Category Archives: common mistakes of business plan writers

Optimal Marketing Campaign Strategy

Zero in on your optimal marketing strategies.

Zero in on your optimal marketing strategies.

As a copy writer for web/print, I know that the most effective campaigns are guided by thoroughly planned out marketing strategies.  I’ve written the following brief article to help you grow your revenue faster with less risk.

Optimal marketing campaigns—those that result in the highest net profit return on your investment of time and money—are the result of sufficient research, strategy, planning, and careful decision making, weighing all the factors.  As a seasoned marketing strategist with experience in a wide variety of industries, I can help guide you every step of the way, preventing you from wasting your precious time and money.  Then, when it comes time to design the format and write your copy for web sites, sales letters, post cards, flyers, and promotional audio or video, I can either write it for you or write it with you, teaching you how to do it yourself in the future.

Without the necessary research, strategy, and planning, the likelihood that you’ll have a strong ROI, or even have ANY profit from a marketing campaign, is much lower.  If you take the time to develop a strategy that answers the following questions, you’re like to find much more success in all of your campaigns:

Which strategy is most likely to produce the greatest net profit in the shortest amount of time with the least amount of risk?

So, let’s break that down.  Which strategy (or optional promotional opportunity) is 1) most likely (probability expressed as a percentage, e.g. 50% probability of success) to produce the greatest 2) net profit (a $100 net profit versus a $1000 net profit) in the shortest amount of 3) time (recorded in days, weeks, months, or years) with the least amount of 4) risk (the subjective emotional as well as financial component of the company’s decision makers).

Risk assessment is probably one of the most challenging of the 4 factors.  If you had $1 million in your company’s accounts, you probably wouldn’t mind investing $50,000 in a marketing campaign.  But, if you only had a total of $50,000 in your company’s “war chest,” you would be far less comfortable investing your entire amount of capital.  So, for our purposes, we will express this risk factor as a percentage of total capital available.

This single question, involving several variables, will guide all of your marketing and sales process decision-making.  It can be graphically illustrated in the following table, where the Options are the various marketing channels or promotional opportunities available to most small businesses. Then, you give a numeric value to each of the factors according to how important it is to YOU relative to each other.

Options Probability Net Profit Time Frame Level of Risk/

% of total budget

Option A 90% $100 1 week 5%
Option B 40% $2,000 3 weeks 30%
Option C 20% $50,000 8 weeks 60%

Based on this matrix of marketing campaign decision making, which type of decision is easier, faster to make, and one that you’d be willing to go ahead with time and time again.  Let’s look at Option A:  Is it a “no-brainer” to make a decision that is 90% likely to work, only involves a 1 week time span, and requires only 5% of your overall marketing budget at risk?  So, even though the net profit of $100 is not a lot, you could make this “bet” several times a week, couldn’t you?  And you’d still be able to feel very comfortable with the level of risk, wouldn’t you?

Whereas, Option C, with it’s high net profit potential, is less of an attractive option, since it is only 20% likely to work and requires both a longer wait time of 8 weeks and a much larger risk factor, taking 60% of your marketing budget to execute.

Now, are you starting to see how analyzing every marketing opportunity available to you is a crucial step to making sure you don’t waste time and money?  In fact, this one formula for comparing marketing channels can guide your every decision, making sure you are comfortable with the risk, and can improve your chances of a successful campaign many times over.

For testimonials from clients, enjoy reviewing my LinkedIn professional profile at http://www.linkedin.com/in/andrewbarden

Sample copy writing sites:

www.eggurl.com/dV

www.AndrewBarden.com

www.SoccerMarketingInc.com

www.TrainingInLA.org

www.MackeySalesTeam.com

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Business Coaching – Zero Risk Offer to Increase Your Net Profits

Hi. I’m Andrew Barden, Philanthropic Entrepreneur.


I can help you make more money in your small business at no risk to you. I’ve helped literally thousands small business owners from around the world make more money through improving their marketing strategies and execution of their marketing campaigns.


I don’t charged upfront fees. I work on a contingency contract. Simply put you only pay me a small portion of your increase in net profits. There is never any risk for you when working with me. To learn more about my philosophy and why I call myself a philanthropic entrepreneur, visit http://www.AndrewBarden.com.


The greatest resource of the entrepreneur is also his or her most scarce resource.  It is not money. The scarcest resource you have is your time. If you are willing to invest 30 minutes of your time in your business, I will be willing to do the same.  This could simply be my gift to you or this could be the start of a great business relationship.  When you sign-up for a 30-minute complementary no-obligation consultation, I will help you to assess what might be stopping you from making more money in your particular business. Often it takes an objective third party to diagnose what’s really going on in your business.


Now, given tough economic times and the likelihood that your sales have already been slipping for quite some time,  isn’t now the best time to take action? Isn’t now the best time to consult with experts who have helped thousands of small business owners apply proven principles and strategies in their small business?


I also invite you to connect with me on Linkin.com. Go to http://www.linkedin.com/in/andrewbarden and invite me to connect. You will see there my professional profile that includes testimonials from small business owners and colleagues, other experts who have witnessed the results I can get for small business owners.


I also invite you to follow me on this blow, read the posts, and sign up to be alerted to new posts.


Finally, I invite you to invest 30 minutes in your small business marketing strategy development. Again, there is no risk to you, as these 30 minutes will be a true conversation and focus on showing you immediate ways to improve your marketing strategy, both online and off-line.


During these 30 minutes I don’t hold anything back. I give you my best, with the hopes that you and I might eventually develop a relationship in which I work with you regularly on a contingency contract. I would normally charge $150 for such a diagnostic. But, to start out any business relationship I practice applying the Law of Reciprocity, I “show up giving.” There are numerous Universal Laws that I’ll help you apply.


There are typically two areas that most small business owners neglect.


1. The business owner’s own mindset: developing prosperity consciousness is the first and foremost responsibility of the business owner. Visits my website at http://www.andrewbarden.com where, as part of my philanthropic entrepreneurial mission, I have made available hundreds of files–including pdfs, audio, and video–under the page called “free prosperity downloads.”


2. The psychological profile of the business’ IDEAL client. Without knowing how your ideal client makes decisions you will not know how to most effectively market and sell to your ideal clients. Not knowing who your ideal client is will make its much more difficult to grow your net profits as you will service clients who are not ideal. In general and ideal client is one who is easy to find easy to reach with a message, response to that message, takes action, is easy to sell to, buys more than your average clients, does business regularly would you, and refers all of his or her family and friends and associates to you.


Applying the 80/20 principle, we know that 20% of your revenue comes from 80% of your clients and 80% of the revenue comes from 20% of your clients. Wouldn’t you like to replace the 80% of your less than ideal clients with the 20% of ideal clients less quadrupling your income, basically making more money in less time. This is the power of developing an ideal clients psychological profile otherwise known as psychographics.


Demographics are the first step and also the easiest step in developing a marketing campaign. Too often small business owners stop at a demographic profile by a list and send off a postcard or flyer or brochure. They then sit and wait for the phone to ring, and unfortunately, little to nothing happens. Have you ever found yourself in that situation?


There’s a simple solution that unfortunately most small business owners don’t know. In order for even an ideal client to respond to a marketing message they need to hear the message in veriest formats from 10 to 12 times before they will take action and contact you. This means that if you send out 5000 postcards you don’t send them to 5000 people once. Instead, you send to 500 people 10 postcards with a similar branding theme yet different messages. You’ll have a similar cost as postage is by far the greatest expense. And you will have a far greater response rate and a much greater return on your investment in the end I seen 400% ROIs in direct mail campaigns.


The other crucial principle most small business owners neglect to apply correctly is generically termed relationship marketing. Roughly 85% of all small businesses in the United States are service based. Even if you are also selling products they’re typically is a decision-making process that requires a live person to interact with the buyer. The sales process typically looks like this:


awareness –> like –> trust –> buy –> repeat buy –> refer


So, in the beginning of the relationship you are simply making your prospect aware of your offer. Your next step is essentially to get them to like you. People do business with those that they like, just like people choose to associate with friends for which they have some affinity.


Once you begin to like someone, notice that they care about your welfare, and notice that they are competence in their particular industry, you can begin to trust them and consider doing business with them. At that point you as the seller of your services would begin to talk about the benefits of doing business with you versus other people, and the various advantages and features of your product or service.


Unfortunately, most people sell or create promotions that focus on price, discounts, features, and forgot to establish an awareness, affinity, and trust in the relationship. This is why many advertisements and other direct mail or e-mail campaigns simply do not produce a significant return and often even no return… in fact it is often poor marketing strategy and field campaigns that is the direct cause of small businesses going out of business.


You may have heard from the Small Business Administration how well over two thirds of all small businesses failed in the first four years. And even greater numbers fail in subsequent years. Without effective marketing producing strong returns on your investment of money and time and the sales process that is engineered specifically to cater to your ideal clients preferences, wants, and hot buttons, you’re more likely to fail than to succeed in building your small business.


Growing your business is simple, but, it’s simply not that easy. Why is it not that easy? It is not that easy because most small business owners neglect to understand their own mindset and the mindset of their ideal client. If you work with a business coach who can help you develop prosperity consciousness as well as the psychological profile of your ideal clients your likelihood of succeeding in your business venture increases exponentially.


There are well over a dozen small business coaching companies whose fees range from 3000 upwards to 25,000 or more. Their sales pitch essentially reads like give us your money and maybe will be able to help you. Does that sound like an inviting offer? Of course not.


The most irresistible offer for small business owner who is looking for clarity and confidence in their marketing strategy and campaign execution is to find a business coach who will instead of acting like a vendor will act like a partner. A partner in your business would, like you, be willing to invest their time or what we call sweat equity, at their own risk. Your partner, would then sharer in the net profits with you.


When you hire a business coach who works on a contingency contract you are essentially securing a partner who makes a small portion of your net profits that they help you to create. Sometimes he can happen quickly. Sometimes it may take a few months. But in the end there is an equal investment of time. Doesn’t that sound like an irresistible offer? Doesn’t that sound like the kind of relationship you want to have with your business coach?


In uncertain economic times business owners who will survive will take much more calculated risks. They will do their homework in order to make decisions with clarity and confidence. A business coach who can walk you through a proven system that has enabled literally thousands of small business owners to achieve strong ROIs in various industries in numerous cultures and economic conditions around the world is hands down one of the best partners a business owner would want to have.


Invite me to start that relationship by signing up for an initial complementary 30 minute business diagnostic session. At the end of the conversation you and I will both make a decision to move onto the next step or not. I serve over 70 clients every month as of March 2009, most of them in Los Angeles County. However I’m willing to add a few more. So long as you are fluent in English, and are passionate about growing your small business revenues and willing to commit time and resources to achieve your business goals and we might be a good fit.


I look forward to speaking with you soon. If you are eager to start a relationship feel free to contact me via e-mail at Andrew@AndrewBarden.com or call my toll-free cell phone at 1 – 866-339-4619. This number, again, rings directly to my personal cell phone, so please only call during business hours Pacific Standard Time, from 9am to 6pm, Monday through Friday.


To your success,


Andrew Barden
Founder, Philanthropic Entrepreneur
http://www.AndrewBarden.com

1-866-339-4619

Which Comes First, the Product or the Promotion?

I often answer marketing strategy questions on social networking sites, which typically lands me new clients. While I was on LinkedIn’s group called eOffice, I read the following posted question:

Which comes first, the product or the marketing?

I stumbled upon this post by the genius Seth Godin, The Marketing Guru. “Well, if you define marketing as advertising, then it’s clear you need the product first (Captain Crunch being the only exception I can think of… they made the ads first.)

This great clip from Mad Men brings the point home. If the Kodak guys hadn’t invented the Carousel slide projector, Don Draper could never have pitched this ad. But wait. Marketing is not the same as advertising. Advertising is a tiny slice of what marketing is today, and in fact, it’s pretty clear that the marketing has to come before the product, not after. As Jon points out, the Prius was developed after the marketing thinking was done.

Jones Soda, too. In fact, just about every successful product or service is the result of smart marketing thinking first, followed by a great product that makes the marketing story come true. If someone comes to you with a ‘great’ product that just needs some marketing, the game is probably already over.” http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2009/02/which-comes-first-the-product-or-the-marketing.html

Then, I replied with the following:

As you already know, Seth is among the best in the industry. So, to agree with him is a bit redundant. But, since you asked, it is definitely the promotion/marketing. If you haven’t already read Tim Ferriss’s 4-Hour Work Week book, you’ll find in there several simple ways to test, at least online, the sales process, including all marketing channels and finally to the point on a web page that someone gives their credit card information.

If you can get traffic to your site, convert enough of them to either register for some free report or actually make a purchase (with the last page saying, “Sorry, we are in the product launch phase, your credit card has not been charged. We will notify you when the product is available.”), then you’ll know you’ve got the right marketing message and the right sales process.

One key for online traffic via Google Adwords is to apply a filter to your ad so that you only get people clicking through who are most likely to make a purchase. Often, you’ll see ads that give the price ranges of the products. So, if viewers are not ready to spend at least the minimum, they will likely not click. Lowering your marketing cost is equivalent to making more sales.

If you can develop a strong ROI by testing one or more marketing / sales process strategies first, for a product that you plan on developing, you will 1) be able to adjust the actual product’s features according to what is going to sell better and 2) know that once the product is made, you can quickly set up your marketing channels and get them sold immediately.

In another OFFLINE approach, you do surveys. Simply 1) determine a psychological profile of your ideal client, 2) locate them locally (once you know someone’s preferences, you’ll know where they shop/eat), and 3) canvas your ideal clients, meaning, ask them in person or over the phone all the market research questions. One trick is to get permission to set up a table in front of where your ideal clients shop (and if you have voter registration forms on half of your table, no one can deny you!).

Even if 20% of respondents don’t reply accurately (some people have a hard time predicting their own future behavior), so long as the majority reply accurately, you’ll have some primary market research that will help you set up a proof of concept / feasibility study and both convince yourself that you have the right product at the right time, and you’ll then know how to send the right message to the right people.

Since you know Seth’s work, I’m guessing this is all review for you. However, perhaps others on this group would find some of what I explained of value.
So, do you have any stories that showcase this principle at work?

Top 10 Ways to Ruin Your Small Business Plan

Hi there. If you are in the process of writing your business plan, you’re in luck. If you avoid the following common errors, you are far likelier to reach your goals.

1. Make basic mistakes: If you leave out key info or get basic facts wrong, you’ll mess up your entire business plan. Your readers will then begin looking for other obvious mistakes in your research and will discredit your ability to understand your position in the market and how to reach your target audience. Do your homework so you’re familiar with standard industry practices. Educate yourself about distribution channels, price mark-ups, regulations, and legal and accounting matters. One error can ruin all your projections and assumptions.

2. Underestimate the competition: The worst thing you can say in a business plan is “There is no competition.” No matter how unique or terrific your product or service, if you don’t have competition, it means there’s no market for what you’re selling. Be sure to consider potential future competition once you’ve proven the concept.

3. Overestimate sales: When you launch a product or service that’s better, faster, or cheaper than the competitions’, it’s natural to assume customers will beat a path to your door. They won’t. Be realistic, even conservative, about how difficult it will be to build a customer base and how long it will take.

4. Plan more than one business at a time: Even though your business may eventually have a number of revenue streams, concentrate on one part of it at a time. Show you can be successful in one area before branching out.

5. Go it alone: Nobody can build a successful business alone. Strategic alliances, particularly with strong existing businesses, can improve your chances of success. And if you want your business to grow, you’ll need to attract and keep capable management and personnel. Show you can work well and creatively with others to leverage your resources.

6. Use “phantom” numbers: Don’t use financial projections just because they sound good. Don’t use “boilerplate” numbers: industry averages might not apply in your situation. Be able to substantiate where you got your numbers and why you made your financial assumptions. Always overestimate expenses and underestimate income.

7. Forget a “Sources and Use of Funds” statement: Financing sources want to see exactly how much money you’ll need, how you intend to use it, what money you’re contributing, and whether you are expecting to get funds from other sources. If you don’t include this information in a clear, concise format, you’ll confuse potential investors or lenders.

8. Omit an exit strategy: While you may plan on running your business forever, others who invest in your company want to know how they’ll get their money out. It’s usually not enough for them to just get an annual return; they will want a way to make their original investment “liquid.”

9. Lie: This is the best way to get a business plan rejected, increase the chances of your business failing, and ruin your reputation. While every business plan is developed with a certain degree of optimism, when the plan becomes fiction, you’re in trouble.

10. Under-develop the psychographic profile of your ideal client/customer: Money comes from people making decisions. If you don’t thoroughly understand the decision-making process of your preferred client or customer (the person who is most likely to buy what you are offering), you are setting yourself up for low ROIs of your marketing capital.