During times of uncertainty, businesses often find ways to cut costs in order to survive. The first thing they would consider cutting is their marketing budget since it's the part that most consider optional.
However, cutting your marketing budget is like planning to increase sales without getting in front of your customers. It's impossible.
Instead of making this wrong decision, it's time to take a hard look at your current marketing plan and see if it's the right one you should be focusing on to get to your end goal.
Does Your Marketing Plan Align with the Company's Goals?
The very first thing we always need to do is take a step back and think "How well does this marketing plan fit in with what we want to achieve as an organization overall?"
For example, a dermatologist makes a plan to increase his revenue by offering additional cosmetic services and products. He considers adding skin cancer treatment services, cosmetic product sales, and laser treatment services to his existing treatment services to reach his goal. However, when taking a closer look, he realizes that skin cancer treatment is not in line with his goal of strengthening his cosmetic services; therefore, it's not a suitable route to take with regard to his goal.
The above example is just one of many similar situations that businesses experience on their way to expansion. If you don't keep your end goal in mind, you may end up spending time on activities that are not in line with what you are trying to achieve. Now it comes to the question: Is your end goal reasonable? Learning how to correctly set your company's goals is just as important as carrying out the plan to achieve such goals.
Stick to the SMART System When Setting Company Goals
Not sure what your company's goals are? It's never too late to ask. And if you're in the position of creating those goals, now is as good time.
Setting the right goal is the first step towards taking your business to the next level. Your goal will act as a compass, telling you whether you are on track or need to turn back and look at the routes again.
We recommend you use the SMART system:
- S - Specific -Is your goal specific? What is the concrete thing you want to achieve?
- M - Measurable - How will you measure results? How do you know if you have reached your goal?
- A - Attainable -Is your goal achievable? This makes sure you aim for a reasonable goal within your means but also encourages you to aim high.
- R - Realistic -Is your goal realistic, meaning it's something your organization can handle?
- T - Time Bound -Set a deadline for your goal. If there's no date, it's no longer a goal, it's a dream.
There you are! Five simple principles to base your goal setting on. Despite being simple, they work every time because they are based on sound scientific research.
Personalize Your Marketing Messages
A study from HubSpot discovered that 74% of online customers are not happy with the content directed at them online because it's not related to their interests at all. This happens when businesses create content for the mass instead of focusing on each individual.
Just put yourself in the customer's shoes. Would you be impressed and feel compelled to place an order if the sales copy you read lists nothing you can relate to? Certainly not.
To set yourself apart from the competitors, build loyalty, and bring the business to the next level, you need personalization. Research into different email campaigns proved that personalization can boost email open rates by 29% and click-through rates by 41%.
To start with personalization, you need data. From email list segments to surveys, the more data you collect, the better you understand your customers. With enough data, you will start seeing patterns that depict the personality, habits, and other demographic characteristics of your customers. Apply this knowledge in creating tailor-made campaigns that speak to them.
For example, if you know the customer frequently visits the cinema, you can create blog posts, emails, or opt-in forms that make pop culture references. Coca-Cola is a perfect example of a multinational company turning itself around with the use of personalized marketing. Its Shake A Coke campaign that printed common names on Coke bottles helped the company boost sales for the first time in a 10-year period.
Amazon is another example of an e-commerce behemoth taking advantage of the power of personalization to provide its customers with a better experience. By learning about its customer's buy habits, Amazon then makes highly relevant product recommendations that not only boost its sales but also make the customer feel understood and valued.
Some marketing experts claim that personalization is the future of online marketing. If your campaign is not giving you the kind of result you want, it's time to apply personalization to it and measure the improvement.
Have an Efficient Means to Measure Your Results
When setting goals using the SMART system, you already need to specify a means to measure your results. Back in the old days when tracking technology was limited, it was not easy to carry out lead attribution. Now, thanks to countless advanced tools on the market, business owners can easily track their campaign down to the smallest details. This helps make optimization a much easier task since you know what's working and what's not.
Don't start a campaign without first having an efficient way to measure the results. Spending money on things that don't work will eat away your budget faster than you can imagine.
In the case of our dermatologist, if he runs a Facebook campaign, he needs to track how many visitors actually book a first consultation visit with him, and out of those, which become his patient. If they don't fill out a form online, did they use the trackable phone number?
This data will give you solid information on how to move forward with the marketing plan in the future. This way, he can look at the data, figure out what they have in common, and adjust his campaign to better target these newfound characteristics. On the other hand, those who click but don't hit the contact button or fill out a form can be retargeted in a different campaign.
Don't forget about measuring your marketing roi
It's important to know if your plan worked. Did it drive the leads or sales that you expected? How do you know it was a result of your work and not something else at play? The ROI of marketing is a critical piece of information for knowing how to go forward.
Proving ROI of marketing used to be a lot harder than it is today. While there are some things you can prove better than others, technology makes it easier for us to track things such as:
- Who visited the website as the result of a paid online ad and did they become a lead?
- Who visited the website through blog content and then what did they do?
- Phone call tracking so you can see which calls came in as a result of the website.
- Understanding which websites are sending visitors to you and whether an investment in advertising on some of those websites is worthwhile.
You'll be able to tell what's working and what isn't so that you can make adjustments to get better results sooner.
It's Never Too Late to Adjust Your Plans!
Do you think you have an effective marketing plan? If you constantly miss your company goals, chances are, you don't. Setting the right goal seems so simple, yet it's the most crucial step that can set apart a successful business from a failed one.
Avoid costly marketing mistakes and focus only on things that matter by working with a marketing specialist. Contact us today if you need help with your company campaigns.
*Originally published June 2017. Updated August 2020.