Late Summer Marketing Dollars that Will Pay Off in the Fall

In Chicago, you know that Summer’s coming towards the end when Lake Michigan boaters start to talk about the trek up river for the winter.  And just as predictable as the opening of the bridges along the Chicago River are clients asking for suggestions on where to put their advertising dollars in an effort to, “capture the Fall busy season.” As an evangelist for all businesses designing a fully-integrated marketing plan, I cringe at the thought of looking for a short-term spot to drop unplanned marketing dollars.

However, if one of my clients has new marketing dollars to invest, 2.0heads is going to do its best to maximize their return. For those looking to increase Fall sales, here’s what we suggest.

First, many of our Chicago area B-to-C clients sell home remodeling and repair services, so the average price tends to be measured in the thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. This is not typically an impulse purchase category, but there are things that can be done to quickly increase sales despite a longer selling cycle and higher price tag.

Make sure you can measure the impact of every marketing dollar

John Wanamaker was right when he said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. I just don’t know which half.” But, times have changed. With the ability to customize Google Analytics and import data from outside the system, there’s no excuse not to know if both your analog and digital marketing dollars are paying off. If you’re spending more than $10,000 a year on marketing, (signage, website, advertising, SEO, trade shows, etc.) you need the tools in place to measure what’s working and what’s not.

Invest the money (or do it yourself) in customizing Google analytics so that you can look at a single dashboard once a month and see:

• How many visitors came to your website
• Where the visitors came from (email, search, social, billboards, flyers, etc.)
• How many contacted you while visiting the site (call, chat, email, consultation form)
• How many visitors converted into customers (signed contracts with retainers)

That’s all the information most small and medium business owners need to manage their marketing spend. If you’ve got the bandwidth and inclination to dig deeper, good for you, but it’s not necessary.

Determine what part of the 2.0 Marketing Funnel you want to impact

success_measures_titles_400At 2.0heads we use a sales funnel analogy when helping clients determine where their marketing dollars are best spent. At the top of the funnel, you’re casting a broad net and pulling in people who are often early on in their interest and who most likely don’t know much about you.

In the middle of the funnel you’re speaking with consumers who may know of you, have visited your website, and are in the process of choosing their service provider.

At the bottom of the funnel you have satisfied clients, both old and new, who can generate repeat business and referrals.

So where do you invest your marketing dollars for the Fall? Take a look at the opportunities available at each level of the 2.0 Marketing Funnel and choose the one(s) that you believe best suit your unique circumstances.

Top of the Funnel

To attract people to the top of the funnel, SEO, pay-per-click, broadcast channels, etc. are terrific sources.

Unfortunately, some of these tools will take much longer to fill the funnel than others. For example, most SEO professionals will tell you not to expect substantial improvement in traffic for a minimum of 3 to 6 months. If you spend on SEO today, you’re not going to see a pay-off until after the Fall season.

If you want to fill the top of the funnel quickly, you’re looking at paid traffic and Google Adwords is probably the most efficient and effective method. Broadcast and print can work, but you’ll need a strong call-to-action.

That’s right, with a short time frame accelerating sales from the top of the funnel means you’ll likely be offering a discount or other financial incentive to be successful.

Houzz or Yelp can also be good top-of-the-funnel sources for shelter professionals, but Houzz requires a full year commitment ($350 to $500 a month) and I’ve found Yelp traffic to be of mixed quality. We recommend that both of this funnel-fillers be reviewed as part of an annual marketing plan rather than for a short-term injection of new business.

Middle of the Funnel

In the middle of the funnel you’re engaging repeat visitors and those farther along in the sales process with your content and conversion tools. To grab the attention of these repeat visitors, recommend investing ad dollars in retargeting. If you’ve ever gone to Zappos, looked at a shoe and then saw a Zappos ad with that same shoe on another website, that’s retargeting. For most businesses with an average sale size measured in the thousands, retargeting is a no-brainer.

It’s also critical to have strong, proven conversion tools set up on your website so that those who already have an interest can contact you immediately and at the time of their choosing. We recommend that you add a “Free Consultation” and live chat functionality to each page in addition to the phone number and email link. (See our examples at and

You might think it overkill to have four methods of contacting you on every page, but I promise you will find that each conversion tools appeals to a different user type and that all are important.

Bottom of the Funnel

If you’re like most of my home remodeling clients, 70% to 80% of your business comes from referrals or existing customers. You can enhance and accelerate this repeat business and referral process by communicating regularly with previous clients.

Let’s be clear. What I’m not talking about is a single Constant Contact email blast that goes out to past clients without any context or specificity. That will do more harm than good.

What I am talking about is regular, customized messaging for each client based on the project type, completion date and specific interests of the recipient. To create a program like this you will need to invest three to five thousand dollars in the design and implementation of a CRM and email marketing program.

If you’ve got an email list of close to a thousand or more, the payoff for relevant consistent contact can be immediate. It’s one of the best investments in marketing dollars that exists.

Needless to say, there are no silver-bullets when it comes to marketing. If you’re looking for near-term results you’ll want ad programs that have a strong call-to-action at the top of the funnel. In the middle of the funnel retargeting and beefing up your conversion tools will help. At the bottom of the funnel, relevant, consistent messaging with past clients will increase referrals, even in the near term.[/vc_column_text]

David Shiba

David Shiba is a partner at the sales and marketing consulting firm 2.0heads in Chicago and operates under the guiding principle, "If you can't measure it, you can't improve it."

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