I’ve found that the single biggest marketing mistake small business owners make is not knowing WHY they do what they do. Marketing should not be a hit or miss effort.

Here is the key: every dollar and every effort that you make marketing needs to have a direct result. In today’s economy, there is no such thing as spending marketing dollars and effort for the long-term. It must have a result now or you won’t be around for the long-term.

This means that you must measure every marketing effort that you make. Each marketing effort that you make needs to be tested. There is no way to know whether one particular advertisement is better or worse than another advertisement unless you test the two against each other and see which one drives more business to your company.

Running only one advertisement tells you nothing. It may appear to have been successful but it could have been far more successful. How do you know if a different headline, lead, or offer could have been more effective if you never test alternatives?

Try to never run a single advertisement. Run at least two advertisements against each other, testing to see which one drives a greater response. The two advertisements should have something significantly different between them so that you can test to see which item was more effective. Perhaps it’s a different offer in each advertisement, perhaps it’s a different headline in each advertisement, and so forth.

Once you have an advertisement that is a clear winner, the next time you advertise you’ll take that winner and run another alternative advertisement against it. You are always testing to see if you can improve upon your best advertisement and thus your result. You can’t get better without feedback, and the only real feedback is from your customers. They’ll tell you loud and clear with their wallets.

Here’s a warning. Most small business owners enjoyed the economy when it was going well and did not have to make much of a marketing effort. The world has changed, the economy has changed, and you must make a real marketing effort now, or you will not succeed.

Make a commitment today to begin testing your advertisements, or your web pages, or your advertising brochures, or whatever tools you are using in your marketing campaigns. Inherent in the testing process is measuring the results. If you are not measuring the results, you have no idea whether or not your marketing dollars are bringing you customer sales and profits.

If you do not know how to effectively market your business, you will not succeed. If you just follow this simple advice and begin to test and measure results you will be head and shoulders above your competition and success will be yours.


by Steven Schlagel