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Why you need to prioritise marketing, even if you have enough clients right now

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

– John Wanamaker

This statement summarises one of the things that can hold us back from spending money on marketing our businesses. How do we know that the time and resources we invest are genuinely having an impact?

And not only that, but how do we prioritise promoting our businesses when we are busy working on client projects? When you’re already overloaded with work it can be difficult to focus on those activities that bring in more.

Consistent marketing is easier said than done

We all know that the feast and famine cycle in business is down to the actions we take, or don’t take.

Marketing activities need to be done week in, week out, to ensure that we have a pipeline of work flowing into the business.

And it’s important to have a variety of sources of projects so that if one dries up, you have several other ways to generate work.

Many businesses are relying on referrals alone. I know there are business owners that boast that they don’t need to do any marketing because everything comes in “through word of mouth”. Of course that is brilliant – you must be doing something right if that is the case – but how much better could you be doing if you undertook some focused marketing?

If you can get your marketing ducks in a row, and take consistent action, you’ll end up with a more consistent flow of work. There will still be ups and downs, but they should be less severe.

Take my Little House campaign. There isn’t space to go into the full details here, but in summary it’s a direct mail (postal) campaign I use to arrange speculative meetings with potential clients. The idea being that when the people I’ve met need a structural engineer, it’s me they think of.

I’ve been running this campaign regularly for 5 years, and so far it’s given me a 175, 100% return on investment (ROI). No, that’s not a typo and I have the facts and figures to prove it. I track the meetings I have off the back of this campaign, and I record when those meetings turn into work, which with some clients results in repeat work, thus increasing the ROI.

It’s vital that you track which elements of your marketing work, and which ones don’t, otherwise you’ll end up like US merchant John Wanamaker, whom I quoted at the start.

There is no need to be clueless about the results you get from your marketing in this day and age.

The results I get from my book – Will it Stand Up?: A Professional Engineer’s View of the Creation of the London 2012 Olympic Stadium – are less easy to track than my Little House campaign. But I am aware of who has a copy of my book and whether they have come on board as a client as a result.

Once you have multiple strands to your marketing, you may not always be able to see exactly which element of it resulted in a customer, but track as much as you can. You can also use call tracking numbers for specific marketing campaigns to measure their success.

Repeat what works, and add new elements to your marketing mix as you go along, adding one thing at a time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but as with the structures the Romans created, having multiple marketing pillars will help you to create a business that is structurally sound and is much more likely to stand the test of time.

Please send a reply if you have any questions related to this email, and if you need assistance with the structural element of an upcoming project please let me know.

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