There is one challenge that, above all others, can have the most dramatic impact on the success potential of your business – marketing.

Without a steady stream of new, qualified prospects coming into your business each and every week, your business will eventually dry up and be blown away by the competition or, worse, simply wither away and die without anyone ever noticing.

Fortunately, even without a formal business or marketing background, there are a few things that you can do starting today, to turn around your marketing results and finally get all the customers you deserve.

Strategic Marketing Tip #1 – Focus on Response-Oriented Marketing

Any marketing effort that does not elicit an immediate response from your prospect is wasteful to a growing business, despite the advice of many marketing and branding experts who will tell you that the “market awareness” is enough to justify the expense.

I disagree. Unless your marketing is creating a tangible and cost-effective result by generating new inquiries which eventually become paying clients, then you are throwing “good money after bad” by continuing your efforts.

It may be acceptable to consider your marketing a cost-center (you spend more per new customer than you earn in profit from the first sale) provided you also know that your Lifetime Customer Value (LCV) will make them profitable to you in the medium- to long-term.

Feature a strong call-to-action such as “clip this coupon,” “mention this ad,” or “call now, operators are standing by” and you will begin to elicit an immediate response from interested prospective customers.

Strategic Marketing Tip #2 – Track All Marketing Results

Once a response mechanism is attached to your marketing and advertisements, the next step is to put tracking systems in place so that you know where each new lead is coming from.

This empirical information will enable you to make better decisions regarding what marketing efforts to employ –allowing you to hold true to the old marketing maxim: do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.

Coupon codes, extension-specific 24-hour response lines and vanity website URLs are just a few easy ways to begin implementing tracking systems today. Of course, the easiest way is to ask each and every existing customer, at the point of purchase, where they heard about you.

Strategic Marketing Tip #3 – Improve or Eliminate Ineffective Marketing

The maxim ‘do more of what works and less of what doesn’t’ is the name of the game when it comes to dramatically improving your existing Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI).

Some tactics that are currently failing can be turned around by changing the response-mechanism, the copy or the focus of your campaign, while others may need to be scrapped entirely if they are consistently getting low results.

Remember the 80/20 principle, which states that 80 percent of your results come from 20 percent of your efforts. Seek to identify and improve or eliminate the efforts that do not contribute to the 20% you should be focusing on.

Strategic Marketing Tip #4 – Create A Monthly Marketing Plan & Budget

Do you have a set plan of attack each and every month to review your results, test and implement changes and spend a pre-determined budget specifically on efforts that will result in new prospective customers?

Many entrepreneurs forego a formal marketing plan thinking that they will know what to do each month when the time comes. This leads to opportunistic marketing that has no real value over the long term. While you will want to have a reserve marketing fund to take advantage of unexpected opportunities, you’ll also want to have a set budget and execution plan to keep you focused on your monthly, quarterly and annual marketing objectives

You should spend at least one hour each and every day implementing one or more elements of your monthly marketing plan, whether that is reviewing results and testing changes, researching new advertising venues or implementing a post-sale marketing campaign designed to encourage repeat sales.

Strategic Marketing Tip #5 – Continue Your Marketing Education

You may or may not have a business or marketing degree. Regardless, it is your job to ensure that there is a steady stream of new prospects and leads coming in to your business. This means you must stay at the leading edge of what is currently working in your industry (as well as in non-related industries) to find new and ever more effective means of growing your business.

The internet, new media and a globalized economy have revolutionized the way we interact with each other and will continue to evolve at an ever-increasing pace.

Committing a specific annual budget to continuing your own education in this area will ensure that you are always aware of new developments, can quickly implement new tools and tactics ahead of your competition and be seen as a leader in your field.

As an entrepreneur and business owner you are ultimately responsible for the success of your business, the jobs you provide to others and the customers you serve in the marketplace. It is your primary job to ensure that your company is cost-effectively and profitably reaching new customers on a consistent basis.

By implementing just one of these strategic marketing tips you will begin to see improvements in your results. Implement two or more and your results will begin to compound on each other, adding leverage to your strategic marketing efforts.

Author's Bio: 

Paul Keetch is a seasoned entrepreneur and marketing coach who has helped hundreds of small business owners grow into bigger business owners. He is co-author of the acclaimed ebook Make My Marketing Work: How to Win Customers and Make More Money. Learn more about Paul online at