5 Marketing Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make

In virtually every area of business, there will be pitfalls along the way. Marketing is no exception. Time and time again, businesses of all sizes make the same costly mistakes. But knowing how to avoid these mistakes can save you energy, disappointment – and money.

Mistake #1: Eliminating marketing efforts when times get tight.

When cash flow slows, advertising, direct mail and other forms of marketing are the easiest expenses to reduce, right? But cut these, and you eliminate the very activities that will bring in new customers to turn your business around.

This is the time when you may be spending more time analyzing the results of your marketing efforts. But by stopping marketing efforts, you will be setting yourself up for additional loss of business.

Mistake #2: Not measuring results.

Don’t wait until times get tight to start measuring the results of your marketing efforts. By analyzing regularly, you will be able to reinvest in what is working, and drop what is not working. Ask customers how they found your business, and then track the results.

Use coupons or advertising codes to track your customers. Or host a focus group of a variety of customers to discover what attracts them to your business.

Mistake #3: Putting all your marketing dollars in one area.

If your entire marketing budget is used on just one method of promoting your business, you won’t realize the highest return on your investment. Diversifying your efforts will increase the frequency and reach of your messages and stretch your marketing dollars.

Businesses can get hooked into one large advertising program with a local newspaper, magazine or radio station, and put the majority of their marketing dollars there. They feel as if they have to advertise with the same media source, just because they always have or because fear they will lose ground since their competitors are advertising there as well.

Some actually stay with a company for fear of upsetting their sales associate or because they simply don’t want to say no to them.

Remember, it’s your money and your investment. Don’t ever let anyone talk you into an advertising program that is not producing the best results for your business. And measure the results of your advertising dollars spent vs. the income received from your advertising on a consist basis.

When you diversify, don’t forget about direct marketing. Many business owners only do a few direct-mail programs a year, targeted to their existing customer base. They need to do more.

Your customer base and mailing list is gold, make sure you have budgeted a large part of your marketing dollars to advertise to your existing customers. They already love you, so keep them coming in by sending a direct mail piece to them at least six times a year.

Mistake #4: Allowing your ego to get in the way of common sense.

Ego can tempt a very bright person to do dumb things. Your marketing decisions should be based on factors that will positively impact some area of your business – usually the bottom line.

For example: Buying full-page ads or covers featuring yourself and not focusing on your business’ unique offerings may result in money going out the window.

Mistake #5: Not getting help when you need it.

If you find you’re too busy to handle your marketing efforts or that your materials aren’t looking as professional as they should, it is time to call in the reinforcements.

Hire a full-or part-time employee to allow you more free time to work on the “business end” or hire an independent business consultant to bring in new concepts and fresh ideas.

Why You Should Consider Real Estate For Your Self Directed Roth IRA Investments

Self directed Roth IRA investments have the potential to earn more. For many people, it’s “put it in the bank and leave it alone.” But since 1996 when the fund was established, some investors have taken advantage of the fully self-directed approach.

Some of their accounts have values in the millions of dollars now. Those that counted on the banking industry or the stock market have accounts valued at no more than $44 to $73 thousand.

With the right self directed Roth IRA investments, it’s possible to grow $20,000 into a million is as little as three years. Others have done it. Why not you?

Yeah, I know it almost sounds like a get-rich quick scheme, but there is no scheme involved. It’s all a matter of making the right choices… self-directing is the first step. Choosing a custodian that gives you complete control and offers all of the legal investment options is step 2.

Comparison shopping the fees that custodians charge is also important. An annual fee is acceptable and expected. Per-transaction charges add up quickly. Companies like Scott and Ameritrade may offer some free trades, but they will eventually start to charge you for each investment that you make.

In addition, they only offer opportunities found in the stock market.

If you’ve been following the news, you know that many people are turning to self directed Roth IRA investments because they are tired of losing their money. From 2001-2007, the average account invested in stocks and mutual funds grew by about 9% per year. Between 2007 and 2008, it is estimated that those accounts lost an average of 20%. So in one year, nearly 3 years of growth were erased.

Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t invest in stocks. I’m saying that you need to consider all of your options and fully diversify.

Diversification has come to mean investing in a variety of different mutual funds, but that’s not true diversification. In order to be fully diversified, you need to consider all of the markets, and especially the housing market.

Everyone needs a place to live… and the population is not shrinking. And even if high priced houses are not selling right now and their values are declining, you have to look at the overall picture.

The investor that grew $20,000 into a million in three years did it with self directed Roth IRA investments in the real estate market. He started by flipping vacant lots. His profits were sometimes as high as $40,000 per deal. He continued by offering to provide mortgages for interested buyers. For 15-30 years, his account will continue to accept mortgage payments from several people with interest rates around 8%. So, portions of his funds are earning a 24% return.

The key is to find the market that is buying or renting and provide the housing that they need. Get some more education and turn your self directed Roth IRA investments into real money makers.

You might even get to retire earlier than you thought possible.

Know These Affiliate Marketing Terms Before You Start Your Online Career

It is vital that you understand the language of affiliate marketing. It is important that you know what it means in order to sign up for programs that are worth your time.

Also read the terms and conditions for affiliates because not knowing these can bring you in serious trouble. You should at least understand the following terms and abbreviations.

Super Affiliate: This refers to anyone who is making a lot of money in affiliate marketing, if you are an affiliate. However, if you have an affiliate program for your own product, this refers to your top affiliates: the ones who are making the most sales for you.

Opt-In: This refers to ezine subscriptions, newsletter subscriptions, or email lists in general. Basically, it means that the subscribers on any email list have chosen to receive the information the list owner is sending. Typically, they have confirmed their email address and their request by clicking on a link in a confirmation email, which is known as double opt-in.

1st Tier and 2nd Tier: If you are signing up for an affiliate program, directly through the company, you are first tier. If you are signing up under someone else, you are 2nd tier. However, when someone signs up under you, you are first tier, and they are your 2nd tier. Each tier gets a different commission rate for sales. In other words, when you sign up under someone else, when you make a sale, you get a full commission, and the person you signed up under gets a partial commission.

Joint Ventures: Joint ventures are similar to affiliate programs, but they operate a bit differently. The concept is the same: one person promotes another person’s product for a commission. However, usually the commissions are bigger, and the person doing the promoting is working directly with the owner of the product.

Direct Mail: This refers to advertising that is done via postal mail. There are strict laws about direct mail, and many affiliate programs will have terms and conditions relating to direct mail to promote their product.

Cookies: A cookie is a piece of code that is written to the cookie file on a person’s computer when they click on an affiliate link or when they visit sites that use cookies, such as sites that require a login. The cookie does not harm your customer’s computer at all, and is simply there to make sure that you get credit for the sale if they come back later to make a purchase.

Affiliate Agreement: The agreement that usually lists the terms and conditions related to an affiliate program. In most cases, you will agree to the affiliate agreement by checking a box when you fill out an online form to join the program. Some affiliate programs, however, will require you to print out, sign, and fax the agreement. Make sure you read these agreements.

Conversion Rate: This is the number of sales in relation to the number of clicks received. Usually portrayed as a percentage.

Commission: The amount of money that you as an affiliate will receive per sale. Some companies will list this as a percentage, such as 50%, while others will list it as a dollar figure.

Associate or Associate Program: This is the same as an affiliate program.

Banner Ad: A graphic that is placed on your website and linked with your affiliate link.

If at any time you come across other terms or abbreviations of which you don’t know the meaning then try to find out what they are about. This may avoid problems later on.