I sat down with a colleague recently as we prepared the outline for a presentation we will be giving to a business networking organization later this fall, frustrated that our presentation will only allow us about a half-hour of time in which to offer advice for marketing strategy. We had to decide what would be the most important thing for people to take away from that meeting: identifying their ideal clients in a changing market? strategies for gaining a new customer? strategies for retaining an existing customer? budget?
Ah – that was it! Budget! Everyone is interested in the bottom line. “What’s it going to cost me?” “How much should I be spending on ___?” In a time when many business owners are scaling back their marketing departments, or cutting them out altogether, determining the best use of marketing dollars is paramount to the success – the viability – of one’s business. And a key component of figuring out where your marketing dollars should be spent must be determined by where the money is generated to begin with.
If you find most of your business is a result of walk-in traffic, then it would not make sense to remove your sign, for example. In fact, it might be helpful to erect another sign at a busy nearby intersection to drive even more walk-in business your way.
As networking comprises the bulk of my marketing budget, I actually sat down last week and crunched the numbers – something I advise my clients to do regularly – to find out which networking meetings were best for my business. Like most business owners or sole proprietors, I had an idea in the back of my mind what the numbers would reveal, but a few of the items actually surprised me:
One of the networking groups where I generate a lot of leads for others has actually resulted in very little growth for my own business – strictly from a numbers perspective. And another group which I have enjoyed but have not held as a top priority turned out to be my best revenue-generating and referral-generating source! I also discovered that there are a handful of individuals who refer me time and again to their clients and colleagues – and I sat down to pen about a dozen Thank-You notes as a result of my findings.
Do you know where your money comes from? Is it walk-in business? Direct-mail? Internet? Maybe, like me, it’s face-to-face networking and referrals.
Whatever it is, it would be well worth your time to figure out where your clients are coming from today. By digging a little deeper, you may be able to generate more business from an existing source – generating revenue while saving marketing dollars.