Is Your Small Business Marketing Wimpy?

By: Dan Kennedy on: November 20th, 2009 4 Comments

Donald Trump says “e-mail is for wimps.” I’ll leave that for another time, but I couldn’t resist mentioning it.

Another type of business wimp seems to be the employer controlled by and fearful of his own employees. I actually hear employers say:

“My employees won’t let me do that.”

Incredible. But, by far, the largest population of business wimps is what Zig calls “professional visitors” – salespeople who show up but never ask for the order.

Along this same vein is an ad that doesn’t sell anything.

The ad wimps out.

Let’s use as an example an ad for an apartment complex. It might give us information about the room sizes, the location in relation to the nearest highway, and the hours of the leasing office. At the bottom , the name of the contact person and a phone number.

“For more information, call Suzanne” might work as a call to action scrawled on the bathroom wall in a low-rent bar, but it just isn’t a good direct-response instruction.

Note that word: instruction. You have to give prospects specific instructions to follow. It has long been my observation that most customers have reasonably good, well-polished skills for following instructions; marketers just fail to give them any.

Next, you need to tell prospects what will occur when they do follow the instructions. In most cases, you benefit by offering specific reward for following those instructions.

Why do so many ads wimp out and fail to do this?

Reason #1: ignorance of direct-response on the part of the ad writer.

Reason #2: is that doing so strips away all opportunity to hide from measurement of results. The more specific the call to action, the more accountable the ad. The more vagueness, the sloppier the tracking of results.

Let’s try re-writing this one. I’m going to make the assumption that it’s hard to lease an apartment without getting the prospect to the property to see the apartment. I’ll use gift-with-appointment as the specific reward.

The property owner should know how many prospects coming in it takes to convert one to a tenant, thus knowing the value of each appointment, thus knowing what he can pay per appointment. What I do here may or may not fit that set of cost parameters. So, here goes:

For a tour appointment, call Suzanne at 262-723-1252. Everyone stopping by to see this beautiful property no later than Thursday, November 9th gets to choose one of these FREE GIFTS: either a lovely cultured pearl necklace OR a MP3 player with headphones OR a nifty keychain camera! THE FIRST TEN CALLERS also get MOVIE TICKETS FOR TWO – FREE. Call between 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM, Weekdays. Same day tour appointments available. In 25 minutes you can see the entire property and have your questions answered, with no sales pressure – guaranteed!

The next issue is the prospect not yet convinced of coming in for a tour, so we might want to add what I teach – in Magnetic Marketing’, in Ultimate Marketing Plan, etc. – as secondary means of response.


NOT SURE YOU WANT TO TOUR? Call Suzanne’s FREE RECORDED MESSAGE for more information and comments from residents, anytime, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: 1-800-000-0000. Or visit

You might want to check your ads, mailings, etc., to see whether you’re a salesperson or a professional visitor. A wimp. Sadly, the world seems overrun with ’em.

3 SIMPLE RULES For Call-To-Action Instructions

1. Tell them exactly what to do

2. Tell them what will occur when they do #1

3. Offer specific reward for doing #1

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    Dan Kennedy is internationally recognized as the 'Millionaire Maker,' helping people in just about every category of business turn their ideas into fortunes. Dan's "No B.S." approach is refreshing amidst a world of small business marketing hype and enriches those who act on his advice. For more money-making marketing tips, tactics and strategies, go to

    4 Responses

    1. Charles says:

      marketing wimpy?
      Reason #1: ignorance of direct-response on the part of the ad writer.
      Reason #2: is that doing so strips away all opportunity to hide from measurement of results. The more specific the call to action, the more accountable the ad. The more vagueness, the sloppier the tracking of results.
      thanks Dan

    2. Anon says:

      I deal with Business wimps every day. These days, I just laugh.

      For example:

      A client hired me to improve her marketing. She was doing pretty well, but needed a new strategy to deal with some new competition. While talking about her products (mostly about cost and profit margin) I discovered that she was selling her products for a low price. Too low.
      After convincing her to do it (she was afraid of offending her customers), we did a split test. One customer would get the old price, the other would get the new (higher) price.
      Nobody said a word. No customer complained!
      Without any other change, her net profits rose about 15%. Her best month record, became the norm.
      Since then she has begun to lose the Wimp attitude, and will raise prices during the day after thanksgiving day, which is the opposite of what most business do.

      Thanks Dan for making me so much money.

    3. Wimpy?

      The ad is not a “direct response” advertisement without the direct call to action….

      I really like the way you just made ME want to go see that apartment… just for the gifts!


    4. Rob Anspach says:

      … yes the majority of biz owners are wimps when it come to pricing their products or services… I instruct many to raise their prices and only some do… but the ones who are not afraid to raise rates see an over all increase in profits… where the ones who were afraid to raise prices usually cry because they dont have to work 2-3 times harder to make any money.

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