You've been dreaming big and working hard to grow your small business, and it's starting to pay off. Your marketing campaigns are bringing in new customers, you've hired more staff, and the new product you're launching has you excited to rush to work in the morning. Everything seems to be...
Are you working overtime to generate leads for your business? Do you find yourself on a hamster wheel, going round and round but never quite catching up to your marketing goals?
Maybe it's because your marketing campaigns are one-hit wonders rather than the scalable marketing solutions they need to be....
You've put in a lot of hard work into that marketing campaign you're about to launch, right? I have bad news and some more bad news: you're going to fail, and you're going to fail hard.
I'd like to tell you it's not your fault, but there's no point in sugar-coating it -- you're making the classic mistakes that most marketers make, and you refuse to right your own ship. Your pending failure has everything to do with things that are within your control, so grab the helm and take heed of this advice.
Who am I to deliver this hard blow to your ego? In the past six years as an entrepreneur, I've implemented several hundred marketing campaigns for both companies I've founded and companies I've consulted for. I've had my successes, but it's the failures that have taught me most of the secrets I'm going to share with your today.
Are you making these mistakes too?
Mistake #1. You're Focused on Traffic, Not Conversion
Traffic matters, don't get me wrong -- but it's not the most important metric you should be looking at when creating a marketing strategy. Think about it -- if I created a blank landing page right now and purchased a bunch of traffic using Adwords of Facebook Ads, I'd have plenty of eyes of my website. But would it really help my company?
Nope! I probably wouldn't be able to convert a single visitor to a customer, which means my marketing campaign is one huge fail --despite having tons of traffic.
When it comes to marketing campaigns, conversion is king. If you're not measuring conversion, you will have no idea whether your marketing campaign is a success or not; and worse, you won't be able to improve your messaging and marketing copy to make your campaign a success.
To get started with testing, use Unbounce to create converting landing pages from scratch and use Optimizely to test elements of your web design. Follow the tweaked advice that originates from the sale profession: Always Be Testing (ABT).
Mistake #2. It's Not Easy For Your Users/Customers/Clients To Talk About You
Direct and inbound marketing are great -- but the most powerful form of marketing is still a referral. So how do you enable your users to tell their friends about your product or service?
The answer is simple: enable them and reward them for telling five of their friends. In Farmville, users gained currency to buy objects within the game by inviting their friends to play with them. Words With Friends, a two-player game in which you try to outwit your competition, had the word-of-mouth built right in -- it wasn't nearly as fun to play unless you invited your friends.
Your company may not be a Facebook app or an iPhone game, but there are still plenty of ways to incentivize your users. Promotions like, "refer a friend and get a month free" are common.
Additionally, think of how you can build viral components into your product, or take advantage of components you've missed. For example, Basecamp, a product management tool, allows for collaboration on projects. When I invite my clients to my Basecamp projects, I'm also spreading word about the tool automatically, without having to think about it. Not surprisingly, many of 37Signals customers are introduced to the tool by using it under someone else's account first, then realizing that it could work for them too.
If neither of those options work for you due to the nature of your product, consider partnering with influential people in your verticals. Can you implement a referral program where you can get influential people to refer their friends to your product? We do this for Voice123 where we partner with the best voice over coaches in the industry and offer them incentives to refer their students to our site.
Mistake #3: You're Pitching the Product Instead of the Dream
Our products enable our customers to use the human voice in creative, fun, and cost-effective ways. Traditional marketing advice tells us to sell our customers on the benefits of our product --stuff like how great our voice overs are. There's certainly no reason not to do this, and it's a part of our overall strategy.
However, we've gotten far better results by promoting the dream instead of the product.
Let me explain. Instead of just telling people why we're the best, we're showing them what they can accomplish with human voices through fun YouTube videos, then putting the tools back in their creative hands. We're not trying to sell them a voice over, we're empowering them to make cool stuff. And who could say no to that?
Think of it this way -- if you were to sell a box of crayons, would you tell people that it allows them to write in different colors? Or would you tell them that they can create whatever they can imagine? At VoiceBunny, we try to incorporate the latter into every message.
So now that you've seen some of my best results-driven secrets for marketing a product or service, tell me -- are you going to let your marketing campaign fail? Are you going to be the one who steers SS Awesome into the depths of the ocean?
Or are you going to rethink your approach to your marketing campaigns so you can see the rapid and consistent results that are worthy of how much time, money, and energy you're putting into your work? Let me know in the comments!
Jun Loayza is the Chief Marketing Officer of VoiceBunny and Voice123. In his entrepreneurial experience, Jun has sold 2 Internet companies, raised over $1 Million in Angel funding, and lead social media technology campaigns for Sephora, Whole Foods Market, Levi's, LG, and...