How to Build a Sustainable Marketing Plan by Staying on Top of Your Numbers

If I could only give one piece of advice to business owners wanting to grow their business, it would be – to know your numbers in business. It can 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. Like many other business owners, you have a love-hate relationship with numbers in business. 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 ignore severe flaws in your processes until they become an emergency. It includes your marketing plans!

Many businesses begin marketing 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. And it’s understandable. You’re a tradie, not a marketer! 

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

You have nothing to guide you if you don’t know and understand your numbers before making decisions. Your choices will be based on guesses and emotion, not data and facts.

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

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

Getting the basics – know your current numbers in business

From a marketing perspective, most businesses 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?

Please put all of these numbers in business in a simple spreadsheet so you can see them in front of you. With finances, everything becomes more apparent when you start with the ‘what’ and then move on to the ‘how’ because you’ll know what is and isn’t a good or helpful decision.

We avoid throwing money at any old marketing tactic by asking these questions. 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 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’ll never 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 accomplish 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?
  • How would you like to increase your conversion rate?
  • 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 on getting you there, what’s not, and what could use optimisation.

Track your important 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 most negligible costs add up. Look at where you spend and see how each tactic generated much revenue. 

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

Other channels, such as print advertising and radio, are more challenging to nail down accurate attribution figures. It 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 activities such as blogging or sharing social media posts are typically early in the buyer’s journey and raise brand and product awareness. These activities help potential customers find you, but they’re not necessarily what makes people buy from you. It is essential to bear this in mind.

Devise your action plan for growth

Now that you have a solid 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). 

Suppose something happens like an extensive client budget cut and stopping paying for services this month. In that case, it’s essential to recognise this impact early on, so adjustments can be made before they snowball into more significant problems.

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 elsewhere. 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 need is a simple spreadsheet that tracks your revenue, marketing expenses, and actual numbers like lead growth, cost per acquisition, conversion rate, etc. It 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 to bring with them just as much profit potential as the ones you’ve already tapped.

Start today

We believe it’s essential to keep things simple regarding marketing. The idea is to identify what works for your business and then focus on ensuring you’re doing those things well. 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 bring our expertise with no obligations.


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