This blog marks the start of a new series of articles – one every month where I’ll share three low-cost/no cost ideas to help with your sales and marketing efforts. Each article in the series will follow the same format: Think-Plan-Do.
‘Think’ will provide ideas about strategy. ‘Plan’ will cover topics around planning and management. And ‘Do’ will offer very tactical suggestions. I hope you find the series helpful.
With that as the backdrop, here are this month’s Think-Plan-Do ideas:
- Think: Expanding who you sell to and what you sell
- Plan: Your most important management tool
- Do: How to improve your email marketing results
Think: Expanding who you sell to and what you sell
One of the most effective ways to think about your business and how to grow it is using the Ansoff matrix… a grid that cross-references what you sell (now and in the future) with who you sell to (now and in the future). It looks like this…
Here’s how it works: Imagine that you work for a qualitative research firm selling to hospitals. Doing what you can to sell more qual services to more hospital clients is your Core Growth. It’s where you are right now – the products and services you offer today and the markets and industries you serve.
As you think about growth, one of the questions you might want to ask is, “Who else – besides hospitals – should we or could we be targeting?” A logical answer for this example might be health insurance providers. That’s Market Expansion.
The flipside of Market Expansion is Product Enhancement. As a qual-only provider to hospitals, you might also ask the question, “Besides qual research services, what other kinds of services should we or could we provide to hospitals?” A simple answer could be quantitative services. See how this works?
Finally, there’s diversification… looking at entirely new markets with entirely new products. I’m not saying you shouldn’t consider this strategy and talk about it internally, but be careful. When it comes to new ideas… just because you can doesn’t mean you should! Do your due diligence before going down his path.
Plan: Your most important management tool
The most important marketing management tool is… wait for it… a Calendar! Not what you were expecting, huh? Bear with me…
Whether it’s on a wall calendar, in your Google calendar or your CRM, having all key marketing elements that need to get done in one place and at one time ensures that nothing falls through the cracks. That you stay on top of all that you’re responsible for.
Here’s the problem. Let’s say you plan to exhibit in an industry conference that starts on October 15th… and you put the dates on your calendar. Great! But if you’re not putting all of the steps that are part of the exhibiting process on your calendar, you’re going to wake up the morning of October 14th and realize that you’re in a boatload of trouble. Think about the kinds of activities you need on your calendar:
- Submitting your booth space reservation form
- Submitting your booth help form (tables, electricity, etc.)
- Booking your hotel room and flights
- Ordering business cards and sales collateral
- Updating your booth backdrop and shipping it
And so on. The mistake most marketers make is focusing only on the end date and not including these other important activities on the calendar… and it’s missing these steps that can cause real headaches.
Do: How to improve your email marketing results
For years, email marketing has been – and continues to be – the most effective marketing channel by nearly every metric imaginable. And as good as it’s been, there’s an easy way to make it better… conduct A/B testing on your email subject line. It’s an easy-to-use feature built-in to almost every commercial email marketing platform.
A/B testing allows you to test one subject line against another across a small portion of your email list. The subject line that generates a better Open Rate (OR = # opened ÷ # sent) over the first few hours is then used to send to the remainder of your list. Think this doesn’t matter? Consider these very realistic numbers around promoting a piece of gated content:
2,500 emails sent x 20% open rate = 500 emails opened x 15% click-thru rate = 75 new sales leads
Scenario 2 (with improved open rate after A/B testing):
2,500 emails sent x 25% open rate = 625 emails opened x 15% click-thru rate = 94 new sales leads
That’s just one example of how testing and tweaking subject lines (especially frequent testing over time) can have a very positive impact on your business. And it’s easy to do… you just have to have the discipline to do it.
OK, that wraps up the first of our Think-Plan-Do blog series. We hope you found the information helpful. Part 2 in the series will be posted next month. In the meantime, let me know what you think of these ideas and if there are any other specific topics you’d like to learn more about in the future.
Good luck and good marketing.