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Boost your 2010 marketing ROI: 5 steps

by on
in Leadership Skills

Think for a second: Has the money you’ve spent on marketing grown your business this year? If not, it’s time to make changes in your 2010 marketing plans.

No matter what type of marketing you use—e-mail, direct mail, ads, Internet, word-of-mouth—here are five simple changes guaranteed to boost results and revenue:

Step 1: Don’t ask for too much commitment too soon. Does this sound familiar? You send out a great marketing piece. It’s beautifully branded and offers a discount for acting by a certain date. So why don’t calls pour in?

Because going from “Hmmm, I’m interested in your services” to “Yes, I’m ready to get out my credit card” may be asking for too much commitment too soon.

Keep your discount offer, but add a lower-commitment option, too, like signing up for free e-mail coupon alerts. Just make sure to capture e-mail addresses so you can follow up.

Step 2: Make sure your “creative” is right for your audience. Case study: A company found that its most profitable customers were in their 50s and early 60s. The owner spent a bundle on beautifully produced direct mail, ads and e-mail blasts.

Unfortunately, the content was aimed at an audience closer to age 30 than age 60. The colors were funky, the type was tiny and the campaign carried a funny (but unflattering) photo of a family with the headline, “Family doesn’t have to be a pain.” Ouch.

Bottom line: Stay true to your audience, don’t talk down and watch out for word play that can fall flat.

Step 3: Stand out from the crowd. For $100 a month you can get a web site template filled with ready-to-use, generic copy that will work for any company. Easy? You bet. Professional? Sure.

Good for marketing? Not so much. That’s because canned copy and cookie-cutter templates make you sound exactly like every other business—not just in the neighborhood, but in the nation. Plus, many web site templates rely on razzle-dazzle flash graphics rather than ordinary text. That means they may look great but are virtually invisible to search engines.

You’ll see much higher results if you take a little time to define your unique value proposition and give specific examples of how you’ve helped customers and clients.

When you look at any marketing vehicle, ask yourself if every other company in your industry could say the same things. If the answer is yes, dig deeper to find a process, philosophy or case study no one else can offer.

Step 4: Avoid having too much “noise.” The more messages you cram in, and the more you shrink the point size and white space, the more you shrink response. This is true of ads, web sites, PowerPoint slides and even the materials you put in presentation folders.

To focus in on the right content, focus on what you want the person to do. Want someone to click a link? Include only the messaging necessary to prompt that one action. Save the rest for the landing page or whatever comes next.

Step 5: Don’t chase the competition. Don’t run an ad, join an organization or change your messaging just because that’s what your competitors are doing. You’ll always be playing catch-up and you’ll always seem to be someone different. Instead, focus on what you do better than anyone else and make that the foundation of your messaging and marketing.

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