Ouch . . . sounds pretty drastic I know, but . . .
If you have been in business for any length of time, you have no doubt been faced with the question, “Should I dump this marketing program or should I wait a little longer for it to start producing results?”
Even if you are new in business, you may have tried a new way to market your business and with lukewarm results found yourself wondering how long you should stick with it before giving up and trying something else. It is the age-old question of “When is the right time to put a marketing program out to pasture?”
This reminds me of my advertising agency days. We would create a new ad campaign and run it for awhile, and because we (and the client) were exposed to that campaign day-in and day-out, we would all tire of it quickly.
Knowing when to Hold and when to Fold
Often, the client would want a new campaign and we would have to remind them their prospects had not seen the campaign nearly as much as we all had, and that it was best to let the campaign keep running.
How do you know what to do?
Just how do you know when it is time to let an ad campaign or marketing program keep on running and when it is time to try something new?
The answer is simple. Look at your results!
It is time to make a change when the marketing is no longer producing results. And by results I mean, it is no longer moving you toward your objective.
Are you achieving your objective?
Every marketing activity should have a specific objective — that is what you hope to achieve. Your objective may be to generate a certain number of phone calls, or web site hits, or even sales. Tracking your results will tell you, if your marketing strategy is working.
You will want to track the results of your marketing activities from day one, so you will know how well they are producing and you can monitor their trends.
For example, you may get consistent results for weeks, months or even years. In this case, my motto is “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” Don’t be tempted to make a change just because you are tired of it. If it is working, leave it be.
Are your results on the decline?
However, if your tracking shows you are steadily getting fewer and fewer responses (e.g. phone calls, web site visits, sales) it is probably time to freshen up that marketing or start anew or, maybe your results never really materialized.
And, if your marketing strategy has never really generated the response you are looking for, even if it is relatively young, it is also time to take a good hard look at reworking it to make it more effective. Just be careful not to give up too soon.
You do need to give your marketing time to work — most people will not act after seeing your message just once, but rather need to be exposed to it repeatedly before taking action (industry standard is between three and seven times).
Having said that, if you’ve given your marketing ample time to produce results and nothing’s happening, odds are you missed the mark and either the message or the medium is off. Is your message missing the boat?
If your message is off, it means you are not effectively speaking to your prospects or hitting their “hot buttons.” Do you really understand their problem or challenges? And does your marketing speak clearly to that issue and position your product or service as the best solution?
Are you missing your audience?
If the medium is off, it means you have put your marketing message in a place where your prospects aren’t likely to see it. It’s important to understand your prospects and where and how you can best reach them so you can put your messages in those places. After all, if they don’t see your message, they can’t respond.
What type of response rates can you expect?
For direct marketing efforts a response rate between 3% and 5% is considered good. On the web a 2% conversion rate is the norm, so if you’re doing better than that consider yourself lucky.
You can expect a higher response rate from your current subscribers or clients because they already know and trust you. As far as new mailing list subscribers, expect between 5% and 15% of your web site visitors to join your mailing list.
The key is to make sure your marketing is reaching enough people so these response rates yield results you can be happy with. If you have given your marketing strategy time to work and nothing much is happening, or if your results are on the decline, it’s time to kill that program. Or, at least, to give it a makeover. Starting fresh can breathe new life into your business.
Consider starting over with a fresh new approach, a new message, and some new mediums. Make sure your new marketing program is grounded in solid marketing strategy.
Hasheem Francis & Deborah Francis are the Co-founders of Built To Prosper Companies This powerful couple has authored over 14 best selling books such as Built To Prosper, Built To Prosper Financially, The Joy of Healthy Living, Cashology, and Undeniable Confidence. They have also built numerous successful businesses.