How Cocktails Fix Marketing That Stops Working
Come for the cocktail talk, leave with solid troubleshooting for your marketing.
If you’ve been a business owner for a couple of years now, you may have gone through the frustrating experience of your bread-and-butter marketing channel disintegrating in performance.
You may have consistently relied on referrals to fuel your income, or Instagram was absolutely killing it for you in making monthly product sales.
Then something happened.
You hit referral fatigue within your professional network, or Instagram changed its algorithm and you’re seeing a noticeable drop in your sales. This happens to any business owner who has been around the block selling for a few years — a marketing and sales channel that was delivering on the goods all of a sudden putters out.
What do you do when you find yourself here? How do you troubleshoot a sales pipeline that’s no longer working like it used to?
Here are 3 ways you can fix a marketing plan that’s no longer working (and what cocktails got to do with it) —
Fixating Is Not A Strategy
Let’s say that Pinterest has been a great sales driver for your jewelry business, and all of a sudden it’s not working as well as it used to because of Pinterest’s algorithm change.
Your first instinct is likely to check out this new algorithm change and what you can do to get your business thriving on Pinterest again. You make the changes to adjust and still, nothing. So you try something else, you try Pinterest ads, even though you’ve never used them for your business before and see if that works. Again, nothing. After about 3 months of trying, you’re at your wit’s end as to what you’re supposed to do.
The right thing to do in this situation is to investigate if something changed with Pinterest and see if there’s a plausible reason why you may be seeing hits to your usual traffic. It should literally be an A → B, problem to solution set, where because this algorithm change happened where Pinterest prioritizes new content pins (and not repins), I will change my posting strategy so that I only post new content pins.
If this fix on your end doesn’t get you back on track, rather than trying additional, tangential changes, you should stop here.
Sure, it’s possible that you may find a solution if you fussed long enough with a couple of different strategies, but I recommend doing that on a lower volume in the background while you’re looking at other channels you can revv up and reviewing your past data for informed guidance (more on that in the next two sections).
Don’t fixate on a channel just because it worked for you at some point in your business. Be open to receiving new information on what the market currently wants and what your data says is currently working for you — more on that below.
Don’t Engineer It, Listen For It
Whether this is automated or you manually create this, every single month, you should be recording which sales channels your sales leads came from (shoppers who put items in their shopping cart, people interested in your services who booked a consultation call with you), as well as which channels sourced your most closed sales leads.
This data should be organized in a spreadsheet where you can clearly see all of this information on a monthly basis and detect trends.
Rather than relying on your hunches to navigate next steps during a troubleshooting phase, you should be looking at data on where you’ve sourced your converted leads in the past couple of months to help inform your next steps.
For example, let’s say you’re a graphic designer and you have a mixed marketing and sales strategy where you source clients from Instagram, referrals, LinkedIn, and networking at local events. Although you primarily focused on Instagram to get new client leads for the past year, this channel has been slowing down as a source of revenue in the past 3 months.
To troubleshoot this, you look at your spreadsheet that neatly lists out where all of your consultation call leads were sourced from, and who you ended up closing sales with.
According to your spreadsheet, in the past 3–4 months, your business slowly ramped up closed sales from referrals and leads that reached out after reading posts of yours on LinkedIn.
This happens y’all. Without your realizing it or personally engineering it, your business shifts its marketing and sales channels by itself. The market decides for you sometimes.
You can either bang your head against the wall for months wondering what you’re doing wrong while your business’ sales are plummeting, or you can put the systems in place to listen to how the market is responding back to what you’re putting out there.
The only way to detect this is by meticulously tracking and watching the right data.
A Cocktail Of Channels
To me, a good marketing and sales plan looks like a cocktail. You’re not dousing your business with a full shot of vodka and hoping that one ingredient carries the business towards its sales.
At any given moment, your business should have a couple of different ingredients on hand fueling the business’ marketing and sales system.
Depending on what’s working superbly or mediocrely at the moment, you should increase or decrease the ingredients that are in play. No ingredients should ever disappear — you must stay consistent on your channels, even when it’s not hitting it out of the park performance-wise (but of course, drop the channel if it’s truly bombing).
As mentioned in the previous section, your business’ marketing and sales plan can shift depending on the time of year or what the market is currently looking for at the moment. Your marketing and sales system should be designed to be responsive to this reality and have the flexibility to adjust quickly.
So this means that if you’re a shoe designer and your main marketing channels are Instagram, Pinterest, email marketing, and influencer partnerships — you should have these ingredients always in play at varying degrees depending on what’s working well at the moment.
You lower the volume on Pinterest if it’s steadily giving you a low number of sales leads, but keep it on hand in case your main channel, Instagram starts to decline in lead generation.
A cocktail strategy prevents your business from putting all of its eggs in one basket and always gives you a backup in case your bread-and-butter channels plummet, or better yet, allows you to benefit in case a backup channel decides to take off by itself.
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