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.

Direct Marketing VS Bigger Signage

Often I am ask by marketing students to compare different types of advertising a marketing. Once, I was ask a Case Study Question; Which is better Direct Mail Marketing or a Bigger Sign on your business? Well, I said I will answer your question if you give me more details.

Such as where would I be sending these direct mail pieces? Was my business on a major thoroughfare? Where did my customer base currently come from? What is my target market? What type of signage is out there now and what is the sign made out of?

Well the student who asked the question gave up and withdrew they question so I began to carefully construct a creative scenario. Okay, my business is a car wash on the busiest street in town and 80% of my customers come from a 10-mile radius, which spans 20,000 people in two zip codes plus one more zip code of PO Boxes.

My current sign is wood and decaying, the new city sign ordinance implemented last year due to lobbying by the Chamber of Commerce allows for triple the size and a higher pole out front. The new sign I want costs $4,000 and I get no trade in value for the old sign, its basically fire wood.

In this case I choose to cut down my direct mail for the year by 4 mailings. Currently I do eight per year of the 10-mile radius at $1,000 each. Instead I will do only 4 mailings and build my sign. So what does this say about, which is the better way to advertise? It says they are both good and you should consider this in 2006.

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.