Here is a paraphrased summary of three different conversations I had with business owners this week:

Business Owner (B.O.): “Marketing doesn’t work, I tried it.”
Me: “Really? Tell me more about that.”
B.O.: “I sent out a bunch of post cards and didn’t get a single response!”
Me: “Hmmm.. A ‘bunch’ you say? How many is a bunch?”
B.O.: “Two hundred and fifty!”
Me:Ok… and how many times did you mail this group of two hundred and fifty?”
B.O.:“Well, just once, why would I do it again if it doesn’t work?” (Silly me…)
Business Success is a Journey

Nothing in life is easy. You’ve heard that right? Everything worth having requires a lot of hard work, a ton of persistence and loads of patience: Everything, from our education, to our relationships, and our careers. Did you expect to just go to a single class to earn your degree? Of course you didn’t- it took years of going to classes and studying! Did you expect to just show up at work for one day and earn a paycheck for the rest of your life? Sure, that would be nice, but no. Did you woo your spouse with pomp and circumstance while you were dating and then completely ignore him or her afterwards? Ummm, I certainly hope not!

So then why would you expect marketing your business to be any different? Why do so many small business owners expect marketing to be quick-and-easy one-time event? Place an ad and get rich! Yay!!!! Send out a postcard and make the phones ring off the hook! Wahoo! One ad, one postcard, one networking group and I’m set for life!!!

It Doesn’t Work That Way!

I’m sorry, it just doesn’t. No matter how hard you try.

I guess if you haven’t been doing sales and marketing as long as I have, mailing out 250 cards with a “10% OFF” offer and not getting a single bite may seem like an earth shattering failure… but trust me, it isn’t. If you sent out 250 post cards to your target market with an extremely amazing, compelling, and timely offer, on a consistent basis and didn’t get a single response, then I might be a bit more surprised.

Statistically, the chances of getting any measurable response from a single ad, postcard, email, etc. are going to be pretty slim – for many reasons…. Factor in the quality of your content/message (was it compelling, relevant, and timely?), your audience (did you target?… Know, I mean really target?) and your tracking methods and it can be nearly nonexistent.

But, Don’t You Know Who I Am?

Think about it: you are presumptuously putting your company/brand/message in front of the faces of anyone who might at some point in their lives buy your products or services, assuming they 1) are your target market, 2) have made the decision to buy, 3) have allocated the resources to buy, 4) have no obstacles in the way of actually making the buy, and 5) they know like and trust YOU enough to want to buy from you. Holy cow with all of those variables it’s amazing we ever sell anything at all, isn’t it?

That is why a consistent and repetitive approach is key to effective marketing. For one thing, studies show that consumers don’t even “see” an ad until they’ve been exposed to it like seven times or something.

You are never going to build a successful business by sending one postcard or email or placing one ad serendipitously here and there. That just isn’t how it works- it isn’t how we as humans work. It takes time to build trust; it takes time for us to make decisions to move forward. It takes time for us to pay attention to all the “stuff” that’s bombarded at us each day – but that’s another blog topic…

But besides the whole “does advertising work or not” argument: Do you even know who your best prospect is? What their buying cycle is? What their triggers are? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, don’t even waste your time and your money on another direct mail piece, advertisement, networking event, or any other marketing tactic…. Really.

But if you really want to gamble your hard earned money, the next time you’re tempted to throw money away on an ad or direct mail piece without knowing the 3 things I outlined above, visit the nearest casino instead- you have a better chance of getting a return on your investment. Or better yet, hire Fortune Marketing Company and invest in the long-term success of your business!

AvatarCarolyn Higgins

Carolyn Higgins is the President and founder of Fortune Marketing Company. Her personal mission is to help small businesses stop wasting money on advertising and promotions that don’t deliver and help business owners implement an effective marketing system that will bring in more customers—consistently. For more information about Fortune Marketing Company visit the Fortune Marketing Company website or blog.