what marketing strategy for your business?

There are two broad types of marketing and in this article you’ll learn what they are, and why you should always focus on the second type – direct-response marketing – if you run your own business.

Don’t Copy Big-Brand Advertising…

Small businesses often copy tactics they see being used in ads by big businesses. That’s a great pity, because the vast majority of large corporate advertising is about building a brand which will be attractive to people in an almost imperceptible emotional way.

Branding is effective and works great if you’ve got a huge budget to blow – or if you’re very clever with constructing your brand. If not, you’re better off doing direct-response marketing.

Of course it’s interesting to look at what the big corporations do, but you have keep in mind the reason that it works for them and why it’s not a good general approach for your marketing.

Marketing Owes a Lot to a Scientist Feeding Dogs

In the 1890’s. Ivan Pavlov, a Hungarian physiologist, was investigating salivation in dogs when they were being fed. He noticed that they would begin to salivate when he entered the room before feeding them.

They were connecting his presence in the room with food. The saliva was produced in anticipation of being fed. It was the emotion causing the reaction, not the food itself. The thought of having food made the dogs react as if there was food right in front of them.

And Humans Have Similar Reactions…

And it turns out that we humans are the same. You get excited and can react in anticipation of things, from food, to politics, religion, the next episode of your favourite TV show or film series, and so on.

You experience emotions associated with something before it happens – desire, anger or whatever.

Our kids get excited by the thought of Christmas or birthday presents.

It’s All Down To Dopamine, One of our Happy Hormones…

They may have absolutely no idea what they’re getting, but the Dopamine in their brain, an important hormone, is triggered by the expectation. Marketers for large corporations started using this connection to associate pleasurable feelings with their products.

These big companies know the power of reminding you of their brand and the pleasures associated with it.

The Mug & Chocolate Easter Egg Is Programming Your Brain…

It’s why I hate having mugs with chocolate brands on them. The bright logos and colours associated with sweets become linked to the body’s sugar cravings. So when you drink a cup of tea from that mug a few months later, your brain is going to start the craving cycle.

These big corporations are very smart and this mechanism is very powerful. Why do you think so many make Easter eggs with branded mugs? They get you to buy a piece of advertising from them that then sits in your cupboard and makes you crave more of their product. Brilliant. Or is it manipulative? Interesting, nevertheless.

That, then, is what the big brands do to create a strong emotional desire in their customers to keep buying their brand.

Small Businesses Cannot Afford to Copy McDonalds or Coca-Cola’s Marketing Approach

Coca-Cola spends something like $2 billion every year on marketing. They do this to keep their brand colours, the happy smiley images and sounds of Coca-Cola in front of their customers all year round.

It’s the repetition that makes it work – lots and lots of people seeing the brand over and over again makes for a huge market of customers.

Small businesses cannot afford to do such broad-brush advertising and – let’s be honest – don’t normally have the sophistication or organisation to maintain the brand image and create such a powerful response as the big corporations.

For Starters, Don’t Use Your Business Name As A Headline…

But without any real knowledge of marketing strategy, small business owners blow thousands they can ill-afford on similar ads.

They use their business name as the headline for an advert and wonder why they don’t hear the ching-ching of new sales flooding through.

As a result the ads are turned off after a few weeks and the business owner decides that kind of advertising is rubbish for them.

The Best Marketing For Small Businesses Sells Directly…

A definition that’s often used to describe good marketing is that it is ‘salesmanship in print’.

This quote dates back to around 1911 and has stood the test of time.

Of course, print has now changed to all kinds of media – still including print but now we also have the radio, TV and of course the Internet across a whole slew of devices like computers, smart phones and tablets.

When you approach your marketing with the view that it is salesmanship rather than simply ‘getting your name out there’, it starts to alter your approach.

Great Salespeople Produce 10 times the Customers of Average Salespeople.

And while great salespeople are also hard to find, the same is true of great advertising. It takes real knowledge and skill to apply direct response techniques in order to get results.

But when you get it right – wow – it delivers incredible results, supporting the growth of businesses from nothing into the millions within a few short years (like Airworld Tours, who added almost 2 million pounds during a year on my Double Your Business Programme).

A little earlier in this article, I mentioned that an advert should never use your business name as a title.

How Does Direct Response Advertising Look Different?

The most effective ads for producing a sale or enquiry for your business will feature a number of elements, often described with the acronym AIDA…

Grab Attention

To get eyeballs on your advert. Most people will ignore your advert altogether – the job of your headline is to draw them in. It’s worth spending time to get this right – because otherwise nobody will read your ads at all.

Hold their Interest

People read a newspaper in a matter of 15-30 minutes. Obviously they skip through, concentraing on the parts that interest them. You had better make your adverts interesting and engaging or people won’t bother finishing them.

Build Desire

People only buy what they want, so your advert has to make the reader want what you’re selling. If it fails at this stage, the ad won’t work.

Call to Action

Clear communication is essential when you’re selling – you want to leave nothing to chance. At the end of your advert you need to tell people what to do next. Do they visit a website? Click a link to put something into a basket? How do they go to checkout? This is your Call to Action.

The buying process must be easy and transparent so that people can flow from the headline of your advert to passing over money or making an enquiry without falling out halfway through.

The Secret is that Your Whole Marketing Strategy Must be Designed to Sell, Sell, Sell.

If you take the time to learn and apply this type of marketing in your own business, your results will be transformed.