There's a very good reason that I don't talk about marketing as much as sales. And that's because I saw it get abused for YEARS as a replacement for sales. So before I go any further, I need to clarify that marketing is not now, even with all these tips, and NEVER will be a replacement for a solid sales plan & team.
Cool. Let's talk marketing!
Common Marketing Mistakes
Since the mistakes are what usually cause people to go BUST with their marketing, it makes sense to start there! Trust me, more marketing blogs will be forthcoming now that I've seen my error!
Quick note! This article is written to the point of view of the business owner, but if the marketing sales reps out there would approach trying to get their sales from trying to solve these major mistakes for their clients, they would find more sales that will last longer. I know because that's how I lived for three years as a sales & retention rep!
The mistake I see the most is: Not having a plan!
Ugh! This drives me crazy.
Because people just start marketing because they've been TOLD to market. I heard of one trainer who told her audience that business owners should spend 80% of their time on their marketing.
No way! If you're spending that much time on your marketing, you better be the Chief Marketing Officer for a major company.
Most of us are lucky to get to spend 2-4 hours a week on our marketing, and that's usually spent interviewing sales reps with the "golden bullet" or checking in and lamenting over marketing reports that aren't as good as they are supposed to be.
The number #1 mistake in marketing? Not having a plan!
I find this stems from most people not knowing how to BUILD a marketing plan....but if business owners & marketers alike would just sit down and figure out what the message is they want to get across, what the story they are trying to tell is, and what platforms are best for getting it across to your specific target market, that is good enough to save you from a lot of headache!
Marketers and business owners alike end up, for lack of having a plan, trying out marketing strategies because it sounds good when the sales rep offers it, or because "My friend got great response." This is the second most common mistake I see business owners and marketers make!
There are SO many variables that could have played into your friend's success. Different industry? Different geographic region? Different marketing message? Different marketing style?
There are SO many variables that could have caused that success....don't take one piece of the plant & wonder why you can't grow your own tree!
Next time you see or hear of a great marketing program, stop and look at your current marketing strategy, ask yourself from an objective standpoint (and without the sales rep trying to sell it to you looking over your shoulder) if this new program actually does get you in front of your target market, does fulfill your marketing goals, and if the price fits into your current cash budget.
This one is so common, and almost sounds like it makes sense, but when you break it down, it rarely does.
Mistake #3 is pouring on the marketing in response to a dip in sales.
This one gets really scary. I've seen people who end up pouring their profits down the drain trying out all kinds of different marketing to turn a sales slump around instead looking at what is the root cause of the slump. The problem they run into is that then, those business owners rarely have the capital to withstand economic slumps or to fix the problems that are causing that slump by the time they figure it out!
Personally, I think this is because of the sales reps and marketing companies out there who rely on these business owners continuing to use their programs even in a recession and have pushed hard to make the business owners believe that too. And while I completely agree that you need to work harder during a recession, I don't believe you should automatically just SPEND more. But I digress!
Honestly, this one scares me the most when I see it happening!
Why doesn't this work? Because it's a bandaid! Sales slumps are usually caused by something or someone else. Most business owners see the revenue chart trending down & automatically throw more money into marketing without checking to see why.
When you think about what all I've seen over the past few years...that gets scary indeed!
I've seen employees sabotaging and driving away (or straight up stealing!) clients from their boss, I've seen market-place shifts so a product or service is no longer relevant, I've seen products & services that actually aren't all that great in practice even if they sound great in theory, and I've seen products or services that work well at first but not long-term and the client isn't motivated to stick around.
And these are just SOME of the reasons you might be experiencing a dip in sales.
As you can see, there's a lot of reasons that just throwing more money at marketing isn't going to fix a sales slump issue!
BONUS: Mistake #4
The last one that I thought I'd throw in as a bonus is kind of two pronged.
Either the business owner attempts to actually CLOSE the sale with their marketing and drive people to a landing page where they are supposed to purchase something right away, or the team at the office expects that when a call comes in, they won't have to worry about actually trying to close the sale because the person will be pre-sold.
That's absolutely NOT true!
First of all, instead of using marketing dollars to close a deal, what about putting them into a funnel where they make progressively larger purchases?
Use your marketing to generate LEADS and close the sale person-to-person!
Second, when they call the office, it's still your job to actually close the sale. I know they are "just calling for pricing" according to them, but that's rarely the case! They are calling because they know that they have a problem and your marketing seems to indicate that you can solve the problem for them. They need you to share enough information so they are comfortable letting you solve their problem. Ask them questions to find out what they are looking for, and share enough information with them that they want to move forward with you.
I promise there will be more marketing blogs coming soon! I know everyone is eager to hear more about what I've learned running 350+ marketing campaigns in 3 years, so I'll be working to put more and more of it into words as I can!