marketing secret

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 #6 – 3 M’s of Marketing – Your Message

Our last marketing secrets post discussed media to deliver your message. This week we will discuss your message.

What will you say to your prospects? How will you define your company, services, expertise? YOU WON’T! Do not send anything out listing your services, how long you have been in business or how great you are. Nobody cares! Yes, I know that sounds mean, but I am about to save you a TON of money.

When you’re send your marketing message to your prospects and clients, make it all about them. Yes, they are dialed into “What’s In It For Me.” Your message to the prospects and clients should be focused around how you are solving their problems.

The next most important aspect of your message is the “call to action.” Ingrain that into your brain – Call To Action. We want our prospects and clients to read our message and take an action.

The action could be to request a free consultation, free report, attend a webinar and so on. Even if they are not ready to buy today, we want to capture their information. In your business, what can you “give away” to your customers in return for getting their name, phone number and email address?

If you can’t think of anything, think about what knowledge you can share with your prospects. What can you teach them? For example, if you are in the Architecture business, you could teach your prospects about green building, what it might cost and how it would benefit them. You want to give away information that corresponds to the services you offer. The free report is not a sales pitch, but a learning tool for your prospects.

The message also has to take into account the characteristics of the market. One very important aspect to the message is using the prospects’ “vocabulary.” If you are marketing to an industry with their own terms, make sure you use the same terms in your message so your prospects know you are one of them.

All that’s left now is to draft your message and send to your prospects!

Marketing Secret # 5 – 3 M’s of Marketing: Media

Last week we discussed the importance of defining your market. This week, we will talk about using Media. What is media? Media is how you get your message out to your prospects. Media can be email, letters, postcards, fax, magazine ads, yellow pages ads, bus stop ads, etc. Many different forms of media exist, but you have to determine what is best for your target market. How do you determine what media will work best? Ideally, you will use various forms of media to get your message out. For example, you could send sales letters via regular mail, emails to current clients, have a direct response ad in the yellow pages and fax offers to your list. You will begin to identify which method works best for your target audience by testing each method against the others.

The saying goes, “don’t have all your eggs in one basket.” This saying is true for your marketing media as well. Do not rely on one type of media to get your message out, if it fails, you have no other resources to turn to. Some business did nothing but fax broadcast to market themselves, now that sending unsolicited faxes is illegal and comes with hefty fines their business is gone...overnight. The same is true for telemarketers and the do not call list, email marketers and CAN-SPAM and I'll bet you $100 that a direct mail "do not send" list will be here soon.

Media is constantly changing with old methods becoming less effective or banned and new methods like social media moving in. As a business owner and marketer, you need to keep moving, experimenting and refining the media you use. One of my marketing mentors, Bill Glazer, says 'Diversity = Stability' and he's right!

Going back to Part 1 - Understanding Your Market use the media that the market will respond to. If you are selling high-end watches, a bus stop ad is probably not going to yield the results you are looking for (if any). If most of your customers are in Generation X or Y, yellow page advertising will probably not work. Most of them do not even own a phone book. Now, if you advertise in the online version of the yellow pages (yes it is different) you are hitting your target market.

In the third and final part of the 3 M's of Marketing series we'll focus on your Message.

Marketing Secret # 4 – 3 M’s of Marketing

Market, Media and Message are three keys to making your marketing efforts more successful. In this week’s Marketing Secret, we are going to talk about Market. The market you are selling your services to is the most important piece of the puzzle. You have to know your market inside and out, understand what the market is looking for and how you can deliver to the market.

You also have to define your market. The worst thing you can do is say, “we provide widgets for everyone/anyone.” If your provide something to everyone, you sell to no one. So, get specific about who you are selling to. For example, if you are an architecture firm, you could specialize in schools. Now, that does not necessarily mean you only sell to the county school boards. You could sell to church schools, military schools, universities/higher education, pre-schools and so on.

When you start to define the characteristics of your customers, you start to create an ideal client mold. Knowing what your ideal client looks like will save you THOUSANDS of dollars in wasted marketing money, not to mention save you time.

A good example of a target market description is: land developers who have less than 20 employees, work in Texas, have annual revenues over $2 million dollars and specialize in commercial buildings. If you cannot get your description of who you want to sell to down to specific characteristics, you will be hard pressed to find what you are looking for.

Stay tuned! In next week’s Marketing Secret, we will discuss Media – how to reach your prospects.

Marketing Secret # 3 – The One Marketing Tool You Must Have

If you could do just one thing to market your business what would it be? My choice is simple…a monthly newsletter. Why? Marketing Guru Dan Kennedy believes (and I agree) that you lose 10% of your influence with a customer or prospect each month you don’t communicate with them. If you go for a year without any communication, you’ve lost all influence. It’s like starting the relationship all over again. The easiest way to keep your influence is to use a monthly newsletter. Most businesses don’t send a newsletter for one of two reasons:

  1. The business owner wants to but never gets around to it.
  2. The business owner is intimidated by the pressure of writing something good EVERY MONTH.

Neither reason is sufficient. Owner #1 claims he’s too busy, but the truth is a monthly newsletter allows him to leverage his time by writing a single message and sending it out to all of his clients. He could never personally deliver that message by phone or face-to-face…but in the newsletter it’s possible.

Owner #2 doesn’t feel comfortable writing. Tack on the pressure she feels to produce great content each month and it becomes overwhelming and doesn’t get done.

Really there should be no pressure. There’s content all around you. Everytime you read the newspaper, a magazine or a book, you discover content for your newsletter. Comment on an article, an event or a recent trend. It doesn’t need to be long. One page (about 500 words) is plenty to get started. I clip articles and put them in a file. Then review the file when I sit down to write our newsletter. It couldn’t be easier.

To trim the cost, consider using an email newsletter. Services such as, or allow you to upload a list of clients, create a message and send it within minutes of signing up.

There are also services such as Jim Palmer’s Success Advantage that will provide you with content or even take care of the entire newsletter production. You just give them the mailing list. So really there’s no excuse for not having one. It’s the simplest and cheapest way to stay in front of your clients and prospects.

Marketing Secret #2 - How to Know Your Customers Like an FBI Profiler

In our last marketing secret post we talked about the need to divide up your universe of potential clients into smaller sub-markets. Once you do that the next questions should be: “Who are these people and what are they like?”

You want to create a picture of the typical customer in each sub-market.

- How old are they? - Do they have kids? - What types of hobbies do they enjoy? - What pressures do they face in their job? - What type of personality do they have? - How do they make decisions?

The list could continue on, but you get the idea. You want to create a narrative that paints a picture of your prospective clients. I even go so far as to name my “prototype” clients.

Then when I’m creating a sales letter, or writing website copy I can write it to “Bob” instead of some generic category of client. The marketing copy is written in a conversational tone, like a personal letter to “Bob” and therefore connects with our target clients better than the bland corporate speak used in most marketing.

Spend some time and get to know your prospects…and create a “prototype” description for each sub-market you’re after.

Stay tuned for next week’s installment of Black Belt Marketing Secrets! Tell me how you get to know your customers...leave a comment below.