Bad Marketing Advice Part 1

January 23, 2006

By: Adams Hudson

Lots of “experts” are ready and willing to tell you what you should be doing to promote your business and increase your sales. (Like me.) The trouble is, some of them are flat-out wrong. (Unlike me. Please don’t tell my wife I said that.) So how can you sift through the good and the bad of all the things you’re hearing? For starters, let’s go over a few basic principles:

Pure lead generation is NOT your only marketing goal.
Your ad rep may scream, “It’s all about getting more!” but the tactics that ensue may resemble those from a circus barker with a truth disorder.

Beware: this “sell at any cost” approach can lead you down a common path – one designed especially for low-priced leaders on their way out of business. I can write an ad to get you all the leads you want if I can give the store away (seemingly) and suspend the truth to entice gullible, unqualified and possibly bankrupt leads. Is this what you want?

Further, don’t use your marketing to promote your low prices unless you’re positive this fits your business plan. You can be good, cheap, or convenient; pick any two. But, please know that if you use low prices to ‘bait and switch’, you may get an unfriendly letter from the Attorney General.

Use your marketing to promote your value.
Tell prospects what’s in it for them and how your products and service can make a difference in their lives. This ensures a more qualified prospect at the start.

By offering a superior and immediately recognizable advantage that your competition doesn’t offer, you turn prospects into customers.

In Yellow Page ads, bigger is NOT always better.
Sure, YP reps want you to believe that if you buy bigger Yellow Page ads in more sections, you’ll get noticed. But think of it this way: is bigger always better in HVAC systems? In marketing, as in heating and cooling, you’re going for efficiency. If your YP budget exceeds 31% (HVAC) or 41% of your budget (pure service or plumbing), you’re not getting the most for your marketing dollars. Stop the madness, now.

Next, Part 2: Paying attention to the who your prospects are...

Adams Hudson is president of Hudson, Ink “Creative Marketing that Works.” His company creates a full line of marketing tools for contractors including Customer Retention newsletters, Yellow Page ads, “turn-key” Marketing PowerPacks and custom copywriting. You can get a free subscription to his “Sales & Marketing Insider” by faxing your letterhead to 334-262-1115 with the request. Also check out on the web for free marketing tips or call 1-800-489-9099 for more info.

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