10 Days to Start Up: Day 9 – Executing Your Plan
On Day 7 we talked about how to create a Marketing Plan. In today’s post we talk about how to execute it.
Contrary to popular opinion, marketing is an activity which starts before the business starts trading. The idea is to create excitement prior to your business launch, so that on launch day you start to get income as early as possible.
Which at the end of the day is what it’s all about. Making your start up profitable.
This is the eight day of the 10 days to starting a business series. In case you missed the earlier articles in the series you can catch up here.
Plan, Execute, Track and Measure
Plan, Execute, Track and Measure is the 4 steps you need to undertake to measure the success or otherwise of your marketing activity. So whilst producing your marketing plan is clearly the planning element of how you’re going to deliver the business plan, execution is doing the things, track and measure is what you need to set up prior to go live.
Marketing is all about creating awareness and generating leads for your products or services. It’s about executing a fine balance between increasing and developing your reputation and increasing your revenues.
Each marketing activity should address a particular objective. For example investment in PR should generate you increased press coverage. Whereas investment in Google Adwords should generate an increase in the number of leads.
Consequently you need to ensure that each element in your marketing plan has a measurable objective.
So if your goal is to capture leads or make sales from your website, measuring how many people meet the goal might be useful metric for you to measure. You can do this by creating a “goal” in Google Analytics learn how on the Google Analytics help page.
Other things that you might want to track are the costs of:
Sales letters (Direct Mail)
Events (eg webinars, conferences etc)
Time spent on social media
Where there is a direct cost of the event or printing then these costs should be captured. If there’s no direct costs (for example social media) then you should value your time at the rate you expect to be paying yourself when the business start trading. So for example if you expect to be paying yourself $50 an hour and you spend 3 hours promoting your business on Facebook and Twitter, then the cost is 3 x $50 = $150.
Using a spreadsheet enter the costs of each piece of marketing activity that you do as part of your plan, so that you can see at a glance how much you’ve spent on advertising, brochures, web design etc etc.
You will need to keep this updated with the costs for each day/week/month/quarter – you’ll have to decide which is the most appropriate for your business. As you spend more money on the marketing activity you need to capture the costs and update the spreadsheet.
Whilst measuring the success of each activity can only be done once go live has happened you need to ensure that you have adequate mechanisms for caputring the results.
For example if you’re advertising in newspapers then you might want to advertise a unique telephone number for each advert you place. Or you may ask the buyer to call a number and ask for a specific person. With the name of the person changing between each advert. So whichever name someone is asking for will indicate where the saw the advert. You could do this in different ways or using different telephone numbers or even asking for different departments. (It doesn’t matter whether these names are real or not)
Another way is to simply ask whoever is buying from you where they heard about you and capture that information. You might have seen in the shopping carts of some websites a drop down box for you to tell the website owner where you heard about them. This is capturing the information. If you’re using the telephone as your mechanism for collecting sales then you’ll need to record the value of the sale manually against each type of marketing activity.
This is all aimed at identifying how successful each marketing activity is for you.
So, against each marketing activity that you set up in the spreadsheet above, enter the value of sales that can be attributed against line item. If you’re business is the sort of business that typically receives enquiries before sales then you should add the number of leads that you’ve had in a separate column on the spreadsheet, so that you can measure those too. For example a trade show might not generate much in the way of sales directly but may generate a number of enquiries which later turn into sales.
At the end of the period that you’re measuring simply divide the costs of each marketing activity in to the sales that can be attributed to each marketing activity.
If one marketing activity is costing you more money than it’s bringing in in sales and another is costing very little but generating a large return, then you should cut the activity in the low performing area and concentrate it in the area that generates the biggest return.