The Marketing Guy.
By: Craig Valine
Craig@biznetonline.com
For July 1998

DO YOU MAKE THESE 7 MARKETING MISTAKES?

Most business owners make their fair share of marketing mistakes. But the biggest mistake you can make is ignoring the fundamentals. I’ve found that there are seven things you should always be aware of when producing any marketing communication for your business. They can help avoid making these seven marketing mistakes.

YOU DON’T TEST.

A lot of people say, "I tried advertising and it didn’t work", or "I tried Direct Mail and it didn’t work!" They tried it once and never tried it again. If you send a message out to your prospects and they don’t respond, it means the way you communicated it didn’t entice them to act. The purpose of testing is to develop maximum performance and result from every marketing effort you do. You must test headlines, prices, offers, incentives, etc. You cannot possibly know what the marketplace wants unless you test.

YOU USE INSTITUTIONAL ADS INSTEAD OF DIRECT-RESPONSE ADS.

Institutional advertising in essence is "image advertising" and does not direct the prospect to any buying decision. Direct-response is "action-oriented" advertising and is designed to evoke a response, hence, a buying decision, hence, profits for your business. The big companies have millions to spend on institutional ads. But you, the small businessperson, have to be accountable for every dollar you spend. Plus, you want your prospect to act, not just read your ad. Get them to act, then you get them to buy. Get them to buy, and then you get the chance to keep them for life.

YOU FAIL TO COMMUNICATE YOUR UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION.

How the heck can you expect to succeed in business when so many others sell the same product or service you do? It’s simple: You must communicate the unique reasons why people should do business with you in everything you do. Your "USP" is that distinctive advantage you have over your competition. It’s the unique benefit one has in doing business with you versus anyone else. It can be a product or service you offer that no one else does. It can be the guarantee you offer that no one else does. It can be the hours you are open that no one else has. It the unique reasons why your customers should keep coming to you instead of anyone else. Educate your customers on why it’s to their benefit to do business with you versus your competitors. Don’t assume they know.

YOU DON’T HAVE A BACK END.

The most important profit-building concept in a business is having a back-end. You cannot possible sell once to a customer and think you’ll reach your financial goals that way. You’ll go out of business. You’ve got to sell your customer not just when they make the purchase, but after the fact - and you must keep re-selling them. If people buy a product or service, you must find complementary products and services to sell them. If another product or service will give them more advantage from what they already have, then you owe it to yourself and your customers to educate them on that. You cannot afford to make one-shot deals!

YOU DON’T FOLLOW UP WITH YOUR CURRENT CUSTOMERS OR PROSPECTS.

One of the worst sins of a small business is not capturing the names and addresses and phone number of the people who walk in your door. Having a back-end is important, but if you don’t know how to contact these people to let them know have the solutions to their problems, or that you have a new product in stock that can save them time, energy, and money, then you are losing money. You need to build not just customer satisfaction with your customers, but CUSTOMER LOYALTY. And, you must build that loyalty by offering them special incentives to keep coming back. Treat clients like dear and valued friends. Remember: It costs 3 to 5 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to sell someone who’s already bought from you!

YOU DON’T REALIZE YOU HAVE TO BOTH SELL AND "EDUCATE" YOUR CUSTOMERS.

You can’t always just cut the price when there’s an objection. If a product or service will provide benefits and advantages that no other will, then you must educate them to that fact. You must educate them on how to use the product or service it’s fullest advantage. You must educate them on your outstanding warranty and guarantee, and how they benefit from owning it. You must always educate them on why it’s to their advantage to do business with you. Otherwise, you are just offering another product or service and they don’t know the difference because no one’s told them.

YOU DON’T REDUCE THE RISK FOR THE PROSPECT TO DO BUSINESS WITH YOU.

When-ever two parties come together, one is always being asked, whether it be implicitly or explicitly, to bear more of the risk in the purchasing transaction. To the extent you can assume almost or, even more than, all the risk in the transaction. Make it so you can make a proposition so risk free that the customer has more to gain by trying than not trying your service…you’re going to lower the barrier of entry. Do this by offering "better-than-risk-free" guarantees. You’ll find that although some people will want their money back (you can’t help that!), you’ll find that many more will buy because you reduced the risk for them. Reduce the risk as much as you possibly can and see how many prospects you’ll turn into long-lasting customers.

Avoid these 7 marketing mistakes and you and your business have the
potential to work miracles!


Good luck!

The Marketing Guy!


If you would like to know more about how to market your business effectively, e-mail the "Marketing Guy" at marketingguy@biznetonline.com


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Last modified: November 08, 2002