Five Costly Errors
13 Platinum Ideas for Better Advertising Headlines 10 Tips for Marketing Success Five Costly Errors

What marketing tools don't work for you?

We ask this question when we welcome subscribers to our zone. Their answers are consistent: "We sent out a mailing and got no response," they may say. Or they tell us, "Our letters, postcards, or brochures failed."

What went wrong?

You may be surprised. The reasons you find here may not be what you suspect. You may be thinking, "Direct mail letters (or other marketing communications such as a Yellow Pages ads, brochures, newspaper ads, etc.) just don't work for someone in my business."

Because you and your 3-fold brochure, sales letter, or other marketing message are not in front of us, we can't pinpoint exactly why it fell short. We can, though, give you five of the most common errors that may be shutting the door on the results you want.

And just by reversing these mistakes your marketing communications can become winners!

Costly Error #1 - Not Precisely Pinpointing Your Target Market

One of our clients, a leading networking company, relied heavily on seminars for its sales. To boost attendance at one seminar, it placed an ad in the local newspaper inviting anyone and everyone to attend. With its wide-open y'all come approach, the ad attracted students looking for information and a free lunch.

Instead of desperately trying to fill seminar seats, the company would have done better to more precisely identify its target -- the information technology managers and executives who make decisions about networks.

Even if your message is the greatest, it will fail if it doesn't reach the right people.

Costly Error #2 - Spending Money On The Wrong Marketing Medium

A new video producer we interviewed for an article told us this story. After creating a video about dog training, he developed a marketing strategy -- to place a $600 ad in TV Guide. After all, he reasoned, there has to be a pack of dog owners among its 20 million readers. Perhaps. But only one of them ordered the video.

He would have a greater chance of success by trying out an ad in a publication geared to dog lovers or, perhaps, purchasing a list from one of these publications and testing a mailing.

The better you can describe and understand your market, the more likely you are to find them. And the more you zero in on exactly where they hang out in groups (such as readers of specialized publications or newsletters), the less you risk choosing a time-and-money-swallowing marketing medium.

Costly Error #3 - Putting a Fog Around Your Message

Sometimes business people write marketing communications with the belief they should, above all else, be clever. (Or, worse, they pay others to concoct these witty or whimsical messages for them.) As a result, their main message becomes clouded. Another frequent fault is to obscure their message with jargon.

Or they may bury their message beneath a display of sensational verbal or graphic fireworks. Think of the number of Web sites you've seen where the message is submerged or nonexistent.

Be alert! Don't let anything come between you and the message you want your prospects to remember and respond to.

Costly Error #4 - Relying On Image And A Brochure To Carry The Day

By image we mean marketing communications with the sole purpose of creating an image and awareness of your firm, product, or service. They attempt to be a work of art. Watch out! Sometimes they take the form of a glossy brochure with slick photographs and attention-grabbing layout.

The problem is they do not produce measurable results, nor do they provide feedback to guide you in improving your marketing message.

If you have $10 million to spend on marketing, your image brochure (or ad) may work for you . . . some day. It's unlikely that it can prompt your prospects to act now.

Read on to find out exactly what goes in your brochure or ad to grab your best prospects and urge them to respond at once.

Costly Error #5 - Not Acting On The Power Of Marketing Leverage

What is marketing leverage?

Controlled studies by successful advertising experts have measured the impact of headlines, offers, copy, and graphics. By testing -- changing these elements one at a time and comparing results from direct response ads -- the experts discovered the following differences between responses to the best and worst versions of each element.

The champions, please...

Headline: a response that was 21 times greater Offer: a response that was 10 times greater Copy: a response that was 5 times greater Graphics: a response that was 5 times greater How can you take advantage of this information?

If your marketing communication does not have an offer, develop one. If it has a lackluster offer, make it irresistible. If your marketing document does not have a headline, create one. If it has a humdrum headline, generate one that grabs the attention of your prospects.

How about you? Do you suspect that one or more of these errors caused your marketing messages to fall short?

By avoiding these expensive mistakes you will improve your chances of success. Put these errors behind you and produce marketing communications that get attention and results.

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