Excerpt from book “My Area Marketing” by Scott Channell.
7. Be Tactic Agnostic. (Or, all Roads Lead Online, But…)
All marketing roads lead to digital interaction. However, what has happened (or not happened) offline may very well determine whether an online investigation of you takes place and whether they complete a next step when they find you.
Be agnostic when evaluating marketing tools and options. You may want to use blogging, social media, human billboards and sidewalk sign spinners, but those tactics may not work best for you. Prejudging and making incorrect assumptions will hinder best allocation of your marketing time and budget to tactics most probable to help.
Do not pre-judge tactics.
8. Test Small. Fail Fast.
Marketing is the art of assessing the probability of human behavior. If you or I were any good at predicting human behavior, I would not have bothered to write this book and you would not be reading it. We would be mega rich living on some island we own.
If you learn from and model those most successful at marketing in your trade or profession, you increase the odds of making high probability marketing bets. When you try something new, you want to minimize your downside.
You need to structure your marketing tests so that even when they do not work you learned something. There is a big difference between spinning the marketing wheel of fortune again and again and working a deliberate marketing process.
Even when something does not get the result you wanted, you want to learn something about whether a tool was right for you or if placements, frequency, headlines, copy or offers might be improved. Even when you stumble, you learned something and place a better bet next time.
If you are trying a new marketing tactic, placement, headline or offer, test small when possible. You are working a marketing process.
Those Best at Marketing are Best at Testing.
Test small and fail fast. Learn from everything you do. Jump right back in and test again until you can be confident in your approach. Then you can allocate more time and money to what has proven to work.
Stay Flexible Financially.
When you are trying to figure out what will work, I strongly encourage you to stay flexible. Do not get locked into spending a high percentage of your marketing budget on anything until testing as best you can, and are confident it is worthwhile.
I do not care about how much you can save by making a larger buy upfront. Until you know what works, those “savings” are more likely to cost you a lot of money and opportunity.
Local marketers can cripple themselves by placing expensive or long-term marketing bets too soon.
9. When You Screw up Marketing, Your Greatest Loss is not the Marketing Investment.
When you place poor bets at the marketing roulette wheel, you lose far more than money. You lose opportunities.
The lost opportunity to grab winnable clients harms you the most — not the wasted marketing money. The value of new ideal clients lost due to poor marketing bets or execution is what you should be crying about.
When those clients who could have been yours went to a competitor, you lost out on them buying from you again, you lost cross-selling opportunities and the mother lode of all, you lost the referrals and word-of-mouth benefits from servicing those clients well.
Plus, you lost the community presence and branding value, which builds with marketing that appeals to ideal clients.
10. Fix the Potholes in the Buyer’s Road to You.
When I was a young pup in school, my summer job was laying and burying pipe in long deep trenches. At some point we would cross our fingers and turn things on.
We would say, “a pipe is only as strong as its weakest point.” I have also applied that thought to marketing as well. Marketing will only be as strong as its weakest point.
Example: I was reading a local publication with “native advertising” from a nearby dentist. (Native advertising is paid content that looks like an article.) It was an informative article, and the dentist made a great impression. I mentioned it to others who told me, “Oh yeah, Dr. Payne has been writing those articles for years.”
So, impressed and hearing that Dr. Payne seemed to have a good reputation, I explored the offer within his article. I went to his website for more information and a report offered on this specialized topic.
But the promised report was not to be found. In fact, little information on the topic was there.
So, Dr. Payne had some great marketing going for him. He caught the attention of a qualified buyer. He built awareness and credibility by running those articles in the same publication for years. He did an outstanding job of getting buyers to the next step — his website.
But on the next step of this marketing journey, hopes and expectations were dashed. A weak link in the marketing chain ruined the perfect prospect experience. Potential ideal clients on a marketing path to Dr. Payne will likely choose another as the road became too bumpy, unclear or blown up.
Think about this:
⦁ If your “great marketing” moves perfect prospects to your website (or another next step) and you disappoint, you lose.
⦁ If you get them to make an appointment but your interviewing skills are poor or the initial visit to your location provided a subpar client experience, you lose.
⦁ If you get the client but do a poor job communicating with them or servicing them, you lose out on repeat purchases and referrals.
⦁ If you do a good job and don’t keep in touch with the client, you will also lose out on repeat purchases and referrals.
My point is that you should identify, focus on and fix weak links, roadblocks and bottlenecks in your future buyer’s journey from recognition of need to paying you money.
Often, hard-working business owners are doing a lot of marketing things right but losing opportunities due to a few weak links in the chain.
11. Be a Master of Probabilities, not the “Exceptions to the Rule.”
When I speak or conduct a training, I set a few rules upfront. One of them is no one can say “Yeah, but.” It absolutely drives me crazy.
As marketing involves dealing with the great unwashed, a lot of crazy stuff happens around the edges. At times you must deal with illogical behavior and the lunatic fringe.
As for every tried and true marketing rule highly probable to work, there is an exception to the rule. So what?
The wannabes who never will be in marketing or sales land are quick to point out “that doesn’t always work.” They are masters at the exceptions to the rules. Ask them what they would do, you are likely to hear, “well, it depends, every situation is different, yada, yada” and get no clear answer as to what to do. They typically have no clarity about what they would do or what they feel is most probable to work.
Market leaders have clarity about that which is likely to work and they can communicate it. Also rans don’t. Become a master of probabilities, not possibilities.
Develop a clear sense of what is most likely to work or the process by which you can determine what is most likely to work. Stay focused on your high-probability result zone.
12. The 80/20 Rule in Reverse.
80% Of results come from 20% of our efforts. 80% Of revenue comes from 20% of the clients. For you it might be 80/20, 90/10 or 85/15, but it is a truism to say most results come from a small part of our efforts.
The 80/20 rule in reverse is also true. 20% Of the most common marketing mistakes are responsible for 80% of marketing failures.
You should have on your marketing radar the most common marketing mistakes to avoid. Ask yourself, “How can I screw this up?”
Having unrealistic expectations, not properly allocating marketing time and money, selecting tactics without strategy, using media that will not reach enough perfect prospects, not consistently touching your house list and being biased toward tactics unlikely to work are all common mistakes predicting a typically bad marketing result.
How can I screw this up? Answer objectively and honestly. Then, try to avoid those mistakes. Challenge your thinking. Invite challenges to your thinking.
13. Work a Balanced Integrated Plan, not a Series of Disconnected One-Offs.
Marketing is a process, part science, craft and art. From real world experience and studies, we know a lot about what is most probable to work. As we are dealing with human behavior and every business situation is a bit unique, it is also a bit art.
Build on a strong marketing foundation. Grow and learn methodically step by step. The more you learn about marketing, the faster you can move and profitably expand your efforts.
It might take you 30, 60, 90 days or more to change your marketing mindset and behaviors. Commit to making specific changes. Otherwise, you doom yourself to buying marketing scratch tickets.