Here’s a secret that can change your business.

Once you know this secret you’ll understand why your current marketing efforts may not be producing the kind of results you want, and what you can do about it.

If you’re like most business owners you’ve tried dozens of marketing tips or ideas, and have been disappointed in the results from most, if not all of them.

You may have heard suggestions like the following from your friends or business associates.  You should:

  • try classified ads
  • use cable TV
  • send out post cards
  • focus on networking
  • join the Chambers of Commerce
  • place Yellow Page ads
  • try radio or television
  • use bus signs
  • do direct mail
  • and on and on and on.

Have you ever heard suggestions like these?

Of course you have.  These are the types of marketing suggestions that are passed from business owner to business owner every day.

There is no end to these types of suggestions…and there’s where we’ll find the secret.

Those items listed above, and the thousands of others that you may read about or hear about from your associates aren’t marketing tips at all.

They are all “Marketing Vehicles.”

A Marketing Vehicle is simply a method for “delivering” your marketing message to your target audience.

If your marketing message is weak, untargeted and ineffective, you shouldn’t blame the messenger for the poor response.

The problem is likely with your “marketing strategy.”  And your marketing strategy is the key to every other marketing element producing results for you.

If you want to know why your classified ads, your direct mail letter, or your Yellow Page ads aren’t producing the results you want, don’t blame those vehicles.  The problem is with your strategy.

We know that the first time you’re exposed to the concept of a marketing strategy it may sound confusing.

Since the only thing anyone ever talks about is marketing vehicles, it’s easy to be misled into thinking that’s all there is to marketing…but that’s not true.

Don’t let the word “strategy” scare you.  It isn’t anything complicated.  Strategy is nothing more than your general plan for achieving your results.

Here are the main points of the secret:

  • most people focus 100% of their time and energy on trying various marketing vehicles
  • more often than not, they get nothing in return for their efforts
  • the reason they get so little response is because their marketing strategy is weak, flawed or totally ineffective.
  • to succeed in generating the level of income you want, you must first learn and apply a proven-effective marketing strategy.

Only then will your marketing vehicles stand a chance of producing results for you.

Ask yourself.  “Do I have a marketing strategy that I am certain will generate results for me?”

If your answer to that question is “No,” then you must understand that any marketing vehicle you try will have an extremely low chance of succeeding.

Here are a few examples to make the point clear…

Frank owns a frozen custard stand.  He believed that his customers were fully aware that, in addition to his popular cones, he sold his custard in bulk packs…pints, quarts and half gallons…even though this fact wasn’t promoted anywhere in his store.

Frank said that his store has been in business for over 60 years, and that they’d always sold a just small quantity of pints, quarts and half-gallons to the customers who asked for them…and that there just wasn’t that much call for them.

Frank’s strategy had been to just wait for his customers to ask if he had any bulk custard for sale…and only then would he sell any.

That was an ineffective strategy, and it was costing Frank thousands of dollars in lost sales.

Just because people aren’t buying one or more of your products or services doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t want them.  It could mean that they aren’t aware of them.

Frank changed his strategy.  He created a large sign (or marketing vehicle) clearly stating that his   wonderful custard products were available in bulk, and listing the prices.

Immediately Frank’s bulk-custard sales shot up.  His monthly bulk-sales tripled…all because he changed his strategy.

As a business owner, you can keep changing your marketing vehicles forever, and never change your results.  But the minute you change your strategy to a truly effective one, your results will change instantly.

Do you think this is an extreme example?  It’s not.

Consider the coffee shop we drop into once in awhile.  The first few times we stopped in, we noticed something unusual.  There wasn’t a hanging menu listing what was for sale, and there wasn’t even a display case of products for sale.

Yes, there were dozens of bags of specialty coffees on the display shelves, and a few other, related specialty items, but that was it.

When asked about this, the owner told us that menus were on that little rack over in the corner.

We’d never seen that rack before…never seen a menu.

When we opened one of her menus we were surprised at the variety she was offering.  The menu told about their regular coffees, specialty coffees, sandwiches, bagels, breakfast, etc., a wide variety of products.

But we knew a secret she apparently didn’t yet know.  Her strategy was flawed.  Her strategy was to save money by making folded-paper menus and not putting up a clearly visible, hanging menu of her products…where everyone could see it.

She assumed that her customers would all find her menus and would order from them.

But time-after-time, we watched as customers walked in, approached the counter, and ordered coffee to go, or a bag of her specialty coffees.  Rarely did we see someone find one of her menus and order additional items from the menu.

The last time we were in the owner confided that she was considering reducing her hours of business.  Why?  Because she wasn’t generating the kind of sales she had hoped for.

She said that her location wasn’t the greatest, and that the poor economy was really hurting her sales.

There were easy things she could do to change things…like make her menu more prominent…draw every patron’s attention to the fact that they made really good food…in addition to their great coffee.

Poor strategy equals poor results.  Great strategies often get stellar results.

One more example

Bob sold landscaping and lawn care services.  His strategy was to send out brochures to targeted areas and then…just wait for the phone to ring.  That was it.

Every once in a while Bob would get a call from someone who had received his brochure, but he wasn’t getting nearly enough business with this strategy to make it worthwhile.

Bob learned that a more targeted and pro-active strategy would produce much better results.

His new strategy was to target people who were building new homes in his marketplace.  These people would soon need a lawn, and very possibly complete landscaping services.  By targeting these people he stood a much better chance of acquiring lucrative projects.

Bob also learned that timing was critical with his new strategy.  If he waited too long to make initial contact, he found that one of his competitors would often beat him to the sale.  His new strategy included mailing a letter and brochure as soon as he obtained the new homeowner’s name.  It also included a personal visit within a week or two of their moving into their new home.

Bob’s new marketing strategy produced instant results.  His sales continue to grow, year after year.

So, if you want to start seeing results from your marketing, you’ll likely need to change your marketing strategies.