So the New Year is upon us, marking a time we often use to set personal goals in the hope of making improvement on the previous year. However how many of you have actually considered the marketing goals for your business this year?
If you’re planning on having a year ahead to remember your first port of call should be to distinguish exactly what you want your small business wants to achieve this year with marketing, which will give you and overall goal to focus on.
Knowing what you want to achieve will better help you to determine what results you’re looking for from your marketing. From this you can break down your overall goal further and help to create more short term targets which will allow you to monitor your performance on a monthly and even weekly basis, ensuring that you remain in line to hit your target through the course of the year.
Stage 1: Setting your goals
Setting your goals can be done in a number of ways depending on where your business currently stands and where you want to be. You might be looking to increase sales, profitability, enquiries, brand awareness, geographic coverage or another metric that will positively impact your business.
In order to demonstrate how you can dissect your overall goal to create short term targets we’ll use an increase of revenue as our goal for the year.
Stage 2: Identifying the key numbers
If you’re looking to increase revenue by a certain figure for the year you need to know how many transactions will be required in order to reach your target. In order to get this number you need to identify the average value per sale, this will give you a rough estimate for the number of sales required.
Once you know your average sales value you can then divide this by your revenue target to see how many sales you need to achieve your goal. You then need to identify the average transactions a customer makes in a year. This is calculated by simply dividing total transactions by the number of clients. This enables you to identify how many clients you need to service. If your business has a number of retained/repeat customers then you need to recognise how much business will come from your existing client base and how many new clients you need to generate.
Distinguishing the number of new clients required is crucial as this is one area your marketing is likely to have the greatest influence. Specific marketing activity can be used to generate the required level of enquiries which will then allow you to hit your sales targets. However as we know every enquiry doesn’t translate into a sale, so you also need to identify your conversion rate.
If you aren’t sure about where your conversion rate currently stands then we’d recommend working with a hypothetical one of around 15-20% (this is a pretty standard average, from experience). Using your conversion rate you can now work out how many enquiries you need to generate to eventually hit your sales target. Additionally you can also look to increase your conversion rate if it is very low which would mean a smaller increase in enquiries being needed.
Stage 3: Plugging the gaps
Knowing how much you need to increase your enquiries by is one thing, but actually doing it is a task in itself. In order to start plugging the gaps for your shortfall you need to be aware of where your current enquiries are coming from. Tracking the channels from which your enquiries are coming from is key as it will enable to identify where to spend your time and money.
For example if your main channels for generating leads are through your PPC/SEO campaigns and networking then look to see which appears to be bringing in the most enquiries compared to the time and money which you are investing in each one. If you are spending more time and money with your PPC/SEO campaigns yet their yield if far less than your enquiries generated through networking, then you might be better off networking more often and finding another channel to use.
Obviously you can’t draw conclusions as bluntly as we have done as you’d have to look at why your PPC/SEO efforts were under performing, but the gist of it is that understanding your how your main marketing channels are performing will grant you a clearer understanding of where to invest your time and money.
Stage 4: Creating short term goals
Once you’ve identified how many enquiries you need along with the channels they should be coming from, you can then create short term goals. This can be done by simply dividing your annual target by 12 (for monthly targets) and 52 (for weekly targets). If, however your business is very seasonal, then you obviously need to accommodate such peaks in a troughs in your target setting. Doing so will allow you closely track week to week performance to ensure you aren’t slipping away from where you want to be. If you find that you are falling behind it allows you to react and rectify the problem before it’s too far gone.
At Opportunity Marketing we work to help SMEs achieve their marketing goals through developing and if needed implementing marketing strategies.
The implementation of a marketing strategy can aid you in reaching your goals in a number of ways. We can
- identify the most efficient channels for your business to use to generate leads
- help you gain more enquiries
- support you in improving your conversion rate
- Tracking of the key KPIs to inform activity.
Everything above will ultimately lead to your business operating more efficiently in terms of making the most of leads and your marketing expenditure.
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