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Marketing mastery: Thirteen deadly marketing mistakes

November 10/17, 2014; Volume 28/Number 11

By Jim Augustus Armstrong

Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 3.09.31 PM(Second of four parts)

This is the second installment in a series FCNews published back in 2007. Here we continue with mistakes 3-5.

Mistake No. 3: Being dishonest, unethical or misleading.

If you care enough about your business to be reading FCNews you’re probably not a bait-n-switch type of dealer. So this is more of an encouragement for you to keep fighting the good fight when it comes to being ethical.

In the short term, you can make money by ripping people off. But there are huge tradeoffs: peace of mind, longevity in the business, your reputation and your sanity. When you’re scamming people, it’s simply not possible to have a long-term, joyful business, or look at yourself each morning in the mirror and feel good about what you see. Yes, by being honest you may have to reorder cushion when you are delivered a lower grade than your customer requested. But in the long run, by remaining ethical even when it hurts a little, you give yourself the foundation for longevity, profitability and peace of mind the sleaze balls will never enjoy.

Mistake No. 4: Focusing on features instead of benefits.

The three words you need to remember when creating a marketing message are benefits, benefits, benefits. When it comes to your product or service, the only thing your prospects and customers care about is how they can benefit. Too often sales and marketing efforts by dealers focus on features: certified installers, stain-resistant carpet, cushion thickness, etc. Yes, these features are beneficial to the client, but you need to spell out exactly how the client will benefit from a trained installer, higher yarn counts and stain-resistant carpet. Don’t expect her to connect the dots; do it for her.

Mistake No. 5: Not staying in touch with your past clients.

This is huge. If you are making this mistake, you will likely leave millions of dollars on the table over the course of your career. In fact, out of the 13 mistakes featured in this series, this one is the biggest.

During the Marketing Mastery webinars I co-host for FCNews each month, I’ve asked attendees if their advertising results today are better, the same or worse than 10 years ago. The majority says worse.

There are a number of reasons for this, but one of the biggest is lack of trust. Consumers have been ripped off, lied to, even spied on by corporations and their government. When cold prospects see your ad in the paper, find your website or hear your radio spot, many assume you will probably try to rip them off.

There are a number of ways to overcome this, such as consumer awareness campaigns, free reports and white papers, multi-step marketing funnels and more. But one of the easiest methods is to simply begin marketing to your past customers. They already know you, like you and trust you. This means you get to skip all the hard work of trying to overcome the skepticism and price-sensitivity you get when a stranger walks in your door.

One of the best methods for marketing to past customers is a monthly newsletter. In a recent series I discussed how to create a direct-response newsletter. If you would like a reprint of this series, drop me an email.