Wasting Your Marketing – Three Easy Ways

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Most of us make mistakes in our marketing now and then. I’ve done things with my own marketing and advertising that I would never advise a client to do. Sometimes I knew they were bad ideas before starting but, through some temporary lapse in judgment, went ahead anyway. Other times I learned the hard way what works and what doesn’t. At any rate, we don’t always think ahead to the results of each action we take. This brings me to #1 on my list of ways to waste your marketing.

1. No plan.

I sound like a broken record on this topic and, in the interest of full disclosure, I confess I haven’t always had a plan. But, if there is a good way to assure some of our marketing and advertising efforts will be wasted (along with our budget), this is it. Without any plan, we’re easily dispersed and tend to market and advertise haphazardly. We become easy targets for anyone selling space in a directory, or worse, get the idea that hiring a plane to drag an incomprehensible message over the city will make the difference.

Everyone needs a marketing plan: small companies, big companies, and every type of business in between. It doesn’t have to be a large, complicated plan. It doesn’t have to be very formal. However, there are some key things it should include:

A. Short-term Goals — What do you want to accomplish right now? Increased sales, better customer relations?

B. Long-term Goals — What do you want to accomplish over the next year, two years, five years? Staff increases, new areas of operation, improved company image? If you don’t know what you are reaching for, you will never get it.

C. Estimated Budget — A budget helps you decide what you can do that will bring the best return for the money and effort spent.

D. A Review — Include in your plan anything that worked well last year. It’s not always necessary to reinvent the wheel. If something works, keep doing it!

E. New ideas — New ideas or improvements on old ideas. Save time and money by knowing when and where you will advertise and how you will promote.

2. Not Knowing Who Your Audience Is and What They Think

Your audience is your public, your prospects, your clients and potential clients. For most businesses, that doesn’t include everyone in the general public. If you are a swimming pool cleaner, you will get the most from your advertising budget by promoting to pool owners. You can get an even better response if you know what concerns pool owners have about the cleanliness of their pools.

The best way to learn more about your prospects, who they are and what they think, is by survey. But if you can’t do a survey, you can learn more just by talking to current customers, looking back through past sales, evaluating trends, and studying what works for your competition. Promote directly to the concerns of prospects rather than just telling them what you offer.

3. Not Being Consistent

A. Message — What is your message? Based on your plan and your knowledge of your prospect (from the work you did above), you should now know what your message is. Don’t mix it up, don’t confuse your prospects. Keep telling your message. Continue to survey and learn more about your audience and change your message only when you find out that your prospects think or want something different.

B. Your Look or Identity — It doesn’t have to be award-winning design but it should be consistent. Establish your corporate image through consistent application of color and layout. Always use your company brand consistently. Do not use your logo as a headline or bury it in copy or dilute it in any way. Keep your identity a separate element that is easily distinguished and recognizable.

C. Repetition — Keep promoting. If you send out a postcard in January and business doesn’t increase immediately, do not stop. The reason you see McDonald’s ads every day is because it takes that to keep business coming in. It’s better to mail an inexpensive postcard every month than to do a large, expensive, one-time ad. The ad is gone in a day and you are forgotten the next day. Instead send some information every month: new product announcements, successes or testimonials from current clients, etc.

The Difference

There are hundreds of ways to waste your marketing and advertising. The best way to avoid mistakes is simply to put your attention on what you’re doing and what you want to accomplish. Right now, go make a plan and get to know your audience. It will make a big difference.

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Source by Cynthia Pinsonnault

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