Archive for June, 2015

Why Marketing Fails #3: No Follow-Up

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There are some people in the world who love the challenge of “cold calling” — that is to say, they enjoy calling people who they have never met, have never had any contact via email or phone, and asking them whether they need your product or service.

But what about those people who DO contact you and ask about your products and services? Do you follow-up with those “warm” phone calls and emails?

Most people will make at least one follow-up phone call or email to a prospective customer. But if they don’t get a response back, they often drop the whole thing. No one wants to feel like they’re being a pest.

But you have to remember two important things:

1. The prospect called YOU.

2. There are many reasons why a prospect might not call you back.

Let’s look at both reasons. In the first place, the prospect contacted you. They ARE interested or they wouldn’t have gone to the effort of leaving a voicemail or sending an email. People who take action, even these seemly simple actions, are motivated and interested.

In the second place, just because they don’t return your phone call or email doesn’t mean they’re not interested anymore. Think about your own life for a minute: I bet you’re a very busy person and there’s always something going on that needs your attention. Items on your to-do list slip off, including returning phone calls and emails. Well, your prospects are just like you! They’re busy, they’re time-constrained, and they’ve got to put out fires, first, before they can take on another task.

I’ve done an unscientific test over the past six months. I’ve continued to call and email people who have expressed an interest either in my business coaching work or my website design work, just to see what happens. Amazing! In nearly every single case, the prospect was grateful that I took the time to continue to follow-up, even though they hadn’t replied to me.

So why hadn’t they replied to me? In short, life happened:

  • A family member died and they had to go out of town to take care of funeral and house-selling tasks for a month.
  • A child was preparing for a big college-entrance exam and needed a lot of extra time and attention.
  • They, themselves, were working on a big proposal for a prospect and put everything else on hold until the proposal got out the door.
  • They had never gotten my reply email (a spam filter had captured it).

…And any number of other reasons. All legitimate.

How often should you follow-up? Here are the rules of thumb I work with when I get a prospect call or email:

  • First contact: we try to follow-up within one business day.
  • Second contact: we re-try 7 days later, always via phone (darn those email filters!)
  • Third contact: 10-14 days later, both by phone and by email

In marketing and sales, being shy or lacking confidence is a killer for your business. If people express interest in you, now is the time to connect with them, repeatedly if necessary, and not avoid it.

Read the complete Why Marketing Fails blog series here:

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Category: Marketing
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7 Steps to Create Your Autumn Marketing Plan This Summer

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Is your marketing plan ready for autumn?

Summertime is the best time to map out your strategy for your autumn marketing campaigns to produce incredible results.

Whether you’re launching a brand new product or service, or marketing a perennial offer, don’t fall back into using the same old, tired marketing techniques. Spend some time now to discover which marketing techniques will work best for your autumn campaigns.

Here’s how to get into action:

  1. Choose your campaign start date. Think about when your customers are likely to be back from summer vacation and plan your first marketing technique to happen AFTER that date.
  2. Choose an end date. For marketing campaigns that are time-limited (like marketing a new mastermind group, class, or special offer with a deadline), pick the end date of the campaign. For example, say that you are going to offer a special deal on one of your services or products. You might choose to start your marketing campaign on September 7 and end it on September 17 — a ten day campaign.
  3. Pick your marketing techniques. DO NOT get lazy here and do what you’ve always done (unless what you’ve always done gives you stellar results). Look at the marketing techniques you’ve used in the past, and determine which ones gave you the best results for the time, effort and money you put into them. Discard the rest. Now, pick a new technique you’ve been wanting to try and add it to your marketing mix.
  4. Get a learning plan together. If you are adding a new marketing technique to the mix, what do you need to learn about that technique? Where will you get training or education about that technique? Schedule time in your calendar in June, July and August to learn the new technique so you can comfortably use it in September.
  5. Choose a goal for your campaign. What results do you want from the marketing you’re doing? How will you track the results so you know whether it’s working or not?
  6. Map out your campaign. Which techniques will you use on which dates? What prep work do you need to do over the summer to be ready to launch this campaign?
  7. Line up your resources. What resources do you need to gather and who needs to be involved? Get your copywriting, graphics, website, brochures done early so that there’s no last minute rush and tension.

If you do these things this summer, imagine how relaxed you’ll feel this autumn when it’s time to launch your campaign. Spending a short amount of time each week over the summer will ensure a successful autumn marketing season.

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Category: Internet & Social Media Marketing, Marketing

Why Marketing Fails #2: Follow-the-Herd Marketing

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Do NOT follow the herd when it comes to choosing marketing techniques. Doing what everyone else does, or doing what’s the latest-and-greatest hot trend, is a sure path to marketing failure.

People tell me they want a marketing plan, but what they really mean is, “Tell me exactly which techniques to choose and when to do them.”

Guess what? There is no one single perfect, magic marketing plan that will guarantee results for every single business owner forever.

Why? Because everyone’s audience is different. Everyone’s marketing message is different. Everyone’s marketing goals are different. And everyone’s budget is different.

The last time I counted, there were over 100 marketing techniques available. How can a one-size-fits-all marketing plan come from 100 marketing technique choices?

It’s time to do your homework.

The place to do your homework is in crafting a Marketing Plan. A marketing plan takes you step-by-step through all the topics you need to consider when doing the marketing for your business, including:

  • define your target audiences and your niche
  • analyze your competition
  • determine your unique selling proposition
  • craft your core message
  • set your marketing goals and budget
  • set your prices
  • create a marketing campaign and calendar

Whatever you do, don’t just jump on the bandwagon of every new marketing technique that comes along. That kind of knee-jerk reaction will put you in the poor house faster than you can say, “shotgun approach to marketing!”

Let me give you a good example.

Social media marketing. Everyone says, “Oh, get a Facebook account!” But does your audience hang out on Facebook? Why would you market on Facebook if your target audience isn’t there. Know your audience and find out where they hang out…then get in front of them.

I know it takes time and effort to research and write a marketing plan. But only through marketing planning can you have the confidence of knowing you’ve chosen the best techniques from the 100+ available. And you’ll know that you will be executing the techniques in the correct order and at the right time of year.

I’d trade confident marketing for quick marketing any day. Would you?

Read the complete Why Marketing Fails blog series here:

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Category: Marketing
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Why Marketing Fails #1: Market Research

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I’m going to be harsh here, so hold on to your hat.

Have you CHECKED to see if people want your product or service?

The first — and ultimately the biggest — mistake that small business owners make is that they fail to do adequate market research. We get overly-excited about a new idea and assume that our customers will love it, too. We ask a few colleagues or a few customers, and base our strategic business decision on the opinion of six people. Then we are bitterly disappointed when no one buys.

Save yourself the wasted time and money (not to mention the anxiety and frustration), and learn to conduct a simple marketing research project to test the waters.

For more help on doing your own Marketing Research:

I’d love to hear your story, your comments, your questions about market research. Post your comments here!

Read the complete Why Marketing Fails blog series here:

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Category: Marketing
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Why Marketing Fails: Introduction

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We always want to know which marketing techniques are the best, the easiest, and yield the greatest results for our time and money. Any shortcuts to marketing are viewed with awe and respect.

But what can you do when you try the “best” marketing techniques and they just aren’t working for you? Do you ditch them? Or is there a simple tweak you can do that will transform them?

In this blog post series, I review the top seven reasons and offer you a quick tip on how to tweak your marketing as related to the “failure point.” These insights and tips will help you get your marketing back on track.

Read the complete Why Marketing Fails blog series here:

 

Got a topic you’d like me to cover in this series? A comment? A question? Post your comments…I’d love to hear from you!

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Category: Marketing
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