Start firing on all cylinders!

When the chips are down and your business isn’t moving inventory, it can be incredibly frustrating and confusing.

It’s tempting to look at gimmicks, “growth hacks” or other quick fixes as a means to get back at the races. Here are just 3 key measures that businesses should be taking in order to accelerate and harness their growth potential:

Marketing Spend When I hear of organisations experiencing poor online sales growth, my first tendency is to look at the relative online marketing budget. More often than not, the number is too low relative to their cost of acquisition, average cart or customer lifetime. Simply put, if it costs £100 to acquire a customer and an organisation is hoping to add 100 new customers a month, then a penny less than £10K per month in marketing is going to make life difficult. That isn’t to say that marketing should be the ‘be-all and end-all’. Organisations need marketing efforts to deliver a measurable return, so it is imperative that the marketing channels selected reflect the target audience. Organisations that I have seen grow significantly have paid particular attention to where their marketing budget is being allocated. They demand ROI and where they don’t get it, they learn, they move on and more importantly, they don’t replicate the same mistakes again. The 70-20-10 rule is a solid starting point: spend 70 percent of budget on proven, relatively consistent channels; 20 percent on opportunities that have yet to be fully flushed out and seem likely to bear fruit; and 10 percent on wild ideas in the hopes of hitting a few home runs.

Qualify Site Traffic  In the digital world, it’s easy to treat traffic statistics as just that – statistics! The reality is that 1,000 unique visitors per month could result in 1,000 new customers. This means 1,000 real people with wallets and credit cards living in a consumer-oriented society.  One percent is a generic e-commerce conversion rate number that often gets cited by marketing agencies.  What about the other 990 people that came to the site and didn’t buy? If 1,000 people walked through your brick and mortar store and only 10 bought something, the Store Manager would be challenged to explain how they got to the checkout counter and what the other 990 people did in your store that didn’t lead to a single sale. The same should apply in the virtual world.  However, organisations tend to accept that a drop-off is inevitable.  I think e-commerce managers need to challenge that assumption… Dig deep, figure out what people are doing when they visit the online store and remarket to them with a vengeance.

Control the customer variables I can’t remember where I first heard the idea, but it’s pretty simple: sell NEW customers proven products and sell existing customers NEW exciting products. Organisations that really crack it though, are those that realise that the Brand (and the benefits of having this equity) is made up from acquired customers turning into fans.  Fans tend to act as an extension to an organisation’s PR, they promote, they shout from the rooftops how proud that they are associated. Make sure those people are getting appropriate messaging and opportunities to continue spending and advocating the brand through word of mouth.

After taking away the emotional connection and focusing on the data, it’s very simple to get a vision for what needs to be done. It’s just not easy to execute. In the same way it’s simple to eat well and exercise regularly, but also not actually easy to do. However, with a few basic changes and support from the wider organisational teams in which you operate, you can really accelerate the growth trajectory and get things firing on all cylinders!

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