Call it the “instant 50 percent improvement rule.” You can make any bedroom instantly look 50 percent cleaner just by making the bed. You can make your office look 50 percent cleaner just by clearing all the junk off your desk. You can make your yard look 50 percent better just by mowing the grass. You can make yourself look 50 percent better just by styling your hair. You can make yourself look 50 percent more impressive just by carrying a briefcase, etc.
So here’s a question for you: what can you do to instantly make your marketing look 50 percent better? What can you do to instantly make your marketing perform 50 percent better at the same time? Utilize the same underlying principle. Identify an aspect of your marketing that’s relatively simple to improve that will make a big difference, then work on it.
Here are three “instant 50 percent improvement rule” ideas that should perk up sales almost immediately.
Instant Improvement Idea No. 1: Get a Better Follow-up System.
Doing more with the leads your marketing currently generates is fundamental. What’s the point of generating more leads with better marketing if you are not maximizing them in the first place. There’s really no excuse to not efficiently and effectively follow up on the leads you receive. You may already have somebody who calls the leads. And you might even have a series of e-mails that go out to harass them. But when I talk about a follow-up system, I’m referring to something a little bit more robust.
The real question isn’t: How often should I follow up with them? The real question is: How often can I afford to follow up with them? To find out exactly how often, simply run your numbers. And I’ll bet you a wooden nickel that you can afford to follow up more than you think.
Look at it this way. You’re going to sell a certain percentage of your leads right away — these are the “now” buyers. So everyone who doesn’t buy can theoretically be considered a “new prospect” from a willingness-to-spend-marketing-dollars-to-get-new-customers standpoint. If you count the original marketing dollars sunk on the people who buy, shouldn’t you be willing to spend extra dollars to convert those who didn’t buy right away?
It’s a bit of a philosophical question because your knee-jerk reaction might be to point out that the people who didn’t buy — uhhh — didn’t buy. Fair enough. And good point. But don’t assume that because somebody doesn’t buy right away that they’re not an excellent prospect to buy in the near to medium-range future.
I know of a window company that spends about $5,000 per month on advertising. With that it generates approximately 25 appointments. They know that they’ll sell about 30 percent of them, resulting in eight jobs. The average sale is about $6,500, so that’s $52,000 in sales from $5,000 in advertising — not too shabby. But they could maximize it by spending more money on a follow-up system to convert the other 17 prospects.
Here’s a breakdown.
- The advertising cost per new customer is $625 ($5,000 divided by 8 customers).
- They still have 17 prospects, who, for whatever reason, said “no” right now. Some decide to go to another company, but most just plain stall. They get cold feet, so to speak. They need some time to build their courage or their bank account, or both. This does not change the fact that they’re still great prospects, though.
- Let’s assume that we can get three more of these prospects to convert over the next 12 months.
- That would be an extra $26,000 in sales.
- We should be willing to allocate the same amount, $625 per new customer, to marketing to these 17 prospects.
- That’s a total increase of $1,875 in marketing budget over 12 months to market to just 17 people.
- Broken down, that’s a budget of $110.29 per prospect.
You could send a postcard to every prospect two times a week for a year and still not exhaust that budget! So, get your follow-up system hopping. Quit running around and only closing the easy business. Take some time and effort and set up a nurturing system that will bring you automatic business every month, forever.
Instant Improvement Idea No. 2: Use “Information Offers” in Your Advertising.
Do you think it’s possible to increase the response rate of an advertisement by 70 times? I’ve achieved that kind of increase for my clients many times — even higher — and here’s the funny part: it’s actually easy to do if the original advertisement doesn’t contain an offer.
A excellent case-in-point is a Four Seasons sunroom dealer I worked with. They were getting their best advertising response in the Clipper magazine — to the tune of about 23 leads a month. When I realized that their ads contained no information offers, I got excited. We put together a sunroom idea guide and offered it for free to anyone who called or requested it online.
When the next Clipper hit mailboxes, their phones immediately blew up. They received over 75 calls within the first three days. Within a week, they had received over 100 requests for the sunroom idea guide. Each of these leads, naturally, were followed up by phone, and then of course, put into the hopper system.
By essentially using the same advertisement with one tweak, an offer, we were able to increase the number of responses from 23 to over 100 from one Clipper mailing to the next. Behold the power of the “information offer”.
Instant Improvement Idea No. 3: Optimize Your Web site for Maximum Search Engine Searchability
What if your kid came home from high school with a report card that read like this — English, 91; physics, 88; world history, 90; geometry, 22; economics, 95. Would you be willing to ignore the impossibly low geometry grade just because everything else is good? Didn’t think so.
Here’s an alarming trend I’m seeing lately — company owners and managers who think their Web site has good visibility/searchability from the major Internet search engines like Google.com and Yahoo.com when in fact, it does not. The conversation usually goes something like this.
“We hired a company to build our Web site, and they’re also supposed to be handling our search-engine stuff, and I think they probably are, but I don’t really know.”
Guess, what? Usually, they’re not automatically handling your search engine optimization.
We offer an SEO evaluation where we’ll check several key indicators of positive and negative SEO characteristics of a Web site and issue a grade with a maximum score of 100 and a minimum score of negative 50. We’ve probably reviewed 50 sites or so since we started offering this service, and the vast majority score under 25. Oops! There’s that 22 in Geometry I was talking about. That low score on your SEO can be as devastating to your business as a kid’s super-flunky grade can be to his chances to graduate and get into college — even if everything else is peachy.
Here’s the problem with your SEO not working properly — anyone who’s searching the Web looking for what you sell will not find you! It’s that simple. You might as well not even exist as far as those people are concerned. Not every business on the planet is dependent on search-engine rankings, but I’m sure you could stand some additional exposure by having Google find your site once in a while. The cost to get the job done is very reasonable, yet many businesses continue to perpetually flounder.
So get to it. Institute those improvement ideas. The effort involved is minimal, and rewards you’ll reap are huge.