It’s that time of year! We’re reflecting back and looking ahead. It’s often a time of optimism, ambition, and excitement. I want to make sure we build on that excitement, but also see it through to execution, so in the video, I’m going to show you how to audit your previous year’s marketing efforts and build an effective plan for the coming year.
So, you’re working on that marketing plan for the new year. Where should you start? It’s often really fun and exciting to start with tactics. Video! Instagram! These are the hot topics. But before we get too far down that path, it’s important to reflect back on the previous year and look at what worked and didn’t work. For me, there are a couple of main areas into which we want to dive.
- Hard metrics
- Soft metrics and branding
Let’s talk about the hard metrics first! I’m a numbers person. And today, with all the tracking tools in place, it’s critical that we evaluate our marketing and sales efforts by the numbers. So, the first place I go is my CRM. I want to see what marketing channels produced the most customers. Was it my website? My model homes? Social media? What drove the most buyers? While I’m performing this step, I’ll also total up revenue from each channel.
Once I’ve got a list of all my customers for the year and their lead source and revenue, I can evaluate my marketing spend. What did I have spent in each of those channels?
From there, it’s some quick math. Maybe you spent $60,000 on your website, and it produced ten homes valued at $450K. That means you spent $60,000 to generate $4.5M in sales. That means your marketing spend was 1.3% of sales.
Now run this same math for each of your marketing channels. When you’re done, you might have something that looks like this along with each percentage:
Total marketing budget: $225,000
Digital Ads: $60,000
Marketing Technology/Tools: $25,000
If you’re using some good marketing software, you’ll be able to break down specific campaigns to a more granular level. The idea here is to see if there are any channels that stand out as superior or inferior. Are there any channels you can exploit going into the new year? Maybe your website has one of your better returns. Add dollars to that channel. Maybe you can accelerate sales. Maybe events are just a big time and money drain and don’t result in the revenue you want. Try cutting these back and shifting those dollars somewhere else.
Okay, so this was a lot. The main takeaway is to analyze your various channels and see where you can double down or scale back.
Next, you need to look at your marketing activities through a broader lens. Some things like signage and community sponsorships are more of a branding play. Just because these channels didn’t produce exactly what you wanted from a revenue perspective, they may still be worthwhile. This is an internal judgment call you and your team need to make. Do these channels fit into your larger strategy? If you’re looking to build your brand and reputation in the area for a long time, branding efforts will be a multi-year investment. If you’re looking for more immediate wins, you back want to cut back on those channels.
Okay, now that we’ve worked our way through that exercise, it’s time to step back and look around.
Are there any trends that you need to consider? Are there any new digital marketing channels that are worth testing or starting to gain traction? Is the buying process changing and do you need to adapt to that? Look at competitors, read industry articles, and talk to your peers around the country. I always like to say that marketing is part art and part science, so go to the numbers first and try to get as much as you can nail down to a science but don’t forget about the art and creative part either. That’s where picking a channel to test or experiment with can be a good thing. Maybe it’s a total flop – that’s okay. What did you learn? Move on to the next test. And if it performs well, it will become part of your on-going strategy!
So as you head into the new year, let’s quickly recap!
- Look back at last year and continue the things that worked well
- Scale back one or two things that didn’t work as well
- Throw a couple of tests into the mix and get creative!
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Spencer comes from a long line of builders who have been in business for over 100 years now. In 2010, Spencer started helping grow the family business by working on their digital marketing efforts. Today, Spencer’s award-winning digital marketing agency helps dozens of builders and remodelers around the United States and Canada.
Spencer is the current President of Builder Funnel, a digital marketing agency specializing in helping the construction industry generate more leads and sales using the power of their company websites.
Spencer also hosts a popular podcast, Builder Funnel Radio where he brings on industry experts and guests to share their insights with builders and remodelers.