As I completed today's video I bumped into something I had long forgotten.
The last image in the video is of some elephants on a sand dune with IBM's logo foremost. The sound track in background was the Hollies singing He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother.
This was a TV advert, and an example of the kind of money IBM poured into their marketing without any idea if it worked or not.
I was direct marketing for my firm Link Technologies. That's the ratings sheet overlaid across the picture.
This direct marketing stuff works. But it is so simple that no marketing firm can make money from it so they have to sell all the complex stuff to corporates.
That alone is a good reason for us smaller players to stay focused on direct marketing techniques.
Lets clarify Marketing as opposed to Selling & Why Most Marketing Does not work
Depending on who you ask, you will find no shortage of definitions of marketing. A quick search of Google reveals thousands of ways that people try to define what marketing is.
My simple definition, and one that has served me since 1984 rather well, is "marketing is everything that you do to get people to knock at your door".
"Selling is everything you do from that point onwards” until the money is in the bank.
So, marketing includes working out who is going to buy what you sell. It encompasses working out what the price is going to be. Marketing identifies the problem that you solve. Marketing finds ways to reach those people that have that problem that you solve. Marketing defines your product, its colour, its weight, its price, the delivery, your terms and conditions of business.
Marketing chooses whether you reach out by email, or Google pay per click advertising, or Facebook, or newspapers, or adverts in urinals. Or any combination of these
In other words, everything that you do to get attention from the people likely to buy your product comes under this huge umbrella that we call marketing.
Selling, on the other hand, is what you do when somebody touches back. Selling is noticing a web enquiry quickly and calling back quickly. Selling includes your proposal or quotation. Selling is everything that happens until you get paid. That includes chasing that invoice.
Marketing – the process of identifying strangers who might be prospects and getting them to knock at your door and selling – the process of establishing that the indeed have the problem that you solve and showing them how your solution is best for their specific circumstances or two ends of a continuum.
You're not going to have any income if you have no prospects to sell to. Nor will you have any income if you have prospects but a sales process that doesn't work.
This is crucially important to understand.
In almost all the work I've done over the past 10 years in helping small business owners sell more, and this included finding 600,000 prospects through Google pay per click advertising, I see a disconnect in our understanding of how these two roles are interconnected.
For instance, two companies using the same Google pay per click process to generate leads.
The one company calls the prospect within moments of receiving the web enquiry. The campaign is successful, the business grows like gangbusters. They regard their marketing campaign is a massive success.
The other company receives just as many with enquiries, of much the same quality, but the email back a response, vague and badly written, and they make no sales. They regard their marketing campaign as a massive failure, a complete waste of money, and yet both campaigns delivered identical results.
The difference between the two companies was not in the marketing but the way the sales team responded.
The first company, the successful company, could be marketing via any mechanism, including email, and every one of those campaigns would generate sales to some degree or other. The second company, the company that cannot sell, will never find a marketing system that works, because that's not the problem they have.
So when somebody tells you that email marketing doesn't work, rather than taking it at face value, it might be worth enquiring as to which of the marketing programs have worked. And bottom expressed surprise when nothing works for them.
As I was saying about the marketing – sales continuum, there is another gotcha in the process.
Most marketing effort, online and off-line, email, Google, Facebook, radio, billboards, newspapers, business cards, and so on focuses on the prospect coming to your website. If you don't have a website, the problem is obvious. If you do have a website the problem isn't nearly as obvious. Because not all websites are created equal.
In doing some research a while back on air conditioning suppliers, firms paying Google to feature their adverts on the front page, and since this is a competitive area, they were paying Google some serious money, I found something fascinating. Of the 10 adverts on the front page, one linked to a website that had nothing to do with air-conditioning. Five linked to websites without an easy to find form, effectively throttling the number of possible enquiries. A couple more linked to air-conditioning firms in the wrong area. Just two of them went to sites geared towards turning that visitor into an enquiry.
This isn't necessarily bad news. In fact, this is wonderful news. The bar is so low when it comes to this marketing/selling process that it's not difficult to beat your rivals.
The marketing/selling continuum is circuitous, a long and winding path, from nowhere to your financial freedom.
Email, on the other hand, is a very direct way of asking for sales. And it's a very direct way of indicating that you know what you're doing, that you understand the problem that your client has, but most importantly, sending an email is like delivering your website to somebody, a specific piece of your website that this person might find interesting.
Unlike your website, which nobody remembers to go back to because it's, forgive me, boring, email constantly brings your website to them. Constantly brings to them something that is interesting to their daily role.
If you joined this course as a result of one of my emails, you may recall that you never saw a site en route. I included a link in the email which took you directly to the enrolment form.
When I first started, writing letters, it was to a very specific group of people. They were all data-processing managers for IBM mainframe installations. This meant that, professionally at least, they faced the same challenges. That meant that a letter written to anyone of them would be interesting to almost all of them.
At the time their primary source of information was IBM. Offering them a completely different source of information, showing them that there were other ways of achieving their goals, ways that IBM could not offer, meant that it didn't take long before many of them were either writing back or calling back.
The first few letters felt as though they had vanished into a black hole, until I went to an industry event, and when I was introduced to the individuals, they all commented on receiving the letters, and how much they enjoyed them.
Those letters simply shared ideas. Ideas that they could use. In other words, the letters were doing my marketing where IBM was spending hundreds of millions in full-page adverts in expensive magazines.
After those first few, every letter I wrote generated responses, usually not many, but enough to comfortably pay the bills and grow the business. That didn't change when I began faxing, nor when I began emailing.
We will talk about routine when we look at how best deliver emails.