The problem with marketing is that you’re dealing with people and the real world. Which means sometimes it’s quite predictable, sometimes you have absolutely no idea what’s going on, and the number of variables is virtually infinite! But don’t worry, over the years we’ve developed an approach to fixing ‘marketing that doesn’t work’ – and we’ll share it with you now.
“We’ve been advertising for six months and it’s been going great, now it’s just stopped. What’s going on?”
Well the first thing to do, kinda, is nothing! The first step is always to lift the lid and check under the hood and have a good, hard think – is there a mechanical or technical issue, is it the medium you’re using (i.e. not reaching the right target), or is it the message (i.e. the creative or the offer).
What’s required is a methodical process of elimination.
Resist the urge to start changing things all over the place. Because all you’re doing is adding to the number of variables that could be affecting it … thereby obscuring the nature of the actual problem.
Sometimes the quick fix is all you need. So, sure, we look for the simple errors first, and delve deeper if we have to …
Mechanics and processes
Is there something wrong with the actual delivery of the message, or the process by which you’re communicating? If it’s a digital ad or a newsletter, for example, has it all been set up correctly? You’d be surprised how often little things like this can derail a campaign, website, or anything else you’re doing from a marketing perspective.
For example, we took on a new client the other week and when reviewing their website, discovered all the leads they should have received in the previous two years, had been sent to a non-existent email address.
Unbelievable, really, and fortunately they were all stored in the back end of the system.
So, the recent leads could be followed up, but many were long gone and dead.
Anyway, you get the picture, simple mistakes can cause big problems, but when you look into the detail, sometimes it’s an easy fix!
Let’s assume everything is working as it should be. Fantastic. So why aren’t we getting any leads? Why isn’t it working? The main question to ask yourself here is whether you’re getting the message in front of your target audience, as effectively as you could be.
For a start, are you using the right media?
Try to think about your target audience, put yourself in their shoes for a while, and do some research as to where they spend their time. There’s no shortage of information and research reports online, although always be wary of the source.
Facebook reporting a massive increase in user engagement with video content, for example, just as they were trying to increase ad revenue from video content, should really have been viewed with a little more skepticism, by a lot more people.
In fact, common sense and healthy skepticism will always serve you well in marketing.
Here’s an example to bring the idea to life
Let’s say you have a new insurance product that’s tailored specifically for tradies, and you’ve been using Google Ads to get your message out. The leads are OK, but not as many as you’d expected considering the spend.
So, is Google the right place to be advertising a product that nobody knows exists at the moment? Perhaps not. Because there will be no search volume for it. So, we need to get the message to tradies, who are not actively looking for our product, but we know will love the product when they hear about it.
What might work better? LinkedIn? Facebook? Billboard advertising? Maybe… Radio? That would be a pretty good bet. Tradies always have the radio on when they’re at work. And they generally get to work early. So maybe blast some ad’s about 6 – 7 am. You’ll probably get it a lot cheaper at that time too.
Call the radio stations in your area and ask for their listenership statistics. They’ll send you a document with a breakdown of the people who tune into their channel, and you can select the station with the greatest number of target audience listeners.
And then, it all comes down to test and learn, test and learn, test and learn.
The only way to know anything for sure in marketing, really.
In that particular instance I’d keep the Google Ads running (don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater!) but see if a targeted radio campaign can raise awareness, leading to more search for your product, more clicks, more leads, more sales, happy days.
And, talking of early starts, that brings us onto timing…
Are you sending the messages out at the right time?
Again, don’t just shut everything down and start again, use the information you have to make a small adjustment, and see if it makes a difference. If you change too many things at once, you don’t know what’s moved the needle.
For example, using our insurance product above – let’s call it InsureTrade – you might not see much of an increase in leads from your radio campaign. So perhaps, move it to the end of the day instead, which is about 4pm for most tradies. They’ll be driving home from work, and, maybe not as consumed with the day ahead. That might be a better time to catch their attention.
You never know until you test and learn. But don’t change the timing of your radio ads, the targeting of your Google Ads and the creative all at the same time!
In short, with media targeting, you want to go fishing where the fish are, otherwise, it doesn’t matter how tempting the offer is, nobody’s going to bite.
Misunderstanding your target audience
This is the final stone to turn over, and unfortunately, it’s often the most difficult to resolve. By now you know everything is working, your target audience is definitely seeing your message – and still, you’re not getting the results you’d hoped for. So, what to do? Well, in this instance you could have one of two problems.
Sometimes it’s easy to get caught in an echo chamber, and you’re not aware that your product isn’t quite as good as it used to be. Have any new competitors come on to the market? Are you offering enough features? Are you too expensive?
Do a full market review and examine your product (or service) alongside all the other options to see how it compares. If you can, bend the ear of your target audience, or commission some research to get to the bottom of it. Sometimes only a little tweak is required, and you’re back in the game.
Or it could be your product is fine and your messaging is off. You’re not communicating the benefits as effectively as you could be, or, something has changed with your target market, and the old messaging isn’t getting cut through like it used to.
Once again put yourself in their shoes. What’s going on in their world? What’s influencing their decisions?
Underlying both of these is a misunderstanding of your target market, and once you’ve done a bit of research into the issues, the answer – yet again – is to change one thing in your messaging, or product make-up, and see what difference it makes. Test and learn, test and learn, test and learn.
Anyway, hopefully, this process can help you resolve any issues you might be having and avoid repeating them in future.
And if you need a hand, of course, we’re always only a click, or a phone call away.