The Marketing Word | Differentiation Marketing

Consistency

Consistency.

For any of you who read this blog, you know I am seriously lacking in this quality. (And yes, I am working on it.) The conventional wisdom with a blog is that you must post consistently, whether it is daily or a set number of times per week. I was really shooting for once a week. Sometimes I get up to as many as one post a month. 🙂

I am afraid this carries over to my marketing efforts, too. And, while not being consistent with blog posts won’t affect my business one way or another (at this point, anyway) being inconsistent in marketing will. Jay Conrad Levinson said “It is unfortunate but true that bad marketing done consistently is better than good marketing done inconsistently.” Or at least three different bloggers have said that he personally said exactly this to them. I’ve met Jay Conrad Levinson. For the record, he didn’t say it to me. I believe he said something like, "Could you pass me a napkin, please."

But the man is right. I have advised students not to start a marketing campaign they can’t afford to sustain. (Yes, of course it’s a matter of do as I say, not as I do.) I am about to start a small offline marketing campaign to speakers for my custom writing business. I have a list of over 5,000 names of speakers to market to. I am starting with a small mailing of 500 names that I will market to consistently once a month for a year. I have the campaign laid out. I have the budget money set aside.

Is this too small a group? It would be if I was marketing a $19.95 widget and needed 1,000 sales to make this worthwhile. But I am marketing a $5,000 and up custom writing job and I am looking for twelve people to sign on. If I mailed to 5,000 people, I may not be able to accommodate everyone who responds. Think about it. A one-half of one percent response rate is typical from a mailing. One percent of 5,000 is 50. One half of that is 25. I only want twelve new people. One person a month.

This is small. It is affordable. It is sustainable. It will bring about the results I need.

But what if you need more sales than that? What if you are selling a lower-priced item or service? And you can’t afford to consistently mail out to 5,000 people?

You need to market in stairsteps. OK. I have only had one cup of coffee so far this morning and that is the image I have come up with to illustrate this point. Let’s see if I can make it work.

Say you need 70 clients a month at $100 a pop. On a regular mailing campaign (yes, offline! OMG! How Old School!) you would need to mail out about 14,000 pieces (postcard, letter, flyer, whatever) to get a response rate of 70 people per month. But that would run you at least $14,000. So you’d be paying $14,000 for $7,000 in revenue. Not good. And no, you can’t make it up in volume. Now, if it was a monthly recurring revenue of $100 per person, you’d make your money back in the first two months, give or take. But your ongoing marketing costs could be crippling. (And stupid.) More so if that $100 per person was a one-shot deal. Less so if you have more than one product to sell.

Most small businesses I know don’t have $14,000 a month to throw at an advertising campaign. In fact, most small businesses I know don’t have $1,400 a month in their marketing budget. But you need to start somewhere.

My advice: Don’t try to climb to the top of the stairs in one shot. (Aha! You knew I’d get back to my analogy, didn’t you?) Climb a flight. Stabilize your breathing. Climb the next flight.

If you can only afford to send 700 pieces a month consistently, then do that. But do it every month. For a year. You will see additional customers and revenue. With the increased revenue, increase your marketing efforts the following year. So with 70 new customers, the following year you should be able to increase your marketing to 1,000 people per month or 1,500 people per month. Send out to that group consistently for a year. Rinse repeat.

I’m not going to get into cost of acquisition vs.conversion rates vs. increased revenues here. I’m not going to get into supplementing your offline marketing with online marketing to the same target market. (Yes, of course you should.) I am talking about making a realistic plan and carrying it out.

Just a note: If you are doing an online, no to low-cost marketing campaign, you still need to plan out your campaign, get it set to go and make sure it is something you can and will do consistently. Set up at least seven months’ worth (a year is better) of your keep-in-touch program, newsletters or whatever you are doing. Pre-set the send outs in your autoresponder or have a consistent date to send out the monthly, weekly or daily missives. (Daily? Really? You really think you are going to do something every freaking day?? Come on. This is me you are talking to.)

Here’s the point:

The trick is to set aside the money and plan out your campaign before you start. Too many business people run out of money and/or steam after two or three mailings. Don’t count on making enough money from the first two months of your campaign to finance the rest of it. If your budget won’t allow you to do at least seven mailings, then you need to cut the amount of people you are mailing to. If you have no marketing budget, you aren’t in business. You are slowly going out of business. Yes, there are a ton of free ways to market, (I’ll get into that in the next post which should come about some time in the near or distant future) but you will get further, farther faster with some jing-aling in your marketing budget.

Being consistent is a matter of planning ahead. No will power needed. I like that.

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