The good news is, you want to attract more clients/customers! You want to encourage your current customers to buy from you more frequently? And you want to encourage them to buy more expensive packages of your services and/or products.
The bad news is, if you’re like most owners and entrepreneurs, your marketing efforts aren’t yielding the kinds of results you want. You’d like to see double-digit increases, but you’re not. So, what’s going on? Well, there are six very clear and common marketing mistakes that almost every small business makes when they’re engaged in some kind of marketing campaign.
So, what are the six mistakes? Well, here are the six I see happening over and over again. Note: At the end I’ll give you a tool to help you avoid making all six of them.
1. They lack a clear purpose
Whenever I ask a business owner, “What’s the objective of this marketing tactic or campaign?” I usually get an answer with either a lot of hemming and hawing (I’m not really sure) or a long list of objectives (I want it to build our brand, attract more customers, attract more repeat customers, generate leads and solve the world’s energy crisis :-).
But a marketing tactic (like a direct mail piece or an opt in page or a radio spot) can’t do all of those things in one fell swoop. Now, it is possible to have multiple purposes (for example, a website for your business or organization), but there ought to be one clear dominant one objective (for example, to generate leads over branding, education or credibility).
So, before you ever launch a marketing campaign, make sure you’re absolutely clear on what your mission is or else you’ll be guilty of mistake number one.
2. They aren’t focused on a clear target market
In other words, way too many marketing tactics are “focused” on the everyone market. “If you’re alive (i.e. breathing) and have enough money to buy this product, then you’re in our target market,” is a rather common marketing mistake.
Even within “niches” this can be a problem. “If you’re a realtor” (or an attorney or a physician etc.) is still too general. Whereas, “If you’re an emergency room physician in a small rural hospital and you’re dealing with X problem …” then you have a clear target market.
Regardless of how communication occurs, the “Who” is always more important than the “What.” So, if you’re not crystal clear on who your target market is, then you’ll want to start here and clearly define them. In fact, I highly recommend that you create a target market profile (you can get a Target Market template by click here).
The more you’re clear on your target market’s wants, needs, hurts, pains, desires, longings, etc. the better your marketing will be.
3. They don’t have a clear and compelling message focused on the desires of their target market
The first problem is that most businesses use marketing tactics that focus on them as the company (Here’s who we are, what we do and why you ought to buy from us). And the big problem with that approach is that potential customers don’t care about you.
The second problem is that, post Genesis 2, everyone is motivated by self-interest. All they care about is themselves, not you. Realizing that, you should always focus all of your attention on your target market and their needs, wants, desires, etc. Or to put it another way, when you craft an offer, it needs to be an offer that they want. Just because you offer something that you believe they need, doesn’t mean they’ll buy it.
So, whenever you’re crafting an offer make sure you ask questions like, “Does my offer hit on an urgent desire of my target market?” “Is my offer clear?” “Is it compelling?” If you get a “No!” to any of those questions, it’s time to head back to the drawing board.
4. They haven’t selected the right media to accomplish their mission
What amazes me over and over again, is how frequently someone will choose a tactic (I need a Facebook Fan Page or I need to send out a newsletter or I need to start a podcast on iTunes) without asking and answering the more important questions (like ‘What’s my mission?” “Who’s my market?” And, “What’s the right message to send to my market to achieve my mission?”).
Owners and entrepreneurs love to jump to the media question, which is why one my frequent questions to them is, “So, what’s your objective/mission?” Why? Because the first three Ms (Mission, Market, and Message) have to be considered before selecting the right media (the fourth M—note: the order does matter).
Why? Because different people connect with different media. For example, if you’re trying to reach people in the C suite, Facebook probably isn’t your best strategy. If you’re trying to generate leads, an opt in page may be better than a brochure web site. If you’re going after high net worth individuals, Groupon (or the old school Val-Pak) probably isn’t your best option.
In other words, the choice of which media you should use, should always be made in light of the first three Ms, NOT BEFORE you’ve asked them.
5. They engage in one-step marketing vs. using a multi-step approach
No one gets married on the first date—but that’s how way too many businesses operate. They send out one direct mail piece. They send out one email. They record one radio spot. They make one Facebook post. They follow-up with a referral prospect one time. Etc. But that’s not how most people buy.
Most people need time to make a decision. So the smart marketer always designs their marketing approach around campaigns (not one-offs). They don’t think of one (or even two) touches. They think of 7, 15, 21, or 52 touches. They invest a lot of time and energy into coming up with creative ways to communicate and educate their prospects so that when the time comes and the prospect is ready to buy, they’ll think of the persons who’s been in contact with them—and educating them—all along.
So, if you want to be a better marketer, never engage in one-off marketing. Make sure you create campaigns with multiple touches that will woo your prospects over time. Note: I call this M the Moment (when and how often should you communicate your message to your market).
6. They don’t allocate enough money to really succeed
Part of the reason why this problem exists is because most owners and entrepreneurs don’t know their numbers (Note: If you’re not sure what numbers to keep, you can get a FREE six-part video course (one part of which covers this question) by going to www.facebook.com/WiredToGrow).
When an owner doesn’t know their numbers, it’s hard to make good marketing decisions. For example, if you don’t know how much a customer is worth, how can you decide how much you should spend to attract one? If the average customer spends $1,000/year with you and they remain a customer for five years, they’re worth $5,000 to you (from an economic standpoint).
Now, if the average customer is worth $5,000 to you, and let’s say your profit rate is 40%, that means that the each customer (on average) contributes $2,000 of profit directly to your bottom line. If that’s true, how much would you be willing to spend to attract that kind of customer? Even better, if your average customer gives you five referrals that actually lead to five more customers, that means that their profitability to you is $12,000. Once you realize that, how much more would you be willing to spend to attract a new customer like that?
In other words, if you don’t know what your numbers are, you can’t make wise decisions about your marketing. However once you do know, you can. And my guess is that once you get clear on your numbers, you’ll begin to realize that you can spend more than you currently are so you can accelerate the rate of growth of your business (or organization)
So, there you have it. You now know six reasons why most marketing efforts fail. How did you do? Which mistakes do you tend to make? If you’d like to avoid them, may I encourage you to download a pdf I created called The Six M Marketing Tactic Guide. If you’ll diligently use this sheet, you’ll avoid all six of these mistakes. And how much could that be worth to you? My guess, a bundle. So make sure you download and start using it right now!
To your accelerated success!
P.S. In addition, make sure you get your FREE six-part video series on the Ten Most Common Marketing Mistakes Most Small Business Owners Make by going to www.facebook.com/WiredToGrow