Warning Signs Your Marketing (and Copy) Isn’t Right

“This time it will be different. You are a copywriting genius.” This is usually a warning sign that no matter how good the copy produced it will not turn into a result.

There is a lot involved in producing winning marketing – the copy is a big piece of it but it isn’t all of it.

Over time, working with clients you can get a bit of a sixth sense for when your client’s ideas about marketing and copy will lead to non-results.

There are three all too common signs that your marketing is not going to work.

1) Naivety of the Business Owner. This is the first sign that there will be marketing problems. Business Owners either are marketers or they aren’t.

You can turn yourself into a marketer over time but it takes work and commitment to education. And it is important to learn marketing – at least to the point where you can identify and retain talented people to oversee your marketing.

Otherwise you’ll just be a marketing victim.

But at any given time a business owner either is or isn’t a marketer and when they aren’t they are often deluded by business opportunity level sales pitches about how better ads will magically turn them into a millionaire – with dollar signs in their eyes they will fall for anything.

Conversely, when the business owner is intelligent gets what can and can’t be realistically done by with a marketing strategist or copywriter they are often not patient enough to keep working with them beyond that first project because it takes a couple of goes to get it right. They’ve exhausted that bright shiny object and are on to the next one.

2) Poor Market Selection. When I meet a potential client who tells me that their business is ‘anybody with a heartbeat’ or some variation of that, I despair. This ties into number 1 but it is so important it warrants its own section.

Without fail there is a sweet spot in the market that is more valuable to you and you are more valuable to them – where you can command and receive higher fees. It is worth searching for and finding these sweet spots.

I was talking to a potential client recently who was trying to market to everyone but was also secretly hoping that one or two industry segments responded because they were so valuable. I should have made him write me a check for what I said next but I asked him”

“Why don’t you just get a list of industry segments you want and customise your marketing for each of these?”

Light bulb goes on over the client’s head.

3) Over reliance of benefits and feature driven copy.Most good copywriters will tell you that selling is all about benefits but it isn’t. More accurately, it is all about the benefits being able to solve the problems your market has. For this reason the best copy actually is problem focused and story-driven about the solution to those problems.

The product’s features and benefits can almost be an afterthought. I wrote an advertorial where the product basically isn’t mentioned. It is all about the problems that the audience faces and the missed opportunities that arise from not addressing the problem – only in the final 10% of the advertorial is the specifics of the product mentioned.

Making Direct Mail Work for Small Businesses

If you own a small business, then you know the value of affordable and effective marketing. Unfortunately, many traditional and online advertising methods are becoming quite expensive. This article will explain direct mail guidelines and methods.

Direct mail is an often over-looked method that can be very effective if executed properly. There are three guidelines to follow when conducting an effective direct mail campaign:

1. Catch the reader’s attention immediately. You only have a few seconds to do this before your mail ad is thrown away as junk mail. Therefore, opt for postcard mailings instead of sending your offers in an envelope. If your business is relatively small and unheard-of, the reader will never open it unless your company’s name is familiar to the reader. Envelope advertising is cheaper than postcard advertising, but is only effective if you have already built up name recognition.

When using the postcard method, you will need to be able to print images on the card. I highly, highly recommend investing in a quality home photographic printer. You will end up saving money in the long-term, and your printer will be right where you need it whenever you need it. Whenever you have materials printed professionaly, you pay for labour, expensive inks, and expensive equipment.

When searching for images to print on your postcards, remember the the point of this first guideline: catch your reader’s attention. Of course you don’t want an offensive image for your cards, but you do want one that is slighly “controversial”. When choosing images for your cards, ask yourself these questions:

Does it stand out among the rest?

Does it contain bold colors (but isn’t an eye-sore)?

Does the image relate to my business or current offers in some way?

Does the image request user interaction? (ex. a face staring directly at the reader, someone pointing at the reader, etc.)

Does the image have enough white-space for some large text?

2. Offer the reader an incentive for responding. Unless the reader is and has been genuinely interested in your services/productsfor a period of time before receiving your postcard ad, they will never repspond unless you offer some sort of incentive. For instance, you postcard could also serve as a coupon; tell you reader to bring in that post card for a discount. Also, you could use the postcard ad as an announcment for a storewide sale. Be creative when offering incentives to your readers.

Be sure to make your incentive very visible on the postcard. Let’s say, for example, your postcard is also serving as a coupon for 20% on your products/services. Print that “20% off” in large text with the image, along with your product type, such as “20% all dog beds”. Then, on the other side of the card, usually with the recipient’s address, print the discount again with any terms that may apply.

3. Target your readers. The best way to waste advertising money is by sending your direct mail to random people, paying no attention to whether they would actually buy something from you. This is much easier when dealing with business-to-business advertising. When it comes to consumers, find out their interests is a little difficult.

Test out the waters first. A good place to try first is InfoUSA. They sell mailing lists of consumers and businesses and may provide targeted consumer lists. You may be able to create interest in someone who has never heard of your products before, but when you are starting a new direct mail campaign and you have a very small budget, keep your list targeted. You don’t want to try to sell a web site to a business that already has one, or try to sell a dog bed to someone who only keeps cats.

I hope this article has given you some ideas on making your next direct mail advertising campaign more successful.

Why You Should Take A Multi Channel Approach To Your Marketing

For your business to be successful in today’s market, you have to be different to the great mass of your competitors.

  • Different in what you offer
  • Different in how you position yourself
  • Different in your thinking
  • Different in the way you market your business

Most businesses operate within a straight jacket. They believe they need to market themselves in the same way that everyone else in their profession markets themselves. So all the plumbers advertise in the yellow pages, all the hairdressers advertise in the local paper, all the double glazing companies use direct marketing etc.

Increase the Ways You Market Your Business

If you are similar to most businesses, you probably use just one or two primary ways to market and grow your business. Perhaps it’s advertising. Perhaps it’s referrals, or direct mail. The fact is that using only one or two marketing approaches is seriously limiting the amount of business you generate.

What would happen if over the next few months you doubled that to say four primary ways of marketing? Then, over the next few months you were to double it again, so that you were using up to 8 different marketing channels?

I’ll tell you what would happen. You’ll see remarkable growth in your business. You could potentially grow by 25% or perhaps even more.

Those business owners who decide to make marketing their top priority are the ones who dramatically outperform their competitors.

Your marketing channels don’t need to be complicated or even expensive. There are lots of ways that you can get your messages in front of prospective customers simply and cheaply.

Have a look at this list of ten marketing channels. If you’re serious about growing your business, pick at least two that you’re either not doing and make a commitment to add them to your marketing mix in the coming months.

Direct Mail

Internet Marketing

Email Marketing

Advertising

Telephone Marketing

Direct Sales

Strategic Alliances

Up-selling existing customers/clients

Referral Marketing

PR

Why Should You Use A Multi Channel Approach?

There are a number of reasons:

  1. Different people like to receive their information in different ways. Some might like to get emails, others to receive letters while someone else might like to read information from a newspaper.
  2. The thing is you don’t know who likes what.
  3. If you’re only using one channel and it stops working for you, it could leave you with no route for generating new business, which could have disastrous consequences for you.
  4. The different channels should work synergistically together so each channel backs up and reinforces the others, so the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts.

So take a look at your marketing and the channels you use currently and then identify what other routes you could be using. The last piece of the jigsaw will then be to commit to action.