10 Reasons Why You Are Not Getting The Results You Want Out Of Your Marketing

by Eric Tsai

You spent countless hours crafting your marketing campaign investing money and hiring marketing experts to help guide you through the process. You get ready to push the launch button, waiting for emails and phone calls come pouring in, then…

Nothing happens. But what could go wrong?

You did the things that the marketing “experts” said you should do with your keywords, putting up blog articles day after day, uploading videos and sending out email newsletters.


Here are 10 reasons why you’re not getting the attention, buzz and most importantly – the sales conversion. Oh, and let’s assume you have an unbelievable product.

  1. Your marketing message is full of “I” and “me” instead of “you.”
  2. You didn’t communicate the “why” (from the “I” perspective)
  3. You didn’t communicate the “what” (again from the “I” perspective)
  4. You didn’t communicate the “how” (need I say more from which perspective?)
  5. You didn’t communicate the “what if” (as in what if “I” was to buy and use the product)
  6. Your marketing talks at people about your own expertise instead of showing them how your solution solves their problem.
  7. You make assumptions about your customers (because you already sold some products before or you just know because you’ve been doing it for 20 years, ok great continue to do that then) instead of focusing on fact gathering (read my last post on listening)
  8. You didn’t do enough testing on your products, services or marketing messages before you launch
  9. You use all your email and social media as a one way push advertising instead of two way conversation (to help you pre-test)
  10. You lack compassion and didn’t empathize with your prospects because you’re too focused on the bottom line – making money

The talk away: Don’t be all things to all people. You’ll have a better opportunity to convert sales (subscription, readership etc.) if you narrow down your target market because you’re a big fish in a small pond so just go after more small ponds! Don’t swim with the sharks in the big ocean because chances are, you’ll become their lunch.

Ask yourself if your marketing message is tangible, external, specific and measurable to your target prospect? And try NOT to use the word “I” or “me” in your message.

Here is one of my all time favorite (and world famous ad) created by the genius David Ogilvy. Notice how many “I” or “me” were used in this ad – none. Focus on the title and you’ll learn how this 1959 ad is still the foundation of today’s direct response marketing.

How to Find Customers Online Using Google and Twitter

by Eric Tsai

The three most important elements when starting out with marketing on the internet is to 1) define success and 2) know your target audience 3) listen to your customers.

Once you form a foundation for your web strategy, the execution becomes easy. The goal is to constantly test and use different campaigns from Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to email marketing in an attempt to achieve business objectives.

I often hear business owners talk about wanting to increase sales and generate leads but fail to define what success look like to them. In order to define success, you must first realize your current state of business from an analytical and financial perspective.

Do you have any existing data to help you take the pulse of the business? What kind of financial (Return on Investment or ROI) and non-financial (business impact) objectives and metrics are available?

Without real knowledge of your true costs, you run into a potential misconception of what your real ROI is.

Understand that ROI includes not just how much you pay for web hosting or your overheads, but also other costs associated with running the entire campaign such as, cost of time working on the campaign (broken down into average hourly wages), amount of labor burden costs (cost consisting of all indirect labor costs incidental to operations), SEO costs (monthly or accordance with your budget), email marketing costs, technology infrastructure costs etc.

Understand Your Costs and Metric

Once you have a true total cost of you running the campaign, you can run those numbers against your traffic and sales conversion rates to identify your ROI.  Here is an example of how you can create a simple metric chart:

sample social media metric

Assuming I get those numbers, with a quick glance the data shows that by spending 3 times amount of money on this campaign, the result returns 8 times more sales with the cost per sale reduced by more than half. This is a high level overview to help you define your goals for each metrics. Again, watching your real cost of the campaign will bring clarity to your true profitability.

Using Google and Twitter to Identify Your Customers Online

Once you define your goals and know what success looks like, the next step is defining your customer profiles then search for them online.

For starters, you should at least know the age demographic, income level or occupation. After you know who your typical customer looks like, you need to find where they are online and what they’re talking about to get a step closer to engage them.

This is where you should be looking at using some free online tools to help you gather useful data.

Let’s look at using a combination of Google and Twitter to find your customers. As an example, I’m going to assume that you own a local retail apparel store and you want to drive traffic to your store.

First you should come up with a list of keywords that people are searching on Google.  The simple and fast way to do it is to use Google Keyword Tool and Google Insights for Search.

Google Keyword Tool

Google offers the keyword tool so you can search and find what popular keywords people are searching around your products or services.  I’ve used the keyword “evening wear” and as you can see, it returned all relevant keywords and the volume of searches for the past 12 months.

Feel free to make adjustments to show the data in different ways (I’ve sorted the list by Local search volume) and how much people are paying for those keywords.

Google KeyWorld Tool

There is no doubt that “evening wear” is the most popular keyword locally. This indicates that most people simply put in the keyword “evening wear” so if you want to target a narrower range like “evening wear tops” you will have less competition for the same keyword.

Click on Add and you can create your list (will be displayed on the right) and when you’re done adding, you can export the entire list in text or excel format.

Google Insights for Search

Once you have a basic list of keywords, head over to Google Insights for Search to compare search volume patterns across specific regions, categories, time frames and properties.

Now you can take popular keywords you’ve found and insert them into the search term area, and you’ll find more information about your keywords.

Unquestionably the keyword “dress” out paced all other keywords I’ve insert (evening wear, women’s shoes, handbags).

And you’ll also find that New York is the place where people search most for dresses.

Google Insights for Search

Play around with the different settings and you can also export the results in excel format.

Google Wonder Wheel

The Google Wonder Wheel was introduced to simplify and arrange search results. It’s basically a pre-defined mind mapper which helps the user get all the related search results in a wheel shaped like display.

Simply go to Google.com and input your search term, click on the “show options” link and find the “Wonder Wheel” link on the bottom left to get your search terms mind-mapped.

Google Wonder Wheel

Google Wonder Wheel

Once you get to the Wonder wheel, you can explore around the related keywords and it’ll expand into another wheel.

Google Wonder Wheel

I went ahead and clicked on the “discount evening wear” and the most popular and relevant keywords associated with discount evening wear shows up.

This is another great way to narrow your search term down to what your customers may be looking for in order to personalize the message.

Google Wonder Wheel

So if I’m running a promotional campaign or sending out newsletters, I could use content such as:

“Discount designer evening gowns perfect for cocktail parties or formal events!”

Or combine with my findings from Google Insights,

“A night out in New York? Checkout our discounted cocktail dresses from BCBG! Available in plus size directly from Macy’s.”

Combining Google with Twitter

Since Google have no problem indexing Twitter’s data, you can now use Twitter’s search engine to find you target customers using keywords as well as conversational phrases.

First go to search.twitter.com and click on advanced search and start looking for conversations phrases around what people would say when they’re looking for clothing.

The example below shows a search for people saying “what should I wear” within 100 miles of Los Angeles, CA.

You can also leave it blank for broad search to view everything around the world, perhaps you have an online store so tracking both local, geo-targeted search and broad search make sense.

Twitter Search

As you can see, the search result would return a stream of conversations with people saying “what should I wear.” You can take a moment to scan over the conversation, perhaps follow those individuals, checkout their profile and “listen” in on their dialogues.

However, you don’t want to spend all day reading people’s conversations, and searching for the same phrases every time.  This is where Google Reader comes in handy. Google Reader is a great tool to aggregate all your RSS feeds into one place and it also has some analytical capabilities.

On your Twitter search results page, find the RSS feed icon on the top right hand corner, right click on it and copy the link address of the feed.

Twitter Search

Then open your Google Reader and click on “Add a subscriber” and paste the link into your Google Reader to start building a collection of feeds around your target search phrases.

Google Reader

Once you’ve added the feed into your Google Reader, wait for a couple of days for the data to aggregate before you can start analyzing it (ideally you want to have at least 30 days).

You can start checking the data by clicking on “show detail” on the top right hand corner.

Google Reader

You’ll see data for the last 30 days, time of day and day of the week.  Depending on how you look at it, you can see which day of the month people start talking about your search term.

Maybe it’s the end of the month, everyone got paid so a discussion about shopping starts; or perhaps everyone goes out on Thursday evening in LA so on Wednesday people are talking about what to wear for Thursday.

The time of the day is a good area to gauge when these people log on to Twitter to talk about your search term.

Google Reader

Another good use of these data is to figure out when to send out your coupons, promotions and newsletters so your message arrives when people’s minds are on your product or service.

Remember, personalized messages delivered at the right place at the right time are key ingredients to conversion.

Search Twitter Profile Using Google

Another method to find your target customer on Twitter is to search through people’s Twitter profile using Google.  Go to Google.com click on advanced search and put in

intext:”bio*love shopping”

and you’ll find a list of people that indicated they “love shopping” in their bio on Twitter.

Basically intext:”bio*xxxx” tells Google to search for text within the Twitter bio section. So replace xxxx with whatever you like that matches to what your target customer may put in their Twitter bio.

Search Twitter using Google

Now that you know from your Google Insights that shoppers in New York have the most interest in searching for dresses, how do we target people who loves to shop and lives in New York?

This is what you put in

intext:bio-*-love shopping intext:location-*-NY

Search Twitter using Google

Notice that there is a minor tweak to the search input. You will need to add – in between the * mark.  So intext:bio-*-xxxx intext:location-*-xx where the xx is now searches within that state.  Give it a try and you’ll find extremely targeted individuals

I don’t usually do detailed step by step posts, but I had repeatedly explain this to many business owners and marketers so I  thought to share some of my tips to help you find your customers online.

I hope you find the above information helpful and it’s a very useful way to build your customer segmentation list.

I hope this helps you to set up your social media “listening station.”

And if you like to learn more tips like this, sign up for Profitable Knowledge FREE course below!

Field Messages: Sell The Outcome

by Eric Tsai

My last blog post talked about building your marketing messages.  The purpose is to help you identify a framework for your offering so you know your position in the market and to help you create the building blocks for your brand.  Once you have those elements in place, it’s easier to develop “character” or “personality” for your brand.  Think of them as the core pillar messages.

Brand personality is the first step in creating your overall marketing message.  Nobody cares about your personality or your story if you don’t care about them.  So in order to get a chance to pitch your marketing messages you must understand your customers.

Marketing messages are about you, your company and your story. The opposite of that is called field messages. A field message is used when persuading customers to buy while marketing messages is to generate value proposition; and together they form your brand’s initiate market perception and impression.

Branding is how your customers engage with your brand and is only meaningful when you’re able to streamline your marketing messages to your field messages connecting your product to your customers optimizing the experience.  It matters more as you grow and to grow you must gain customer’s trust via communication and demonstration.

You need the right go-to-market strategies, a team that can execute and support the entire process. And of course it helps if you have a real product that’s attractive and competitive. Ask yourself this:  What are you doing to influence, persuade, acquire and support your prospect?  How do you change your audience’s mindset, even when they aren’t looking to buy?  Where do you go to find your customers?  How does your customer feel about the experience of your product and services?


Customer Engagement – The Right Field Messages

Marketers today are too focused on creating awareness and recognition and forget the true purpose of marketing – create sales dialogues, attract leads and deliver revenue.  Again it all goes back to “what’s in it for me?”

New customers are out there. They need your products and services. They are searching for you, but you have to efficiently communicate your value to them in the simplest matter. When a representative of your company, a salesperson or yourself is out in front of the prospective clients, you need to have your field message straight.

Make sure you cover the 3 major points below:

  1. Does the message communicate that you understand your prospect’s needs?  And their pain points? Your product could be the best thing since sliced bread, but if you’re not solving their problems or you don’t understand their business pain points, you possess no value to them.  And why should they continue to stay engage in conversation with you or your brand?
  2. Is it the message focused enough on your unique offering? What are they buying, what do they get and what’s included should be covered at some point.  If you are not unique and different, what’s the advantages of you, or doing business with your company?  People go to Costco because not only do they offer value-for-money products but an unbeatable return policy, with awesome $1.50 hot dogs with free unlimited refill drinks – more reasons to go.
  3. Did you do your homework in researching your competitors? Put yourself in your customer’s shoes – wouldn’t you shop around for the best deal when buying a new car or purchasing a new cell phone?  Not to mention all the review articles and blogs you can find online.  So make sure you have the facts to backup your marketing statements, and be ready to explain in detail about your competition and their offerings.

If you’re able to address all the points above with your field messages, chances are that you will get to pitch your offering.  Getting someone’s attention in a meaningful way will also make you memorable and the crafting your field message is no different.  Get to the point fast and deliver the punch at the right time.

Here are a few more tips on starting your field messages: instead of starting your field message with “XYZ company is a SEO company that provides SEO services for onilne lead generation” you could start with Businesses today face challenges of optimizing SEO campaigns from outsourcing companies, but often does not get the result they want.” There you address their problem and pain point of not able to get the desired outcome.  Another approach could be “what are you doing to optimize your SEO leads? How effective is your ROI on SEO?”  An open ended question is often something that works well to get readers thinking, it works well if you know who you’re talking to first.  And it goes back to my last blog entry about identifying your audience first.

There is no doubt that it’s important to showcase how great you are, but it’s even more vital to “communicate well” why your customer needs to continue listening to your pitch or read your materials.

The Web has fundamentally altered the way that people engage and interact with brands, products, companies, and other people. This leads to a shorter attention span from viewers across all media, there are simply too much information to absorb from news on TV, radio ads, online blogs, and social networks like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. With prospects, with customers and between prospects and customers, engagement is more complex, but substantially more powerful because of how we interact via the web today and the constant shift in consumer psychology.

I will be providing free brand message worksheets for blog subscribers soon on field and brand message, stay tuned.

5 Steps to Start Building your Marketing Messages

by Eric Tsai

Proper marketing messages are the foundations of your brand’s success.  Whether you are selling a product, a service, or yourself, you must communicate the value of your brand precisely and to the point.

Here are 5 steps to start building your marketing messages:

1. Define Your Target Audiences And What You Offer Them

What exactly do you do?  What is being offered?  Who is the customer?  What problem are you solving?  Why should they care? This should tie to your mission statement, which should be tailored to your audience.  Your offer is positioned based on the target audience you are pursuing.

One way to start is to narrow down the demographics and prioritize your targets into different buckets.  For example: if you sell cookware you can identify the primary targets as at-home mothers, restaurant chiefs, or people that just like to cook.  However, you need to be able to describe them with details like:  “stay at home mothers age 25-45 that cooks 4 days or more a week for at least 3 people with household income of $100K that lives in major metropolitan cities.”

Then you identify second and third groups because each targeted group will require a different marketing message.  Remember, you must sell them on what’s in it for them while realizing that what is important to one group may not be relevant to the other.

2. Map Out The Feature Sets

Create a list of features.  For every feature there should be at least one major benefit to your customer.  For example: “GPS navigation features turn-by-turn voice navigation with live traffic update benefits driver does not have to take eyes off the road to view the screen, and up to the date traffic to steer you to your destination in the shortest time.”

A feature is not something technical (although it is that way for most products and services), but that’s because they are selling points that will result in benefits.  Without benefits they’re useless features that nobody cares ABOUT.  It should be black and white and easy to identify for your target audiences.  Say, as “automatic windows” for cars, “centralized AC unit” for houses, or “track your package online” for shipping services.  They are all features that will bring meaning to benefits.

For someone selling themselves with “personal branding,” it should be about the elements that delivers the outcome. Example:  “Read my books or subscribe to my blog features weekly newsletter, discount on future books, or access to free videos, benefits newsletter summaries certain benefits for the readers, or the video makes it easier to learn whatever the person is providing.”

3.Create your brand nomenclature

Once you have the description of your company, products, features and benefits, you should brand them with unique and yet easy to remember names.  This is part of creating the personality for your brand to enhance your differentiation.  The idea is to get your sales people and your customer all speaking the same language – your brand’s language.  It’s part of creating a cult, a reference to your marketing messages.  Example of company names that integrated into our everyday vocabulary: “Just Google it to find out,” or “I am going to eBay all my old stuff.”

4.Develop an elevator pitch

Try to come up with a short elevator pitch without using any big words like “innovation” or “quality.” It should be simple, short, and to the point.  If it’s a complicated product, use metaphor or competitor examples like “Netflix is like Blockbuster except you order online and we mail you the DVD.”  Or better yet (my favorite) “Google would provide access to the world’s information in one click.”  That’s Google’s actual elevator pitch when the founders first started to approach investors.

2 min video clip of putting together an elevator speech – watch here.

5. Review, refine, rethink, refresh

At this point you should have all the building blocks completed to start wordsmithing your messages.  Review your messages with other team members and obtain feedback from a wide range of demographics first to see if it’s easy to understand.  Then test it on people in your field or industry.

There is no perfect message for everyone –  just the right message for the right people, so it’s important to have multiple targeted messages even though you may have the same product or offering.  It needs to be aligned and presented in a way that reflects who you write to and why it’s beneficial to your readers. For example, if your customers are technical people you should focus on selling key features.  For business owners, sell the desired outcome, not the features.

You also need to refresh your message periodically to take advantage of ongoing market psychology.  When the economy is bad (which it is now), focus your messages with words like bailout, stimulus, and recession.  This will work to your advantage since those are relevant attention grabbers.

Essentially you are selling an idea.  The goal is to maximize every opportunity you get to expose your brand’s marketing messages.  There is no better time than now to start or renew your marketing messages because more people are leveraging internet and social media tools as resources during this recession.

The great advantage about social media is that your message will get passed around over and over again, so crafting the right message will literally take you a long way.  And as you progress through those channels, continue to revamp and refine your message.

I will discuss about “field messages” next.