As small businesses dust off their marketing budgets and start making
plans again for growth after mothballing them during the worst of COVID, the
question every owner will be asking is, “How can we make the biggest
possible impact for the lowest amount of risk?”
While marketing strategies are consulted and consumer buying behaviours
are speculated, it is very apparent that the things that led to success
pre-COVID are not the things that are going to lead to success in the future.
So, what is?
Australian small businesses are faced with hundreds of opportunities
when it comes to marketing. Everything from traditional advertising to social
media to Google advertising and directory listings. You can’t do it all and
allocating a budget to the right things is a gamble.
The most successful businesses spread their marketing budget across the
five main stages of the customer journey, electing to spend money:
The perfect marketing strategy allocates budget across these five areas
in a balanced way depending on the kind of business they have and the kind of
customers they are serving.
A relatively new business may spend more money and budget attracting
strangers, whilst a business with a higher purchase price may spend more money
nurturing leads. Using this formula, small businesses with a limited marketing
budget can begin to allocate spend on the areas that will generate the most
impact in a structured and considered way.
For any business, positive returns are always generated from overcoming
a system bottleneck. If you had a machine in a product line that kept breaking
down, replacing that machine could dramatically increase the output of the
entire product line. The same should be said for marketing. Any bottleneck in
the system or customer journey, when replaced, will dramatically improve the
return of the entire marketing system.
If you only have a small budget to spend on marketing, spending it on
fixing that bottleneck needs to be your number one priority. Everything you
spend after that will be much more impactful. And bottlenecks aren’t that hard
A lot of the time a bottleneck is something as obvious as your website,
your messaging or your sales team.
Sometimes, in order to identify a bottleneck you have to dig deeper into
data and industry benchmarks to judge your performance on the rest of the
industry. If you were looking at your website as a marketing tool to convert
visitors into leads, the data to look at is your website conversion rate – the number
of people that are visiting your website and then getting in contact with you.
A good website conversion rate is two per cent. Anything less than this and
your website is a bottleneck.
Your marketing spend attracting strangers may be going exceptionally
well, but your actual website isn’t encouraging people to get in touch with
you. Your next step to fix this bottleneck is to get in contact with a website
developer and spend your marketing budget there.
This is just one example of bottlenecks across the five main stages of
the customer journey. Spend time examining the main stages to identify
bottlenecks and make decisions on where to spend money. It is a sure-fire way
to make a positive impact.
Amy Miocevich, Founder, The Caterpillar
Framework and author of “Very Good Marketing for Small Business”