Why You Shouldn't Worry About Branding Until You Make 6 Figures
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Here's why you need to know the difference: For a startup, or even an established business that's struggling to grow, the difference between brand marketing and direct response can lead to explosive growth or expensive failure. And here's where I get brutally honest with you, so hang tight.
If you are not already making six figures in your business, brand marketing will bleed you dry. Best case scenario, you'll get a tiny trickle of new customers or clients from all your "branding" and it will be enough to keep you at break-even, which really just means you're losing market share. Worst case scenario, you'll get zero new customers or clients while still pouring an obscene amount of money into marketing that doesn't grow your business.
Does that sound insane? Are you too smart to ever make a mistake like that? I certainly hope so, but every day I see small businesses and startups that fail for that exact reason. That's why I feel compelled to share this message with you.
The real problem with brand marketing
There are plenty of cynics out there who say that brand marketing can never work, and that every form of brand marketing is a scam. Turns out, that's not true. Brand marketing can be extremely effective if you have a business that's already generating six figures and you want to accelerate its growth. For example, I just recently hired a PR company for my fitness franchise, Fit Body Boot Camp, to secure our position as a household name.
But, before I even dive into that, let me give you a simple definition of brand marketing: Brand marketing is any form of marketing designed to increase the status, positioning or name recognition of your business. That includes things like PR, billboards, TV commercials, charity events and even things like podcasts and social media.
The key word there is "increase." Quite frankly, if your business doesn't already have any status, positioning or name recognition to expand on, no amount of brand marketing will help you. That's exactly why so many small businesses and startups fall into the trap I was talking about. They read something about branding online, or some marketing firm sells them on the idea that they can get on CNN or whatever, and next thing you know they've spent hundreds or thousands of dollars on branding without any sales to show for it.
Just to give an example of this, that PR company I mentioned costs us $10,000 per month. I'm happy and willing to spend that, because that will help elevate our brand to the next level and expose our services to millions of qualified prospects who still aren't aware of us. That, and we have a strong foundation of direct response marketing built into the business that allows us to actually afford those kinds of services. Speaking of which ...
Why direct response marketing is the backbone of your business
Time for another simple definition: Direct response marketing is any form of marketing designed to lead your prospect directly to a sale. That's why the most obvious feature in any piece of direct response marketing is the "call to action," or CTA, at the end. The call to action is always clear and compelling, usually something like, "Buy Now to Eliminate Your Back Pain Permanently in Just One Weekend."
Now, yes, when it's poorly done, direct response marketing can come off as pushy, annoying or even offensive. Yet, when you use it correctly, it is absolutely the most powerful form of marketing you can use to grow your business because you can make sure that every marketing dollar you spend comes back as two dollars' worth of sales.
The most classic form of direct response is the sales letter. These days, you probably won't be sending out print sales letters, but you can still find that same basic formula in video sales letters (VSLs), funnels and even infomercials. In fact, let me give you a step by step process you can start using now to install direct response marketing in your business.
Your direct response marketing formula
Step 1: Read The Ultimate Sales Letter by Dan Kennedy.
Seriously, read it. There's a deep, deep well of knowledge out there on how to write effective sales copy. You can very easily get overwhelmed if you dive into it without a guide. Start with Dan Kennedy, and he'll tell you exactly what you need to get started.
Step 2: Use that formula to write a sales letter for your product or service.
You're going to send it out as an email, not letter, but you can still use the same formula. For the CTA, link to wherever your prospect can purchase your product or service.
Step 3: If you have an email list already, you can skip down to Step 5. If not, create a website you can use to capture email addresses.
There are dozens of websites you can use for email capture. For now, any one of them will work. Pick one.
Make sure you put a link to your email capture site at the end of each video, with a CTA that says, "Enter your email here to get more of my best tips and information!" or something similar.
Step 5: Send out your sales email and start collecting sales!
That's a formula that will help you get more sales right now. Go ahead and set it up like I explained here so you can bring in more revenue and grow your business. While you're at it, keep in mind that this core formula will work for any business, in any industry, in any economy, for any product or service. It is the backbone of any successful business ever built. In fact, the most successful businesses in history almost always started with direct response marketing, then found ways to blend branding and direct response together as they grew.
As technology changes and people move their attention to different platforms, some of these details will change. That's fine. As long as you understand the core idea of direct response marketing and stick to it, you can keep growing your business empire for the long haul.