Written by Chris Lambrinides
CHAPTER 3 - WHERE TO START
How much should I spend?
How much should you spend on marketing activities? There is no wrong or right answer here. Maybe the right answer is as little as possible while still achieving your goals. I have spent between 8% and 15% of my budget on marketing. I would try to cap it around 10% max, though. With that amount, I was able to stay in massive growth mode year after year and still sustain a healthy profit. Spend as little as possible while still achieving your goals.
Have a good one. Print, digital, and referral should all be part of your strategy. In this book, we cover 147 different marketing methods you can use in your business. They can all be pigeonholed into one of three categories: print, digital, or referral. It is extremely important that you don’t attempt all these methods at once. It would lead to instant failure.
Experiment with maybe five of these methods at once. Make sure they span the three categories mentioned. This helps you hedge your bets and expand your opportunities. Basically, it makes it so you are not putting all your eggs in one basket. It opens you up to a wider segment of customers. You’ll never be able to reach all your potential customers across one method.
You could spend millions of dollars on the stuff we have been talking about. But you don’t need to. Do not overspend, and don’t go over budget. Staying within the confines of your budget will keep you profitable, and it will help you be more creative.
Although you don’t want to be cheap, continue to think about how you can get more accomplished for less. Where can you save? Here is a budget template to get you started. Get into this, and plug in your costs.
One Full Marketing Day Per Month
According to Michael Masterson, author of Ready, Fire, Aim: Zero to $100 Million in No Time Flat, a CEO founder should spend upward of 70% of their time on marketing and sales activities.
I believe that to be true, but you can’t do that when you are just starting out, because you are wearing all the hats: window cleaner, bookkeeper, etc. But it is something to work toward. At the very least, set up one day a month to focus in. Dedicate ten straight uninterrupted hours where you study, analyze, and work on marketing activities.
Here is roughly how you should spend those ten hours a month:
1. Review—How did the previous month go? Study your reports. What marketing tactics did you use this month, and what were the results? What was a hit, and what was a miss?
2. Analyze—Crunch the numbers, and tie all your revenue from the previous month to a marketing method. What were your conversion rates on each method?
3. Interpret—What do your reports tell you? What do you need to do more of, and what do you need to do less of?
4. Create—Do you need to create new things for the upcoming month or quarter? Or did things go so well last month that you’re not going to change a thing?
5. Plan—Review your marketing calendar for the next month and quarter. What’s coming up, and what things do you need to do and coordinate? What’s the next action?
Download the free month-in-review template. It will help you evaluate your numbers and plan your next month’s activities.
Set aside one day per month to review your marketing, your ads, your reports, your marketing calendar, etc. Compare and benchmark to the previous period. The important thing here is that you do this. Great insights can come out of great focus. Spend the time on it, and make it a priority. Your business will thank you for it.
You are much more likely to stick to and execute a marketing plan if it is calendarized. I recommend you create a yearly calendar, which will show what marketing methods you have done and are planning to do. This is simple. Go to Google Calendar, find the “My Calendar link and click “Create Marketing Calendar.” Enter some things you are planning to do in the next month.
Sense of Urgency
Create a sense of urgency in all your marketing efforts. Everything should have an expiration date, and people should always schedule now to save. Always!
If it repeats, automate it. Once you are on to a winning method, you will want to systemize it. Preplan repetitive tasks to ensure they execute without a hiccup.
Where Not to Market
These are areas that you should skip. Where not to market is just as important as where to market. You have a limited marketing budget, and every dollar counts. I’m not saying these methods listed below won’t work for you, but I am saying they didn’t work for me. Below are some of my past failures and a couple of reasons to justify my thought process.
1. Anywhere at a golf course. People don’t care and aren’t in the mindset of buying when they are out having fun.
2. Money Mailer or Valpak. I watch my wife open these once in a while. She rips it open, goes over to the garbage can, and buzzes through it. She yanks a couple of pizza coupons and tosses the rest in the trash. I asked her if she even looked at the other things in there. She said, “Yeah, it’s always all the same, though; it’s just garbage.” My wife is a window cleaner’s ideal customer. Aside from her wisdom, I have tried out quite a few campaigns, and they have always failed. I can’t recall one ever breaking even.
3. Kids’ baseball fields. This is a great place to spend some money if you want to support your kid’s team or local community. Just don’t go into it expecting a direct financial return; it won’t happen.
4. Groupon, Deal of the Day, and Big Deals. Skip ’em! At the rates you need to offer to qualify for one of these, you can’t possibly be making money. And they tend to attract the worst type of price-shopping customers.
5. Billboards. I’ve lost a lot money on a lot of billboards over the years. I had some initial success with one. I got a great deal right outside my target market, and that led me to think I could replicate the success. I never could, and they always lost money.
6. Radio. I’ve tried branding campaigns and direct offers. I’ve tried them during the slow season and busy season. They’ve always failed.
7. TV Cable TV can offer a pretty clear way to target specific areas that may be of interest to you. I’ve tried it on three separate occasions and haven’t been able to break even. I’m not saying it won’t work for you, but does anyone even still have cable TV?