What Marketing Worked in 2023

Do you know what marketing worked for your business?

As a local business owner, it is essential for me to KNOW what IS and IS NOT working with the marketing dollars and the marketing time that I spend.

One method I use to tell if my marketing works is by looking at my sales.

Here are my 2023 analysis that will assist me in making a more informed marketing decision in 2024.

I am using the following marketing categories to track all my sales:

  • Search – when I start working with a new customer, I ask which browser they used and the keywords they typed into the search box to find my website.
  • Networking – I track the new revenue generated from each networking group to decide whether to continue my membership.
  • Referrals – these are customers that came from a direct referral.
  • Repeat Customers – these are satisfied/loyal customers who purchased from me in a prior year(s).
  • Speaking – new customers purchased directly from a speaking engagement at various groups or webinars I facilitated.
  • Social Media – these are new customer sales directly from a social media post.
  • Affiliate – these are new customer sales directly from a social media post.

What does this mean for my marketing?

2023 Source by Percent of Income
2023 Source by Percent of Income - Historical

I now compare the 2023 sales with Historical sales data from both charts above.

2023 Historical Percent Change
Repeat Customers 46.9% 29.1% 17.8%
Referrals 24.7% 23.5% 1.2%
Search 18.1% 25.5% -7.4%
Networking 3.6% 14.0% -10.4%
Speaking 4.6% 5.9% -1.3%
Social Media 1.1% 1.0% 0.1%
Affiliate Income 1.0% 1.0% 0%
100% 100%

Repeat Customers increased by 17.8%. I started implementing more requested services beyond the initial website purchase. My customers wanted more, and I have been working on providing them with more. The results are amazing.  Five years ago (and in prior years), my Repeat Customers were near zero. This tells me that these recurring services help my customers and stabilize my business. I will continue to find the best services for my customers.

Referrals are almost 25% of my sales revenue. My customers like working with me, and I enjoy my customers. This is an important number to me because I DO NOT BRIBE (aka incentivize) to get a referral. My customers refer me because I helped them and want me to help their friends. I can’t think of a better indicator of customer satisfaction, trust, and compliments than a referral.  Thank you very much for your friendship and trust.

Search is a direct reflection of my activity online. People can find my website because of search engine optimization and all the activity I do online that points back to my website. I would like to see the Search category be around 30%. Depending on your business type, your search might need to be up around 80% for your business to thrive online.

Networking has historically accounted for 14% of my income. However, last year, it was only 3.6%. I attribute that to not attending as many networking events as I have in the past. I used to attend several in-person, local networking events. I need to do more in-person networking in 2024 to increase my percentage.

Here is the thing about networking: you never know when your efforts will pay off. Forty percent of my networking income is attributed to a group that no longer meets. I participated in this group for many years but have not attended for over five years. The relationships I created all those years ago paid off in 2023. They may continue to pay off in future years as well. The remaining percentage came from various networking groups I actively participate in.

Speaking at networking groups, associations, and chambers is always part of my marketing plan. Direct sales from speaking are low because I usually do not ask for a sale. I feel it is more important to provide valuable information to raise my credibility. Speaking does influence the sales for Referrals and Networking categories because people who have seen me speak often refer or purchase at a later time. So, even though the Speaking sales are low, it boosts my credibility and sales in other categories.

This was the first year I conducted webinars. Webinars generated 85% of my speaking revenue. I will conduct more webinars in 2024.

Social media is hard to pin down.  The income in this category came from sales made from a post on a social platform. However, that is not the whole story for this category. What is NOT indicated is the research people do before they call me. Many clients have told me they looked at my social profiles, watched my YouTube videos, and read my reviews and recommendations on various platforms before calling me. Social media is not something I will drop because it is part of developing my reputation online and my search results.

Affiliate income is passive income. I will always grow this category, but my numbers indicate I need to put more effort into developing and promoting my affiliate partners.

In summary, for 2024, I will be providing more webinars and looking for other speaking opportunities.

I will nurture my repeat customers and grow my referrals. I will put significant effort into more blogging and video to grow my search engine optimization.

I am looking forward to 2024!