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A Tale of Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Marketing

Last week, as I was taking the dog out for a walk, I found a clear plastic sleeve filled with rolled up flyers from local businesses chucked into my driveway.

Now, aside from the fact that I had to (well, chose to) pull the flyers out to see what the heck they were, this is the absolute worst way to market your small business. In fact, what we have here is a tale of terrible, horrible, no good, very bad marketing.

No matter how strapped for cash your small business is, remember:

Cheap marketing doesn’t equate with good marketing.

Your business was just chucked into my driveway – and the driveways of my neighbors. Is that anyway to make a good first impression? (Um, no.)
Bad Marketing

The packet did include rates for “advertising flyer delivery.” As it turns out, I can reach 40,000 homes for $1,000! Well, other than targeting by zip code (presumably), this method is casting a pretty wide net. I highly doubt that the retirees in my neighborhood care about STEM tutoring.

However, the real kicker is the “How to Be Born Again” flyer that was included, presumably by the company that operates this scam. Seriously? You are going to proselytize to thousands of people and admonish them with the reminder that FRIENDS DON’T LET FRIENDS DIE WITHOUT JESUS? (Their caps, by the way, not mine!)

Triple turn-off. Well done.

If you have a small marketing budget, it is not a big deal – you just need to spend it wisely.

Here’s how to reach a lot of people at a low cost:

Create a helpful, targeted email marketing campaign

If your goals are simply to get more clients, sign up for a free email marketing service like MailChimp, MailerMailer, Constant Contact or Vertical Response. Segment your list of prospects into groups based on their biggest challenges, then write useful, helpful copy that contains tips or how-to’s on solving those challenges.

Create separate emails for each segment. Add a clear call-to-action that explains the next step they need to take, write an eye-catching subject line, and hit send. Repeat regularly. Offer first-time client discounts or special promotions, but always include valuable content.

Send a high-quality direct mail piece

A poorly designed and written direct mail piece will go straight in the trash, but one that is expertly designed by a professional and beautifully packaged will stand out. Find a graphic designer who likes to push the envelope and has examples of amazing direct mail pieces in their portfolio.

Additionally, ask your designer to bring in an experienced copywriter to write outstanding copy, and work with a direct mail that has access to highly targeted lists and proven success rates that they are happy to share.

Now that you know what NOT to do, let’s talk about great examples of what TO do. Have you received an email or direct mail that really stood out recently? What did you love about it?

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