When I started to write this article on the biggest mistake almost every marketer makes I was going to focus on THE BIGGEST single mistake, but there are several. And, an even bigger aha moment is that most companies that “call themselves” professional marketing companies make the mistakes as bad, if not worse, than the non-professionals trying to build their own business.`
Mistake #1 – Assuming that Marketing Results are Vague, Black Magic, and Not Predictable Marketing tip –Marketing done correctly will provide consistent, predictable results
As a guideline, the national average for direct mail marketing is 0.5% to 1.0%, meaning that if you send out 1,000 letters, postcards, flyers, etc. And IF you are even average, then you should have between 5 and 10 people contacting you.
Although that is considered average, doing some simple things can take that number up to 10%-30%, or even higher.
Mistake #2 – Trying Marketing One Time and Giving Up….Because That Didn’t Work. Marketing Tip –Marketing Results, or Leads are one of the critical results of a business that are ABSOLUTELY necessary.
In other words you can’t survive without delivering the number of leads needed to survive, nor will you ever super succeed without delivering the exact number of leads needed for that level either. Therefore, when someone tells me that they
- Tried marketing once
- Tried direct mail once
- Tried a newspaper ad once
- Or any other approach in marketing
and walked away because it didn’t work (that’s their opinion, not a reality) then I’m looking at a company that will fail soon, or at least not far down the road. Some move on to things that cost less in dollars and cents, but cost more in time, and the results delivered is almost nil. Delivering consistent marketing results, and in the right amount is not a choice. Do it or close your doors! Marketing Tip — Marketing results, or leads, are dependent on two things
- How many people see our marketing materials
- The percentage of those that see our materials who actually are COMPELLED to give us a call, signup, or touch base with us in some way.
It looks like this: If I need 10 people to call me this week, and if I know that for every person who sees my marketing 1% will call me then I only have to touch 1,000 people with my marketing. Now does that sound hard? Of course it isn’t…if you are reaching out to over 1,000 people every week. (# exposed to marketing materials) X (response rate) = # leads .
The problem is that in the hundreds of seminars I’ve done, most people miss that point totally. They report that they sent out 100 letters and only got 1 reply, so, in their opinion, it didn’t work because they didn’t get the 10 they needed. They missed the whole concept.
Mistake #3 – Not knowing your response rate Marketing Tip – Always know your marketing response rate, or be finding it.
So, when you send out marketing and have no clue of what your response rate is, then how in the world do you know how much to send?
Well, I’d send out enough to hit the 0.5% as a test market, and then measure the actual results coming back to be used in the next mailer.
Mistake #4 – Not knowing when your marketing isn’t working?
Mistake #4A – Not sending out marketing because it is perceived that it “costs too much.”
Mistake #4B – Not knowing what it requires to acquire a customer? These are sort of one in the same mistakes –
- Not knowing when your marketing isn’t working, and
- How to measure when it does work.
- And the answer to both is “what does it cost to acquire a client.”
How would you define “not working?” There is only one time when your marketing could be defined as “not working” and that is when it costs too much to acquire a customer. Notice, I didn’t say what marketing cost. I said what it costs to acquire a customer. Most decisions to not send marketing this month are based on “fear of spending money” when the decision should be made on “for every dollar spent on marketing it will generate X times more dollars” and then we MUST know what X is. If X is larger than an acceptable figure we move forward no matter what the cost because it will always generate more money than we put in. Let’s look at it this way, if you could generate 15% every year in the stock market would you do it? Of course….most would anyway. I wouldn’t because I believe that for every dollar put into my business I see 10-100 times come out and so I’m always looking for where to invest my money for the greatest return. And if you start managing your business that way instead of where to “avoid spending” you’ll find the answer and see similar results. So what does it cost you to acquire a client?
That usually is a result of not knowing what it costs to acquire a lead or acquire a customer, or what the response rate is for your marketing.
Let’s say that a mailer costs you $0.35 (for a postcard, printed and mailed, using http://www.usps.com/ ). If you send 1,000 pieces, that is $350, and if you get 1%, or 10 calls, that lead cost you only $35.00 each….right? Not bad if you ask me.
Now that is a lead, not a sale. So, let’s say that you close 40-50% of your sales, which I also consider a reasonable figure. That means that it costs you $70.00 to acquire a customer. If that is a reasonable figure for you, then your statement of “I can’t afford to send marketing this month” is nothing but a ‘business killer.” It really should be changed to “how many customers do I want to buy this month” and then adjust the number of letters going out to deliver that result.
If your sale is small enough that $70 will not work, then we’ve got to work on that we can. The point is you can’t afford to not make this work. We just have to find the results that will work for you.
Marketing tip – Have a clear cost to acquire a customer, and knowing what is acceptable.
Mistake #5 – Marketing that talks about you, your product, your features. Most companies look at marketing as a black hole, or black magic that they have no control over. That is only their perception….in which case they’ve made it reality….at least for them.
You are going to get a golden niblet here. This is a huge mistake that businesses make, and this is the one that relegates them to the “less than nothing” response rates in their marketing. Learn that this isn’t about you, it isn’t about your product, it isn’t about the features of your product, or even what you do….it is only about one thing….”what your prospect wants and needs, or a solution to his greatest problem.”
I know….I know…I hear the grumbling now….You say your product does all of that. The customer doesn’t know that, so don’t open your marketing with anything about you, your product, your features, or what you do. The first thing at the very top of your marketing should
Get Your Prospect’s Attention by making a value statement about what kind of results the prospect could get, or will get, or you will guarantee that he will get, or that a previous customer has gotten. Make it in dollars and cents.
Your response rate will jump up to over 5% to 10%. If you’ve been getting 0.5% to 1.0% (the national average) then this is a 10 to 20 times increase in the number of people walking through your door for a relatively simple change. If you’ve not even been hitting the 0.5% area, then it is how much bigger than where you are now….pretty darned big. I’ve seen customers increase their business results by over 10 times in a week by getting this right.
Marketing Tip-Marketing is ALWAYS about the customer, his wants and needs, and his pain or solution. Not about you, your product, features, or what you do.
Mistake #6 – Hiring a Professional Marketing Company That Won’t or Can’t Define Their Measurable Results When you hire anyone for anything, always ask for measurable results as a guideline. If you noticed in mistake #5 above, I suggested that you state your value in dollars and cents to the customer. After all, he will ultimately make a decision on hiring you or someone else based on the value you bring to the table. When you allow the customer to figure out what you are worth it isn’t likely to be anything near what you are actually worth. So, why shouldn’t you expect your marketing provider to provide you the measurements you need to make your decision?
Also, when a vendor is aware that that is what they are responsible for delivering they will also start managing it for better and better results. It just seems to happen that way.
So, IF you decide to hire out your marketing then ask one key question:
What measurable results do you, as my professional marketing company, typically deliver?
It should be a response rate, in other words a statement like “approximately 1% to 5% of the marketing sent out should call you” or what other action you want. And keep in mind that 1% is considered average and for a really good marketing company it should be a LOT higher.
Now, here comes the surprise, and something that will save you a LOT of money.
If they won’t give you a number…and MOST won’t…..what do you think that means?
- They don’t know – which means that that wasn’t on their radar screen, that isn’t something they are managing, and that WAS the reason you wanted to hire them…right? People manage what is important to them. They are managing their sales numbers, not the results they provide for you….get the idea?
- They don’t want you to know what their results are -no further comments needed here?
Most will sidestep the question by stating things like:
- Everyone is different…therefore, I can’t answer that.
- You are different….so we’ll have to find what works for you.
All are avoiding the real question….”What has been typical for their clients before?” You are buying results, so don’t get sucked into “beautiful graphics” or “fantastic copy” or “our clients are …..and …..”. when in reality, the only thing that counts are the results they have provided, the number of clients, response rates, dollars paid for dollars generated by their marketing. Do NOT allow them to take you away from measurable RESULTS…anything else is just activity that may or may not be delivering any results. They state results or walk. Marketing Tip – When you hire marketing companies they WILL state measurable results that can be backed up by talking to their customers or you WALK.