12 Steps to a Killer Marketing System

You want a marketing system that rocks, right?

Businesses that stay small fail to create systems. Marketing systems are not at all complicated. But, creating a marketing system requires an entrepreneur who thinks strategically. Most small businesses run their businesses reacting to daily challenges. Entrepreneurs who create marketing systems understand that success requires strategic thinking

Systems are what elevate businesses above the rest. Your marketing system will introduce controls, guidelines, steps, procedures, and key performance indicators to your business.

If it’s just in your head, you don’t yet have a system. You need to write it down. Document every step one needs to take to make your marketing system work.

Here are the key reasons your business needs a marketing system:

  • You and your team will know exactly what steps they need to take.
  • Your marketing system improves your team’s performance.
  • It enables you to scale your business.
  • It makes measuring the effectiveness of your marketing easier.

Don’t be afraid to try new marketing tactics.

There are countless ways to promote your business. I don’t care how many books, articles or case studies you read about a marketing tactic, you won’t know if it works for your unless you try it. The key here is to try small. If you haven’t tried Facebook marketing before, set a small daily budget and see how it goes.  If a marketing tactic works, add it to your marketing system. If it doesn’t work, try something new.

Understand your customer.

Every business has different types of customers. Here are the four most common customer types:

  • Existing customers – Your best path to increase your sales. Up sell and cross sell to your current customers. Ask what other problems of your existing customers can you solve? Create a product or service and sell it to them. The best is if you can pre-sell your new service to them.
  • Referring customers – Many businesses ignore referral customers. It is a huge mistake. Ask your customers for referrals when you have successfully completed your service.
  • Past clients – Every business looses some of its customers. Ask them to come back. Many businesses spend more time chasing new customers instead of asking past customers to come back. Ask your past customers for another chance.
  • Prospects – New customers are the most expensive to acquire.

When creating a marketing system, you are going to need to understand your customer. You never truly know your target market enough. Your audience might change over time or their demands might change. The only way you would know that if you stay in contact. The best entrepreneurs constantly reaching out to their customers.

They ask questions like:

  • What do you like about our product or service?
  • What do you dislike about our product?
  • Are there features that it doesn’t have now but you want to see in the future?

The best way to get to know your customers is to continue to study them, understand their challenges and learn what they want.


Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) Lifetime Customer Value (LCV) or Lifetime Client Value (LCV)

Three different names for the same thing in marketing. In its simplest form, CLV is lifetime value of a customer to your business. In other words, CLV tells you how many dollars a customer will bring to your business during a period of time, usually 12 or 24-months. CLV helps you optimize your marketing spend. CLV is never going to be exactly the same for every customer.

CLV is not just what a customer spends with your business. It is also the value of referrals you might get from your customers.

When you consider CLV, ask the following questions:

  • How long customers remain your customers? – This is a very important question if you have a recurring business model like a SaaS business.
  • How easy are you able to keep them as clients?  – Some customers require a lot more attention than others. Some customers are less profitable for the same reason.
  • Are the customers difficult to deal with? – If you have to hire more staff to deal with your “problem” customers, it might not make sense to keep them. Some companies fire their more difficult customers, to remain profitable.

Average Transaction Value (ATV)

ATV is the average dollar amount that a customer spends with you, within a single transaction. For example, if you are a web designer, the amount of money your clients spend with you on a website redesign is your ATV.

ATV is a very important part of your marketing system because it gives you a way to increase your bottom line and the overall success of your business. Companies that can increase their ATV are able to increase their profit per customer. Scaling your business through increased ATV grows your bottom line without increasing your marketing spend.

Here is how to increase your ATV:

  • Up-sell or cross sell your products or services. – Offer similar but more expensive options.
  • Offer flexible payment options. – Installment payments will encourage customers to spend more with you.
  • Package multiple products or services as one. – Combining multiple products together creates a win-win for you and your customers.
  • Offer larger units of purchase. – Costco turned that model into a business over $110 billion dollars.
  • Increase your pricing. – A higher price means higher profits per customer.
  • Position as higher end. – If you are the best at what you do, you should be able to get away with charging more.
  • Point of sale promotions. – Offer additional products or services at the time of the sale.
  • Educate your existing customers of all of your products. – Often your customers are not fully aware of the full range of services you offer.

Cost Per Sale (CPS) or Pay-Per Sale (PPS)

CPS is what a company pays to generate a sale. Entrepreneurs who succeed know their CPS numbers. When you understand your CPS you can make better decisions about which type of customer should you focus on. The lowest CPS customers are the ones you want to get more of and reduce the number of high CPS customers.

Know your product inside and out.

You can’t create an effective marketing system without knowing everything possible about your product. You want to be able to explain your product well and if you don’t know it like the back of your hand, there is no way you are going to be able to fully explain it to your customers.

Study your competition.

You can’t create a marketing system without understanding your competitors. First of all, “who are your competitors”? How do they market themselves? You can learn from your competition.

You can get several ideas about your competitors’ marketing by:

  • Finding out where they advertise.
  • Analyzing their marketing messaging.
  • Learning what their customers say about them.
  • Analyzing their marketing content.

You can find out where they advertise

Focus on quality.

No amount of marketing will save your business if you have a low quality product. The quality of your product must align with your target market. If you have a luxury product, you have to have luxury ingredients. If you have a budget product, you have to have the best quality ingredients possible at your target price point.

If you really understand your target market, you can create even better products and services. You can be proud of your products and be public about them.

Create content.

Your marketing system needs supporting content. Every business with a marketing system is also a publisher. Your customers expect to search and find a lot information about your products. By content, I don’t mean ads. I mean useful educational content. Your content is not about pitching your products. It is about teaching, information, and sharing what is relevant to your customers.

Consistent creation of content in the form of reviews, testimonials, how-to and training articles, videos, interviews, podcasts must be part of your marketing system.

Automate your marketing.

Next, you are going to want to automate strategically. You can do this by using technology to automate and make life easier for you. This includes invoicing, billing, delivery shipping and so on. Today, almost everything can be automated to make your life easier. When you find something that is working well, add it to your marketing system.

Do not keep changing your system, especially if it is working for you. Create your plan and stick to it. You do not need to change it all the time, but you can adapt and change as you move forward.

Outsource to optimize your marketing.

An effective marketing system simplifies outsourcing. Because systems break down processes into its pieces, you can easily outsource.

Evaluate, rinse and repeat.

The last thing to do is to test and evaluate. You need to crunch the numbers and if something does not work, throw it out. You can do more of what works best and leave behind what doesn’t.

Marketing systems make your business more efficient. When you include systems in your marketing you make your customers happier and your business more profitable. It is a win-win for everyone. Your customers will love it, because they get what they want. Your team will love it, because you remove the guesswork from your marketing strategy. And, you will love it, because it makes your business run smoothly.

photo credit: gears

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George Meszaros is the editor and co-founder of Success Harbor where entrepreneurs learn about building successful companies. Success Harbor is dedicated to document the entrepreneurial journey through interviews, original research, and unique content. George Meszaros is also co-founder of Webene, a web design and digital marketing agency.

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