October 20, 2014

Is Everything You Thought You Knew About Marketing and Advertising Wrong? (Part I)

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At Contactually, we have business owners come to us all the time needing help to grow their business, get more leads and convert those leads to customers. It's really what Contactually is all about. As such, I wanted invite Jason Economides, CEO of ECO Business Academy and one of our esteemed partners for some marketing best practices and tips that any business owner could use immediately. We interviewed Jason recently, and he gave us some really great answers to some pretty pressing marketing questions. Read on to learn more!

Contactually: Hi Jason! Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me today. We really value your input and know from all of the sold-out webinars we have done with you, that businesses can really benefit from your knowledge and expertise. I know how valuable your time is, so let's dive head first into the interview.

So, first off, what do you think are the most important resources (e.g. collateral, tag lines, etc.) for a business to have when first getting started?

Jason Economides: Well, frankly - and this always sounds like a sales pitch, but it really isn't, the first key resource businesses need to get is professional help.

Contactually: You obviously don't mean a psychotherapist....

Jason Economides: No! And I also don't mean SEO or 'link generation' service providers, but actually getting professional advisors who have helped businesses set up. This is something we talked about in the last webinar I did with you earlier this year, which you can access by clicking here .

Think about it this way. If you woke up one morning and decided you wanted to sail around the world, solo, in a dinghy.....What's the first thing you'd be likely to do?

Contactually: I might try to find someone who has done it before and get their advice?

J.E. : Bingo! Exactly. And the reason any sane person would ask for help, is because they want to make the journey as quickly and safely as possible. And it's no different in business. Yet business owners spend thousands, sometimes millions of dollars on setting up their business, open their doors.....and then they sit there wondering why their phone isn't ringing. "But I make amazing widgets, why isn't anyone calling me?"

Find someone, in fact find several people who you can trust to be on your "board" or your own mastermind team to give you honest advice. Hire a coach or consultant (okay, that's a slight nudge, but it doesn't have to be me!) to give you good solid guidance.

As far as other collateral is concerned, well that depends a lot on the business line. Direct mail works really well these days because of the fact that these days we get so little of it. So when something does arrive through the letterbox we all get excited and we always open it. Of course if your target market is to sell one widget to 20,000,000 people, then direct mail is not cost effective. But if you run a real estate agency or a dental practice in a specific area, then it can be very effective.

Contactually: So, what do you think is THE biggest marketing pitfall to avoid?

J.E.: Okay, so THE single biggest marketing pitfall to avoid is to blindly choose marketing collateral before being 100% clear on your marketing strategy. So someone hearing this interview may have just heard that I just said that direct mail is effective, and go spend $10,000 on postcards....but unless some thought has been put into what should go on to that postcard, taking into account the prospects' pain points, and inviting them to your world that is pain-free, then I guarantee the returns will be low no matter what collateral is used.

So while I could eventually tell you the most important resources might be postcards, tag lines, etc..., those are actually the things you work out and decide on WAY down the marketing planning process. That is all about tactical implementation of your marketing STRATEGY, and it's this that we encourage business owners to work on the most. Frankly, once you have sussed that out, it almost irrelevant whether or not you use postcards, email marketing or TV advertising, your marketing should work. And this might even surprise you, it won't even matter how bad the quality is - if the message is spot on you can have business cards made out of recycled paper, you'll get customers.

We recently got approached by a business that was spending literally thousands of dollars on one particular marketing channel, and during the few months that channel was being used, they did not get even one prospect in. The reason why their original marketing collateral failed is because the marketing did not capture the attention of the target market -- in fact, the target market was not even defined or addressed, other than the fact that they happened to all be living in the same area (in fact, they did get one phone call, but that was from a competitor). Another example is when we helped a moving company that was about to go bankrupt, completely turnaround and then be bought out by their competitors for $2mn nine months later....just by changing the content of their yellow pages advert.

We are going to be covering this in HUGE detail in the Business Bootcamp this fall/winter. We'll cover the mistakes that businesses usually make in this regard and precisely how to fix it.

[caption id="attachment_5662" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Click here to watch one of our previous webinars with Jason.[/caption]

Contactually: Yes, and we're really looking forward to that! Something a lot of business owners also struggle with is outbound calling/emailing. How does someone who's nervous about reaching out to someone new "get over" that?

J.E.: Well, I completely sympathise with that because frankly, the vast majority of business owners are not salespeople or marketing experts by background. Accountants, Lawyers, and even dog walkers have never been trained in sales and marketing. I have asked in my various seminars to lawyers how many years they had to train, and the answer is about 7 years.

Taking into account holidays, weekends and the like, that's around 1750-2000 days of training. When I ask, "How many days of marketing training did you have during all that time?", the answer is always "none", "nada", or "zilch". The answer is always the same! No wonder even these so-called high-dollar per hour practices are struggling.

The thing is once you have identified your target market, and have confidence that the person you are calling actually needs what you have to sell/offer, then in fact that nervousness will diminish simply because the number of positive responses will be high. But there are other things that can be done to help with this. Well, for one thing maybe the answer is they should not be doing the calling themselves. Consider hiring a salesperson. Maybe it's the forum or medium.

If you aren't good on the phone, try to go to face to face environments like networking events. If you're not good at face to face, use the phone. If you can't bear talking to people, write a letter.

Setting up a joint venture partnership with a company that has the same target market as you, but doesn't have a competing product or service, is a great way of getting exposure to a large base of leads. Then you can encourage that joint venture partner to approach their customers on your behalf, to warm up the contact for you. After that, it's a lot easier as usually the prospect is the one that calls you - and everyone loves inbound enquiries because they feel wanted!

I always say to business owners to speak with their best clients, and ask them why they started doing business with them and then get them to spread the word to their friends, colleagues or associates about how great their experience was and why they should get in touch with them. A lot of businesses boast that the majority of their business comes in through referrals, but actually don't have a pro-active referral generating strategy. I wrote about this in my latest blog post entitled The Real Truth About Getting Business by Word of Mouth.

It's really important to work on your elevator pitch, and that will really make a big difference to your success rate and will in turn remove the nerves.

Stay tuned for Part II of this great interview, which we'll post to the blog in early November. In the meantime, click here to sign up for our upcoming webinar series, "Everything You've Ever Learned About Generating Leads and Growing Your Business Is Wrong!"