Be an Ethical Entrepreneur, Marketer, and Business Builder

Optimize Your Marketing Budget with 1 Simple Concept You’ve Never Heard

When Search Engine Marketing (SEM) was invented, the entire marketing world was instantly and forever changed.

For the first time, we could actually read the minds of potential customers as Google became our therapist to solve all our problems.

Psychographic and demographic information paled in comparison to responding in real-time to the thoughts of consumers. It created an entirely new type of marketing – Response Marketing.

Prior to that, we really only had Interruption Marketing.

The difference?

Response Marketing presents a message to a consumer in response to an action he or she has taken.

Interruption Marketing presents a message to a consumer without any input from the consumer.

Here are a few examples of both…

Response Marketing Examples:

  • Search based – Results shown in search engines like Google, Yahoo, YouTube and Amazon
  • Survey based – Whether on a website or in an email
  • Event/Action driven communication – You spent $100 at a business so they send you a 10% off coupon for your next purchase. You bought a pair of running shoes so they recommend some running socks.

Interruption Marketing Examples (everything else):

  • Display Advertising (Google Display, Facebook, LinkedIn)
  • Billboards
  • TV (though Google is working on changing this to response)
  • Radio
  • Newspaper
  • Direct Mail

As the founder of a company that specializes in Search Engine Marketing and Scientific Websites, obviously I’m going to tell you Response Marketing is the best way to spend your money…

However, that’s not true…

Yes, Response Marketing CAN be an amazing, cost-effective, and powerful form of marketing but it can only work if a few conditions are met.

  1. People must know they have a problem.
  2. It’s something people actually research. When was the last time you did a Google search for toilet paper?
  3. There are many people searching for it.

When you understand the difference between the 2 types of marketing you will better know when to invest in and how much to spend on Response and Interruption Marketing.

For now, forget about ONline vs. OFFline marketing since both can be Interruption or Response marketing.

Let’s look at a few examples starting with the extremes.

When should your entire marketing budget to be focused on Response Marketing?

When you have a consumer who knows he has a problem, researches the solution to that problem online, and there are a sufficient number of people searching online to meet your sales goals.

Most often this occurs in highly competitive industries in competitive markets because then it’s just a matter of being the BEST online.

Think of it this way, if you are the only one in your market selling your new widget inventions, very few people are searching for your widgets because they don’t know about them.

However, if you have 20 competitors selling a similar widget and at least a few of them are marketing, people in your area will be searching for your products. All you have to do is have the BEST online Response Marketing out of your competition.

When could your entire marketing budget to be focused on Interruption Marketing?

When people have no idea your amazing product or service exists and so won’t be searching for it. My business, Optimized Marketing, is this way since our scientific approach to online lead generation is completely unique and we only work with very specific industries.

With Interruption Marketing you have a very difficult task ahead of you. You need to generate enough interest in a very short amount of time (the time of a billboard, radio, TV or direct mail ad) to get someone to take an action.

Historically, that action was to contact you and sign up for services.

Unfortunately, that’s a large leap to ask someone to take. A much smaller leap is to generate enough interest through Interruption Marketing that she is curious enough to search for you online.

In other words, when looking at the entire Sales/Marketing Funnel for your business, at some point, all marketing can turn into Response Marketing.

If your web presence hasn’t been optimized to convert those searchers to contacts, that gives your competitors a great opportunity to steal the leads your Interruption Marketing is generating.

And vice-versa.

How much of your budget should be allocated to Response Marketing?

As much as gets a solid ROI. Then put the rest into Interruption.

There are 2 major factors in determining how much to invest in Response Marketing:

  1. How many people are searching for your products.
  2. How much you can spend and still get a great ROI.

If only 100 people each month are searching for what you provide, SEO and SEM are going to provide very little help for you. Your goal at this point is to get more people searching through Interruption Marketing.

However, if you spend $1000/month online and get 20 leads at a cost of $50/lead and your other marketing is generating leads for $75, keep increasing your Online Response Marketing budget (i.e. SEO, SEM and online testing) until your lead cost is higher than your other sources. A previous blog addressed how you can learn to balance out your online lead volume and cost.

Once your Response and Interruption lead costs match, invest more in Interruption knowing that your online Response system is already well-optimized to handle the increased searches.

Your 3-step summary to optimizing your marketing budget

  1. Implement a testing strategy to get a strong ROI from your Response Marketing.
  2. Keep increasing your Response Marketing budget until the ROI no longer makes sense.
  3. Invest in Interruption Marketing to increase the volume that your optimized web presence will be able to turn into contacts for you.

To better balance between Response and Interruption marketing,

P.S. If your service-based business has at least a $1000/month online marketing budget and you would love to turn your online presence into an optimized Response Marketing machine, get in touch.

Asking your customer "where did you hear about us" is a waste of time and what to do about it…

A few days ago I was reading Michael Corbett’s The 33 Ruthless Rules of Local Advertising. In his book, he points out one of the biggest flaws I’ve seen in businesses – you cannot rely on a prospect to accurately inform you where they hear about you. In other words, a customer cannot provide you with accurate information on which of your lead sources are producing the most profit. Here’s why:

As Michael tells the story, he was working for a business that was having a big sale one Saturday. Prior to the sale they did a lot of advertising in the local market and wanted to determine which marketing project paid off. To do that Mike and his boss stood at the door all day and asked every customer where they heard about the sale. 30% said TV, 20% said Newspaper, and 50% said Radio – Good to know, right? Except they never had a TV ad. When they asked people if they were sure they heard about it on TV everyone assured them that they had.

Your prospects don’t know and don’t care where they heard about you.

So now what? To wisely invest your marketing dollars, you NEED to know where your leads are coming from. Michael suggests just watching sales to determine if the marketing worked. However, what if you’re running multiple marketing promotions at once? After all, who isn’t? You may have a direct mail piece, yellow page ad, website, a radio slot, and be sponsoring your local high school sports events all at the same time.

The internet marketing guru’s have this one figured out. They may have 100 different ways that they are marketing their products, but they always know exactly where the leads are coming from by tracking the “referral sites” to their website. (If you’re not familiar with “referral sites” your webpage can be setup to track which other webpage people visited that lead them to your site.)

In the “physical” world if you’re running multiple advertisements you have 2 options:

  1. For print ads (i.e. yellow pages, direct mail, newspaper, magazine, website etc.) provide a coupon. Have each coupon be unique (preferably a different color) with a unique promotion ONLY available with the coupon (and obviously void with any other offer). The different color is useful because even if they forget the ad at home, they can generally remember the color so you’ll know exactly which one they’re talking about.
  2. Simply offer a unique promotion. Your radio ad, TV ad, announcement at the high school event etc. should all include a different promotion when they go to your business and mention it.

Note: Make the yellow page ad your “weakest” promotion. In other words, if they hear you on the radio and pick up the yellow pages to find you, you want them to tell you about the radio promotion, NOT the yellow pages promotion.

What about referrals? – Well you need to incentivize (I’m aware that I just made up that word) your referrals. You need to offer something to the referrer for providing the referral. If you do that, the referrer will be sure to tell you about it. 😉

Also, make sure your promotions provide some sort of exclusivity. Generally items are made exclusive by offering a time limit, quantity limit, or “previous customer” discount. If you look at any good online information marketers, the good ones (i.e. Yanik Silver, Perry Marshall, Jim Edwards) ALWAYS make their materials “exclusive”.

Here’s the other “excuse” I hear from business owners all the time about why tracking lead sources is a waste of time. They claim that you can’t really ever know which lead source brought them in. Maybe they did hear your TV ad and radio ad and saw your newspaper ad and finally one day decided to call. I agree that in your market, having your name synonymous with your product is very important and to some extent all of your marketing projects should be helping to do that (if they’re structured properly with your Unique Selling Proposition). But here’s the thing. Who cares if everyone in the world knows that you make widgets if no one is buying your widgets??? The reason you offer promotions is because even though your prospects may have heard your name in 10 different ads, the ad that brings them in to buy something is the one you need to know about.

Do not confuse “activity” – people calling or stopping by because they heard your ad – with “profitability” – people actually BUYING something because they heard your ad. Online affiliate marketers are great at distinguishing between the 2. They don’t pay a dime to anyone for any marketing UNTIL someone buys a product! Don’t you wish you could do that in your business? Imagine setting up a deal with your local newspaper, radio station, or TV channel where you paid for the ad by giving them a percentage of sales that came directly from that ad. If you ever manage to negotiate a deal like that please let me know about it.

To your success, Bryan

P.S. The “other” way to track all of your lead sources is to offer unique phone numbers, email addresses, or web addresses with each ad and promotion. That can get a little more inconvenient for the consumer to try to remember that information however with the proliferation of the internet, VOIP phone services, and email, at some point I imagine you’ll see this happening more often. It’s already becoming popular in direct mail marketing.