By David Holland

May 30, 2016


The single biggest question and remark that I hear small businesses talking about is, fundamentally, how do I get a better return on my investment for the marketing efforts and expenditure that I've put in? That's the one thing that, consistently, small businesses are trying to resolve. Bigger business maybe understand a few issues around return on investments and not relying on a few things, that they're trying to execute at any one point in time. For small businesses, it's usually just a relatively small number of things that they're trying to work on. That's the biggest issue that I hear. How do I get a bigger bang for my buck? Really, there's a number of failure points, that I consistently see.

Why do small businesses get a small return on investment?

The first reason for poor return on investment, for marketing efforts and expenditure, is very often the lead capture mechanism. I see time and time again, people struggling to learn how to do ad words, to learn how to drive traffic, to learn how to do Facebook advertising or Twitter advertising. They're driving traffic to a particular landing page. That landing page is then of poor quality and or doesn't really have a proper lead capture mechanism associated with it. All that energy and money that's been put in is just completely wasted because the visitor to that page, the visitor to that intro point, doesn't leave contact details because they don't feel any reason why they should. The quality isn't there or the mechanism itself isn't there. That's the single biggest waste of resources that I see is really poor lead capture mechanisms.

What else is an issue?

On average, small businesses try and follow-up with a contacts between two and three times, so 2.6 times on average. That's really just not enough. In a study that was published in Harvard Business Review a few years ago, there was a fairly extensive research done for a range of sizes of businesses in the United States, asking MDs, Marketing Directors, Sales Directors, when do you usually do business with your customers. How long does it take and how many follow-up connections is it usually required? The answer consistently was coming back at about seven or eight follow-up connections. People, who make an inquiry, usually buy within twelve months of making that inquiry, but not necessarily immediately. So two to three follow-ups is just not enough and the length of time a follow-up is just not long enough. If you've spent money on driving traffic to a lead capture page, and then you've actually got the leads, you've got the contacts, and you're only following up two or three times, that's just simply not enough. It's just such a waste of the effort and a waste of the resources that you've already got in place. That's a big issue for small businesses, particularly, that cannot afford to waste those valuable resources for what turns out to be pretty good quality leads, just leads that aren't quite at the right time and to convert into sales.

Is there anything else that you see small businesses struggling with?

The third issue that I see small businesses really struggling with is pretty common with businesses of any size. If you ask customers, why did you leave a business? Why did you stop spending money with one particular business and then start spending money with another business. In 65% of the cases, the reason is indifference. The businesses were not taking care of their customers. They weren't communicating with their customers. The businesses just kind of forgot about the customers and the customers therefore forgot about the businesses. They just went somewhere else. There was no big customer service failure. No big issues. No big fall outs. No big hassles. It was just pure indifference on behalf of the businesses to stay in contact and add continuous value to their customers.

For the customers, they couldn't be bothered and they just moved on, tried another business, or the next person that came in that was looking to buy something didn't even know an existing relationship with a particular vendor because there was no relationship that had been established there. That's a terrible shame because all the efforts and all the expensive marketing and sales has already gone in and then with no effort being made to keep a relationship going with the customers, that would have been an easy sale. It would have been a relatively low cost of sale to have developed that relationship and kept that relationship, so the next sales that come along. Now, it may be that it was a couple of months, six months, twelve months, hey look it might have been six or seven years in the case of real estate, before the next purchase was made, but if there's no relationship maintained over that period of time, you have to go back to square one. That's a real, real shame for small businesses.

Can these issues be fixed?

It really is very simple to fix some of these failures in the customer life cycle. Connecting with customers, attracting traffic, and then making sure the lead is captured properly is relatively straight forward to do. There's some little techniques and tricks that can be deployed there to make sure that the most is made of the money that's spent on attracting traffic. Follow-up is so easy. An extended follow-up needs to be put together. There's technologies that can help there. There's simple techniques that can help there. This doesn't need to be complex and involved. It's really just a simple matter of pacing and consistency and follow-up. Again, staying in contact with customers through a variety of medium is relatively simple to do, relatively simple to automate, and to make as easy as possible and therefore, as profitable as possible.

I would love to talk with you some more and explain in quite a lot of detail how to do this, so that you really understand how to make this work in your business. It is simple. It's straight forward. You do need some technology to help you. That will be a great labor saving and time saving and consistency saving device to have the right technology in place. It's more about strategy and approach. All those things can be very easily fixed in the vast majority of small businesses

About the author

Nice bloke with practical ideas. Former Procter & Gamble, Kraft and IBM sales and marketing executive. Became a business owner 20 years ago. Started multiple businesses including EXELA which is the most successful Keap® & Infusionsoft™ reseller in the EMEA region.

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