How To Approach Marketing Your Small Business

Are you throwing money away again?!

If you're like most small businesses and entrepreneurs I work with ... and are doing some form of paid advertising ... you probably are.

Most folks do the "throw crap at the wall and see if anything sticks" approach to advertising.

Obviously, this isn't wise.

If you've ever "failed" at paid advertising, or thought to yourself that Facebook Ads or Adwords "doesn't work" ... this post is for you.

How To Attain The Marketer's Mindset

In order to attain the marketer's mindset, you need to approach all marketing and advertising as an experiment.

You're essentially a scientist ... a mad scientist, if you'd prefer.

It's your job to test hypotheses by conducting experiments, analyzing the data, and making decisions.

The best way to do this is by following the tried and true - Scientific Method.

Having said that, I cannot discredit marketers. Marketers spend time learning, understanding, and practicing things like psychology, human behavior, copywriting, design, user experience, etc. and are able to develop better hypotheses and experiments more effectively and efficiently than individuals that don't.

So, there's certainly a massive benefit to having someone that's an actual marketer do your marketing; however, if you understand the marketer's mindset and how they approach their marketing campaigns ... you're going to be in a much better position to succeed than those who don't.

The Scientific Method

Ask A Question

In business, the question is usually, "How do I generate more business?"

Do Background Research

Fortunately, you should already know a lot of the background information.

You'll obviously know the ins and outs of the products and services your business offers.

You should also know your customers. If you don't know them as well as you should, click here and here to learn how to develop marketing personas.

Construct A Hypothesis

A hypothesis is an educated guess about how things will work.

"If [I do this], then [this] will happen."

  • If I publish this ad for this audience, my conversion rate will increase.
  • If I change the subject line of this email, my open rate and click through rate will increase.
  • If I change the title of this sales page, my sales will increase.

Tip: Measure At Least 2 Levels Deep

At the end of the day, your advertising campaigns must generate sales or there's no point.

To help ensure what you're hypothesizing about actually matters, I recommend generating hypotheses that are at least 2 levels deep.

What does that mean?

For example, let's take a Facebook ad. We could hypothesize that "If I change the ad image to X, it will have a higher Click Through Rate (CTR)."

The ad's CTR is the 1st level.

Increasing the CTR is great, but - does it affect the bottom line? Maybe, maybe not. It's hard to tell unless you measure how it affects the bottom line.

The 2nd level would be a measure of the next action the person takes after the 1st level.

For example, level 2 could be to signup for your mailing list. (signup conversion rate)

So, a better hypothesis would be, "If I change the ad image to X, it will increase my signup conversion rate."

Signup conversion rate is a better metric to measure than ad CTR because it's closer to the end goal of producing a sale.

Here's a table to better illustrate the concept of levels:

Levels

Common Things To Test

Here's a short list of possible things to test:

  • The offer
  • Ad image and ad copy
  • Ad targeting
  • Subject lines
  • Titles
  • Formatting
  • Call-To-Action (CTA)

Test With An Experiment

Click the "Live" button, ie. launch your campaign, change your subject line, change your title, change your CTA, etc.

Now, don't touch anything!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is the point where most people mess up.

They'll launch their ad (experiment) and watch as money leaves without delivering the results they were hoping for.

I agree - it's hard to watch money leave your account without it generating results. It's really easy to freak out and either stop or change the experiment on the fly ... but you can't do this.

Remember, it's just an experiment. You're simply testing a hypothesis and collecting data.

The more data you have, the more accurate it will be and the better decisions you'll be able to make.

You need this data in order to analyze it and make educated decisions, so your next experiment will hopefully deliver the results you're looking for.

Tip #1: Start Small

You don't have to spend thousands of dollars. Many times, $5 to $10 a day for a week is enough to test a hypothesis.

Tip #2: Set A Budget And Leave It

To help curb the urge to mess with an experiment, set a budget on your campaign and don't look at it until it's ended.

For example, set a campaign limit at $50 with a daily budget of $7 - after a week, login and view your results.

Procedure Working

Make sure everything is functioning correctly.

Make sure your ad is sending people to the correct landing page.

Ensure your signup form is synced to the correct email list.

Simple stuff; however, I've personally made both of those mistakes before ... stuff happens, make sure you double check your setup especially if results seem way off.

Analyze Data and Draw Conclusions

Before analyzing data and drawing conclusions you need to make sure you have enough data.

Not having enough data is the second largest point of failure for an experiment!!!!!!!!!!!

How do you ensure you have enough data? Statistical significance. (click here to learn more)

When you don't have enough data, you're not able to confidently say whether the experiment proved your hypothesis right or wrong. Without high levels of confidence, you're likely to make some bad decisions.

Results Align With Hypothesis

Excellent! Your experiment becomes your control and you can run more experiments against it and/or you can scale up your advertising and develop hypotheses for other portions of your sales funnel (ie. different levels).

Results Align Partially Or Not At All With Hypothesis

Like Thomas Edison with the light bulb, you haven't failed, you've just found a way that doesn't work.

Take what you learned, go back to the drawing board, form another hypothesis and run another experiment.

You will fail, a lot.

Most of your campaigns will start out yielding negative results and you have to remember that this is OK.

Remind yourself that you're conducting experiments and gathering data in order to make better decisions and build a highly profitable marketing campaign.

Final Words Of Advice

Someone smarter than me once said, "Successful marketing campaigns are built, they're not discovered."

... Or, something to that effect, unfortunately I can't find the source of that quote right now; however, the point is that it takes work, patience, and a method (ie. Scientific Method) to build a successful marketing campaign.

It's not something that magically "happens" ... you can't keep throwing crap at the wall and hope something sticks.

2016-11-17T17:17:09+00:00

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