remember, without this help things will suffer. Either your client delivery work will, leading to unhappy clients. Or your marketing will, which stops the lead flow and the growth you want.

Start the process now…

So, now is the time to act if you really want 2024 to be your best year so far. Start by working out what you want and what needs to happen to get you there. And, if we can help, call us on 020 8634 5911 or get in touch here.

If you would like to discuss your marketing budgets and plans, give us a call and let’s talk.

Tel: 020 8634 5911

Planning your small business marketing for 2024

New Year, New Start

By Marketing Performance, Marketing Plan

Planning your small business marketing for 2024With the new calendar year just a few weeks away, you really should be thinking. Thinking about what you are going to do to make 2024 a really successful one for your small business. Maybe 2023 has been a quiet one for various reasons. Whatever happened, 2024 is a new year and you cannot simply assume that you will get the same results by doing the same things. Here are the four steps you need to take to make 2024 a great year…

What worked in 2023?

Have you reviewed and measured your marketing performance for the last year? If not, it is time to start. By measuring your marketing performance, you can quickly make decisions about:

  • what to continue – because it is working.
  • what to review – because you believe it can work better
  • what to stop – as it is simply not working.

If you have had a really successful year, imagine what next year could be like if you cut out what marketing hasn’t worked and did more of what has been working! We have an ROI calculator that you can download:  Click here to our download ROI calculator.

If you haven’t let’s identify what channels haven’t worked so they can be reviewed or stopped. The time and money saved can be re-focused.

How many new clients did you acquire?

Not gross, but net new clients. Deduct the number you lost from the number you won.  Compare this to 2022. Did your overall client number increase or decrease? Is it higher because you won more or lost fewer?

  • Which marketing channels did the new clients come through?
  • How much did each new client cost?
  • What is your lead conversion rate?
  • What is the value of a new client (average)?

By answering these questions, you start to develop a picture of how much marketing you need to do in 2024 to hit your business goals.

Example:

  • Your business goal for 2024: increase turnover by £250K
  • A typical client spends £10,000 per year with you.
  • Last year you added 15 new clients, but lost 3
  • Your marketing spend was £30K

If the ratios stay the same, you will need a marketing budget this year of £60K – assuming the ratio of clients lost to clients gained stays the same, as does cost per client acquired.

Focus

What does your Ideal Client look like? If you look back at the clients you acquired in the last year, how many of them match the description of your Ideal Client?  If you are acquiring clients that don’t match this description, do you need to review that description or add another?

How many of the clients you lost last year matched that description? If they were a long way from being Ideal Clients, it may be that you simply weren’t able to properly meet their needs. There are times when you need to consider walking away from a sales opportunity if you cannot properly meet their needs.

Reviewing your Ideal client description, as needed, will help to re-focus your marketing messages so that they work more effectively. The marketing messages will be different for each Ideal Client you have as they have different needs and may use your products/services in different ways. Just in case you’re interested, this is one of our Ideal Client descriptions.

Planning your marketing

If you have followed the recommendations above, you will know what marketing worked for you in the last year. If they worked last year, it is likely they will work in 2024, so it is now simply a case of scheduling the activity into your marketing plan. Then decide whether to do the same amount, or more, of this marketing.

Now, what else will you be doing this year? If your growth targets are higher for 2024 than for 2023, you need to be doing more marketing in the coming year. You know what hasn’t worked, so what other marketing is likely to work?  If want to discuss this, give us a call on 020 8634 5911.

Do you have the time?

If you managed, or even did, your marketing last year, will you have the time to do it again in 2024?  If you are planning to do the same amount of marketing as you did last year, you probably have. If you are planning to do more, you may need some help. Of course, once the sales start coming in, more of your time will be focused on delivering what your clients want. Unless you have no need for a work/life balance (??), no worries. But if you do want some time away from your business (it is recommended), you need someone who can manage or do your marketing for you. Our Virtual Marketing Director service is ideal for owners of small businesses who don’t have time, but aren’t yet in a position to employ their own marketing team. Does that sound like you?

Why do all this?

Too many owners of small businesses spend too little time working ON the business, rather than IN the business. This leads to “stuff happening” rather than planned activity. As the old saying goes : fail to plan – plan to fail.  By investing a few hours in planning for 2024, you will see a significant uplift in performance and more growth.

If you would like to discuss your marketing budgets and plans, give us a call and let’s talk.

Tel: 020 8634 5911

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