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How Opportunity Costs impact your Marketing

No one likes the idea of wasting time or money, especially marketers. However, no matter the industry, everything you do comes at a cost. This is why it is crucial you weigh up the pros and cons of your marketing efforts and ensure they are helping you achieve your goals in the most efficient way possible. Opportunity costs aren’t something that can be avoided. Instead, you need to learn how you and your business can best navigate through it.

But first, what is opportunity cost?

Opportunity cost is the benefit or opportunity you sacrifice when you choose an alternative option. Understanding the value of the alternative is an incredibly useful skill to have. It means your decision making is precise and done in consideration for what other options were available.

To calculate something’s opportunity cost, you need to predict the return on investment of each alternative and compare it to the chosen option. If the cost is not a concrete figure, rather an opportunity, you will need to decide which you feel will be the bring the biggest benefit long term.

So how does this affect my marketing?

The concept of opportunity cost affects your marketing strategy more than you may think. The aim of a marketing campaign is to efficiently reach a certain group of people and direct them back to a product or service that they then purchase.

What tends to happen is a company’s marketing strategy will be working, so they do not question it. However, what they don’t realise is they could be doing even better had they gone a different route. For example, say you have a successful Facebook campaign in action and that’s where all of your marketing budget is going. This means you don’t have any budget for LinkedIn marketing which would have brought you double the amount of leads.

To avoid losing out on the opportunity cost of your marketing efforts, before committing to an avenue of marketing, explore all of the options. This means looking in detail at how each alternate could benefit you both short term and long term. From there you can decide which option best aligns with your company’s goals.

If you need help understanding and navigating the opportunity costs of your current marketing strategy, give us a call. We’d be happy to walk you through it.

Cost of marketing support vs. doing it yourself

When thinking about marketing and the costs involved, you have to think about the physical cost of it as well. You have two main options. You either hire marketing support or you do the marketing yourself. These are both great options and which is best will differ from company to company. So what is best for yours?

If you’re currently doing all of your own marketing, there are a few things you may want to take into consideration. Similar to what we discussed above, could your time be better spent elsewhere? Are there more profitable things you could be doing instead of doing your own marketing? If so and these things bring in more income than what it would cost to outsource your marketing, it’s probably a smart decision to consider making the swap. That way you can be confident that you’re delivering great marketing content while having more time to dedicate to other aspects of your business.

If you have any questions about outsourced marketing and whether it’s the right fit for your company, give us a call and we’ll help you with everything you need to know.

The Definition of Marketing Insanity

marketing insanity image

Are you suffering from Marketing Insanity?

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result. The definition of marketing insanity is, therefore, doing the same marketing over and over again and not getting any better results. So why do so many small businesses insist on this approach when it comes to attracting new prospective clients?

There are two reasons for this:

  1. They haven’t measured the performance of the marketing they have been doing.
  2. They have knowledge of only a certain number of ways of marketing their business.

Does this sound like an issue you have? Let’s see how we can improve things for you.

Why Measure your marketing?

There are three reasons to measure your marketing:

Time

Time is a resource that you always need more of. Using up time on marketing activities that aren’t generated leads and clients for you is wasting that time. It is time that you cannot get back. It’s gone forever.

Money

The old saying “time is money” counts here, but it is also the amount of money you spend on marketing activities that don’t work, that has to be considered. The more money you waste on marketing activities that don’t work, the less reaches your bottom line.

Quality

Too many people measure the vanity metrics of Likes, Follows and Shares. Whilst important, as they are likely to be pointing people at your website, or where people buy from you, they are not THE measures of success. From there, people often then measure the number of leads developed by a particular marketing channel.  Again, whilst important, it is not the most important measure. The most important measure of success is return on investment. Let me explain.

Leads that don’t turn into sales are also a waste of time and money. If you stop measuring at Leads, you risk wasting more time and money. If the leads aren’t turning into sales, they are probably the wrong leads.

Limited Knowledge

When, as a business owner, you have limited time, you can only do so much. If you invest time in learning how to do certain types of marketing, you want them to work otherwise you think that you have wasted your time.

That’s actually not true.

What you’ve done is tried something that you can now cross off the list.  There are huge numbers of ways to market your business and the chances are you only have time to work with a small number. If you have tried certain marketing channels over and over, don’t succumb to marketing insanity. Get some advice and look at what other marketing channels you could be using.

 

 

 

What’s Your Dream?

What's your dream marketing planning for your business

https://www.biography.com/news/pretty-woman-quotes-anniversary

Everybody’s Got A Dream

Every single person who starts their own business has a dream for that business and for themselves. It may be as simple as wanting to be their own boss. It may be as complex as saving the planet from the scourge of plastic. Whatever your dream is, it is the starting point for the planning process.

Let’s look at the steps in between having the dream and achieving the dream.

Committing to the dream

Sounds obvious, but there is a difference between having the dream and being committed to achieving it. If you’re not committed, you’re not buying into it and you won’t do what is needed to achieve it.

Your Vision

Creating and sharing your vision will help people get onboard with your idea. This particularly true if your dream is aimed at the greater good. If you’re looking to inspire people to help with your vision, whether that  entails clients, partners or suppliers, they need to understand What, How & Why.

Simon Sinek will tell you to Start with Why.  Your vision is formed of What, How & Why and people buy the Why, rather than the What or the How.

Long Term Goals

Your ultimate goal is your dream, but there are stages in between where you are now and the dream. These stages are the long term goals:

  • Dream: Rid the world of plastic
  • Long term Goal: stop plastic being used in the UK/EU/USA
  • Long Term Goal: stop plastic being used in packaging
  • Long Term Goal: remove all plastic from the oceans
  • Long Term Goal: remove all plastic from the land

None of these are easy, so you will need to be plan carefully and break them down.

Manageable Chunks

Eating an elephant is best done one bite at a time – so says the old adage. Ridding the world of plastic debris is a massive dream and can’t be achieved quickly. But breaking it down into small chunks will make this dream more reachable. It’s the same way you will achieve/accomplish your long term goals and your ultimate dream.

What’s the Target for 2019?

What do you want to achieve this year? It may be one of the long term goals, or it may be just a number of the manageable chunks. You need to set a target for this year to give you  an aim to plan around. If you don’t, you are highly likely to drift through the year.

What’s the Plan?

So, you have a target for the year.  How does this compare to your performance last year? Is it more or less than last year’s performance? If so, what are you going to do differently to last year?

If your target is to increase sales, you need to do one of two things:

  • Have more sales opportunities
  • Close a higher percentage

Whichever it is, do you have a plan to achieve it?  Have you identified the right people to help you.

Deliver your plan

The penultimate step is to deliver on your plan. There is no point in planning and investing time and money if you are not going to follow it. There will be times when you are simply too busy, so why not get in the help you need at those times?  It’s far better to deliver on the plan whilst spending some money, than not. If you don’t your target audience is highly likely to forget you at that vital moment when they need your services.

Measure the results

Do you know what worked and what delivered the leads you want?  What hasn’t and needs to be reviewed and/or stopped?  If you don’t measure your marketing, how will you know what is delivering the return on investment you need to achieve your dream?

Step back and look

You should never forget your dream. Are you still heading in the right direction? As you deliver on your plan and see you’ve achieved that next goal, you need to spend time “on the business” instead on “in the business” to ensure you’re still on track.  Perhaps things have changed, meaning you need to alter your path.  If you don’t step back once in a while, you’ll never know and you’ll waste a lot of time getting back on track if you veer too far.

So here are 9 steps you need to make to reach your dream. Steps 3 – 8 need to be repeated multiple times, so you achieve each manageable chunk and each long term goal. 

Good luck on the journey.

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8 Small Business Marketing Tips to make a great start to 2019

image: make the best start to 2019 with our small business marketing tips2019 has begun. Are you ready to take it by the scruff of the neck and make it your best year ever? Here’s a few small business marketing tips to help you make the most of this year.

1. Know what works for you

The first of our small business marketing tips is probably the one we see more companies in need of that anything else. Your time and money are valuable. If you’re spending either on marketing activities that aren’t generating leads for your business, you are wasting that money. Finding out is one of the quickest ways to improve your bottom line, because you stop spending on activities that don’t work and spend it on those that do. Here’s some numbers you should be looking at.

2. Focus on your Perfect Client

No single company in the world tries to sell to everyone. For every product or service they provide, they have a picture of who will buy it and why. Do you have this to help focus your marketing?

By focusing on your Ideal Client, you think about:

  • What are the issues they have that you can help with
  • How you can help them
  • Why they should buy from you
  • What you need to say to them in order to get them to buy from you

The more you focus, the more you will get the people you want to talk to.

3. Be consistent

Unless you have a real niche focus, there are lots of people out there doing what you do. There are certainly lots of marketing consultants. To ensure that people remember you for when they need your services, you need to maintain a consistent level of marketing activity. Otherwise people will quickly forget you in the cloud of messaging they are exposed to every day.

That doesn’t mean you have to communicate every day. Maintain a level of consistency that you are able to, and one that is most likely to work with your target audience. If people consume your product/service rapidly, the marketing frequency needs to match consumption levels. If you work on annual, or longer, contracts, it may be that 3-4 times a year will be sufficient.

4. Stop talking about yourself

Far too many businesses open their marketing with the word we. Your target audience doesn’t want to know about you.  They want to know how you are going to help them. So talk about that. You know your clients and the issues they have, so talk about that. Show you understand their issues and that you have a solution. Then people will come to ask you about how you can help them.

5. Build and Maintain Relationships

Most small businesses get much of their business through referrals. Referrals come because of three things:

  1. People know you and trust you
  2. They know exactly what you are looking for
  3. They believe in what you are selling

Are you ensuring that the people who can refer you know what you are looking for, and that they remember who you are? Maintaining these relationships is not easy. We are all busy people. There are three key tools we can use to maintain these relationships:

  1. Coffee: Meet people face to face and talk to them. Help them understand what you are looking for, whilst ensuring you are listening and understanding what they are looking for too. You can substitute beer/wine/tea here, of course!
  2. Telephones: Your phone is less than six feet from your hand right now. Whether that is your mobile or your landline, make use of it and talk to your network, so they don’t forget you.
  3. Email: we all get huge numbers of emails, but I bet you most of your network will open at least one email a year from you. Mailchimp and its ilk are great tools to keep in contact with people and keep them aware of what you are up to.

Whatever way works for your business, don’t lose the referrals you can get in the future by losing touch with your network.

6. Use more video

world populations as part of our small business marketing tips

World Populations, according to @Socialnomics

80% of mobile consumption is video and it’s rising. If you want to communicate with today’s decision makers you need to use video.

  • Develop a set of short messages that show how you help your clients.
  • Your phone is perfectly acceptable for this type of educational video, so you don’t need to invest in expensive hardware or pay lots of money for others to video you.
  • Add them to YouTube and use your preferred social media channels to distribute them too.
  • Make sure your network know where they are, so they can share them to increase your reach.

We must admit, of all our small business marketing tips, this is the one we need to do more of ourselves – oops!

7. Know who is visiting your website

image of CANDDi screenshot as part of our small business marketing tipsYour website is your window for the world. There will be few potential clients who don’t check you out, so it makes sense for you to know who is looking at your website. Tools such as CANDDi provide you with a huge amount of information about who is on your site and what they are doing on there. They cannot identify every visitor, but they will check fixed IP addresses and give you information about the company. They collect information about the person from Contact Forms, Web Chats and when you email someone. Imagine knowing when your latest prospect reads your proposal and then checks out your case studies – buying signals or what!

8. Prove you can help

The last of our small business marketing tips is, probably, one of the easiest to implement.

Taking on a new supplier is a big risk. If you’ve never worked with them before, how do you know they will be any good? Your prospects will be thinking this too. How do they know you are any good and can deliver on your promises?

Use the evidence you have. Make sure you have testimonials scattered across your website, so people can see what their peers think of you.

Case studies, including the results, are tremendously powerful. Not only does the reader get to see themselves in the description of your client, they see that they share similar problems. More than anything, they see you delivered a solution that worked. Why would they not want to work with you?

Knowledge articles. Whether published on your blog or through other media channels, share your thinking with others to show them you know what you are talking about.

Marketing today is all about consistency and demonstrating you can help. As a small business owner, you only have a limited budget, so make the most of it by focusing, but if you do one thing only, let it be this one: Talk to your audience about them – not about you.

We hope these small business marketing tips help.

If you need some assistance with taking your marketing forward, simply complete the form below and let’s talk.

Contact us

What Marketing is working for you? A 5-second response to John Wanamaker

who is your website content talking to?

John Wanamaker famously said “I know 50% of my advertising works, just not which 50%”.

As you approach Christmas and the end of the year, can you answer the question: What Marketing works for your business? If you’re going to make a great start to next year, you need to know. In the world of B2B marketing it’s very easy to answer that question and know what marketing is working for you: Read more

How complex is your Marketing?

Why you need multiple strands to your marketing plan

do you have a marketing plan

Developing a marketing plan for your business takes time. It takes you away from generating cash through delivering for your clients. Now I’m asking you to do it multiple times! Read more

What’s your best source of great leads for your small business?

Do you know?

Your business relies of leads. Leads that become qualified and then convert to sales. Without these leads, you will eventually lose all your clients and your business will go under – harsh but fair.

If you understand where your best leads come from, you can do more of that marketing. You will grow your business with a high return on investment from your marketing. Do you know your best source of leads for your business?  Is the source with the highest number of leads also the one that generates the most business? Read more

Does your marketing support your business goals?

You have goals for your business.

You may want to sell your business in five years’ time. Perhaps you want to keep growing, simply to see how big you can get. Whatever your goal, you have to have a marketing strategy that supports your business goals. Let’s look at whether your marketing will support your goals. Read more

Do you have the resources you need to deliver your marketing plan?

What marketing resources do you need?

To grow your business, you need a marketing plan that is then effectively delivered. To do this you need marketing resources. For your small business marketing to be effective, you need a combination of:

  1. Knowledge
  2. Time
  3. Money

knowledge as a marketing resource

Knowledge

You are passionate about what you do. If you weren’t you probably would be doing something else right now. You can talk for hours about the minutiae of your business and I bet you could write a book of acronyms. However, knowing how to translate your knowledge into what your prospects want to hear is something different. Being sure you are using the right marketing tools, and using them in the best ways is another issue.

There’s nothing wrong with this. You cannot be expected to wear every single hat and know everything about everything. That is why large companies have their own dedicated marketing teams – to bring that knowledge into the business.

If your business is really young, and you haven’t got investment funding, you have little choice but to do most of it yourself, but you could us a part-time or virtual marketing director for just a few hours per month. They become a source of advice, guidance and support for a small investment.

Let’s demonstrate the issue with a few stats:

  • 49% of small business owners aren’t sure if their marketing is effective (Leadpages) and 14% know that they aren’t.
  • 67% of small businesses who use SEO as part of their marketing mix in-house and external resources (Statistica).

time is a valuable resource when marketing your businessTime

The old adage of “why work 40 hours a week for someone else when you can work 80 hours a week for yourself” shows just how much time is needed by a small business. You may be doing a full week simply delivering on your clients’ needs. Unless you have a Time Turner (you have seen the Harry Potter films, haven’t you?!), you cannot do two things at once. That means working more hours.

If you want any kind of work-life balance, you need to find the time needed for your marketing from somewhere else. There are three options here:

  • Employ someone, but do you have the funds available to pay them and the time available to manage them?
  • Outsource your marketing. You still need funds, but you can balance the funds and your time so that it works for your business.
  • Don’t do any marketing. This is the case for half of all small businesses, as they do less than two hours per week (Statistica).

money is a marketing resourceMoney

Time and money go hand in hand here. They also then impact on the knowledge. You may think that you haven’t got the money to pay to outsource your marketing. But if you don’t outsource, in order to get the knowledge and the time, you’ll not get the money.

This is where opportunity costs come into play.  If you outsource your marketing, can you earn more money, than it costs, in the time you save? Remember: 79% of small businesses buy they best they can afford, not the cheapest (CEB Globa). If your marketing shows just how good you are, your target audience will buy from you.

The other thing to consider when outsourcing your marketing is the investment you are making. Marketing is a medium to long term thing. You don’t get a return on investment the next day (unless you’re really lucky) so you have to be able to spend the money now in order to reap the rewards further down the line.

The balancing of time, money and knowledge is not easy. If you haven’t got the money, you can’t get the knowledge and the time needed to make you more money. However, you can start small. Test the waters, using some like us as a marketing support provider. They help you do the best job you can, helping move you to the point where you have the money to outsource the marketing so you can concentrate on doing what you love.

Give us a call if you want to discuss this in more detail. We hope this helps.

Why you must have a marketing plan

do you have a marketing planDo you have a Marketing Plan?

You know you need to do something to market your business. If you don’t your pipeline will quickly empty and the sales will dry up.

Now I can hear some people saying “we get all our business through referral, so we don’t need to do any marketing”. Two comments on this:

  1. Generating referrals is a type of marketing, as you manage the client accounts to keep the referrals flowing.
  2. Just think how much more you could grow the business if you did some other marketing!

There is one big reason why you must have a marketing plan:

If you don’t you won’t do it

Shall we start the “Oh yes I will” “Oh no you won’t” bit – or just skip it?

The reasons why a marketing plan makes you do your marketing

It’s a list

We’re British (or living in Britain and so adopting many local habits) so we love a list. Having a list is a competitive thing. We want to tick everything off the list, simply to say we’ve done it.  Nobody likes a partially completed list.

You’ve invested time

There’s little more galling than wasting time. As a business owner, you have very little of it spare. You don’t want to spend time developing a marketing plan and then not do what you planned to do.

You’ve invested Energy

Taking time out of working IN the business to work ON the business is doing something you may not do that often. It is different and so you’ve invested mental energy in developing a marketing plan that will engage your target audience and develop more leads. Let’s not waste that energy.

You’ve invested Money

That time has cost you money, either in opportunity costs or direct costs, such as overtime. You may have brought in a consultant (why was it not us?) to help you structure and challenge the plan.

Someone to report to

A way to really make sure you deliver on your marketing plan is to get someone to monitor it for you. Whether that is a fellow director, a non-exec director (if you have any) or a third-party, you don’t want to go to them and say you haven’t done what you agreed to do.

So the only question to answer now is: When are you going to write your marketing plan?