“It happens many times.”
That’s what Mary Schiavo, the former inspector general of the U.S. Department of Transportation, said during an interview on CNN when talking about how a Southwest Airlines flight from Chicago landed at the wrong airport last Sunday.
According to Schiavo, “Planes landing on the wrong runway aren’t unusual.”
As you can imagine, this error can cause real problems.
Unfortunately, like airlines who guide passengers to the wrong airport, businesses many times guide the wrong prospects to their business, causing serious problems such as financial hardship, damage to your business, and wasted spending.
For instance, let’s say you have no reliable way to get customers to your business. So you begin spending money on advertising. But… because it’s not the right advertising, you receive no (or very few) paying customers from it. This could cause you to go into debt and even force you to close your doors.
Here are four things you can do to avoid disaster in your own business…along with why this is so important to master:
1) Cut all the waste and fat out of your advertising. If you aren’t attracting your ideal client, customer or patient, then you are wasting a lot of advertising dollars on people who aren’t interested in your product or service and/or don’t have the means to purchase from you. Wouldn’t it be better to get your advertising into the hands of people you knew could and potentially would buy from you?
For example, if you are selling tires, you would only want someone who owns a car to receive your ads because someone who doesn’t own a car will never buy from you even if they have the money to do so. For instance, if this hypothetical tire store runs an ad in a publication where 60% of its readers are college students with no car, then the media you’ve chosen doesn’t really match your market.
You can “cut the fat” by matching the right media to the right market and the right message. One way this could be accomplished would be to change to a direct mail postcard that is sent to a rented list of people who carry car insurance on automobiles that are at least a couple of years old and live within the vicinity of your tire store. Can you see how this would greatly reduce the amount of money you are wasting on advertising that isn’t working for you?
2) Create a system for attracting your ideal customers. The idea is for just the right person for your product, service or proposition to perk up, pay attention and think, “Hey that’s for ME” the minute he sees your ad, letter, web site, or other advertising media.
Instead of buying a list to mail your ad to, often a better method is to create a lead generation system. This is a much more economical way to get your hands on your ideal customer because it lets people self-qualify themselves within your target market. This way you are creating your very own, current list without having to a) pay for a list and b) sift through a list of semi-qualified prospects to find the ones who are really interested and willing to spend money on what you have to offer.
Not only is this more economical, but it’s more valuable too. You can certainly rent a list or place an ad in a publication that targets your ideal list. But consider how much more valuable a prospect is who has raised their hand and said they are interested in what you are offering. Dan Kennedy says when looking at comparative conversions, this type of lead can be worth 500% to 2000% more.
3) Make your system automatic. Once you get your sales message refined and working, put your system on auto-pilot so that you can continually attract prospects to your business. This involves figuring out all the pieces of your sales system and setting it up to replicate itself over and over—from attracting prospects to getting them to raise their hand and say they are interested to mailing out follow-up pieces until they buy from you. This will not only save you time and money, but it will provide you with a predictable business, where you can reliably project how many qualified leads, how many sales from those leads and what your revenue will be for the month.
4) Refine your message. If your message isn’t right, you’ll end up with prospects that aren’t a match. Not only is this a waste of your advertising dollars, it can actually damage your reputation.
Consider the following that a fellow dad received. He was sent a free magazine from “Working Mother” Magazine. Not only was the list wrong, but the message referred to him as a “working mom.” He was not only insulted, but he thought they were idiots for sending him such a mismatched offer. In fact, he thought it was so idiotic, he told friends, family and work associates about it. Now-a-days you might worry about that ending up as a post on social media which could be even more damaging.
Had the letter suggested this as a gift for his wife, it might have struck a cord and he may have thought the complete opposite—that they were genius.
Regardless, testing and fine-tuning your message is smart. Once you refine your message, there will likely be more commercially available lists that you can rent that will deliver decent results as well.
Make sure you master the skill of guiding your ideal customers, clients, or patients directly to your business. When you do, you’ll have a predictable, reliable income, you’ll avoid wasting valuable resources and you’ll never have to worry about where your next customer will come from.
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