We have all experienced a marketing fail — and it sucks. There’s no better, more “office-appropriate” way to put it. A failed marketing campaign feels like a complete waste of time. You may have had more fun flushing cash down the toilet instead!
However, don’t be so quick to dismiss this opportunity. Marketing failures are an opportunity to learn, and boy, have we ever. Like any business, Newsletter Pro has had its fair share of marketing mishaps and failures, each one providing us with a wealth of knowledge upon which to grow. And because we help so many small-business owners on a regular basis, we have tangentially learned from their mistakes, too.
We wish we could give you a magic formula to ensure you never fail at marketing again. Simply plug it in, and watch your sales soar! But it doesn’t work that way. Instead, we can only learn from our mistakes, and thanks to the internet, the mistakes of others.
Heed our advice and sidestep these marketing failures — both from our own experience and the lessons we have learned from clients.
Great Marketing Means Great Follow-Through.
A few years ago, a client told us the direct-mail new homeowner campaign we had put together for them just simply wasn’t working for their dental practice. They weren’t activating new patients, so they didn’t see the value in continuing with the campaign. Aside from not wanting to lose a client, we were perplexed. This campaign works for many dental practices — what was the hang-up here?
We proposed an idea. Ultimately, it was a tactic that did much more than examine the source of a failed direct mail campaign. What we found was a common issue.
Our CEO Shaun Buck posed as a mystery caller pretending to receive the new homeowner mailer. He called our client’s practice but was sent to voicemail. A few moments later, he called again … and again and again. He called the office 3 times with the same result: voicemail. On the fourth call, he finally connected with a receptionist — who told him he would have to wait weeks before getting in for an appointment!
We had found our thorn in this campaign. No new patient wants to wait for you to call them back, nor do new homeowners have the time or patience to wait 3 weeks for an appointment. Other than location, how does that make you any more convenient than the practice across town who does answer their phones and has an appointment slot that week?
The marketing campaign we had created with this client could work, but the follow-through was subpar. And that’s not to say the receptionist who finally answered was to blame. They were poorly trained for their job — a failure with costly consequences for business leaders. It doesn’t just pay to come up with catchy, clever marketing campaigns. You have to train your team to respond well and create a system that provides the right answer to those clients who respond to your marketing outreach.
Goal-Setting Is Necessary In Marketing, Too.
When we create goals, we often think about the big picture. Business leaders often aspire to hit the next level of success in their business, but they tend to forget about all the small steps along the way. Among those small steps are the tangible results seen from your marketing strategy.
For example, it’s no secret that we’re in the business of referrals. We know a thing or two about generating these for a useful growth tool. So, we often suggest our clients set referral goals with their newsletters. Something like “Get 5 referrals in 1 month” is pretty common. But we also know not all referrals are money in the bank. Your client may suggest your service to someone, but they may not end up as a client. Sure, it’s a referral and you can add another notch in your progress toward your referral goal, but did it actually contribute to a successful marketing strategy?
Not really. Your goals have to go beyond where you want to get to and focus on the meat. What kinds of referrals do you want, and from whom? Set specific, tangible goals for your marketing campaigns. This will not only allow you to track your success, but your success will also fit within your expectations.
Pro Tip! Want better responses to your newsletter? Try QR codes. No, really! They are the easiest way to make your newsletter interactive, trackable, and user-friendly. If you’re a current Newsletter Pro client and have a question about QR codes, contact your team today.
Growth Is Costly.
You can’t be afraid to spend money as a business owner. Granted, you have to do so wisely, but investing in your company is an investment in its success. Most business leaders understand this, but some face sticker shock as their business grows and the price climbs (usually). As you grow, you have to spend more money in order to obtain the same results. However, that cost should be feasible because your growth warrants it. Success breeds success — so don’t panic. Let’s put this into perspective.
As you gain customers, the cost of adding more customers to the mix continues to increase. Why? It’s simple math of availability, really. When a business first begins, it’s exciting. You’re excited. Customers are excited. Everyone is excited! But that initial anticipation wears off, and soon you have exhausted all your new customer options. So, you have to spend a little to get some more … and more and more. And as you continue to stretch your base of new customers, doing so costs more money.
However, keep this in mind: It still costs 5 times as much to onboard a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. So, once you snag someone, invest in them. As they become a loyal customer, that original investment will pay worthwhile dividends.
That cost and the difficulty of growing causes many businesses to stall out in their marketing campaigns. They fear spending too much money on something that will fail, or they simply don’t know whom to target, considering their growth since their initial starting point. Recognize that growth will be costly and budget for it.
Go From Fizzle To Fire!
Our CEO Shaun Buck often says it best: “Don’t stick your head in the sand.” A marketing failure is not the time to give up or ignore the mistake. Take time to learn from what went wrong, create a little wisdom, and remember you can learn from others. Take these 3 keys to heart to avoid making the same mistakes other business leaders (us included!) have made.