This might sound like a simple question but before you can answer it for your business, you need to ask yourself a different question:
What are my marketing objectives?
In many owner-managed businesses, there is a very close relationship (even overlap) between marketing and sales. Marketing performance is measured in terms of enquiries and/or orders. It is seen as a means of generating sales.
While sales promotion is certainly an aspect of marketing, it is only one end of a much wider spectrum. I wrote about the Marketing Spectrum in this article. Understanding this spectrum makes it easier to put your marketing efforts in the context of your business as a whole rather than just as a route to short-term sales. Also, by recognising aspects of marketing that are focussed on building your company’s brand and image in your marketplace, you can make your sales-promotion efforts more effective.
Potential customers who know you better will have more confidence in doing business with you.
So, is your marketing working?
You need to know your marketing objectives but inevitably, you should have a handle on whether your marketing is working. If it is, you want to manage it (and maybe do more?). If it isn’t, you need to understand why not and then use this knowledge to do something different, and hopefully more effective.
Of course, you can always compare sales revenue against marketing effort/cost. This may seem obvious but it has drawbacks:
- The time between starting marketing and seeing sales can be quite long so you may be putting resources into poor marketing for longer than you need.
- If you have repeat customers, it is harder to relate lifetime value to sales promotion
- Just because somebody isn’t buying now, doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in what you offer. Maybe you need to work to
buidlthe relationship first?
Check your marketing
Here are some key marketing tools . Against each I have given some tests you could apply. I’m sure you don’t use all of them but pick the ones you do.
1. Are you proud of your website?
Your website is likely to be your key marketing tool. You
2. Is your Search Engine Optimisation focussed on rankings or traffic?
Most SEO companies offer to ‘get you to the top of Google‘. They leave it to you to make the connection that if you are at the top of Google more potential customers will visit your site and then contact you. This connection is not necessarily valid. Rather than being focused on search ranking, you should be focused on traffic. Being #1 on Google is irrelevant if no-one visits your site! If more people are visiting your site, your business is more visible and this is (part of) the marketing process.
3. Is your Pay Per Click under control?
Pay per click (most commonly, Google Ads PPC) can be very effective as a marketing tool or an expensive ego trip. (Let’s face it, this is where most of the Google $billions come from!). The key to PPC is monitoring and control. If you have it under control, you should know the exact cost of each ‘conversion’ (i.e. Sale, enquiry, sign-up, site visit, or whatever it is you are measuring). If you know the cost, you can decide whether you are comfortable with it. If you don’t know, you should!
Note: 2 and 3 above both just ways to drive visitors to your website. If your website isn’t telling the right story (see #1 above), good traffic will be getting the wrong message. Website a
4. Is your Social Media up to date?
When did you last post on your Social Media platform(s)? How does this compare with your competitors? If you are up there with them, or even leading the way, that’s fine. If not, maybe you could think about how you can get more active. Alternatively, ask yourself whether
5. Are you getting Social Media engagement?
How much engagement do you get back from your Social Media followers? You may be regularly Tweeting, posting etc. but it is only worth it if people take notice. Bear in mind that people visiting your website as a result of your Social Media activity may not show up as ‘Likes’ or Comments’. Again, website analytics is your friend for
These 5 are just some ideas as to how you can check whether your marketing is working. The answer will be extremely valuable in helping you drive effective marketing.
Here are 4 more:
- Are you tracking responses to all your online and offline advertising?
- Are your PR articles being published?
- Does your PR deliver a balance between paid adverts and editorial?
- Do you follow up on your quotations and enquiries?
There is no magic wand
Remember there is rarely (if ever) a quick fix magic wand to a marketing problem (read more about this here). Marketing should be integral to your business and you shoul be in control. Uncontrolled marketing is likely to be:
A final thought
In the end, it is your business and you are in business to succeed (whatever this means to you!). It might be sufficient to ask yourself:
Am I comfortable with my marketing?
If your answer is yes, then for now maybe you can focus on other priorities.
If your answer is no, can I suggest you do something about it!
Remember, I am always happy to chat.