This article about common marketing questions people initially send to marketing agencies, was inspired by the sheer volume of similar questions our agency receives daily, yay, e’en on weekends and holidays. Sidetrack Data Facts: After all, only about 1/3 of the world even celebrates Christmas. And far fewer celebrate any other holiday. In fact, more people celebrate or watch the Soccer (Football) World Cup (3.2 Bn watched the one in Brazil in 2014) and the Olympics (3.5 Bn watched the one in Brazil in 2016).
So with that in mind, it seemed logical to share some ideas about the types of questions we get, and how we very often respond to them. When reading it, it’s impossible not to notice certain patterns, and develop certain efficiencies around the commonly asked questions.
OK that’s enough background on the article. Here it is, in all its glory. I hope you enjoy it, and share it with your peers and colleagues in the marketing world.
The Barrage of Questions & Answers
I get a nice, healthy amount of inquiries by email and on various websites, about new businesses seeking help with marketing.
The exchanges often go something like this:
|“Hello! I have seen your profile and maybe you can help my start-up. I have a [product or service] that [has these differentiating features]. it’s a little like [the market leaders] and better [in these ways]. It should be a [product or service] for [business or consumer target audience segment] in the [target group, ie: age, business type] in [target geolocation]. Or so I believe :-)Can you help me with my new business? I need an online marketing strategy, a detailed plan of specific steps and tactics I have to do … to have success with this [product or service].
To which a pretty typical initial response I send reads as follows:
Thanks for reaching out to me. I’ll be happy to create an online marketing strategy for your new [product or service] company.
To get this done, simply [place the order or request for further information] from [the relevant web page], and any [optional feature / extras] you want.
Or, if you prefer, i can send you a custom offer.
To do that, I need to know these basic questions:
The inquiring person then usually follows-up with something in this direction:
1. [I don’t have a website right now, though I plan to have one soon.] or [My website is at http:/ /theproductorservicewebsite .com]
2. [YES, I can generate Traffic], or [NO, I am not able to generate traffic.] Sometimes the respondent adds in things like, [“I am sure I can create traffic with google/facebook/instagram ads, if I can just target them properly.”]
3. [My budget is $XXXX / month]. Sometimes they add in info like, [“I cover all my own costs ‘out of pocket’, with the money I earn at my day job.”]
4. I want to [Sell X # of Products or Service contracts or Orders] This Year. That’s the minimum I have to sell to cover my costs. In the next year I want to sell minimum of [2X this year’s monthly average orders] every month. Do you think this is a realistic goal?
To which, again, a pretty typical response I send reads as follows:
|Great. Yes those are realistic targets. Sell them to [shops / websites] and try for a small [chain of stores or network of sites] or two.You could sell many more if your product is good and you can handle larger orders.
FOR CONSUMER PRODUCTS THAT ARE SELLABLE IN THE FIELD, I USUALLY ADD SOMETHING LIKE THIS:
AND THEN I INEVITABLY ASK ANYONE INQUIRING:
What is your cost per unit [or case/crate/rental/lease or other metric]?
The prospective client then usually replies with something that goes like this
|“For the [YYYY number] of Units I pay USD [X.XX] per Unit.”|
Knowing all of that very insightful data, I can then follow-up with an offer. So, for example, I’ll send a message that reads like this:
Here’s your custom offer.
I will do strategic business consulting and marketing expertise
I will create an Online Marketing Strategy for your energy drink business.
As part of that Strategy, you will also receive a Big To Do List, and a Tailored Action Plan.
Your consultation sessions with me will help you crush your goals.
You will also get guidance to implement the high level business strategy, business policy, or more technical aspects / tactics in SEO, SEM, Social Media and other Growth / Acquisitions Channels (Email, Direct, Referral, etc).
Plus, you get a written summary of the key points discussed.
Ongoing work to implement, maintain and advance the strategy can be offered and ordered separately.
10 Day Delivery. Offer Expires [X days from the date this message is sent].
The person inquiring then usually writes me something like this
|“Hello,Thank you for your offer. At the moment I’m considering a few other offers for my marketing.
Please make me an offer for “ongoing work to implement, maintain and advance the strategy”.
I need pay the costs myself for the first [X] months.
Also, would you please explain exactly how you can help me during the first [X] months, and how much time you have to invest?
I want to sell the first [YYYY Units] using only online marketing.
This is the main goal i am targeting: I want you to use your marketing service to help me to sell [YYYY Units] in [Target Geolocation(s)] [to Target Demographic(s)] via the internet within the next [X] months.
Can you do that for me? If you are able to get that done, then please send me an offer for that.”
Once I see that the company is a startup with very low budgets and is in need of immediate revenues, and keeping all costs in check, then I do something that is unusual. I tell them something like this:
If your goal is only for the next [X] months, then what you really need is a sales effort.
You can definitely sell online, but to sell [YYYY Units] online in [X] months, without any prior sales of the product, it will be harder to do that with just a website and online marketing, rather than with a basic site that can accept purchases, and a person to send sales emails and makes sales calls.
The marketing strategy I proposed was for your longer term (1 year, 2 year, etc) business goals.
If what you need are immediate sales and you are short on funds to invest in a sales person, then you should frankly hit the pavement yourself and start knocking on doors of every [website / shop] that [buys/sells] [Similar Products Or Services] in your [local area / online markets of influence].
Small and Medium sized shops are your best bet. Small shops are easiest but will pay the least, often, though they’ll still pay. Medium sized shops are your sweet spot because you’re more likely to close a deal with them than with a large [chain / network] (at first), and they usually can pay more than the little shops.
That said, if you live in an area with lots of “specialty” shops (small, medium or big), then those are another matter, as they often pride themselves on offering rare items and new items, as it gives them a certain “cachet” / flair / style / vibe / culture that appeals to a certain demographic, and it’s one that is usually willing to pay a slight premium for unusual [products / services] like yours, or cool looking branded [products / services] like yours, that they have never heard of or tried before.
Have you tested the branding of the [product / service]? If not, frankly, you should test, test, test, and then go sell like the rent’s due tonight. If that doesn’t motivate you to get sales, nothing will. I am confident that if you go that route, you’ll sell [YYYY Units], easily, within a month or two, let alone three. If you do it right, you might sell many more than [YYYY Units] … and then you’ll be experiencing what is known as “a good, high quality problem to have”.
So there’s some free marketing and sales advice for you. If you try it and it works (and i’m sure it can), then please be kind enough to let me know how it went, tell your friends, peers and colleagues about it, or better yet … order my marketing services to help you grow once you have an actual marketing budget of a few grand a month, which is what you’ll be looking at spending to take your brand to the next level.
Until that time, you really can and should DIY, and ask folks like (read: other marketing professionals) that you know or can reach ie: in marketing fora & groups.
Otherwise, you risk investing in something where any little thing that doesn’t go as planned will be too stressful to your business.
When you’re running a lean operation, you should not try to spend beyond your means. Otherwise, even a tiny tumble can be a bad crash.
OK, now that I’ve done my part to tell you why you should do it yourself at this stage …. If you STILL want me to help you at this stage, feel free to let me know. I’ll send you an offer for ongoing work. Just don’t be surprised by a monthly cost that’s somewhat in the [mid-to-high four] digits at first. Or, if you want to only spend that amount [or less] at the most, then I can send you such a plan, and just keep in mind that it will be, by definition, a smaller effort than I would normally offer.
Using efficiencies, we have seen this process of inquiries and responses, impact our business’ bottom line, with a 37% Growth Rate in First Time Buyers (FTBs), YoY. And for our clients, signing up with us has led to even higher yields of Growth Rates and Primary KPIs for our clients.
If this is of interest to you, you are welcome to visit our marketing agency website. We look forward to hearing from you … and replying to you in kind.