When I made the switch from escaping my corporate job to becoming a freelance copywriter, one of the things I was most excited about was building my brand. I’d had come up with a snappy name for my business (Blazing Copy), created a cool tagline and I’d hired someone to create a logo. Actually I agonized over the logo because I wanted it to be just perfect... it was after all going to be my brand which was what was going to attract clients to me.
Maybe you’ve thought the same thing in your business. All you need to do to get more clients is to get your brand “out there” more. Build a stronger, better brand than your competition so that way, anytime anyone thinks of needing what you sell – they think of you.
Sounds perfect in theory. This is, after all, what big businesses all do to get big. They advertise and build their brand.
Unfortunately as a marketing strategy for Solopreneurs, this brand-driven marketing strategy is fatally flawed, and is responsible for more business failures than any other one thing.
I’m about to shave about 10 years off your marketing learning curve and teach you something that I never learned getting a degree in marketing….
Using brand advertising or “position type” advertising is the single worst way for Solopreneurs to market their business. It's ridiculously costly, inefficient and most importantly – IT DOESN’T WORK.
Why? Many reasons actually. Here are the main ones:
1) Building brand recognition is a marketing strategy used by big BIG companies who have hundreds of millions of dollars to spend on their advertising. It's taken companies like Apple, Coca Cola, Louis Vuitton billions of dollars to build brand recognition and 30 - 100 years to get any kind of brand recognition. You don’t have the luxury of having either millions of dollars or 30 years to start making real sales.
2) Brand advertising is an extremely inefficient way to market a business which doesn’t necessarily result in an increase in sales. It doesn’t even work for a lot of the BIG companies who do it (Ford was spending more than 20 million advertising on American Idol, meantime it was hemorrhaging red ink; Circuit City had a recognizable brand, so did Borders and Linens n’ Things).
3) Brand advertising is NOT trackable. If you’re putting brand ads out there, you have NO idea if they’re actually driving people to your business. If they are working you don’t know, so how can you replicate the ads and get more out there? And if they’re not working, then you’ve no idea either. You might as well be flushing your hard earned marketing dollars down the toilet. (Side note: this is why ad agencies are such BIG fans of brand advertising – as it's not trackable they can’t be held accountable for results either! They’ll take the credit if sales go up (even though this is may very well be caused by something else, and they’ll point the finger elsewhere when their brand campaigns bomb).
4) Brand advertising puts you at the mercy of your target market. THEY get to decide when they’ll buy from you, which might be a month from now. It might be a year from now. This doesn’t help you any – you’ve got bills to pay, a family to feed and a business to run now. You need sales NOW. Today.
So let’s recap why doing brand based marketing for your business is a really bad idea.
Using your brand to try and market you business is a bad idea because it takes millions of dollars to make any impact in your market, it’s an extremely slow way to build a business (brand building takes decades), it's like playing blind archery with your marketing money because you’ve no idea if those ads are even working, and it doesn’t necessarily result in an increase in sales. It also gives all the power to your target market, they get to decide when they’ll buy from you, instead of you being able to call the shots and compel them to take action, immediately.
So how then should you market your business?
Simply with one objective: to market in a way that enables you to make sales TODAY. Right now. Use marketing that is trackable so you can immediately measure ROI and know if it's a smart use of your marketing budget, AND market in such a way that compels your prospects to take immediate action.
This is what’s known as Direct Response Marketing. It’s the ugly sister of advertising because it’s ridiculously effective, 100% trackable and it's only measure of effectiveness is how much money it brings in. Not how pretty, cool or creative the ad was.
Imagine that. Marketing that really works to attract new clients and gets them to take action when you want them to act (and not when they feel like it).
Next week I’ll share with you inside secrets as to how you can quickly and easily start transforming all your marketing into Direct Response marketing.