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I can’t tell you how many businesses I’ve seen fall prey to these marketing parasites. Every year, like clockwork, they make the rounds trying to get you to buy expensive radio advertising or costly phone book ads. They say that you need all the bells and whistles to really get your message out and you end up paying them too much for too little. Maybe this has happened to you before, maybe it hasn’t. Either way if you’re an entrepreneur or in small-business you need to protect yourself from these money pits.
Most businesses don’t realize that to be successful all they really need is to have a marketing plan. They need to know what to do, when to do it, and most importantly why they should do it. Without a solid marketing plan they waste thousands of dollars on unproductive ads, costly phone book covers, or easily identifiable junk mail. All of this because some sales representative happened to stop by with a “deal”.
Let me ask you a question: If that rep was so good at marketing, how come he’s still going door to door cold-prospecting for someone else – instead of using his “expertise” to market his own successful business!?
Well let me tell you what their “deal” is… These reps thrive on selling pretty ads that will “build” your companies brand. Heck, if you are lucky you may win awards for how cute or ground-breaking they are. But, unless it comes with a cash prize, how does any award help your bottom line? Make no mistake: these guys don’t have a clue how to get a customer… that’s not their job.
For example, take those super bowl ads that they run year after year. Consider the millions that are spent by dozens of companies every year for a 30 second spot. Sure they are fun and entertaining, always good for a laugh… but when was the last time you jumped up and ran to the store to buy one of their products – right then? We all know that never happens. You want marketing that gets your customer to jump up right now and buy your product – before it’s too late! You want the type of marketing that gets direct results. Think about the last Super Bowl… do you ever remember what products they were advertising?
The problem is that those ‘ad guys’ get paid based on the amount of money they can get you to spend on their advertising. The more you spend the more he makes. Does that make sense?
You see they don’t get paid based on how much new business you get, they get paid based on how much money they get you to spend. That’s the complete opposite of how marketing should work! Their job isn’t to make you money, it’s to make them money. They aren’t after your best interests, they are protecting their own.
Sound familiar? If you think about it, that’s why those ad reps are always telling you to run the same ad time after time after time. If you ask them, they’ll be quick to tell you that prospects need to see the same ad again and again before they will respond. And like many myths there is to a grain of truth in this. I hate to break it to you, but if your ads are losing money the first time… the second time… the third time… you need to stop running them!
Running the ads over and over will build the name recognition for you, but you can’t eat recognition… you can’t deposit it in the bank… you need responses now! If you want to really succeed with your marketing you need to use only proven cost effective marketing that provides an accurate return on investment.
The next time one of those ad reps tries to sell you expensive and ineffective marketing you ask them these three easy questions:
What is my return on my investment and how can you track it?
All too often companies will sell you advertising without bothering to track you return on investment. Don’t let this happen! This is the only way you can know whether or not to continue running a given ad.
Does this ad clearly convey benefits that set me apart from your competition?
The best copy (words in your ad) is benefit driven and gives your customers a clear reason to do business with you versus your competitors. The last thing you want to do is pay for an ad that looks just like everybody else. People buy because you can help them avoid a pain or loss.
Is there a clear call to action in your advertising?
At the end, preferably more than once, there should be a clear call to action that asks your prospect to call, write, order, fax, or perform some other profitable action. Typically, most marketing will stop short of asking you to do something and will end on vague image-building statements.
Now, all that is left for you is to stick to these three questions next time an ad rep comes your way. Stop being an advertising victim. Don’t spend a dime on any marketing unless they can answer “Yes” to all three of these questions. Keep that in mind and you will see your marketing become more successful than you ever thought possible.
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write by Phoebe