More Marketing Tips for Your Business (continued)

Does color matter in online marketing?

Yes, according to Don Nicholas, a subscription marketing
expert and founder of the Mequoda Library, a resource for
online marketers.

Don tells of a publisher who did an A/B split test of two
versions of his landing page. The only difference: one had
an order button that said “Order Now” in navy blue type on a
dark orange (ochre) background, while the other version was
black type on a red background.

Did it make a difference? Yes, with the navy on ochre order
button generating 27% more orders than the red button –
another dramatic lesson of how seemingly minor and trivial
changes in online marketing can make a huge difference to
the bottom line.

Most people think of red as a hot, attention-getting color.
And it is. But it can work against you in online order
devices. Why? “Red means stop,” says Don. “Is that really
what you want the reader to do when he gets to a button that
says ‘order now’?”

The Most Important Part of Your Marketing

There are endless debates - and numerous formulas - designed to
tell us which parts of marketing are most important.

By most important, I mean which parts have the greatest effect
on sales.

I have my own opinion about the most important part of
marketing, and it may surprise you.

To begin with, it's not the list, as so many experts claim.

The list is vitally important.

But there are plenty of lists you can rent or mail to through
joint ventures - and through testing, you can determine which
will work for you.

Having your own list - your house file - is also crucial.

But with patience, money, and effort, you can build a
respectable house list - especially online, where it costs less
than offline.

Lots of people say the most important part of marketing is the

The offer can make a huge difference in response rates.

But, like lists, there are a finite number of offer options.

And once you test them, you know which offer works best for you.

As you've probably guessed, copy is important - but not the most
important element in marketing.

Unlike lists and offers, which are finite, the copy variations
that can be written for a promotion are virtually limitless.

However, copy's ability to lift response is somewhat limited.

New copy can beat the control by 25% ... 50% ... even 100% -- but
rarely much more than that.

Changes in graphics can lift response even less than copy can,
in most cases, so design is clearly not the most important part
of marketing.

So what's left?

Price is pretty important, but it's not the #1 factor
determining marketing success.

Price is really part of offer. And like lists and offer, the
optimal price can quickly be determined through testing.

Is distribution the missing key? For 80% of businesses,
distribution is fairly straightforward: get an order, ship it
out. Or invite people to your store or showroom.

In some product categories (e.g., those sold through dealers,
reps, or agents), distribution channels are trickier. But these
situations are the exception, not the rule.

So what's the most important part of marketing?

It's the product.

By that, I don't mean the physical product.

I mean what the product can do for the customer ... the benefits
it delivers ... the functions it performs ... the problems it solves
... the needs it fills.

Are you offering to your customers something that they truly
want or need?

And is it an urgently felt need, rather than one that isn't that
important or immediate?

Do the people in your market niche desire or require what you
are selling today?

Will buying it make a huge improvement in the quality of their

If the answer is yes, your marketing will be fairly successful -
even if the price, offer, list, copy, and graphics are not

On the other hand, what if you have not found a great product
that meets your prospect's urgent needs or solves her most
pressing problems?

Then she will not buy, no matter how persuasive the copy,
eye-catching the graphics, appealing the offer, or reasonable
the price.

There is an old saying in marketing: A great product will sell
even if the promotion is poor, but a great promotion cannot sell
a bad product.

It isn't always true, but the fact remains that the most
important factor in marketing is whether your product is a good
fit with the needs, concerns, and desires of your customers.

But how do you know what those customers really want?

Madison Avenue advertising agencies and packaged goods marketers
would answer: market research.

Direct marketers would answer: testing.

However, the fact is this: No matter how much research you do -
or how well you know your target market - deciding what products
to offer them comes largely down to guesswork.

When you guess correctly, the promotion for your new product is
a smash success, with the orders - and money - flying like snow.

That happens a lot, thank goodness.

But when you guess wrong, you end up offering to your customers
something they don't want or need - and have little interest in.

Your marketing campaign, no matter how brilliant, does not move
them to buy - and that week, the phones don't ring, and your
online shopping cart software reports few orders.

So what should you do?

My best advice is for you to continually plan and test new

Spend a lot of time thinking about and talking to your
customers. Ask them what they want, need, hope, dream, fear, and

Then find or create products that address those wants, needs,
dreams, and desires.

Offer these new products to your customers in limited marketing
tests conducted at reasonable cost.

Then analyze the results.

Keep promoting your winners -- and cut your losses on the losers

By the way, one of the biggest marketing mistakes is to do the
opposite: pour good money after bad in a desperate attempt to
get your prospects to buy a product you think they should want.

Your customers know far better than you what they are interested
in - and what they are indifferent to.

Just listen to them, and you'll make a handsome living for as
long as you're in business.

If you argue with them ... and offer them what you think they
should buy, instead of what they want to buy ... you'll soon
be out of business.

These articles appear courtesy of Bob Bly Direct Response

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