Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Eliminate Expensive and Ineffective Marketing

Are you keeping track of where your business comes from? Every individual who answers your phone, responds to an email or fax inquiry, or greets visitors to your office needs to make it a routine habit to ask something similar to, "And how did you hear about _________?"

The answers to this question then need to be recorded (along with the person's name, contact information and the nature of the inquiry) preferably in a database such as Act or Microsoft Access. Any record-keeping system, however, is better than none, so use whatever you are comfortable with and will use consistently.

Without this information, how will you determine which, if any, of your marketing efforts are effective? If you have spend thousands of dollars advertising in a certain directory for the last three years and can look back at your records and see that not one single call resulted from it -- you can then redirect that money to a tactic that has been more effective.

For example, if you see that you received several calls from the three targeted mailings you sent last year and engaged four new clients as a result, you can schedule additional mailings with a fair amount of certainty that you are effectively apportioning your marketing dollars.

Keeping track of this information can also provide data on not just how best to allocate your budget but your time as well. Did the chicken dinner association meetings and networking hours you attended provide you with any good contacts? (Note: Unless you followed up, you can't know for sure.)

When you do not collect and maintain records of where your business comes from, how do you know what to do to get more business? You risk wasting time and money and can frustrate your own efforts to establish an effective marketing plan and a consistently successful and growing practice.

1 comment:

Cindy Pinsonnault said...

This is a really good tip for everyone to follow. I am always preaching about the importance of surveying and getting to know clients and prospects and what they think. Big surveys can be expensive, though, so adding this practice to ongoing communication with clients and prospects can help accummulate a lot of that data without the trouble and cost of a full-blown marketing survey.

And you're absolutely right about elminating ineffective marketing! Thanks, Meredith.