A Marketing Budget Is A Terrible Thing to Waste: Part 3

Posted by Renee Pugh and Jeff Vice

A Marketing Budget is a Terrible Thing to Waste: a Three-Part Series That Will Save You Money – Part Three

Welcome to the final post of our three-part series on how to STOP wasting your marketing money on ineffective advertising. We started by introducing the idea of the cluttered “kitchen sink” ad, and explained why this ad is not conducive to driving business; then we moved on to the bare “minimalist” ad and why it may not bring business your way. Today we finish up by helping you advertise like the Godfather. Remember the premise we started with:

An advertisement should do at least two things: educate your prospects about what you sell/do, and move them to do business with you.

Sealing the Deal Like the Godfather: How to Make an Offer They Can’t Refuse

Business owners commonly associate “offer” with “discount,” and are understandably reluctant to discount their products and services. You have invested significant amounts of time, money, and care into developing your business; discounting what you sell can feel like discounting your hard work – and that is painful. This pain can lead to making weak offers that do nothing to encourage consumers to act, and that is one of the purposes of advertising!

Crafting a compelling call to action doesn’t have to hurt. It simply requires that you think like a consumer – what could someone offer you that would make you want to buy from her? Be creative and think outside the dashed lines of the coupon box:

  • Offer a service that complements a purchase, such as free home delivery on furniture, or a color consultation with any haircut. These add-on services make a consumer feel like she is getting a great deal on something that would normally cost extra!
  • Develop a member rewards club and give “charter members” an exclusive gift with their first purchase as a member. A local café owner may give his first 50 members a free coffee and donut, for example. This little gift is low-cost to the café owner, and it makes his 50 “charter members” feel like they are part of a select group of favored customers – which will make them champion his business to their friends and families.
  • Offer a free “upgrade” with the purchase of your products or services. A spa owner might add aromatherapy to a standard massage for a “luxury” experience, or an HVAC specialist might perform a system inspection on any service call. An upgrade is enough for a consumer to call you, and by offering a preview of your other products and services, you will keep her coming back for more.
  • Your own unique idea – go wild!

This isn’t meant to prevent you from discounting. Discounts are quick and easy ways to grab a consumer’s attention and get results. There is, unfortunately, no hard-and-fast rule for what makes a good discount, but keep the following in mind:

  • A small discount will make your business seem greedy and cheap; a large discount will make your business look desperate.
  • If possible, make your discount a dollar amount rather than a percentage off. Dollar amounts are easier for consumers to process and register, so “$10 off $100” sounds like a better deal than “10% off $100” – even though they’re the same!
  • This is the most important tip: you know best the value of your products and services. If a discount makes you feel uncomfortable, or makes you worry about your business’ well-being, then it isn’t the discount for you. And that’s OK! Just keep trying until you find one that works.

And really, that is the bottom line of creating a great ad: you have to make it your own. You will get your best results when you are creative and stay true to your business. We know that is easier said than done, so feel free to drop us a line or ask us a question at the email address in our contact info. We will do our best to answer your question and offer guidance, and who knows? You may inspire a future blog post!

RSVP Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana

888 958-7787

www.rsvppublications.com

https://www.facebook.com/rsvpohio

A Marketing Budget Is A Terrible Thing to Waste: Part 2

Posted by Renee Pugh and Jeff Vice

A Marketing Budget is a Terrible Thing to Waste: a Three-Part Series That Will Save You Money – Part Two

Welcome to the second part of our three part series on how to STOP wasting your marketing money on ineffective advertising. Our first part introduced the idea of the cluttered “kitchen sink” ad, and explained why this ad is not conducive to driving business; you can catch up with part one here (link).

Today we move on to part two, but first we want you to remind you of the premise we suggested you keep in mind throughout the series:

An advertisement should do at least two things: educate your prospects about what you sell/do, and move them to do business with you.

Part 2: Minimizing Impact & Results with the Minimalist

A quick note before we dive in: minimalist ads can work if done correctly. Such ads require both a strong visual and either a strong brand – think of ad campaigns by companies such as Apple, Absolut Vodka, and Volkswagon – or a strong message. See here and here  for some examples of striking and effective minimalist ads; both galleries contain sexually suggestive material, so please use caution when clicking. You will see that it is possible to produce a successful minimalist ad, but bear in mind that these ads are often intended to build awareness (educate) and not necessarily encourage direct action.

Yet, business owners still produce these ads in hopes of drumming up business NOW. The minimalist is the opposite of the kitchen sink method from our last post. Where the kitchen sink ad overwhelms prospects with a glut of information, the minimalist ad barely gives prospects enough information to even make them take notice. These ads typically include the business’ name, address, and phone number – with the occasional website address or haphazard visual thrown in for flavor. While avoiding the issue of clutter that beleaguers the kitchen sink ad, minimalist ads provide little or no information on the products or services offered and give prospects no reason to call.

This another easy mistake to make; you spend nearly every waking moment building and nurturing your business and know it like the back of your hand. Chances are, your immediate friends and family share this familiarity with what you do, and it becomes easy to live in a bubble where your business’ name is directly connected to what you offer. Remember that advertising requires that we think like consumers, not business owners – and consumers live outside our bubble! It’s OK to test the minimalist waters, but at least start by adding a little something to your ad that will make prospects give you a call. It is as simple as adding a basic offer to your ad – this will be your call to action. It is what makes consumers act upon your ad, and it is also the third and most common way business owners blow their marketing dollars.

Join us next time for our third and final installment in this series, “Sealing the Deal Like the Godfather: How to Make an Offer They Can’t Refuse.” Ring-kissing is optional!

RSVP Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana

888 958-7787

www.rsvppublications.com

https://www.facebook.com/rsvpohio

A Marketing Budget Is A Terrible Thing To Waste: Part 1

posted by: Renee Pugh and Jeff Vice

A Marketing Budget is a Terrible Thing to Waste:a Three-Part Series That Will Save You Money – Part One

Here is the worst-kept secret in business: business owners everywhere are currently wasting money on marketing. These bold entrepreneurs aren’t throwing their hard-earned dollars away on purpose. In fact, these men and women are most likely acting very purposefully. They approach marketing with the same vigor and spirit with which they approach other aspects of their business. This is admirable – but it is a mistake! Marketing requires that we approach our business not as an owner, but as a consumer.

This three-part series will explore some common advertising mistakes and help you avoid wasting money on marketing that simply won’t work. The first two parts in the series look at two types of ads – “the kitchen sink” and “the minimalist.” We will explain the problems with each ad type, and discuss how to improve these ads so that they generate revenue for your business. Our third and final part in the series will explain how to create “The Godfather” clause in your ad; that is, the offer that your prospect can’t refuse.

Before we move on to begin our discussion with “the kitchen sink” ad type, we want you to keep the following premise in mind throughout the series:

An advertisement should do at least two things: educate your prospects about what you sell/do, and move them to contact you to do business.

Part 1: “The Kitchen Sink” & Overwhelming the Consumer with Your Ad.

This ad type is called “the kitchen sink” because it has everything – literally! It has each product and service you offer, before-and-after pictures, blurbs from satisfied customers, the addresses and phone numbers for each of your five area locations, multiple discounts enclosed by dashed lines, and even a picture of your children with your pets topped with a giant yellow starburst on the front that screams out DARE TO COMPARE!!!

What does an ad like this accomplish? They’re certainly informative, which helps educate consumers, and the discounts may be enough to bring business your way – assuming consumers can find them amidst the clutter. And that is the problem with these ads! They are so overwhelming that prospects don’t know where to look or what to think. There is no clear message, aside from the desperate plea of PLEASE, PLEASE BUY FROM ME. PLEASE. And a business relationship is similar to a romantic relationship, in that desperation is a complete turn-off.

This mistake is easy to make; you have worked hard to build your business, and every aspect is important to you, which makes it tough to trim the fat from a busy ad. But trim you must! Instead of featuring every product or service, pick 1 or 2 to highlight; include one or two images – and leave Junior and Fluffy out of them; only list your main location(s) and website address; and above all, keep the design clean and easy-to-read. The best ad is the one that gives the consumer just enough information to make her curious without sending her into information overload.

What happens when you trim too much? Find out in our next installment in this series: “The Minimalist” is coming up next!

Got bad customers? What to do?

Customers are revenue. The more the merrier. Right?

If you don't care if your business is just another competitor in a crowded field, then sure, more customers should be your ultimate goal.

The other side of that equation is fewer customers but better customers. Better customers make your business better in the long run. There are a variety of reasons why better customers trump more customers.

Better customers understand your value and are willing to work with you. A good customer doesn't look at you as an adversary that they need to hold at arms-length and with an attitude of always having the upper hand over you. Because better customers look at you the vendor, as an equal, your relationship together is much more friendly and consultative in nature. Interactions are rarely strained or combative and by extension allow you to get to know your customer outside of the business transactions you conduct.

We would all like to have "better customers" all the time if given the opportunity. Many times it doesn't work out that way even if we felt like it would going into the initial relationship. So, what can you do about it?

If you feel like the relationship you have with a customer is not what you envisioned going in, then there should come a point at which you must address those concerns. Do that with an honest but non-combative conversation. Suggest to your customer that maybe you are not the right fit for his or her business. This way you won't be putting your customer on the defensive. It's likely that your customer wouldn't have seen this conversation coming and thus will also allow them to realize that perhaps some of the issue is due to their actions. They may take responsibility for those actions and work to make the relationship what it should have been from the start.

Something to consider in this situation is that you may be underestimating the value of what you or your company bring to the table and that the customer may think that losing that value is too much of a risk for them to take. Even if you don't learn that specifically, within that conversation you are likely to learn from your customer how to handle them or their business in a way that makes the relationship stronger after all.

In the end, if things don't come to a satisfactory conclusion for you, you can always tell your customer that "It's only a good deal when it's fair to both sides", and end your agreement. It sounds harsh and counter-intuitive in a sales capacity to intentionally lose a customer, but you and your company will be better off in the long run as you can put more productive time and effort into your existing "good" customers and leave behind the angst and dread of dealing with bad customers.

I have actually had competitors call me to tell me about situations they're having now, with my former client, that were the same situations I had had with that former client. That's when I knew that any indecision about letting that former client go was now vindicated knowing that it wasn't anything that I had done wrong, but that it was a bad customer all along.

It may hurt in the short-run to lose that revenue but this one business situation may fit into the money-can't-buy-happiness category.

Do you have a bad customer story to share? Tell us about it below.