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How to Build a Sustainable Marketing Plan by Staying on Top of Your Numbers – Without Needing to Be an Accountant or Mathematician

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How to Build a Sustainable Marketing Plan by Staying on Top of Your Numbers – Without Needing to Be an Accountant or Mathematician

How Do You Track All the Important Numbers in Your Business

If I could only give one piece of advice to business owners wanting to grow your business, it would be – know your numbers! Numbers make or break a business, so if you’re not monitoring, optimising, and using them to make informed decisions, you’re doing business on borrowed time.

Now, I know why you’re not tracking your numbers, or at least not to the standard you should be. If you’re like many other business owners, you have a love-hate relationship with numbers. You know you need to track and analyse them, but you don’t think you have the time (or energy) to number crunch.

But due to your neglect, you end up ignoring serious flaws in your processes until they become an emergency situation. This includes your marketing plans!

Many businesses begin marketing simply because they want to get out and do things. They know they need to “do marketing”, so they try out several tactics and get some clients on the books in the process. And it’s understandable. You’re a tradie, not a marketer! 

However, this can actually provide a brief illusion of success, because spending any money on marketing can result in more customers. What it will not do is provide the right customers that are essential for long-term growth in productivity and profits.

If you don’t know and understand your numbers intimately before you make decisions, you have nothing to guide you. Your decisions will be based on guesses and emotion, not data and facts.

If you want to be certain that all your decisions are strategic, rather than just being made on a hunch, you must know your numbers, and understand which numbers are most vital to your decision-making.

The good news is that there are simple ways to build a sustainable marketing plan that don’t require you to know how to do your own accounting or be fluent in maths.

Getting the basics – know your current numbers

Looking at this from the perspective of marketing, most business will start with the following questions:

  • How many customers are you trying to acquire? 
  • How much profit are you trying to generate? 
  • What shiny new product are you trying to promote?

But that’s not where you should be starting. Instead, all your marketing decisions should develop from these questions:

  • How many new customers do you have?
  • What is your conversion rate?
  • What is your cost per lead?
  • What is the lifetime value of each customer?
  • How can you improve the conversion rate and lifetime value, because those two aren’t expensive?

Put all of these numbers in a simple spreadsheet, so you can see them in front of you. With finances, everything becomes clearer when you start with the ‘what’ and then move onto the ‘how’, because you’ll know what is and isn’t a good or useful decision.

By asking these questions, we avoid throwing money at any old marketing tactic. Pumping money into the “problem” may get short-term results, but it will cause long-term problems in the business. 

Managing numbers will allow you to make informed decisions. These decisions lead to high quality activities. These activities will lead to sustainable results. 

Determine your ideal marketing mix

There are a few pieces to determine your ideal marketing mix. I’ll start by saying that you’re never going to have a final marketing solution. You’ll always track your numbers and iterate to get the best results.

First of all, you need to set your goals. Ask yourself questions such as: 

  • How much revenue/profit would you like to achieve in the next 3/6/12 months
  • To achieve that, how many customers do you need? (per week, month, quarter, however your business works)
  • Do you need a higher volume of leads? How many more?
  • What would you like to increase your conversion rate to?
  • By how much would you like to reduce your cost per lead?

Know where you are and where you’d like to be, so you can determine what’s currently working to get you there, what’s not, and what could use optimisation.

Track your numbers and identify trends

Now it’s time to overlay your current marketing spend to see what’s working and what’s not. Be sure to account for everything, because even the smallest costs add up. Look at where you put spend and see how much revenue was generated by each tactic. 

This is easier for channels such as digital advertising that link to an enquiry form, because the spend can be directly attributed to leads, and you can calculate how many convert.

Other channels are more difficult to nail down accurate attribution figures, such as print advertising and radio. This is where you need to map the timing of the activity to the timing of your enquiries. If it’s working, you should see a bump in leads, or returning customers, at a similar time to the activity. 

You also need a process for talking to your leads and understanding exactly what led them to you. It might be a combination of your activity rather than one thing, and knowing this is important, as it will impact your future marketing decisions. 

Marketing activity such as blogging or sharing posts on social media are typically early on in the buyers journey and raise brand and product awareness. These activities help potential customers find you, but they’re not necessarily what make people buy from you. This is important to bear in mind.

Devise your action plan for growth

Now that you have a strong foundation to build on, it’s time to use your data to make informed marketing decisions. 

Keep an eye on your numbers and adjust along the way. Always return to the goals you’ve set for your marketing, and continue to iterate and grow. Knowing where you want to go helps keep everything on track, as long as there are no surprises along the way (like unexpected expenses). 

If something does happen, such as a big client has a budget cut and stops paying for services this month, it’s important to recognise this impact early on, so that adjustments can be made before they snowball into bigger problems down the road.

Be flexible and adaptable if needed; but also stick with what works! Just because one strategy doesn’t achieve its intended results doesn’t mean another won’t work better somewhere else. But if something isn’t working well enough right now (or at all), stop doing it and try something new instead!

A sustainable marketing plan doesn’t have to be complicated.

You don’t need to be an accountant or mathematician to keep your numbers in line. A sustainable marketing plan doesn’t have to be complicated, but you need to know how much money is coming in and going out.

When it comes down to it, all you really need is a simple spreadsheet that tracks your revenue, marketing expenses, and basic numbers like lead growth, cost per acquisition, conversion rate, etc. This will help you understand which marketing channels are working for you and which ones aren’t worth the time or money spent on them. You’ll also get a good idea of where most of your profits come from, so that when it comes time to expand into new markets, they’re likely going to bring with them just as much profit potential as the ones you’ve already tapped into.

Start today

We believe it’s important to keep things simple when it comes to marketing. The idea is to identify what works for your business, and then focus on making sure you’re doing those things well. We’ve offered some tips above on how to simplify this process by staying on top of your numbers without being an accountant or mathematician. And if you want more information about how we can help pinpoint your ideal client and the most effective and efficient (time and money!) ways to reach them, get in touch with us today. We offer free business evaluations, so you can test drive our coaching and get our expertise with no obligations.

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