Last December, I realized I was utterly clueless about marketing.
My lack of marketing acumen has been extremely detrimental to the growth of my business.
I estimate that my lack of marketing knowledge has cost me millions of dollars in business revenue that I could have earned.
There are a few important milestones in business.
The first significant milestone is earning your first dollar.
To earn a dollar as a business owner there is only one required action.
Make a sale.
Too often, as a business owner, I find myself making things more complicated than they have to be.
Here are the key ingredients needed to make a sale.
- Something being sold
That’s all that’s needed.
Here’s a story about the simplicity of selling.
All you have to do is ask someone if they want to buy what I’m selling.
If someone says no, find a new person and ask them if they want to buy something.
If you don’t know whom to sell to, walk up to anyone and ask the following question.
“Excuse me sir/madam, would you like to buy something I’m selling?”
If that person says no, then move onto a new person.
Keep asking for the sale until someone says yes.
That’s how simple earning money is.
If I want to earn more money, all I have to do is ask more people to buy from me.
Sales is just a numbers game.
Over the past eleven years, I got better at sales.
Over those eleven years, I tried several different marketing methods.
I paid a lot of money to a marketing company so they could build me a fancy website.
I’ve sent out direct mail.
I’ve hired telephone salespeople to book appointments for me.
I paid a search engine optimization company to boost my Google rankings.
I’ve sent out print and email newsletters.
I’ve attended networking meetings.
I’ve used Facebook Ads.
I’ve done lunch and learn presentations.
I had varying levels of success with those marketing methods ranging to waste of money to phenomenal Return on Investment.
One of the best marketing methods I’ve used is speaking presentations.
I remember one presentation I did a few years ago that generated more than $15,000 worth of work within four weeks.
I spent $100 as part of that presentation.
Now that is a fantastic return of investment.
By spending $100 and one hour of my time, I was able to generate $15,000.
That’s what I call a high return on investment.
Here’s how smart I am.
I did that one presentation over four years ago.
Guess how many presentations I’ve done since that presentation?
Apparently I don’t like money.
What kind of genius discovers a way to make $15,000 from a $100 investment and doesn’t try to replicate that success?
Hello, my name is Damon, and I’m the genius who doesn’t replicate success.
If I would have just done one presentation a quarter for the last four years I could have generated a quarter of a million dollars.
I have four children. That quarter of a million dollars would be enough to pay for their college education.
Here are some of the biggest mistakes I’ve made when it comes to marketing.
- Not having a clearly defined ideal customer.
- Not measuring the results of my marketing.
- Not having a consistent approach to marketing. Most of my marketing has been done haphazardly.
- Not having a marketing plan.
- Not building a database of customers that I marketed to on a regular and consistent basis.
It wasn’t for lack of trying that I’ve been so miserable at marketing.
I’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars on coaches, marketing companies, training, courses, and marketing material.
I’ve also spent hundreds of hours over my business career on marketing my business.
As with most things in life, marketing is something that takes work, and it takes practice.
Much of marketing does not work.
The challenge with marketing is what works for one company may or may not work for my company.
I remember attending an accounting conference once and speaking with an accounting business owner.
He shared with me that he was having a lot of success with a search engine optimization company.
I respected this accounting business owner and made the stupid assumption that what worked for his company would work for my company.
Consequently, I made the idiotic mistake of blindly hiring this search engine optimization company.
I think you can probably tell already where this story is going.
For the next year, I went to the bank and withdrew money so I could throw the money into a bonfire.
I did not get any new business for paying the search engine optimization company.
I was a fool with my money because I thought that all I had to do was throw money at my problem and my problem would magically disappear.
There was a period of two months, where I spent about $3,000 mailing out one-page letters to different business owners.
At the end of two months, I stopped mailing out the one-page letters.
The reason why I stopped mailing out the one-page letters is because I wasn’t getting any new work.
I got scared because I felt like I was bleeding money and didn’t think the one-page letters were working.
A few months later I had a few people contact me that had received my one-page letters.
They hired me to become their accountant.
This year alone, I’ve made around $10,000 from the work I did for clients that hired me as a result of the mailings I sent out.
I did that two-month mailing campaign over five years ago.
I can safely estimate that the $3,000 mailing campaign earned me north of $60,000 over the last five years.
Guess how many mailing campaigns I’ve conducted in the last five years?
Let’s say I only did one two month campaign where I spent $3,000 each of the last five years.
How much money have I lost because I didn’t replicate the success I had from my mailing campaign?
At least $300,000.
Where I live, in North Carolina, $300,000 would purchase a lovely home.
Despite being miserable at marketing, I’ve still built a successful accounting practice.
I’ve built a good income for myself, which has enabled to provide a better life for my children than the life I had growing up.
Even though I made some boneheaded moves with my marketing, I was able to have some successes.
Sure I could have been more successful.
I could be further down the entrepreneurial journey than I am now.
However, I’m not.
Someone once said, “Even a broken clock is right twice a day.”
I was bad at marketing, and I still achieved some tremendous results.
What I’m doing with this knowledge is returning back to what worked.
My two most successful marketing methods were presentations and direct mail.
This month I’ll be getting back in the saddle with lunch and learn presentations at Realtor offices.
In November, I’ll begin mailing out one-page sales letters out to Realtors.
Those marketing methods worked in the past. I’m going to test and see if they will work again.