Is This Syndrome Sinking Your Sales?

by Adam Kreitman

There was just no convincing him otherwise.

Chris was a prospect who called looking for help exclusively for SEO and Local Search. After listening to his situation and assessing his goals, I brought up AdWords because I thought it’d help him achieve those goals much faster.

But, the instant I mentioned AdWords, Chris balked at the idea.

The reason?

He’d tried it. Didn’t work. End of story.

Recently I sat down with another prospect who was telling me about her recent attempt at direct mail. Juila sent out about 15,000 pieces in a few different waves and got 1 new client from it.

(In fact, 10 times MORE people contacted Julia demanding to be taken off her list after receiving her mailing!)

From Julia’s perspective, she’s done with direct mail.

She’d tried it. Didn’t work. End of story.

This month, we’re going to dig into these stories a bit more closely. And what you’ll see is that both these business owners suffer from the same syndrome that severely cripples the sales potential at many businesses.

It’s a pretty common syndrome too and one that, after reading this article, hopefully you won’t suffer from any longer.

The Syndrome

Chris, who runs a local service business, became a client. We’re doing the SEO and Local Search optimization he initially contacted me about.

Since he runs a locally focused business, we started optimizing his site so he could rank better for a lot of search terms that contained the names of local cities/zip codes his company services.

The issue with SEO and Local Search in a situation like this is it can take a LONG time to get results in all the cities. And, of course, the most important cities are often the most competitive and the hardest battles to fight.

That’s a main reason why I suggested AdWords in the first place. With AdWords, we could make sure he shows up on Page 1 when someone searches for him in each and every city that’s important to his business.

But Chris was sour on AdWords. He’d run a campaign in the past (set up by someone at Google) and it was a money pit that generated huge credit card payments but few, if any, leads.

I didn’t force the issue, but as we got deeper into the SEO project and the relationship grew, I brought up AdWords again. He was still quite skeptical, but I asked if I could at least have access to his old AdWords campaign and poke around a bit.

Well, it didn’t take but 30 seconds after going into his campaign to see WHY it didn’t work.

  • Instead of targeting just the area Chris’ business serves, the geotargeting was set for the entire state his business was in (and it’s a big state!).
  • The keywords were all Broad Match keywords (a number of which were WAY too generic to be in his campaign).
  • And all the ad copy was pointing to the home page of the website instead of the subpages that were most relevant to the keywords in each ad group.

It’s no wonder the campaign was a money pit!

But Chris didn’t know this. He just knew that he’d tried AdWords, it didn’t work, and he wasn’t interested in trying it again.

He was suffering from “I-Tried-Before-And-It-Doesn’t-Work Syndrome”.

It’s the same Syndrome the other prospect I mentioned, Julia, suffers from.

After sending out 15K pieces of direct mail and getting one sale, Julia decided that direct mail doesn’t work.

She had a copy of her direct mail piece with her during our meeting and at least one of the big reasons her mailings didn’t succeed was immediately obvious.

In scanning the copy, I could see it was chock full of the words “I”, “Me” and “My”. Essentially, the whole piece was about the company and its owner. It had very little to do with the thing prospects care about most… themselves!

(Whether with Direct Mail, AdWords, your website, Email or whatever marketing channel you use, if you’re not focusing on the prospect and showing them how you can solve a problem they have or a desire they wish to fulfill, then your chances of success are miniscule!)

A Good Idea Poorly Executed…

There’s a reason a lot of companies still use AdWords and Direct Mail… they’re effective, viable marketing channels that can and do generate leads and sales successfully for a lot of businesses.

This is not to say they work all the time. This is not to say they’ll work in every industry.

But this is to say that before you turn your back on a marketing channel, you need to make sure you gave it a fair shake.

If you have a low level employee at Google who’s never run a business before build an AdWords campaign for you, the chances of it succeeding are much lower than if you paid a seasoned AdWords pro that takes the time to understand your business, your customers and your sales funnel.

If you write your own direct mail piece but don’t understand the fundamentals of direct response copy, the chances of succeeding are slim compared to hiring an experienced direct response copywriter who understands how to get people to respond to a well crafted offer.

(And, perhaps even more important, finding an expert list broker who will get you a high quality list so you know your message gets in front in the right target audience.)

Don’t turn your back on AdWords, Direct Mail, email or other forms of marketing because of I-Tried-It-Before-And-It-Doesn’t-Work Syndrome.

Get a second opinion. Have an AdWords expert look over your old AdWords campaign. Have an experienced marketer/copywriter/list broker review your previous direct mail efforts.

There’s lotsa money to be made with AdWords, direct mail, email, etc. It’d be a shame for you to miss out on it because your previous efforts were doomed to fail from the start.

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