Your marketing campaign didn’t work, what went wrong?

Your marketing campaign didn’t work, what went wrong?

How to avoid the five most common direct marketing mistakes

While it might be a bad time for many things at the moment, it’s never a bad time for marketing. You can at least start getting a direct marketing campaign together ready for when you feel the time is right. 

But what if you’ve been there, done that and it didn’t work? A translation colleague had the same problem and wanted to make sure they were more successful next time.

I’ve tried direct marketing in the past and it didn’t work so I need to know what I’m doing wrong!

To answer that, I’d need more details but I suspect the problem might be linked to one of these five common direct marketing mistakes:

1. Your audience

Are you marketing to the right person in the company and do they want your services? Start with the right list of contacts and you’ve increased your chances of success exponentially.

The more refined your list of prospects is, the easier it is to market to them. 

A highly targeted list of contacts can be small but perfectly formed

Once you’ve narrowed down your chosen sector, size of company, past clients, people who have attended the same events, whoever you’re going for – make sure you send your marketing to the right person. If you have an existing relationship with someone, go ahead and tailor your marketing to them. Otherwise there’s no point sending marketing to technicians if all the translations are commissioned by the communications department.

2. Being impersonal 

There are two aspects to this. First, as in #1 you need a select group of prospects because then it’s easier to talk specifically about their problems and customise your marketing. Even if you work for multiple sectors and don’t have a niche, choose a few specific people to target in one campaign. Tweak your marketing to a second group in a separate campaign.

Second, write to the reader directly. Use “you” and their name. It makes it easier for you to write your marketing, imagining a single person across the table from you in a café. And it’s much more flattering to your potential client to receive a letter with their name on it that talks specifically about them, their industry, and how you can help them. 

3. Lack of a compelling offer

You need a reason for your contact to respond to your offer. Without some kind of benefit to the reader, the only reason for them to respond is if you’ve struck lucky and they are in the middle of a translation crisis! If you’re asking your reader to “get in touch” or “contact you if they need translation”, you’ve just put yourself at the bottom of their to-do list. Make an offer – a free consultation call, sample translation, guide, useful tips document or whatever you identify as being valuable to their situation and sector. 

4. Zero urgency

Your offer should be time limited to encourage a response. Be clear about how long your reader has to respond to take advantage of your offer otherwise you risk them setting your marketing aside and never hearing from them again. Setting a deadline also helps you. It gives you the opportunity and a valid reason to follow up – all of which can easily be done without being salesy or pushy.

Setting a deadline means you can follow-up with a friendly reminder

5. No follow-up

The follow-up isn’t just to persuade your contact to make a decision. It’s also to gain valuable feedback and insights into your target market. Rather than worry about being pushy and striving to get a new client at every stage of the process, consider your campaign to be a fact-finding mission. Whatever you discover will help you provide a better service, create more relevant marketing and improve your chances of success the next time you contact a potential client.

A ‘no thanks’ response often comes with an explanation – this company has in-house translators or they use a translation agency, the boss spent ten years abroad and can speak your language fluently, they might need some help for a future project but not right now. Whatever you find out, take note and see if there’s an opportunity rather than writing this company off straight away. Perhaps they could use support during busy periods, ask more about the future project they mentioned, hasn’t the boss got better things to do than translate…

Who are your favourite people to deal with? I bet they’re those who take an interest in you. If you don’t follow up your initial marketing, your potential clients will feel they were one of many and you didn’t want to work with them that much after all. Everyone likes to feel special.

Have you spotted any of these errors in your past marketing? If so, great – now you know what to fix!

If you did all the right things or would like more specific help, send me an email with the details to [email protected].
Rather be anonymous? Click on this survey link to describe your problem and I’ll answer in a future blog.


Submit a comment