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Before you can even dream about success you must understand that the name of the game is MARKETING. You can’t even get to square one without a powerful marketing plan. To understand marketing, you must recognize that it is nothing more than the process you use to target and go after your best-qualified customers or prospects. It’s the means by which you attract, educate and inform these golden individuals. It’s also the system you implement to convert those prospects to customers, get them to buy your products and services and keep them buying and buying again, and referring other customers again and again.
Successful marketing is a continuous process that you can maximize by understanding and accepting the following principles:
1. You cannot predetermine what will or will not work in your marketplace. You must put the question to an empirical test and let your market tell you what products, prices, packages, pitches, offers and guarantees are most or least appealing. When you test one approach against another, your results will vary. However, you must carefully test the various principles and run with the winning approach, not the ones you might like the best but will reap the least profit.
2. Never do institutional advertising. Every marketing program should pay its own freight. Advertising or marketing has only one purpose – to generate sales. If your current marketing is not measurably profitable on a per-project basis, STOP doing it.
3. You are a salesperson, NOT an entertainer. When crafting print and direct mailers, electronic commercials, direct mail pieces and sales approaches, seek profits not plaudits. Most companies try to create graphically appealing ads at the expense of results. While appeal is important, your advertising and marketing programs must produce sales or they are nothing more than expensive pieces of fluff.
4. Advertising IS salesmanship. Every marketing technique should employ complete salesmanship and be evaluated like a salesperson, on a draw against commissions. Is it paying for itself, or is it a drain on cash flow? Everything must justify itself or be replaced. Ads, commercials or sales letters that fail by missing the mark can cost you your business.
5. Every aspect of your marketing should be built around offering more service than your competitors. You must educate and inform the customer about your product or service; its construction, advantage, warranty, and comparable performance against other brands, etc. Offer the prospect the chance to test (or try) the product or service at your risk, not theirs.
6. Read EVERY mailing piece that comes to your mailbox. Mail order/direct response advertising is the most critical test of advertising's effectiveness. Good mail-order ads assume the readers will forget, so they repeat and summarize and tell you exactly what action to take. But, most important, good mail-order advertising tells a complete story overcoming all objections, explaining the benefits, applications, quality and performance.
7. Failure to use headlines or their equivalent is pure INSANITY; failure to experiment with one headline against another is even WORSE. The purpose of a headline is to attract the attention of your target prospect. Because your offer will only interest certain people, you must use the best headline that attracts the most qualified prospects.
8. Human nature is unchangeable. People respond to the same basic appeals that they responded to 100, 200, or even 1,000 years ago. Products, language and levels of sophistication evolve, but people still want security, beauty, health, happiness, riches, services, protection, advantage, self-importance and related benefits.
9. Be specific. When you make specific claims of specific performance, people take the information seriously. “Everything on Sale” means nothing. You must say exactly what is on sale, the original price, the sale price, and any “extras” you may want to throw in.
10. Every ad must tell a full story using as much copy as necessary. Once you get someone’s undivided attention with your headline, you should lay every facet, application or benefit on the table, since this may be your only chance at the prospect. Your ad must be so informative that it doesn’t feel like sales or advertising.
11. Always put the risk or obligation on yourself, not the customer. Make it irresistible for a customer to patronize you by offering such risk-free trial propositions, such generous guarantees and bonuses that the customer has nothing to lose and everything to gain by going forward.
12. Education is a powerful marketing tool. When you educate your customers, your profits will soar. Teach your prospective buyer everything about your product or service and you’ll sell to twice as many people. This one concept, educating your customers, will leapfrog you ahead of your competitors.
13. Tell people what to do. Every sales call, letter, commercial and personal contact should: a) give the prospect an education; then, b) take the customer by the hand and tell him or her what to do and how to do it.
14. Marketing is the ultimate financial leverage. An ad costs you “X” dollars. Its cost is fixed whether it generates 10 sales, or 100 sales, or 1,000 sales. If you have been satisfied with 10 sales from an ad that costs $1,000, and can generate 100 or 1,000 sales from that same ad space, your leverage improves 1,000 to 10,000 percent.
15. Many marketers scorn long, “reader-type” ads or long, meaty commericals and opt for short, cutesy advertising. But remember, advertising is salesmanship. Don’t let your advertising fall into an expensive and nonproductive trap.
16. People don’t appreciate what you’ve done for them or what you will do for them unless you tell them.
17. Only a handful of companies understand the huge advantage a bonus can bring to the sale proposition. By carefully selecting and offering high-perceived value, but bonus products that cost you little, you can stand head and shoulders above your competitors in value offered.
18. Turn the tables on the risk factor. If you are the first company in your field to assume the risk for the customer, you gain an incredible advantage.