Friday, December 22, 2006

A Christmas Marketing Lesson

Dear Marketing Pros,

I thought I would use the upcoming Christmas holiday to give you what I feel might be the most important marketing lesson you’ll ever learn.  And it all starts with that famous question…

“What do you want for Christmas?”  

Kids are great at answering this question.  In fact, when my 3-year old daughter went to see “Santa Claus” and he asked her what she wanted, she answered, “I want Darth Vader & Thomas the Train!”

Clear, precise, accurate.  My daughter left no doubt in “Santa’s” mind what she wanted for Christmas.  

And you know what?  

She’s going to get exactly what she asked for.

Which brings me to marketing.  

Why is it that when we get our marketing together, we often get surprised that we are not getting the results we were looking for?  It seems that the clarity kids possess gets lost when we grow up to become marketers.  Seriously.  I’ve seen ads put out that say absolutely nothing.  And I often wonder what I should do.  

And I’ve seen plenty of web sites that are there that won't ask me to do anything.  It's like they're saying...
Hey, come in and look around, and then why don’t you just leave.  

This, my dear friends, WILL NOT FLY.

Look over your marketing materials.  Look at your web site.    See if you are clearly and obviously asking people to do something.  Are you putting in a call to action?  If you want someone to buy your product, then ASK FOR THE SALE.  Want them to contact you?  Ask them to contact you and give them your contact information.  Make it clear and easy.  

Don’t dilly-dally.  Don’t hint around.  It’s not good for you, and it’s not good for your prospects and clients.  

And so, let me return to where we started--Christmas.  

In marketing we must be clear.  But when we ask others for gifts, we can’t do like my 3-year old.  It ruins the whole fun and surprise.  

So, I say one thing.  If you do hint to your spouse, parents, or significant other about what you want, try it like I did this year when I was asked what I wanted for Christmas.  I said...

…I want something that begins with “I” and ends with “POD”!

Do you have any idea what it could be?  (no more hints, you’ll have to just figure it out)

Merry Christmas, everyone.  I hope all of you enjoy your holidays, and I am looking forward to helping each and every one of you get better response from your marketing in 2007 (but more on that in my year-end No Excuses for 2007 post & newsletter).  

To Your continued Success,

Carlon Haas

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Real Purpose of Your Web Site

I had a talk with a client the other day, and I asked the same question I usually ask when consulting about a web marketing strategy:

“What is the purpose for your web site?”

Believe it or not, I am usually met with blank stares (if asking in person) or silence (when asking over the phone).  

The answer I am looking for is usually something like: to generate leads, to sell a product, etc.  

A web site should have one purpose and one purpose only.  But after reading every post in this blog, this client of mine came up with an answer that completely hit the nail on the head.  

But let me get to her answer in a moment.  

First, let me tell you what she was doing.  

She was very exicted to be re-vamping her membership web site.  She had hired a graphic artist and was excited about coming up with newer and better ways to “personalize” the site.  She had gotten herself in a heightened state of excitement.   In her excitement, she sought my advice on what to do for the layout in terms of marketing.  

We talked a little about it. And then, I got an e-mail from her in which she told me that after reading every post in my blog, she had (what I would call) an “ah-ha” moment.  

It dawned on her that the purpose of her site was to MAKE MONEY!  

And there you have it, folks.  I don’t care what kind of web site you have.  Whether it’s a subscription site, a one-page sales letter, a mostly informative site that touts your business or expertise, or whatever, remember the focus of your site is to MAKE YOU MONEY.

I know some of you might be thinking, “But, Carlon, my site is there to give me credibility and show my expert knowledge.  I don't make money from tha-at."  

And I would answer that like this:

Even a mostly informative web site, as long as it's not a personal or family web site, it should have the purpose of bringing you clients.  And having clients=making money.  

I know a lot of people who spend a lot of money on web site design, but I’ll tell you one thing…

…don’t waste your money on fancy design unless it will bring you money!  

Think about it.  I’ll give you an example.  I have more than one web site for my different businesses.  The one I spent the most developing is geared to corporate clients who expect a certain level of professionalism in a web site (in other words, it needs to look more like one of their sites). But another one of my web sites is nothing but a one page sales letter geared to a very non-corporate target.  

Both are effective for bringing me clients.  

So, remember the real purpose for your web site.  It is there for you to MAKE MONEY.  Don’t get too wrapped up in the look of the site.  The look of your site is all about the marketing of your site.  

Never forget the real purpose of your web site, and you will find that your site will work harder for you to make you more money.  

To your continued success,

Carlon Haas