How to know if your marketing works

OK…seems like a simple answer: "We'll have more customers." Not so simple.

I was on the phone yesterday with a good sized company, doing a lot of different types of marketing…

  • Direct mail
  • Events
  • Sponsorships
  • Telemarketing
  • Pay-per-click advertising
  • Email marketing
  • Print
  • Blogging
  • Social media

That's a lot (and it's expensive)…

And the smart question they posed was this:

"How do I know which of these moves the needle?"

What if a prospect sees 5 of the 9 types of marketing you're doing…which one worked?

The problem isn't knowing which one is working (although that is vital). The problem is in the approach.

This is a "fire in the direction of the enemy and hope we hit something" strategy. It's almost impossible to track with any precision.

It also points to a deep problem for the business…

A lack of clear understanding about exactly who you're marketing to and what problems you solve for them…that THEY care about.

So instead of working to gain clarity, you simple load up the advertising gun and fire away. If you have enough ammo, it works. You will hit something.

But it gets expensive…and in challenging economies it is hard to sustain.

There's a better, more effective approach that's highly targeted, trackable and accountable for results…

I teach it to my clients. You can start here >>>

Steve Gordon

The Rush Limbaugh Secret School of Marketing

rush limbaugh marketing secrets image

Ok, Ok…Rush Limbaugh…you either love him or hate him.

I don't really care either way, this isn't about politics.


See Rush is far more concerned with selling then politics. Politics simply provides the context…the bait for ATTRACTING a particular audience.

And, once the audience is corralled, Rush systematically performs daily cashectomies from audience to advertiser. For that reason, it's worth studying.

Here are the keys to Rush's machine:

1. Stand for something! Get this point and get it good. You, your business, your service, your product (dare I say your "brand")…must STAND FOR SOMETHING. What you stand for is not nearly as important as standing for something.

Stop trying to be everything to everyone and, as my friend John Kraft says be everything for the demanding [and profitable] few.

Having an opinion turns your business into a high-powered magnet, strongly ATTRACTING IDEAL CLIENTS and repelling poor prospects with equal strength.

2. Talk to your audience frequently (daily is preferred). There's a reason talk radio is a fabulous platform for sales…the hosts of these show, Rush included, build intimate relationships in the minds of their audience. You can't build a relationship deep relationship with another human being if you only speak with them 2-3 times a year.

3. Offer value for free…and offer something for money regularly (again, daily preferred). Biggest business mistake I've made in the last year, is stopping my daily email bulletins. Give value in your communications and don't be afraid to make an offer.

Honestly, if you're communicating with someone that has a problem you can solve, you're doing them a disservice by not offering your solution.

4. Have a long-term game plan. Look, I'll be shot at the next marketing consultant's union meeting, but in most cases marketing won't turn sales around overnight. But in about 99.999999% of the cases it will turn things around in 6-12 months.

Don't fall into the "I sent a direct mail piece once two years ago and it didn't work so I gave up" group. It takes some work, but not as much as you think.

5. Understand your audience. OK…this is the big one! Do all the others right and screw this one up and it's game over. Lack of clarity about who you're selling to and what big hairy problem they have is the #1 business killer in the world. Bar none.

But I have a solution…

Each month, I give away 4 or 5 "Marketing Intensive" strategy sessions geared to helping you get clear on where you want to be, where you are today, what's standing in your way…and most importantly, what NEXT STEP you should take to get closer to your goal.

Apply at:

Steve Gordon

Are You The Victim Of A Marketing Drive By?

You might be the victim of a small business marketing drive by if… The Yellow Pages sales rep stopped by your office to sell you a big ad in the book and some “Internet advertising” for $1200 a month but your website has no way to capture leads…

You might be the victim of a marketing drive by if…

The Cable TV ad guy stopped by your office and sold you a block of ads for $6782 for “Prime Time” on the DIY Cheese Making Network (if you haven’t heard…it’s the latest thing)…

You might be the victim of a marketing drive by if…

The newspaper ad rep stopped by and sold you 11 4-column inch ads to appear on Page 4 of the Lifestyle section on Tuesdays for $1400…

You might be the victim of a marketing drive by if…

You hired an out of town (or overseas) “SEO” consultant who guaranteed to get you ranked #1 in Google for just $1495 + $299 per month…

You will be the victim of a marketing drive by if…

You have no marketing strategy…you have no way to measure the results of your marketing…you’re afraid that if you don’t pay these “drive by ad men” that you won’t get any customers.

Here’s how to avoid being the victim of a marketing drive by:

1. Have a Marketing Strategy Before You Meet With Any Media Sales Person

You become a victim of a marketing drive by when you have no way to evaluate the offer that a media rep is bringing you. Sure it sounds good…it will always sound good, because they are selling you the promise of future customers…or putting it another way…the promise of future money in your pocket.

Who wouldn’t want that?

The problem is that it’s just a promise. For any marketing media to deliver on the promise two other things need to be in place:

  1. The right marketing message – You create the message and if you create a poor one your ad won’t pull. You’ll of course blame the media you used—Yellow Pages, Pay Per Click, TV, Radio, Magazine…whatever.
  2. The right market for your business – You choose your market and the media rep can reach a market. If they don’t reach your market effectively you’ll be a victim.

Your marketing strategy needs to include (in this order):

  1. Your Market – Who you are trying to sell your products or services to.
  2. Your Message – What compelling message you’ll tell to convince people in your market to give you money for what you’re selling. Including, an offer they can’t refuse, that positions you apart from your competition.
  3. The Media You Will Use To Deliver Your Message – Before you ever talk to an advertising rep you need to create what I call your “marketing map”…here’s an example:Small Business Marketing Map

Choosing media isn’t rocket science. The easiest way to do this is to copy your competitors. If you see a competitor or a non-competitor who shares your market continually advertising in a particular media there’s a good chance it’s working for them. Follow-them…but be sure your message stands apart.

You can also very effectively use your common sense and life experience…especially if you are a member of your target market. What do they read or watch…which media outlets have their attention?

Knowing this, you can create your marketing map and be ready to evaluate each ad reps offer against the strategy you’ve already set.

2. Never Run An Ad Campaign You Can’t Measure

One of my favorite questions to ask small business owners when we talk about marketing is “What’s working for you now?” and I have yet to find one who really knows…by the numbers.

Your marketing numbers are the most important numbers to track in your business. They are the only forward looking numbers that exist. Your financial accounting is a look through the rear-view mirror, but you probably know what these numbers are every day, to the penny!

Here are the basics to track:

  • Number of new leads – People who YOU have identified as potential clients and for whom you have acquired a means of contacting them—address, phone number, email address, referral introduction.
  • Number of new prospects – People who have “raised their hands” to say “I’m interested in what you do.” They may have downloaded a free report you offer or attended a seminar or called for pricing.
  • Number of referrals – How many referrals have you asked for and how many have you received.
  • Number of sales presentations – if you make sales presentations to win new clients then track how many you make.
  • Number of new clients – this is the end result you want!

After a month or two you’ll begin to see some relationships…

For example, I know that for every 30 downloads of my small business marketing e-book I get, on average, 1 person who moves to the point of sales presentation. And 3 out of every 4 sales presentations result in a new client. I also know the average amount of time it takes to move from one stage to the next in my sales process.

And by knowing these things, I can tell you with reasonable certainty how many clients I’ll add a month from now.

I also know that my main marketing job is to send people to the top of my marketing funnel…to download my free e-book. Every decision I make on choosing media now has a frame of reference—Send people to the free e-book.

Even more important than that, I have the basis for evaluating any media test…money.

If a new client is worth, for example, $1000 in net profit and the ad I’m buying costs $2800. The ad needs to deliver 3 new clients to be profitable. Working backwards, that means the ad needs to result in 120 people downloading the e-book.

Here’s the math:

How to attract Profitable Clients

How to get more sales presentationsHow to attract clients with free e-books

All I need to do is track the number of e-book downloads each ad generates, do the calculation and then know which marketing is working and which is not.

3. Don’t Buy Advertising Out of Fear!

Because you don’t have any way to quantify which marketing efforts are working and which are not, you’re not able to make any real decisions about what to cut and what to add.

You become fearful of cutting “the one” that works…and each ad rep will assure you that they’re media is the one you must be in.

Recently, I helped a client drop a $1200 a month phone book ad and Internet marketing contract. He tracked the source if all of his customers and found that over 90% were coming from referrals and his organic search marketing. A small percentage were coming from the physical phone book ad and virtually none from the phone company’s Internet marketing division.

Knowing this we confidently cut the poor performing ads and put the $1200 a month into other things. A move my client never could have made before knowing where his clients came from.

What would you do with an extra $14,400 in your business this year?

Are All Advertising Reps Bad?

Absolutely NOT! Most are ethical. But you must understand that they are under a lot of pressure to sell you advertising…

It is not their job to figure out if their media fits into your strategy or to figure out if you’re getting results. Decide before you meet with them what your criteria are for success.

The set realistic expectations and remember marketing is an experiment.

In the end it’s up to you to avoid being the victim of a marketing drive-by…resist the urge to hand over your money to every ad rep that walks into your office.

Have you ever experienced a "marketing drive-by?" Share your experience in the comments below.

Marketing Secret #7 - The Customer/Advertiser Plain English

You spent money to create a great website, run an ad in the industry magazine and you were on the radio, but how many customers did you get from those efforts?  More often than not, most business owners complain about the poor results of their advertising or marketing campaign. Why the poor results? Watch this....then continue below:

The problem with most advertising is that it is too general.  Everything from websites to magazine ads to radio advertisements are written and designed to appeal to a large crowd....not the select few who are customers.  What does your website say?  Is it truly focuced on the customer?  TEST YOUR SITE: go to your website and count the number of "we", "i" or me" variations you have on the website.

How many did you have?  If you have more than zero, you have too many!

Most of the advertising/marketing focuses on telling customers about us, but it should focus on solving the customer's problems.  People buy from us because we can solve a problem they have, not because we have been in business for 15 years for have a certain license, those are just confirming qualities.  Meaning, once the customers believe we can solve the problem, they want to verify we can do what we say (that is where the qualifications will be needed).

What does your marketing material say to your customers?