There are dozens of reasons why campaigns don't work, and I could write an article going over things like the offer, media choice and more, but I don't think that'll be super helpful.
Who is answering your phones?
Instead, I want to focus more on what is happening internally that could be causing your campaigns to fail. My hope is that this will be a new way for you to evaluate campaign success and failures.
A dentist called us recently and told us a new homeowner direct-mail campaign we were doing for their office wasn't working. I asked why and they didn't know. So, I asked for permission to call his office.
A few hours later, I grabbed the phone and called. I got their voicemail. I hung up, waited two minutes and tried again. On the fourth call, someone finally answered, and when I asked for an appointment as a new patient, the receptionist couldn't get me in for three weeks.
No wonder the marketing wasn't working.
Most businesses live and die by the phones, but do nearly zero training for the employees on phone skills. They also typically don't pay the people who answer the phones very well, which is one of the reasons they don't get employees with phone skills. This is a huge mistake.
You must also have scripting for your phones. If you make appointments or sales, you need to pay those people a good wage or commission and give them training, not just throw them to the wolves on day one.
Related: 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing
Do you have clear goals?
Let me use a newsletter example for this point. If you want more referrals, simply sending a newsletter will get the vast majority of businesses more referrals. Newsletters give you top-of-mind awareness and have pass-around value.
But, if you want 25 more referrals per month, simply sending a newsletter won't do the trick. You need to promote referrals in the newsletter and ask for them when you're talking to customers. If you can, try a referral promo or contest. If you can't, then create a referral culture and offer information that is valuable to help get more referrals.
Unless you're clear on the goals you want -- and for the record, saying "more customers" is not being clear -- how can anyone help you achieve these goals?
Do you understand the challenge?
Finally, most people vastly underestimate how difficult it is to grow. It's hard and expensive to get a new customer. All of this new media is actually making it more expensive and difficult for the vast majority of businesses.
Far too many people get their business going, start marketing, find some success and then expect to get customers for the same amount of money and effort they are spending today. That simply isn't reality.
As you scale, you have to spend more money to continue getting the same results. It's like picking fruit from a tree. At first, it's easy, but eventually you have to grab a ladder and start climbing if you want to get more and more fruit.
You have to do the same thing with marketing. Today you may be able to get 10 new customers for $100 each, but if you want to get 20 new customers, you may have to spend $135 each for customers 11 to 15 and $157 each for customers 16 to 20. For the first 10 customers, you may be able to close all of them via the internet and email, but for the next 10, you'll have to get on the phone. It simply gets more and more difficult as you want to get more and more customers. This is why so many businesses settle and stop trying to grow.
I know none of what I just told you is likely to be what you wanted to hear, but it is the truth. Right now, these three areas are holding many people back from achieving their dreams.
Are you going to let them hold you back, or are you willing to do the work and make changes to how you run your business?
Only time will tell.