The other day I was reading an article about weight loss.
The theme of the article was that most weight loss efforts fail because the person isn’t able to maintain their new routine.
Being a marketer, I immediately was struck by how this weight loss mistake is the same mistake some business owners make with their marketing.
Stay with me here…
Some of the reasons cited for not losing weight were that people:
- Got bored with doing the same workout or with eating the same food.
- Crave certain foods that they feel they can no longer have.
- Only do aerobics without doing weight-training, believing aerobics is better for burning fat.
One article nailed the solution to successfully sticking with your new healthy routine. It said that the key is…
Variety in your workout keeps you from getting bored. Also, because our bodies adapt to doing exercises the same way, repeating the same exact exercise over and over is less effective.
When it comes to food, well variety in your food can help you eat healthier by expanding your taste buds to new foods and allowing you to eat foods like desserts so you don’t end up with bigger cravings.
Variety is also the key to a successful marketing plan.
In Dan Kennedy’s book, No B.S. Success In The New Economy, he says, “One is a very bad number, anywhere you find it…If one media produces a disproportionate percentage of your customers, you are subject to being summarily put out of business.”
This is counter-intuitive to what a lot of people believe, because reason seems to say, if an advertising method is working for you, why would you change that?
The problem is like our bodies, over time, one media can become less effective. Or new regulations or rules could be imposed that affect your use of that media. New costs could be added. Or any number of problems.
Let’s look at some of these problems and how adding variety would keep you from failing:
Rules and Regulation Changes: If you recall, earlier this year in January, more than 75,000 websites like Wikipedia and Google staged a blackout in protest of the U.S. congress censorship legislation which would regulate what you could and couldn’t do with your website. Imagine if this passed and your only means of advertising was on your website. Overnight your source of leads could literally dry up.
In the spring, Google released 50 algorithm changes they made to their search engines. Small businesses found themselves scrambling to recover. Like, Andrew Strauss, owner of Oh My Dog Supplies LLC who received 70% of his customers through Google searches. After the changes, he lost 96% of his Google traffic and his sales plummeted from $68,000 a month to $25,000 a month.
Just this week U.S. Senator Charles Schumer unveiled new legislation that will dramatically raise fines and impose harsher punishments on telemarketers. This could especially affect marketers who use automated dialing machines.
Believing your business is exempt from being affected by rules and regulations is one flaw you don’t want to make. Because as you can see, rules and regulations can have dramatic and immediate impact on not only your marketing but your business’ bottom line. In fact, if you rely on one source for leads and it’s hit by a new rule or regulation, it could put you out of business.
Increase in Costs: Increases in printing, paper, cost per click and more can affect how much advertising makes sense in any one area.
For instance, newspaper advertising in recent years has seen the costs of ads continue to rise, while readership has dropped. Ad sales are down due to reader shifts.
It used to be that small businesses could sell to consumers even if they didn’t have a large ad budget simply because they would be grouped with the big box store ads. For example, a theater district restaurant could fill its seats simply by running a small coupon ad in the entertainment section. Classified ads were a good way to bring attention to your small home improvement business.
In other words, it used to be a sure thing to advertise in the Sunday paper. But now, it’s not. Advertising in the paper can still generate business, but it requires shifting strategy to things like free and no up-front cost offers. In this example, this means advertising in the newspaper which may have once been cost effective and a “sure thing” for you now depends on what you are selling and how you define your market.
So while an increase in cost doesn’t necessarily mean you should drop a particular marketing method, it can affect how you use it and how often or how much you use it.
Lead source dries up. A recent article in the Business Journal said Dallas- based CompuCom Systems, Inc. plans to cut 61 jobs at their Houston facility after losing a contract. In big business, cutting jobs might be the way to deal with a lead source drying up, but in small business, it could be the death of your business.
Whether it’s contracting with another business to get business or using word of mouth referrals as a lead source, I’ve often heard small businesses make the dangerous statement of, “I don’t do any advertising, all my business comes from referrals or from contract XYZ.” The question you need to ask yourself is what happens if that referral moves, closes up shop, dies, or changes to another vendor? Now your business is significantly impacted.
Now this isn’t to say you should stop advertising on your website, in the newspaper, or using telemarketing. Quite the contrary…
The solution is to not put all your eggs in one basket and instead spread your marketing dollars among a variety of sources.
Not only will this ensure you never have to worry about your only lead source disappearing, but similar to the effect of combining aerobic exercise with weight-lifting, combining media can produce superior more noticeable results.
In one of many examples, a study by the customer relationship marketing agency, Merkle, Inc., shows that integrating direct mail with email marketing generates more revenue by creating more effective, customer-centric programs, and reduces email attrition by eliminating unwanted contacts.
Be sure you aren’t setting up your business to fail by relying on only one source to generate leads for your business. Using a variety of methods to generate leads relieves the stress and anxiety that occurs when one source stops producing. And it ensures you always have a steady stream of new revenue flowing into your business.
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