Familiar with the Pareto Principle?

The Pareto Principle states that roughly 80% of outcomes come from 20% of inputs. In business, this natural principle often applies. In this case, 80% of business typically comes from 20% of marketing activities.

If you have been in business for a while, you’ll often see that there are one or two (occasionally three) marketing activities you perform that result in most of your business. Figure out what those activities are and focus your time, energy, and money here. It’s such a basic principle, yet I often see people spreading themselves way too thin.

How about the S2S Equation? 😄
(you know I’m all about Streamlining!)

The “Right” 1-2 Activities* + Consistent Application + Data Collection & Adjustment = Sales Success

RA: Right Activities – How to determine?

This is one of the most important questions a business owner could ask, as time is limited, and resources often are too.

Here are some key questions to consider when determining:

📊What does the data show? 📊

If you have been in business for some time, you already have the data that reveals your 20% Pareto activities. Review a list of your past clients/customers over a reasonable period of time for your business. How did the majority of them hear of and come to you initially? Are you focusing enough time and resources on this marketing activity? If not, ramp it up! It clearly works.

🌆Where does my ideal client/customer hang out – in-person and virtually?💻

With their industry association colleagues? In particular networking groups? On certain social media platforms? With their university alumni groups? At the local club?

How can you be there as well? If there are logical ways for you to provide value and make connections in the same or similar spaces, it makes sense for you to be there and for them to see you there!

📍What are your successful competitors doing?📍

So much can be learned from others in your industry who have developed thriving businesses. Not to say you copy their activities by any means but, if certain marketing activities work particularly well for someone else who is further along in the same business as you, this provides an excellent indication that it may work for you also.

🌟Where or how can you stand out?🌟

Don’t be afraid to be creative in your approach to marketing. What about you and your products/services are different? Emphasize this everywhere and you WILL stand out from the crowd.

Here is where the last point (what your competitors are doing) may go out the window. If your competitors are using one marketing strategy or platform primarily but your potential customers pay attention elsewhere, choose your customers’ location over your competitors’.

⭐️⭐️A great example of this is a partner in a local chain of dry cleaners here in Buffalo. How often do you see dry cleaners doing videos on LinkedIn? Ah – never. Yet this woman does regular videos educating people on how to care for their fabrics – getting out tough stains, folding fitted sheets, etc. – and providing a variety of inspiring video messages. Saturdays, she posts her hilarious blooper reel for the week. You better believe she and her company stand out and I am sure these videos are much of the reason why her business survived during an extended time when few people were using dry cleaners. This will also help support why the business will be thriving as we come out of the pandemic. Her business clients are on LinkedIn. Her competitors are not.⭐️⭐️

CA: Consistent Application – Don’t take your foot off the gas!

Once you determine what your one to three most effective marketing activities are, develop your marketing plan and stick with it. Be consistent in its application.

DCA: Data Collection and Adjustment – What gets measured gets done!

I use, and recommend my clients use, a weekly tracker to ensure they keep up with their marketing activities. It’s too easy to be lose focus with so much else to do in business and life.

To make it more powerful, track your weekly or monthly income as well. When income dips, you can usually go back and see that is the result of having taken your foot off the gas for a period of time. There will be a lag, but It doesn’t take long to feel the impact either way!

If you are keeping up with your marketing activities and there still is a consistent drop in income, this is the time to re-evaluate your activities and adjust.

*Examples of marketing activities to consider:

Keeping in regular contact with current and past satisfied customers/clients:

These people LOVE what you do and have been happy with what you’ve provided them. If you offer additional products and/or services, they have not yet purchased from you, they are the most likely people to buy again. So often business owners forget this strategy that is right in front of their faces.


Following from the first suggestion, these happy clients/customers are also your biggest champions. While I never suggest anyone put pressure on their clients for names to contact (I hate that practice, in fact), there are definitely effective “softer” ways to request referrals. My financial advisor clients are pros at this!

Obtaining and sharing reviews and testimonial:

I love singing others praises. Don’t you? When you’ve provided excellent service or high-quality products to your customer and you know they are happy, a request to leave a review or provide a testimonial is often welcomed. Be strategic in where the review/testimonial is placed and be sure to share these once provided.

Attending association events and/or networking groups:

If your ideal audience is there, be there too. Teach, display, advertise, network, follow-up – be involved.

Develop referral partnerships:

What business owners in other industries serve your ideal client? These are people with whom developing a referral partnership will be key.

Social media marketing:

There are so many avenues to explore here. Be sure to stay focused on platforms on which your ideal customer engages. (See dry cleaner story above)

Email marketing:

An effective email marketing plan, consistently applied, can have great results for certain industries. Don’t believe people who say email marketing is dead. I know several business owners who excel at it.

Teaching opportunities:

Retreats, workshops, classes, webinars – whatever the format, teaching people something of value showcases your expertise and gives additional credibility to your work.

The list goes on and on:

Podcasting, direct mail campaigns, advertising, book as a big business card, promotional materials, cold calling, warm list development. All of these have worked and continue to work for certain businesses. Key is to find what works for you.