Troubleshooting direct response marketing campaigns

As a business owner, there’s nothing more frustrating than a well thought out marketing campaign that isn’t bringing in leads. We know full well that direct response marketing is almost entirely science, and we can adjust variables, implement controls, measure, track, and tweak until we find the winning formula, but it’s difficult to prevent ourselves from having an emotional response when things aren’t going the way we want them to.

This is even more true when we see a lot of money going out the door on marketing campaigns that aren’t producing a return. I have never met a single practitioner that hasn’t had the experience of spending thousands of dollars on an advertisement, mailing campaign, or lead program and end up with zero responses. None. Nada. Zilch. We’ve all done it at least once, and some of us still do it frequently. My January 2013 pre-tax season mailing was an utterly embarrassing flop, and I’m still eating crow from that one.

The thing to never lose sight of, however, is that marketing is a science. To quote Tony Robbins, “…there is no such thing as failure, only feedback.” All the marketing we do is a test. Always be testing — that’s the mantra of all marketers. Track everything, measure everything, tweak, and re-test.

You’d think by now that I would have created a troubleshooting checklist for helping me examine my own marketing campaigns, but I haven’t. Until last night, that is. At the bottom of this article (on the web site, click through at the “continue reading” link below), I’ve posted the first, rough draft of a new marketing troubleshooting checklist for Premium members (membership does have it’s perks!).

Here are the big picture items to look at when you’re not getting responses to your marketing:

  • Are your staff members properly handling incoming phone call inquiries? [You’d be shocked at some of things I’ve heard tax staff tell people calling in.]
  • Do you have market-to-message match? In other words, does what you say resonate with the people you’re sending it to?
  • Is your tracking phone number, web site, email system, etc. all actually working?
  • Are you making follow up phone calls to direct mail pieces?
  • Have you tested a statistically valid number of contacts/pieces in order to make a scientific assessment?
  • Have you completed an entire cycle of a multi-hit mailing sequence?
  • Do your marketing pieces include a compelling offer? [Note: “Free consultation” is NOT a compelling offer.

This is really just the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to troubleshooting your marketing. The checklist below will be added to the new checklists book I’m still in the process of editing (waaay behind the 8-ball on that project!), but this should create a good starting point for you to begin troubleshooting your marketing.

I should also point out that if you aren’t tracking your numbers, then it’s difficult to troubleshoot anything. You should always know precisely how many calls you’re getting and making, and from what marketing piece they’re coming. You should track all web site visitors, and know what mailing piece, email, radio spot, or other thing they’re coming from. These numbers are critical to the success of your marketing, and you can’t tweak what you don’t measure.

[DAP] [s3mv]MarketingTroubleshootingChecklist.pdf,link[/s3mv] [/DAP]