I met a single mom at a writer’s bootcamp. She regaled me with stories about writing books on frugal cooking, life inside a cult, a mystery novel, and romance novels. They were all different markets so I suggested she select a single topic – and spin off intermediate and high-end products – before jumping into another market.
The example I cited was Harry Potter. J.K. Rowling writes sequels and is raking in multi-millions of pounds in royalties from movies, DVDs, memorabilia, etc. The secret to her success is she returns to the Goose that Lays the Golden Egg.
Which was the opposite direction my writer friend took…
She was going lateral instead of deep. A costly mistake. She spread herself too thin. She wanted to launch too many business ideas without owning a successful single model.
Because she’s a writer, she wanted to write on various topics she was passionate about. Big mistake if she wanted to collect royalties and make a serious living. It will eventually become her achilles’ heel.
And that’s because the marketplace can’t decide what brand she brings to the table. It’s more profitable and rewarding to position herself in one area of expertise. Something she’ll be known for.
What happened next?
Her first paperback became a money pit. The e-zine she published went dysfunctional, and then revived–but is currently headed in ten different directions. Her website promoting her copywriting service was never completed.
Her mail order pillow business went the way of the dodo bird. Google has threatened to cancel her AdWords account. And she still wants to write on five other topics.
Do you notice a self-defeating pattern here?
Since you’re a top gun marketing student I know you won’t make these same mistakes. You and I want the best for our business and we can learn what not to do from others. We don’t have to repeat their mistakes…
To make millions in your enterprise you should first start with an existing market that you want to reach. It’s easier and cost-effective to work with a market that has proven it will pay for products and/or services.
Next: start off with a low-cost/no cost introductory product. This may seem like you’re losing money, but you’ll soon make it up with other products in your pipeline. New customers cost the most to acquire. Capture these new customers and build a relationship with them.
Then market mid-priced products to them. Continue building your relationship and capturing more customers.
And then offer high-end products and continue developing your relationship. Better yet, offer all three product lines to them at the same time. People love choices–so create a bronze, silver, and gold package for your customers to select.
Next: promote outside products or services through joint venture deals – where you can capture more clients. Continue edifying your relationship.
You’re quickly becoming the one source your customers trust and confidently buy from. One whom they will promote by word-of-mouth to their friends, colleagues, and business partners.
Notify them about upcoming seminars or teleconferences that you conduct. Produce product demonstrations and tutorials on video for your website. Recommend your resources each time you communicate.
And then create one or more luxury products or services in the four-, five- or six-figure range. This will position you as a Jedi Knight in your field of expertise.
Using this single business model – you can make millions in your business by going deep, rather than lateral. Apparently, it’s a model most small- to mid-sized business owners never attempt.
If an author does well selling a $20 paperback, she decides to release more $20 paperbacks. Hoping the following books will do as well. In the meantime, her fans are dying to own or experience mid- and high-end products from their new favorite novelist. Whick never materializes.
But this won’t happen to you…
Because you now realize the common mistake most small businesses make: Lateral Thinking. Find a niche market you are totally passionate about, create a database and provide services or products to them forever.
I admit that for some time I was resistant to doing any marketing via old fashioned snail mail. After all, email is FREE (at least for the time being). Why pay to print and mail anything at all? I mean, I’m the Ezine Queen – not the direct mail queen! And I was already making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year using the Internet.
Well, I can tell you I’ve changed my tune based on several mailings I’ve done over the past year. A test of sending out few simple postcards and one sales letter mailing helped me exponentially increase my response to two of my programs over the last several months. I’m now SOLD!
If you aren’t collecting any physical addresses right now from your clients, customers, and ezine subscribers, please get started now. Because not only will offline marketing supplement your online efforts immensely, but email deliverability gets trickier and trickier to maintain.
Email can (and will) change in the future. How, I can’t tell you. But the good old U.S. Postal Service will be around for a long, long time just the way it is. (And if YOU want your business to be around a long, long time, you’d better start getting those addresses now!)
Best of all, direct mail marketing will supplement your online efforts for even better results. It’s a no-brainer, folks. Time to get with it.
So, if you’re ready to venture into direct mail, here are a few dos and don’ts I’d like to share with you before you get started…
1. DON’T blow your whole budget on one mailing!
Imagine Nissan coming out with a new car and running ONE single television ad spot, never to be repeated. Ludicrous, yes? But many small business owners somehow think one mailing will do the trick. The biggest mistake most new marketers make when venturing into direct mail is doing ONE mailing, and judging the response solely from that. You should plan a campaign that involves at least three steps, and five to seven for best results. (If you want to keep it super simple, you can just mail the same darn thing repeatedly!)
2. DON’T do an expensive mailing your first-time out, even if you can afford it.
Why? I learned this the hard way when I did an exciting, pricey mailing without first realizing how many undeliverable addresses there were on my list. Remember that some people mistakenly mistype their addresses into your system, and people often move, sometimes with no forwarding address. I recommend doing an inexpensive mailing such as a postcard first time around in order to help weed out the undeliverables on your list! (Remember to include your return address so you’ll get these back.)
3. DON’T overlook how important your copy is in order to get attention and get response.
The great thing about mailing a postcard is the recipient reads what you have to say right then and there. If you send something in an envelope, it has to get opened first. That’s why master marketers recommend printing a headline or teaser on the outside of any mailing that’s done in an envelope. Example: “Look inside to learn 5 ways you can increase your sales by next week!” I say just do a postcard to keep it simple (and less expensive than doing an envelope mailing).
4. DO keep your graphics simple and attention-getting.
Don’t go crazy paying some designer thousands of dollars to create a mailing for you, when you can keep things simple and get just as good – if not better – results. I used to pay an artist beaucoup bucks on a regular basis to make everything I sent out looked picture perfect. Once I stopped that and started focusing more on the message, I started making (and keeping)a LOT more money. Remember it’s WORDS that sell, and the job of graphics is to get attention and support your message.
5. DO give them a reason to take action NOW (and not wait until later).
Include a deadline or expiration date on your offer, even if it’s for something free, or emphasize there are a limited amount of spots/products left. Of course this will all depend on what you’re offering, but you get the idea! You don’t want to risk the recipient putting your postcard or letter in the “get to later” pile (which never gets touched).
6. DO track your mailings carefully so you can judge your return-on-investment.
If you are driving people to a website to opt-in or buy something, make sure you give them a separate and simple URL (web address) that is ONLY for the purpose of this mailing. You don’t have to create a new website or anything, just make sure you can track it. For example, I bought BlueprintWorkshopPostcard.com and then had that redirect to a tracking link I set up using the easy ad tracker program in my shopping cart system. This way I could tell exactly how many people typed in that URL, AND also how many people also actually registered for the workshop from the postcard! (VERY valuable information.)
7. DO work with a vendor who can make this all EASY for you.
I tried several different companies this past year, and now I only work with and recommend TWO. For full-color postcard design, printing, and mailing, I use Modern Postcard. (They did all my postcards for the Online Success Blueprint Workshop, including design, printing, and mailing, with quick turnaround too!) For mailings with goodies (called “premiums”) inside them and more creative stuff, I use my friend Mitch Carson. He’s the consultant I pull in when I truly want to make a BIG impact in the mail!
The key to success in marketing on the Internet is niche marketing. A niche for our purposes is a special area of demand for a product or service. A niche market can make you rich in mail order and direct mail too.
My Number 3 son is a veterinarian. Last year he came over to the house and asked me to set up a website for him. It took us a couple of hours to set up the site but then something happened. His site was getting hundreds of visitors (now thousands) because his friends in his niche were blogging the news that he was in business.
In my son’s case, the market stemmed from his music hobby. He doesn’t need me anymore to set up a website but I suspect that someday he will set up a site for salt water fish aquariums.
Your market can come from your hobby or from your profession or job. Perhaps you have a special interest that would spark the interest of a niche group. Internet marketers and direct mail and mail order marketers often write books that cover a unique topic. They sell these by mail or on the Internet.
There is information on the Internet to help you find a niche market. Some sites offer software to find a niche market.
If you can’t find a niche market then you may as well throw in the towel. You need such a market for major success. You can make money selling other people’s products and services but you most likely will not get rich doing it.
“I need to bring in more revenue before I start advertising.”
As a former media account executive, I heard this phrase regularly. In marketing a small business, the old adage, “You have to spend money to make money”, is an inescapable truth. Advertising is an investment in growing your business. While an unlimited advertising budget would be great, obviously this is not the reality for most businesses. They key to managing your marketing budget wisely is making every dollar count. While most business owners realize that having a marketing plan is a must, often they don’t know where to begin.
A good marketing plan is an integrated one. Many businesses rely only on Internet marketing, or running TV commercials on local cable networks, or a weekly newspaper ad. A successful campaign will include several advertising media vehicles as part of an overall marketing plan. Below are a few to consider.
People love to see themselves and their businesses on TV. Remember, though, that you aren’t selling to yourself. Make sure to identify your target audience before buying any TV airtime. For example, if you are selling eyelash extensions, your target audience will most likely be women ages 18-49. A good media salesperson will help you choose the programming to best reach your target audience. Television can be costly, so if you’re just starting out, you may want to wait to launch a TV ad campaign.
By now, most people realize that to be competitive in today’s business environment, having a website is an absolute necessity. You can hire a web designer to create your website, or do it yourself.
In the past, it was necessary to invest in expensive software, or learn specialized web programming skills or HTML code to design a website, but today there are several website builders that let you place your text, images, and design elements to create your own website. You will also need to decide on a domain name and arrange for website hosting. The best do-it-yourself website companies serve as a
one-stop shop, where you can design your site, have it hosted, and get your domain name set up all at once.
Radio advertising is a great way to get your message out to targeted groups of people. Each radio station reaches a specific demographic, based on its programming. As with television, a good salesperson will provide you with an advertising proposal best suited to reach your prospective customers. Sponsoring special programming, such as traffic or weather reports, is a good way to break into radio advertising while staying within your budget. You can also combine sponsorships with a traditional 60-second spot schedule for maximum impact.
Both daily and weekly newspapers can be effective marketing tools. A big, splashy ad is great for advertising a special event, like a weekend sale. However, for long-term branding of your business, you may want to consider running smaller ads more frequently to keep your message in front of your audience on a consistent basis. Another advantage to running a more frequently is that most papers offer a discount for advertisers who run more often.
A major advantage of direct mail is its ability to target very narrowly. You can purchase mailing lists that sort by occupation, zip code, household income, leisure interests, and more. Direct mail can be in the form of postcards, brochures, interactive CDs, or coupon books. Whatever you choose to mail, be sure to design an eye-catching piece with just enough text to get your message across. Don’t try to cram too much information on the back of a 4″x6″ postcard. Instead, direct recipients to your website or 800 phone number.
Whatever marketing efforts you decide on, remember that consistency is key. The goal is to plant your company name into the minds of your prospective customers. This takes place over time, so plan ahead, be patient, and be creative and have fun with your marketing!