Marketing Tradecraft: Insider Secrets to Return on Investment

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Marketing Tradecraft: Insider Secrets to Return on Investment

Episode Summary

Do you want the inside scoop on how to get the greatest return on your investment in marketing? This episode of The Valtimax Podcast is for you. Listen today and learn the secrets only known to skilled practitioners.

Here is a transcript of today’s episode:

Marketing Tradecraft: Insider Secrets To Return On Investment

Hi there and welcome to another edition of the Valtimax Podcast. Today we are going to talk about marketing tradecraft. I named this episode “Marketing Tradecraft” because I’m going to take you behind t scenes and help you understand what marketing professionals do and what a marketing professional looks like so that you can number one, hire the best person to help you with your marketing, and then number two, so that you can work effectively with someone who’s doing your marketing. It doesn’t matter if you do your marketing in-house or you outsource it all to a consultant, or you outsource a portion to a consultant. Today what I’m going to teach you is the insider information, the stuff the pros know and the pros do.

In fact, what I’m going to teach you today is what the best of the best do. Quite a bit of it is going to be a conflict with some of the things that you know or you think you know about marketing. This is particularly true if you’re a lawyer. Now let me before we get into the specs and before I explain why if you’re a lawyer this is going to be very, very different for you, before I get into that let me stop and explain what the Valtimax Podcast is all about.

My name is Dave Lorenzo and I own two consulting companies. The first is Rainmaker Lawyer Consulting. In that firm we help attorneys make a great living and live a great life. We do this by focusing on business strategy, practice management, client acquisition, relationship development, productivity improvement, and everything that goes into the business aspect of running and managing and leading your law firm.

Valtimax Consulting is my other company. In that company I license the systems that I’ve developed over the years to other consultants, to people who help you regardless of the business that you’re in. If you’re an attorney and you are outside the scope of the type of law firm that I would work with, one of the my consultants will work with you through Valtimax Consulting. If you are a business owner, one of my consultants will work with you through Valtimax Consulting. These people are highly trained, educated on my systems that help business leaders make a great living and live a great life. They also help with leadership development, practice management, strategy and everything in between.

My two companies, my world, is focused on helping professionals deliver quality services that produce a high return on investment to their clients. The reason that I say you may be surprised, especially if you’re an attorney, is that there are so many hacks out there right now doing everything from social media consulting to search engine optimization, even the people who are doing direct mail and billboards and advertising. Public relations is another field where there’s a lot of hacks out there. I’m going to give you the down and dirty on how you can determine who the real pros are, and then how you can hold them accountable.

It doesn’t matter whether or not you hire me. My role would simply be to help you get the right professionals in place, then get the right results, or to teach your folks internally how to do this as it relates to marketing. I want you to learn how to hold people accountable for marketing strategy, for marketing tactics, and really for just the day to day running and operations of marketing programs that are designed to produce a high return on investment, produce money in the bank for you. What we’re going to talk about today is marketing tradecraft, some of the insider tips so that you can use to learn what marketing pros really do and you can implement in your law firm, in your business today.

Now, let me give you an example of the type of thing I’m talking about. I hear all these social media gurus all the time talk about social media, it’s fantastic, you have to have a Facebook brand page and you have to have a Google local page. This is going to drive all these people to your door to plunk down money. If you own a pizza shop and somebody’s searching on their mobile phone for pizza and they’re driving around in their car, they may stumble upon your Google places page and determine that they’re going to go to you right then and there. That may drive a direct sale, but social media is all about getting people into a relationship with you, and that requires that you get their contact information and you communicate with them frequently over time. If you’re trying to use Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, any of these services to sell to people directly, you’re doing it all wrong.

I see people all the time advising clients, so-called marketing experts all the time advising clients to do this. I’ll tell you that good marketing tradecraft would say you take social media, you communicate with people and establish relationships with them, and then you make them an offer for information in exchange for their email address and their physical address so that you can continue the relationship offline, so that you can continue the relationship off social media, so that you can deepen the relationship off social media. That’s the real use. That’s how pros, professional marketers, use social media as part of their marketing mix.

This is what marketing tradecraft is all about. If you are being given the advice to use social media in any other way other than developing a relationship and getting people into a list where you can market to them in a more meaningful, more powerful way, have a deeper conversation, if you’re given any advice other than that, you’re being given the wrong advice with regard to social media. Today what we’re going to talk about is I have eight specific areas that we’re going to talk about marketing tradecraft within the confines of these eight areas so that you can discover how to hold people accountable for their behavior as they manage and run your marketing.

The first area is transparency. When you work with a marketing professional or you’re doing marketing yourself, everything needs to be transparent from start to finish. I don’t care what industry you’re in, but this is particularly important for lawyers. It doesn’t really matter what industry you’re in, transparency is phenomenonally important. Let me give you a couple of examples. First I’m going to tell you that if you’re working with a marketing consultant, they should be showing you and explaining what they’re doing every step along the way. I have seen big, big companies, particularly companies that do websites for lawyers, who do some very unethical hokey things behind the scenes in order to try and get the best results for their clients. They should be transparent and they should be telling you what they’re doing. When they tell you that they’re doing these unethical things you should put a stop to them. You should cancel your contract and walk away.

Now the response I get when I tell lawyers this is all the lawyers are doing it, it’s going to be a competitive disadvantage for me. What if you didn’t have a license? What if the Florida bar or the state bar association that you work for or work with, or that regulates you, discovered what was going on and they decided that you were going to be suspended or disbarred for these unethical tactics? Folks, I will tell you there are things going on right now. You can just look at Yelp. Yelp is suing a law firm for putting up false testimonials. They had people in their office writing testimonials on their behalf, and Yelp is suing this law firm.

If this were taking place in Florida there’s a very high likelihood that the person who’s in charge of that law firm would receive a bar complaint and could quite possibly be suspended or even disbarred for providing false information to the public about their services. That is so blatantly unethical I cannot even believe that a marketing practitioner would sanction that. Transparency is critically, critically important. You need transparency between the person who’s providing the marketing services to you and transparency between you and your audience.

The number one rule of marketing, any marketing, is do not lie. The truth is always the best marketing. If you cannot find a competitive advantage without lying or misrepresenting your services, you do not deserve to be providing services to the public. I’m going to say that again. If you cannot find a legitimate competitive advantage to your services without lying or embellishing the truth, you do not deserve to be providing services to the public. Rule number one is do not lie, and be transparent about everything that’s going on. Your marketing professionals should adhere to that code of conduct when they provide services to you and you in turn should adhere to that code of conduct when you provide service to your clients.

I want you to do this for me right now. Unless you’re driving, I want you to take a note right now and look at the bios on your website regardless of what business you’re in, particularly if you’re a lawyer. Look at the bio on your website. Does that bio contain 100% truthful, verifiable information? It’s a yes or no answer. If there’s anything in your bio that is not truthful or if there’s anything in your bio that cannot be verified easily, it has to be removed because you’re not being transparent. I will tell you that this will come back to bite you 100% of the time. Besides being the right thing to do, it has negative marketing implications. You must, you must perform that exercise right now.

Area number two, and this is a clear differentiating factor between true marketing professionals and those who are shall we say hacks: frequency of communication. The marketing theory behind more communication with clients, prospective clients, or referral sources is more communication is always better than less communication. I’m going to say that again. More communication is always better than less communication. The example I always give is the relationships in your life. Take a look at the relationships in your life, the relationships you have with people you care about, your spouse, your brother, your sister, your mother, your father. Are you better off when you communicate with them more frequently or are you better off when you communicate with them less frequently?

What if you ignored your spouse and only communicated with him or her once a week? What would happen to your relationship? It would fall apart. What if you ignored your mother, your father, your sister, your brother, and only communicated with them once a month? What would happen to that relationship? It would fall apart. Would it be stronger if you communicated more frequently? Absolutely. Yet I see marketing professionals all the time giving the advice, you only want to send out one email a month because if you send out too many emails people will unsubscribe.

If people don’t want to hear from you, you’re right, they will unsubscribe. But if they unsubscribe, that’s the best thing that ever happened to you because they’re not interested in the first place. If you send out an email every day or five emails a day, and there are 20 people reading the five emails a day you’re sending out, those 20 people are likely to become clients, or those 20 people are likely to refer business to you. Those are the only people we care about. Regardless of what size your list is, if you send out an email every week and 50% of the people opt out of it, that was 50% of your marketing that was wasted anyway.

Frequency of communication is a good thing. You should communicate with your clients, your prospective clients, and your referral sources as frequently as possible. The only thing that should limit the amount of communication you provide to your audience are there’s two things. Number one: physical capacity, your physical capacity to create communication. Number two: your ability to say something interesting and relevant to them. Those are the only things that should limit your capability of developing good content that’s relevant to them and your capacity for delivering that content. Those are the only two things that should limit the amount of communication you maintain with your clients, your prospective clients, and your referral sources. That’s it. Communicate with them every day if you can. Communicate with them once a week, which is preferred. Communicate with them once a month at minimum. If you’re interesting and relevant, people will participate in a dialogue with you as frequently as possible.

I will tell you that you’re going to see marketing consultants out there who disagree with that advice. Those people are not professionals. Those people do not know what they’re talking about. If you believe that you should communicate with people with less frequency than that, then you haven’t done the research. I don’t have time today to get into the exact research. There’s all kinds of statistical data that proves this point. I don’t have time to get into it today. You can look it up if you’d like, or you can hire me and I can share it with you. Quite frankly, communicating more frequently is a sign of a good marketing professional. Advising to communicate less frequently is a sign of a hack.

Number three is focusing on return on investment. This drives me nuts. I hear from people, particularly people in radio or people who are in print advertising, or people who do pay per click advertising, they talk about number of impressions, they talk about hits to a website, they talk about the amount of traffic they receive, and they talk about it as if those metrics mean anything. None of those metrics in and of themselves mean a damn thing. What matters is money in the bank. It’s the return on investment. If I spend 10% on pay per click advertising, I better receive $11 in new business so that I get a positive return on my investment. If I spend $100 on a print ad in a daily business magazine, I better receive $101 in return or I don’t have a positive return on my investment.

That’s all that matters when it comes to marketing. Your investment in marketing should produce a positive return on investment. Then you prioritize your marketing dollars based upon the marketing vehicles, the delivery systems that provide you with the highest return on investment. If you have a direct mail campaign that produces a 50% return on investment and you have a pay per click campaign which produces a 60% return on investment, and you have a speaking tour that you have to have somebody in your office administer and set up but it provides 100% return on your investment, and you can only invest in one thing, you better believe you’re investing in the speaking tour because that 100% return on investment is the best place to spend your dollars.

Marketing professionals are bamboozled by this kind of language. This is business talk and this is big league business talk. This is how we prioritize marketing initiatives at my firm. I work with my clients and look at the marketing initiatives that are producing the highest return on investment. If you’re spending $5,000 a month with a website provider and you’re not getting $10,000 a month worth of new business from your website, that’s probably a crappy investment because it’s tying up a lot of your money. Even if you’re getting $5,001 back, your return on investment, that money is not working hard enough for you. Yet your website provider is never going to talk about a return on investment. They’re going to talk about traffic. They’re going to talk about hits. They’re going to talk about your page position in Google. I hate when people focus on those things because it makes it seem like there’s some importance to that.

You cannot take those things to the bank and you cannot spend that at the grocery store. Return on investment is all that’s important, and those people who talk about anything other than return on investment from marketing being the be all and end all, those are people who you do not want to work with. The most important thing is return on investment. Now let’s talk about, briefly, branding.

This is a big one for me. Anybody who talks about branding vs. return on investment is not a marketing consultant you want to work with. Let me explain to you why. Branding works for large companies. If you’re Coca-Cola, you’re Apple, you’re General Motors, you’re Microsoft, branding is going to be highly effective because they have significant budgets and they can put their brand in your face thousands and thousands of times and you will know what their brand stands for because they burn it into your mind. If you’re Joe, Frank, and Sal’s law firm, you cannot advertise with enough frequency to burn that brand into the mind of the consumer so that when they need a lawyer for their house closing, which they’re only going to need two or three times in their life, they remember who you are. They’re just not going to remember it.

Branding is a bunch of crap for small businesses and for law firms. If you are spending a significant amount of money building a brand, you should take that money and spend it targeting people who can actually use your services today, and you should make them an offer to use your services today. If you’re working with a professional, a so-called marketing professional who’s telling you to focus on branding, you need to run away from that person as quickly as possible because that’s not good marketing tradecraft for a professional services firm or a small business. Branding is a bunch of crap. I talked about that in great detail a couple of podcasts ago, so I’m really not going to get into it that much here.

Let’s talk about lead generation and let’s talk about what, and I touched on this briefly too, let’s talk about what real true marketing professionals are focused on. Real true marketing professionals are focused on getting contact information and continuing a conversation and dialogue when it comes to lead generation. Your social media campaigns for example should all be driving people to landing pages where you offer something that’s highly valuable from an education marketing perspective. You should offer a free report, a free CD, a free DVD, a free video, something that encourages them to give their name, email address, and preferably their mailing address. That’s what you’re looking for with your lead generation.

You’re not looking to sell somebody something right out of the gate. Your social media should not say call me if you have a personal injury case. It should not say call me when you get your next DUI. It should not say call me if you need to get a will done. What it should say is enter your contact information here for your free report, five things you need to know before you hire a criminal defense attorney to work with you on your DUI case. Or, call me to get your free report, seven things you need to know about asset protection for doctors. Or, call me for your free CD, 30 things you need to know about getting divorced in Wisconsin.

These types of campaigns are phenomenonally powerful, because what happens is people get the information from you, they consume your information, and they immediately place you on a pedestal as an expert. Most marketing professionals will not to give you the advice to take a two-step sales process. Step one: generate the lead. Step two: nurture that lead and then make an offer. That two-step process is the difference between an expert marketing and an amateur marketer.

If you are currently hitting people in the mouth with call me when you’re going to get divorced, call me when you get a DUI, call me when you want to do a will, if you’re hitting people in the mouth with that type of advertising, you may get a client half a percent to 1% of the time. If you’re using the two-step process, call for your free report, call for your free video, call for your free DVD, or enter your contact information here for your free report, free video, free DVD, if you’re using that process you will be far more effective, probably a thousand times more effective than the person who’s just hitting them with the message to use their product or service.

The difference between true marketing tradecraft and hacks, somebody who’s participating in true marketing, somebody who knows true marketing tradecraft will use a two-step marketing process. Somebody who’s a hack is just going to go for the sale on their first try. This next point, very brief, very easy.

When it comes to marketing, you own all the content. If you’re working with a website provider and they’re putting content up on the website for you … I would highly encourage you not to do that, but if they’re writing the content for you you should own that content. There are a ton of website providers out there right now who do this for attorneys. The attorneys I guess don’t read the contract. The website provider owns the content. That’s absolute crap. I hate it. These people are unethical. You’re paying for it, you own the content.

Essentially what they will do is if you pull the plug on them, they’re going to take that content and give it to somebody in the same practice area as you and use your own stuff, everything that you paid for to compete with you. In fact, they probably did that with the last guy. That’s the content that you’re getting right now. That content is out there floating around somewhere right now. You’re going to get recycled content. This is so unethical yet a lot of web companies do this each and every single day. If you pay fort content and someone else writes it, you own that content. That’s the sign of a marketing professional. Anyone else who does that is a hack.

Milestones and outcomes are clear. We touched briefly on return on investment. Now I want to tell you about milestones. If you’re talking about hits to a page and then conversions to a landing page, all those things are great. The marketing professionals should tell you based upon the performance of past campaigns what you can expect. They should be able to tell you how many people are going to view your ad and how many people will opt in to get your free report. They should tell you approximately how many people should convert. They’ve done this before. They should know those numbers.

Those are called milestones. The marketing professionals should know them and they should be able to recite them to you. If they can’t, fire them immediately, hire somebody who can. If the person inside your firm is running marketing, they should know those things and they should be able to tell you with some degree of certainty, with a margin of error, whether or not the campaigns are on track based on those milestones.

The financial incentive for you to succeed should be in existence between you and your marketing professional. If you’re paying your web company $2,000 a month or $5,000 a month to do search engine optimization for you, to provide content, all the things that I talked about. If you’re doing that and it’s a flat fee of $5,000 a month let’s say, what’s the incentive for you to get more clients? There is none other than the fact that you’ll fire them, but they probably have you locked up to a ridiculous two or three or five year contract.

True marketing professionals who are confident in their performance will not lock you up to a long-term contract. I very rarely have long-term contracts with my clients. The longest-term contract I’ve ever done is probably a year or 18 months, and that’s if we’re doing something that’s really special and whether build some sort of a long-term campaign and it requires a long-term relationship. It’s only when I’m working with multiple people in a law firm. If I’m coaching people, different story. If I’m coaching six people in a law firm I need a one-year contract because it may take me three months just to get the information out of these people in order to help them.

That’s fine, but if I’m doing some sort of task oriented marketing, you’re hiring me to manage the development of your website and then you want me to on a monthly basis monitor your content, help you make tweaks to the content, coach you on improving that, that’s always going to be month to month. The reason why is because I want you to be able to stop our relationship at any time and say listen, this is not working out. I want to go with somebody else. Because I want to put my money where my mouth is. I want the incentive to be there for me to constantly provide you with a high level of success, with a phenomenal return on investment.

That should be expected of any marketing professional. Now when we work with law firms we cannot participate in the upside. We cannot participate financially in the success of the law firm. Lawyers in just about every state in the United States, every state that I know of in the United States, cannot share fees with non-lawyers. We can’t per se put our money where our mouth is, but when it comes the other businesses, we will absolutely participate in the upside and we’ll develop a bonus structure or some type of incentive structure for our performance to be in line with your performance. Any really good marketing professional would be happy to do that, thrilled, absolutely thrilled to do that.

Finally, you should work with someone who knows the rules of your industry and is an ethical practitioner. I wish there were a certification process for marketing professionals. I really do. I wish there were a certification process for consultants. I wish there were a certification process for “business coaches.” There are organizations out there that claim to provide these certifications, but essentially they’re just people who are going through an online course and pointing and clicking with a mouse in order to complete their certifications.

There are just so many unethical people out there that you have to be very, very careful who you hire. When you interview marketing professionals you need to make sure they understand the laws and the rules related to your industry, the laws and the rules related to marketing. I’ll give you just a couple brief examples. First let’s take lawyers. When you work with lawyers, each state in the United States has their own advertising rules. A professional who’s working with you on a consultative basis needs to understand the rules of each state. They need to brief themselves and then brief you on the rules and the ethical guidelines as to what you can do with your marketing.

Now in other industries the law still applies. You cannot commit fraud. For example, the guidelines I give you about testimonials, those aren’t just guidelines. Those are rules. The FTC in the United States regulates use of testimonials. There are a whole list of disclaimers that you must include if you’re using testimonials in your marketing. Rule number one always applies, and that’s the truth is the best form of marketing. If you’re truthful and you disclose everything that you would normally disclose when you’re starting a relationship and you want it to be productive, nine times out of ten you’re going to be fine. The marketing professional that you work with should be fully versed in the rules, regulations, and ethical guidelines of the marketing that you’re employing.

If you fail to ask questions up front and that person violates those guidelines and they get you in trouble, that’s on you because you hired them and you let them act on your behalf. Let me sum up by saying that there are hundreds of highly qualified expert marketing professionals out there. I’ve given you in the last 28-29 minutes, I’ve give you some marketing tradecraft, some behind the scenes activity that marketers look at and that marketing consultants focus on when we work with our clients. True professionals will adhere to all of these guidelines.

When you develop a marketing department in your own business, you should be adhering to these guidelines as well. I encourage you today to go back and review this audio program, take notes on it, and immediately implement these guidelines so that you can be more successful and deliver the results you deserve. That will do it for this week’s episode of the Valtimax Podcast. My name is Dave Lorenzo and I’d like your feedback and comments on this week’s episode. You can call me at 888-692-5531 or email me at [email protected] Here’s hoping you make a great living and live a great life.

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