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Understanding how to approach your marketing with a purpose

It’s important for business owners to realize that they’re constantly marketing and that both their business and professional images are on display every day.

Consider the recent holiday season and all the various parties and get-togethers that you attended. Even if those situations weren’t strictly tied to your business, you should have been conscious of the image you projected and the trust that you were and were not building with friends, colleagues and strangers. Whether you realize it or not, you are your own brand, and everything that you do strengthens or weakens that brand.

Marketing with Purpose

Regardless of the variety of particular type of marketing in which you are engaging, how can you know if your marketing is effective or not? At the macro level, which most business owners are most concerned about, it may seem fairly simple. You may simply presume that if you are bringing in enough business to meet your obligations then everything is fine.

If you are, so this line of thinking goes, then your marketing is effective. If you aren’t, then it isn’t. Just because it’s effective, however, doesn’t mean that there is no room for improvement. Further, just because your marketing is effective doesn’t mean that you’re not wasting its effects on areas that may very well have significant leaks in it. Far too often, business owners ignore such areas in lieu of the assumption that their marketing efforts must be effective if they help generate enough sales to keep the business afloat.

In a vibrant market, that brand of thinking may be enough to keep the doors open, but in this current market, business owners have to do better to maximize every resource and every dollar they have. In other words, they have to market with purpose.

What are the specific marketing activities you regularly engage in, both professionally and personally? What about the newsletter you send out- is it effective? What about the networking meetings that you go to, or the Chamber of Commerce meetings you attend, or your affiliation with local national organizations?  Are those affiliations effective? How can you know?

The only way to be confident in any marketing campaign or initiative is to test it. You need to take action in a decisive way and then determine the time that it takes you and the money you expend in order to adequately measure the efforts you’re making. Then you can analyze the results, examining whether or not you’re receiving additional business or gaining new opportunities. You need to be certain that you’re not simply pouring time and money into activities that don’t affect your bottom line, even if those activities make it seem as though you’re busy.

In most cases, you have to understand the conversion rate for various forms of marketing. Often times, because business owners seldom know the numbers (specifically the CONVERSION numbers) you’re just looking at the end result — how many people actually bought. And if it’s lower than what you wanted (or expected) you’re going to be disappointed.

But if you know the numbers, then you’ll know going in how many people you can expect to buy. And you’ll ALSO know what to expect regardless if affiliates help you promote or don’t. And that’s a really powerful way to keep yourself from getting too disappointed or frustrated.


Testing and Analysis

Unless you’re inundated with business- and probably even if you are- you should be both exacting and demanding about your calculations. A good rule of thumb is that a marketing campaign should produce 10-for-1 in dollars. For instance, if you spend $500, you need to see a $5,000 return; otherwise, don’t continue with the campaign in question. You have to know not only how much you’re spending, but also how much “bang” you are getting for your buck.

Unfortunately, this sort of careful analysis is alien to the process of many mortgage professionals. Either they work for large companies that so advertising for them and don’t believe that they have to undertake marketing of their own, or they pursue their own marketing yet don’t rigorously test the results. Everything you do as a business owner needs to be considered within the context of an overall marketing strategy, one that’s tested and analyzed with discipline.

Broadly, there are two kinds of testing that business owners should undertake: internal and external. Internal testing refers to the client’s experience from the point-of-contact to the close; study any financial loses that may have resulted from holes in your business’ system. External testing refers to marketing with purpose; consider an individual campaign as being part of a larger overall strategy and examine each part of that strategy in order to determine the results and how they can be improved. Come up with a specific customer — the more specific the better — and make sure your marketing materials speak directly to that customer.

This seems simple enough, but it’s not necessarily easy. It takes creativity to design marketing campaigns that can be tracked. Tweeting about rates can be a type of campaign in itself, but how many of those tweets advance your conversation with current or potential clients? How many of them result in visits to your website? For that matter, has your website been designed so that you can tell when clients arrive from different marketing channels (backlinks)? How can you know if the time you dedicate to Twitter is well spent if you’re not measuring, testing and refining your results? Initially, you will need to participate in multiple mediums so that you will determine the best, most logical and cost effective way to reach your ideal prospect and client.

The final question applies to every piece of communication and marketing that you do as a business owner. If you’re rigorous about your metrics, you will find that you get as much as 80% of your business from 20% of your marketing.   That knowledge will allow you to re-task your money and time into areas that are more profitable and will produce results superior to what you get now.

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Marketing with purpose may sound obvious, but there are a lot of business owners don’t take the time to analyze their campaigns. If your business is going to survive in this economic climate, you need to understand what you’re doing with marketing and exactly how it may give you an edge on your competition. Only then will your business truly be able to thrive.

Creating a more purposeful marketing plan doesn’t have to be overwhelming, or costly, but it will save you time and help you achieve your goals more easily than you ever believed possible.

Wishing you all the best of continued success! Seriously, the quickest way you can end up with the most dismal results imaginable is to try and talk to everyone.