In some ways, this post is a “Most Embarrasing Moments” post. You come here because I am a marketing expert, but the only way this post if effective is if I am willing to write about my failures.
How to Avoid Costly marketing Mistakes
#1 Have a Maketing Plan
I do not mean a big plan, but I do mean a clear plan. If you do not know what you are trying to achieve, you will not know what marketing is working.
#2 Don’t Buy marketing that Finds You
I dabble with new things occasionally. But I have NEVER made money when marketing found me instead of the other way around. For example, I had someone cold call me and offer to sell me ad space in Sky Magazine. Originally he wanted $2,500. I told him if he had any remainder space I would pay $500. He ended up having the remainder space so I gave it a try. Result? Book sales dropped that month because money was diverted from the strategy to a random ad that people could not take action on.
Another example is Northwest Publishing. A salesman walked into our office and talked us into an ad that would appear in a bunch of restaurants. We decided to try it for one of our clients. The end result was that the company is fraudulant, traps you into a contract and does not run the ad you send to them (3 times, because they kept losing it.) If I did the research, I would have seen that they do not have a website and go by a variety of names including, Table Topics, Northwest Publishing and The Trivia Pages. Lots of smoke and mirrors to get money. The sales guy was good, though.
The news here is that I was smart enough to hedge my bets and only pay what I could afford to lose. But the reality is that when marketing finds me and not the other way around, it is always a loss. Never let the marketing find you.
#3 Decide what you want and go find it
If you have a good marketing plan, you know the audiences you are trying to reach. Then you start researching and finding the best places to reach those people. It could be Sky Magazine or an ad on a blog, but the point is that you are going to be much more successful with marketing if you chose the marketing and the marketing does not chose you.