A True Story: I was at a cocktail party the other day and an Ophthalmologist with whom I am friendly walked over to me. He knows that I am a marketing expert and wanted a curbside consultation.
He said “I am trying to drive more traffic to my web site.” He went on to say “I hired a company that was supposed to move my site up on the search engines. I paid them over $30,000.00 during the past year and a half.
I’m on page 3 instead of page 12 of a Google search.” He also went on to tell me that “my site is mediocre but I’m not planning on changing it. I want you to help me find a way to make it more visible.
I thought to myself ‘this man got through medical school and then obtained a choice residency in Ophthalmology.’ How can he be so naive?
The fact is, he’s not naive, he’s just another busy professional who became an advertising victim. Some salesman called on him and made him lots of promises. The doc was given the impression that he’d make more money if they took over the job of driving traffic to his website. The physician bought what they were selling and got what he did not deserve.
In thinking back about my own career, many years ago, I owned a retail financial services business which eventually achieved more than $38,000,000 in annual revenue. In the early days, I decided to try advertising on the radio.
I phoned my favorite station and they sent out this well dressed guy who wanted to be my best friend. Needless to say, I spent a considerable amount of money and was disappointed with the results.
Ever since that costly learning experience, I have used reasoning that I learned as a child while fishing with my dad. We knew the fish were there, but they were not taking our bait. We would try different lure’s and also change the bait until the fish began to bite.
A trap that many advertisers often fall into is baiting the hook with food that appeals to the fisherman and not the fish. You can only catch fish with food that is appealing to the fish that you are trying to catch. And you may have to try several before you find one that works.
Advertising is part of the marketing process that usually begins because some rep, selling something, comes along and you buy it. They throw together an ad for you. It costs lots of cash and yields few fish if any at all. Even worse, if it had yielded results, they would remain a mystery. It would therefore, be difficult to make sound decisions whether or not to continue. When you’re left scratching your head because you can’t understand why your advertising investment failed, you need to remind yourself of the MESSAGE-MARKET-MEDIA theory.
MESSAGE – You need to have a definitive message that is based on what your customers want, not some company mission statement. Your message should be benefit driven. It should appeal to the emotions of the people you want to do business with. It should reflect what they get out of the transaction. What do you offer that’s unique to your customers? What’s your Unique Selling Proposition?
MARKET – Who is your customer? Better yet, who do you want your customer to be? Translation: Who is your best customer? When you answer that question, you’ll be able to turn on the cash flow faucet at will. For instance, if you know that your customer is a white female between the ages of 32 and 45 who does not work outside of the home, you can market specifically to her and no one else. You’ll make the most of your advertising dollars and your transaction size will increase as well, because these are the people who really want to do business with you.
Establishing “who” is the most important marketing exercise you can do for your business. There are a myriad of different methods to promote your message. Some of which you’ve likely not even considered. This is where we get into baiting several hooks.
MEDIA – Never rely on one source of new customers. Experts say that if more than 20% of your business is coming from one source, you’re extremely vulnerable. If that source becomes obsolete, can you handle that kind of downturn?
Follow these two rules to limit your exposure and leverage your upside. Use as many forms of media for promotion as you possibly can. Design and easy to implement tracking system and if you can’t then save your capital.