Stop Wasting Your Marketing Money Online!

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I estimate that over 80% of businesses are leaving money on the table because they are wasting so much of their marketing investment inefficiently online and totally ignoring “offline marketing opportunities.”

I’m the owner of a marketing advisory company called The Institute of Wow and we provide “direct response marketing concepts” to businesses of all shapes and sizes. In other words, we provide businesses with proven “client attraction” marketing concepts.

My website at has lots of direct response ideas you can swipe and use - which I encourage of course, because such an invitation means I get more traffic to my website!

The reason for my provocative headline for this article is because time after time, I see business owners and managers committing big dollars to online marketing initiatives – the likes of Google Adwords, Facebook, Instagram and so forth – without any “measurability” built into the exercise. Their advertising advisors or social media consultants will probably tell them “Oh don’t worry, there’s very little metrics as far as direct sales to you attached to this but you should feel good about getting your name out there and increasing your ‘likes’ and views!”

Don’t fall into this trap!

Everything you do should be measurable – even “building your brand!” I see so many businesses solely concentrating on investing marketing dollars into “online programs” – when in fact they should be giving equal attention to the good old “offline marketing formulas” as well.

For example, as long as we have letterboxes, there will be justification for letterbox brochures and direct mail campaigns. I was recently speaking at a Clubs Seminar where a member of the Club Managers Association explained to me that they have cut back on the number of Bulletins which were being mailed to members – in order to save costs.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing!

I explained to these managers that in the direct response world, it’s all about communicating “regularly with your tribe” giving them great value and then making them an offer. I explained that if they were going to minimise their communications with their tribe, how on earth would they expect to maximise the return from this list? It was simply the good old case of “the accounts department” deciding that reducing such mail communications would save money and that’s a good thing!

When in fact doing something stupid like this meant the club was simply reducing the chance of making regular money out of patrons. If I were running the clubs, I’d be doing the exact opposite. And whilst you might be thinking that such a decision was possibly justified because they are now communicating via email, that’s not the case, because the club’s “open rate” on emails to members was an average of 12%! The club has an older clientele and therefore email marketing is not very powerful.

Maybe you should ask yourself if you’ve suffered an attack of “false economy” in recent years? Do you have a bricks and mortar business with a target audience within 10 kms or 15 kms – which should be communicated to regularly?
Do you perhaps neglect building such a valuable relationship with your tribe?

Are you collecting data and building a ‘tribe’?

One of the cardinal sins I see with around 80% of businesses is the lack of acknowledgement of building a list / database. I challenge you to go into just about any offline business today and find that it collects your data.

Over the last month I have visited Woolworths, Coles, McDonald’s, Bunnings, Bakers Delight, 7-Eleven and Michel’s Patisserie – and not one has ever asked me for my contact details. Crazy stuff – but you can go into any of the Gold Coast theme parks and they won’t ask who you are –and I bet the NRL and AFL don’t have any contact details of the tens of thousands of fans who came to their Grand Finals! The amount of money that is being left on the table by these businesses would be astounding!

Do yourself a favour and from tomorrow onwards, implement a “data collection program” and start building your tribe and
segmenting it into annual “value portions!” You can go to any restaurant in Australia tonight and spend $100, $200 or $300 – and I bet you’ll never get asked for your contact details.

On the other hand, I have a Melbourne restaurant client who diligently collects every patron’s contact details and uses “SMS marketing” to enjoy a 100% occupancy rate every night of the year! The owner of this restaurant checks his “evening dinner bookings” mid afternoon and if he needs to fill 50 more seats, he simply sends out a certain quantity of a particular text message, (which I have drafted for him) giving these prospects a “special offer” - and he achieves a full house in 15 minutes! Yes, you read that correctly – the only restaurant in the world that has 100% occupancy EVERY NIGHT!

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Pushing The “Wow Factor” Envelope!

I hold monthly full day events in Sydney and the Gold Coast and details are at – these seminars attract business owners and franchisors, all looking for marketing concepts that can attract more clients and result in more sales.

My view is that too many businesses have gone “almost all online”, and totally ignore the opportunities which are still very potent in the marketplace. They haven’t gone away, these strategies are still there, but are seldom used, which makes them even more powerful!

Letterbox Brochures Are Alive and Well!

One of my clients owns a number of funky Hamburger Cafes and aside from the obvious advice regarding using social media, I suggested that he letterbox distribute “offers” on a fortnightly basis to the 5km-10km radius around his burger stores.

The reason?

Very simple – this is the geographic region where he draws more than 80% of his customers, so it just makes sense to enjoy the “low hanging fruit.” I’ve even suggested the possibility of testing “door-hanger” versions of DL brochures – hanging the flyer on a person’s front door-knob rather than placing it in their letterbox.

Compare this laser-targeted letterbox campaign to any social media alternative and I’ll back the letterbox or door-hanger campaign anytime. And will the letterbox campaign invite prospects to visit the burger website? Of course it does, so people can learn more about the menu and offerings.

A Simple 5 Step Marketing System to Attract More Customers

Having tested thousands of marketing offers and campaigns over the years, I’ve learnt a lot from the wins and losses. Having disciplined myself to a “test and measure mentality,” I now believe I know what works and what doesn’t, when it comes to attracting new customers and keeping them.

I’ve developed a 5 part system to attract new clients and get them to come back over and over again.

“The Wheel Of Wow” formula:

  1. Identify your most profitable customer, and then look for more people who look like him/her,
  2. Create a “wow factor” to take their eyes off the price (you don’t want to be dealing on price unless you’re Kmart or Big W – and
    even they’re struggling),
  3. Use a problem/solution scenario – the likes of ‘Jenny Craig’ or ‘Panadol’ campaigns,
  4. Create a “direct-response website” – consisting of a Welcome Video, Free Report to capture data and video testimonials from your best advocates,
  5. Build repetitive trade – by creating some form of loyalty or reward program. Some of you may be thinking, do I believe in the value of “building one’s brand?”

Absolutely! We buy Kellogg’s, Coca Cola, BMW and Hilton for example, because of the fine brands that have been built. However, my belief is that “branding and selling stuff” shouldn’t be mutually exclusive, I believe you can build one with the other, and this is where I so-often differ from many “brand building” mantra marketers. My Client Never Advertised a Price for 11 Years!

Create a stimulant promotion

Some years back, I created an insanely successful home loan
stimulant for the Greater Building Society. I suggested they stop marketing on price and give away a Free Holiday with every home loan. The building society decided to give me some rope - and therefore we marketed the now famous “Get A Home Loan and Get A Free Holiday” promotional offer – which resulted in the society doubling its home loans within 3 months and tripling them within 18 months.

Over the 11 years the promotion ran, not once did the
building society ever advertise an interest rate – demonstrating how one doesn’t have to rely on “price discounting” in order to build market share.

I’ve also had a Gold Coast turf farm sell-out of turf because
he offered local landscapers a carton of Crown Lager premium beer for every 500sq metres worth of grass purchased. I recall the owner phoning me about a week after he launched the promotion to landscapers, laughing about the incredible result, as he was sourcing turf from competitor turf farms in order to keep up with the demand from landscapers! He had successfully taken their eyes off the price and on to the free bonus.

He told me he had one landscaper who historically screwed
him on price – who rang and ordered a dozen homes worth of grass and wasn’t worried about when the turf turned up, but needed the beer for a Friday night party he was holding! Now that’s the power of a “value-add bonus”.

And of course the most famous such bonus of all is the free
toy in McDonald’s Happy Meal boxes. Many years ago my wife and I had 6 children under 12 and I think we must have spent $5 Billion on Macca’s Happy Meals – and I couldn’t tell you what they cost! Why? Because McDonald’s were clever enough to take our eyes off the price!

So do yourself a favour - stop marketing your products or
services “on price”, and start implementing measurable “direct response strategies” where you provide added-value reasons for consumers to buy from you rather than your competitors.

Oh…and…start combining good old fashioned offline
marketing tactics with all the online strategies. When combined well and in synch, the combination is immensely powerful. If you know “how” to implement this powerful “combo,” you’ll enjoy new customers (who stay) whenever you want!