A few years ago I was reading a Dan Kennedy book, I can’t remember which one… but the other day I saw in a Facebook group which reminded me of a valuable lesson it taught me.
..You’ve seen this before..
..People in forums or groups freely dropping their golden nuggets of wisdom to new entrepreneurs..
Among the wealth of solid advice, mixed in with genuinely useful, actionable and helpful tips, a questionable staple has emerged to newbies.. “find a successfully company and copy it”.
And so the new guy goes out and looks at the big names.. and attempts to emulate the market leaders.
Then things don’t work out as expected and he’s confused.
..You see, the problem with that approach is, if you’re a home-based business then your needs are very different to the needs of a market leader.
Your agenda is different.
A market leader has a whole heap of issues to deal with that you don’t.
Your needs are much simpler.
So when we try to mimic a well known brand in our niches, we can end up wasting our resources. I don’t know about you but the most valuable resource I’ve got is time.. the second in money.
And if I try to market my website or advertise in the same way as the big guys, I’m wasting both.
Sometimes, when big companies promote themselves their marketing efforts have nothing to do with making sales.
Their reason for doing things is different.
They need to worry about things like:
- Board of directors
- Stock holders
- The media
- Brand image
And a whole bunch of other things you don’t need to be concerned with.
Your only concern is to make sales.
So it makes sense that if you’re going to copy someone, it makes sense to copy a business that has the same agenda as you, right?
But be careful who you copy, be careful of you who emulate and study.
Make sure their reasons for marketing in a particular way matches your agenda.
Check that their objectives match your own.
If their reasons don’t sync with yours, find somebody else to copy.
Then pay attention. Examine in detail everything they do, and how they do it.
Conformity Is Not Your Friend (This Time)
Here’s a little secret..
Most salespeople, most marketers.. don’t have a clue what they’re doing.
They don’t even realise they don’t have a clue.
It’s the same for all industries.
They’re looking at what other people in their industry are doing and trying to copy it.
They don’t know why they’re doing it.
Sure, they’re trying to improve it and do things better, but they’re in small closed circles, regurgitating the same advice over and over.
This behaviour can prevent entrepreneurs from progressing.
But it’s not their fault
It’s built into us; we conform in order to survive.
The Science Bit
For decades scientists have been fascinated by our willingness to conform, even at times when we know it’s wrong to.
At one end of the spectrum we have things like repeating things we’ve heard because “everybody knows it” – and at the other, we can sometimes do horrendous things because it’s “what’s expected” of us.
This behaviour was probably a great asset to our progress back when we lived in caves and tribes, but in the business world it’s occasionally not so beneficial.
We even repeatedly hear the phrase “think outside the box” over and over, now the concept is solid but the fact that it’s become a stock mantra is a little ironic.
Anyway, the evidence is there – and you know me, I don’t like conjecture so take a look at this video.
It’s the Asch Conformity Experiment:
If you can’t be bothered to watch the video then let me explain it to you.
Subjects knowingly give a wrong answer just because somebody else in their group does.
Here’s another one that also helps illustrate my point:
This video is even more fascinating than the first.
Just because a group of people do something (that seemingly doesn’t make sense and has no explanation), we can find ourselves joining in and parroting the behaviour.
Social conformity is that strong.
What is even more interesting is that when left alone, the subject continues to repeat the same behaviour, and will also teach newcomers to copy.
Again, they don’t know why they’re doing it.
Let’s look at an example you might be familiar with.
When it comes to starting a home business, you may have seen people in groups and forums claiming that “95% of people who start will fail” – yet when pushed to provide data or a source for that statistic they are unable to. It doesn’t exist.
It’s another myth in our industry that just isn’t true, yet it is continuously parroted by very intelligent and capable entrepreneurs.
However, a skillful marketer can also use these behavioural triggers to their advantage, and influence the perception of products or services.
Now, in order to stop looking inward and progress, the obvious answer is to break away from the herd and seek out something different, at least for a while.
Give Yourself A Clean Slate
It’s time to get serious about your success.
Remove everything that isn’t helping you to move forward.
You need to purge.
The quickest way to do that right now is to go through your email inbox and unsubscribe from every marketer’s lists, if you haven’t receiving anything of value from them for a while.
Then go through an examine all your promotional material. Is it working for you? If not, get rid of it. You don’t need it.
Once you’re left with either:
A) The stuff that’s working, or
b) A clean slate
It’s time to build a new framework – and stick to it. It requires discipline. Read my article on how to get the right mindset and motivate yourself (opens in a new window).
Ok, gone ahead and read that? Nope?
The point of the article is how you can become more disciplined and achieve more success, it will actually help you out a lot.
Oh well let’s carry on anyway.
So let’s imagine that you’ve gone ahead and unsubscribed from the sleazy internet marketers email lists, you increase the chance that the emails you receive will now contain useful, actionable information and not one hyped up pitch after another.
And I’ll also assume that you’ve got rid of any marketing stuff that wasn’t producing results for you.
Now you’ve got a nice clean slate.
Rules Are For ‘Other People’
I have 5 golden rules will help you to improve your marketing, save you money and increase your sales.
“Rules?” You say, “but I’m an entrepreneur and rules don’t apply to me. I’m all about freedom, living how I choose. You can keep your rules”.
And I get that, I’d be exactly the same.
But rules are sometimes needed.
It’s discipline – remember I talked about it in article I mentioned earlier, the one you didn’t read?
With these rules we’re correcting a mistake, making sure it never happens again and building a better business as a result.
Maybe instead of ‘rules’, we call it a ‘framework’. It sounds more entrepreneur-friendly.
So, here’s the framework I use:
- I will always provide value before an offer
- I will always pitch a relevant and high quality offer
- I will always give clear instructions on how to take action
- I will always follow up on contact
- I will always track every stage
Copy this, read it and burn it into your brain.
Do not release another piece of content, product, banner adverts – or anything else, without first applying every one of these.
The Framework In Detail
So let’s break things down a bit.
Always provide value before an offer
You’re in a supermarket and a smiley lady invites you to try a sample of cheese for free. Yum. Because it was so nice you feel compelled to buy more.
This is exactly the same principle as providing value up front. Besides putting your best foot forward and showing how great your stuff is, it also plays on human nature through the desire to reciprocate when someone does something nice for you.
Or to look at it another way, always include an offer with your high value stuff.
Always pitch a relevant and high quality offer
Most businesses don’t know how to do this. They tell a prospect what they do and how to get in touch if they’re needed – and that’s it.
Presenting that kind of information doesn’t grab attention, it doesn’t sizzle.
An offer needs to scream out at a prospect ‘LOOK AT ME’ and then give them a irresistible reason to take action. ‘Buy one get one free’ – now that’s a great offer. ‘Half off your next purchase’ – that’s another great offer.
It’s gotta light a fire under them.
Always give clear instructions on how to take action
This might sound obvious, but stick with me here.
A lot of businesses just put their phone number or email address with no CLEAR instructions on what to do next.
You must tell them what they need to do, how to do it, when to do it and tell them what happens once they do it.
Always follow up on contact
How many times have you received an enquiry about your product or service, answered the prospects questions and then let them on their merry way?
Probably a lot, right?
Start thinking of every single contact you have with every single person as an opportunity to deliver more amazing value to them.
And remember the rule about delivering value? It always comes with a great offer.
If you just let them out of your sight without any follow up then you’re missing out on revenue.
Always track every stage
Stop guessing, or ‘feeling’ what might work and use hard statistical data instead.
You must follow the numbers, even when you don’t like the results.
It’s not enough to just split-test two versions of a lead capture page or a sales page.
Pretend that version one produces $100 profit. While version two produces $80 profit.
You might jump all over version one and set it as your control. But wait. What kind of action are those customers taking after the purchase?
What if customers from version two are repeat buyers?
Which version gives you the best return on investment now?
If you’re not tracking this kind of data then you’re missing out on potential goldmines.
Now you’ve hopefully got some great ideas that you can use to improve your marketing efforts and get much better results.
You’ll be able to deploy campaigns that you know stand a greater chance of success, and you’ll probably save yourself money in the process.