Online Exclusive

The Blame Game - Part Two

This week, we continue last week's topic, presenting the final four culprits wrongly blamed when marketing plans fail.

What You Think Went Wrong: We Just Wasted $25,000 On A Campaign That Didn’t Work:

The Truth: You Never Tested Your Ads First
I once knew a man who, after 25 years in the retail jewelry business, retired and decided to launch a company that sold lower-end jewelry and collectibles on a nationwide basis using newspaper advertisements as his marketing medium.  He would place advertisements in newspapers which looked exactly like the Franklin Mint’s. The only thing different would be his company’s name and address at the bottom of the ad.

He sharpened his pencil and figured that if his ads could pull a mere 6 responses out of every 10,000 placed, net profits would  triple the ad cost.  Only three responses out of 10,000 and he would break even. If Franklincould do it, why couldn’t he? On the strength of pro-formas and his reputation in the community, he raised over $200,000 from local investors to launch the first product, a gemstone ring. The initial ad cost over $60,000 for complete coverage in the Los Angeles Times’ Parade Magazine. Since the paper was delivered to several million homes, he figured to be extremely rich very soon.

To make a sad story short, the product bombed. He tried a different product the second time, and still another the next time. Finally, after all of his capital was depleted, he was forced to quit. His investors were not happy. How could this have happened? All he needed was a measly 6 responses out of 10,000.

Instead of blowing the whole budget on a couple of unproven ideas, he should have taken the time to run some tests in similar magazines with smaller circulations. These relatively inexpensive tests would have told him which ad concepts worked, which prices pulled the most orders, what kinds of terms his customers found most convenient, or anything else he needed to know before rolling out a huge, expensive campaign. Moral to this story: It’s better to find out what works and what doesn’t when there isn’t $25,000 at stake. Testing will ensure you never make a major marketing mistake again--ever.

What You Think Went Wrong: (New Marketing Idea) Is Too Hard To Execute (or Won’t Work):

The Truth: You’re Too Lazy
Immutable law in life: everyone, including you, will always try to take the path of least resistance. Okay, maybe not EVERY single time, but darn near it. And that’s a shame in marketing because a lot of the things that will probably work the best for you are a little bit off the beaten path. Which is good because that means your competitors probably won’t be trying these things.

One of my former clients sold sunrooms, and his most successful marketing activity was holding “sunroom tours” where he’d gather 100 prospects, divide them into groups of 4 or 5, and then have employees guide them on a tour of several of his customers’ homes for snacks, drinks, and a chance to see his handywork. The tours took a tremendous amount of preparation—cleaning the sunrooms, arranging the food & beverages, organizing a starting place, using marketing to find the 100 people, etc. But it always worked to bring in 25 to 40 appointments and a high closing ratio. Guess how many other sunroom companies I worked with (and there were a lot) were willing to put that kind of effort into a tour? Yea, zero. It’s too hard, and it won’t work they told me.

Then there’s the owner  of a closet organizing company I work with in California. They’ve done a lot of the “easy” stuff for the last few years—money mailers, val packs, etc. and was looking for ideas of how to expand his lead base. But the owner of the company is young and energetic…and a hustler with a can-do attitude. In just the few two months he’s executed on, or is in the process of executing the following HARD (but effective! things):  A video of his entire process start to finish, a joint venture with his local dry cleaner, a mailing program to an area called Sun City, a plan to take before and after photos of every job (and post on his website), and a door knocking program to compliment his new move in mailing program. This is all very aggressive, and I’m sure that some of it isn’t going to be a home run. But you know what? Half the time just getting the HECK OUT THERE and doing stuff is 98% of the battle.  No doubt in my mind that this company is well on the road to success.

What You Think Went Wrong: My Website Isn’t Generating Any Business For Me

The Truth: Your Website Has Boring, Worthless Content
I’ll tell you one reason I’m loving this whole “Social Media” revolution that’s happening right now. Because its highlighting the fact that to truly connect with prospects and customers, you’ve got to have REAL, WORTHWHILE content that’s important and relevant to your target. If you don’t believe me, try sending out 5 tweets in a row telling people about your next sale and see how many people quit following you. Up until now, 90% of companies have assumed that their website existed to “tell people about the junk we sell,” when in reality, the entire time, the website has existed to help prospects become convinced that they can trust you, that you understand their needs, and that you’re interested in a lot more than just getting your grubby little hands on their cash.

The symptoms of this miscalculation in thinking is a generation of sucky websites that simply list stuff that you have and/or do. With the expectation that after people read said have/do lists they will give you their money. Very transactional. Not very relational. Think about your company and your website, and see if your PASSION comes through. Cause if it doesn’t, you’re dead meat. Sorry.

What You Think Went Wrong: My Website Isn’t Generating Any Business For Me (part 2)

The Truth: Nobody Even Knows The Dumb Thing Exists
Okay so your website has passion and relevance and makes John Smith believe that he can trust you with his family, his money, and his secrets. Wonderful. Is anyone looking at this great website? If not, what a shame.

If you aren’t implementing an SEO campaign, now is the time to repent. Let the world beat a path to your door (ahem, website) with Google leading the charge. You should be writing articles or blog entries at least once or twice a week (see previous section about good content)—Google eats blogs and articles like I eat Good N’ Plenty—like it’s going out of style. If you need some work on your SEO, don’t hesitate to give us a call. And if that sounded like a sales pitch, it’s only because I love you. Really. Repent!