Track your results. What’s the point in coming up with what you believe is a great marketing message if you’re the only one who thinks it’s great!

I meet many business people who think they have a great marketing message but unfortunately their customers don’t. How do I know? Their sales are going down and they are having a harder time finding customers. People vote on your marketing message with their feet.

There are three marketing fundamentals you must always abide by:

  1. If you can’t track the results, don’t do it.
  2. If it didn’t work the first time, don’t do it again.
  3. Never get married to any one marketing message or ad.

It’s all common sense really. Why would you spend money on something unless you knew you were getting results? Would you keep taking your car to an auto mechanic who never fixed the problem? Would you continue on a diet that wasn’t working? Obviously not, but yet many throw dollars at advertising, websites and marketing efforts that they have no way of tracking.

You can break all marketing or advertising into two broad groups – image advertising and direct response marketing. One can be tracked and the other can’t.

Image advertising is what you typically see from big companies. The focus is on the company itself, why it’s so great and why they are better than their competition. You see the billboards, magazine ads, and so forth. They promote their brand, logo and tag line. Very impersonal and not very trackable.

Direct response marketing takes a different cut. Here you are more concerned with what the customer wants. You aren’t selling to the whole world, but to a finite set of ideal customers for your business.

You present the benefits of your product or service, as they apply to the customer. You put yourself in their shoes. You show them what it will do for them, how it meets a need or desire, or solves a problem they have. The process becomes personal, you are helping them. It’s much more likely the customer will pull out their checkbook and buy from you. You solved their problem or satisfied their desire.

Your goal with direct response marketing is to get DIRECTLY with your targeted customer (be it in person, through an ad or website), and seek an immediate RESPONSE to buy your product or service, because you met the need or solved the problem.

You aren’t throwing up a billboard or hoping someday your brand or tag line will impact them to buy. You are going right to them, showing them how you meet their needs and solve their problem today.

Don’t let your small business marketing plan be a glorified business card. Those cards simply say:

  • This is who I am.
  • This is what I do.
  • Here’s my phone number.

Nothing compelling there, yet if you evaluate most small business marketing efforts, including their websites, that is exactly what they do.

Direct response marketing says to the customer:

  • I know what you desire or the problem you need solved. I identify with you.
  • The solution is … (give not only the features but more importantly the benefits that meet the need).
  • I’m the best provider of this solution (your USP)
  • Take action right now to get what you desire or to have your problem solved.

Which path will jump start your marketing?

Next time I’ll show you how to deliver your marketing message effectively. For now, make a commitment to track results. This means doing away with most image advertising in your business and moving to trackable direct response marketing.

If you need help contact me or someone else you know who can guide you through this process. More sales are waiting!


by Steven Schlagel