When I’ve had the opportunity to help clients with their marketing, there are three things I usually find when we meet for the first time. I am going to let you in on these three things. If any of them rings true with you and you make the changes I am suggesting, you can make a significant impact on your business this year. If you need help with this, know that you are not alone and there is plenty of help out there, including us! (shameless self plug goes here)
In fairness, the reason two of these things happen is really not the business owners fault. They think they are doing the right thing. All any business wants is more customers, patients, or clients. Most likely, you are very good at what it is you do. You have spent years honing and perfecting your craft, whether you are a salesperson, a dentist, a karate instructor, an attorney, a real estate agent, etc. You are immersed in what is your business.
So when a sales rep comes around with the advertising idea of the day, be it the phone directory, coupon mailings, coupon pages, the city publication, or the town calendar and promises an ever flowing stream of customers, it’s real easy to buy in. More new customers? You can check that off your list. Now you can get back to work in your business. More new customers are just around the corner. Or are they?
Here are two of the three things I usually find in most businesses that need fixed—
1. Money on advertising is spent more on brand building and less on direct response. The reps selling you that ad space (in most cases, there are a few who get this) do not have a clue how to create a direct response ad. They do know all about the demo they reach and can give you all the reasons why you’d be a fool not to advertise with them. At the end of the day though, they make a commission on ad space sold, not whether or not your ad produces. If you put your logo, a couple bullets of copy, and your contact info in the ad, you are good to go and they can move on to the next prospect.
2. Most businesses have no idea how much business any given advertising vehicle has actually brought in for them. Without a call to action or captivating reason for your prospects to respond (direct response), there is no good way to track this type of advertising. What usually happens then is the business continues to advertise (the rep said you need to advertise repetitively to get response) with the same brand building ad in the same publication because they believe they are reaching all the right people. They may even get some response. But it is not nearly what they could get with the right kind of ad.
It’s important to know how much business any advertising vehicle you use brings in. When you have this information you can make smart decisions on where to spend your money. If you are not getting a return on investment in one media, you can move on to the next.
Next week, we will talk about the third thing most business do and this is probably the one that could impact your business the quickest and give you the best returns for your investment.