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The One Slipup You Really Don’t Want to Make In Your Campaigns (And How to Avoid It)

I’m going to tell you a short story. Bear with me for about five minutes, because there’s an interesting moral to be learned from it.

Not long ago I was interested in buying a new car. My Facebook Feed was chock-full of the hottest offers by all the leading manufacturers. One car really struck my fancy, and I told myself there’s no harm in hearing about it. I could, of course, call right then and there or pop by the dealership, but I decided to use this as an opportunity for a brief experiment. I did something that we digital marketing professionals and business owners only know from the other end of the equation: I left a lead! Since this was a Facebook LeadGen ad, clicking it automatically entered my contact details into the appropriate fields. I clicked on “send” and waited patiently.

As you may guess, nothing happened.

I was a bit surprised, to tell the truth. The model was on sale as part of a limited-time offer that had already begun. We know how cumbersome it can be to pull leads from LeadGen ads, so I clicked on the ad once more and left a second lead. 24 hours went by after leaving the first lead, and I still received no reply.

I decided to take it one step forward. I found their landing page by Googling the brand, only this time I didn’t leave my details. I took up the page’s other call to action: I called the number! That’s right. I was a very obedient customer, who sees a call to action and acts immediately.

So I called, but instead of reaching their sales representatives I found myself talking to their message service, which only takes callers’ details and sends them to sales. At this point I said “How odd” to myself, since, basically, that’s exactly like leaving your lead using a form, only this method demands a tad more effort from the customer who expects accurate answers to his questions. Oh well. I gave the nice representative my details and waited patiently once more. Another 24 hours went by, and once again, no one called.

How disappointing!

The weekend came and went, and the sale ended. About a week had passed since I first contacted the dealership when I had an expected phone call in the middle of the day from a number I didn’t recognize. “Hi,” the voice said, “I’m calling from the dealership. I see you’re interested in a car. How can I help you?”

“Yes,” I replied. “I was interested, about a week ago, when it was on sale. Now that the sale is over, do you have anything else to offer me?”

Needless to say, I was fairly disappointed, but nothing prepared me for the sale representative’s reaction. Instead of trying to “warm” me up again, she opted to start a silly argument regarding the time I first contacted the dealership. “You only contacted us on Sunday, Sir, after the sale ended.” I tried – very delicately, I might add – to set the record straight, but she insisted she was correct. That’s where both the conversation and my interest in buying a new car from that brand ended.

Did you enjoy the story? If I were the brand’s marketing director, I’d be shocked and dismayed.

And now for the moral of the story.


The One Thing We Must Never Neglect in our Marketing

Digital marketing is a complex endeavor, no two ways about it. Pixels, audience targeting, conversion, clicks and views – the options alone can make you dizzy. The thing is, all this digital talk gets us flummoxed, and we’re so preoccupied with the creative aspects, with the design aspects and with every technical aspect of managing our digital campaigns, that we sometimes forget its essence, the basic principles that are at the heart of every marketing process.

This entire marketing circus, digital or otherwise, is meant to serve one simple purpose: creating sales opportunities for your business! That and that alone is the goal of the marketing process. We can use fancy terms like engagement, branding, and audience ripening, but these are all means, not goals. The goal is gaining customers and selling them products. Without this critical essence, even the finest, shiniest campaign that operates with an unlimited budget and has confetti falling from the sky during every conversion is simply worthless.


Let’s Talk About Sales

Yes, sales, that unimportant thing that happens when the campaign meets its goals and provides the business owner with high quality sales opportunities. People want to buy what we have to offer, giving us their contact details, calling us or messaging us on Messenger/WhatsApp/Telegram/SMS (Wow! There are plenty of ways to contact a business nowadays). We invest so much energy and other resources in getting them to do this, so why don’t we do the same at the next stage as well?

Far too many businesses screw up where it counts the most, at the point that should be the focal point of all their attention: sales.

Sales are the crucial endpoint of all your marketing activity. That’s where it all leads to, to the bottleneck that’s meant to make all your hard work, effort and investment worthwhile. After moving mountains trying to get someone to contact us, all that remains is entering their inquiry and handling it well, and lo and behold – we have a new customer.

Sales are a world unto themselves. Salesmanship is a vocation. It requires skills and expertise, many of which are the product of long term experience but most of which can be taught. Yes, long before we become seasoned sales professionals who can sell ice to Eskimos, attention to a few basic principles can increase our turnover and improve our sales closing rate considerably, generating greater income.

These five basic principles can effect real change in the success of your advertising campaigns, even if sales aren’t your strong suit:

  1. Short reply time and high availability
  2. The right person at the right time
  3. Proactivity
  4. Persistence
  5. Be truthful in advertising and deliver on your promises


  1. Short reply time and high availability

This is one subject that cannot be emphasized enough. Being slow to respond to potential customers in the present age, which gives us a plethora of information about products and services, is like leaving money on the table. Although we could previously wait a day or two before responding, leads that don’t receive a response within a number of hours have their desires met quickly elsewhere nowadays.

Furthermore, if you have an active advertising campaign, availability is a must! A customer that calls your business at a reasonable hour but receives no reply becomes a disappointed customer even before exchanging a single word with you! A customer that is unnecessarily screened by your office manager, your appointment schedulers or your message service is a frustrated customer who needs to put in far too much effort to receive your services.

A real life example:

One of our existing clients, who has been with our agency for quite some time, experienced a considerable drop in sales in his successful campaign. A quick investigation revealed an otherwise funny situation: the client started studying in a program that left him unavailable to respond to leads beginning at 12 PM, so any lead that came in later was answered the next morning. In effect, this delay cut his business’ sales by 50%! Once we recognized the problem we made sure that the client assigns someone to answer his leads whenever he’s unavailable. His sales bounced back within a month.

This brings us to our next point.


  1. The right person at the right time

In an enormous number of businesses, sales are handled by the wrong person. Who’s the wrong person? That would be the secretary, the office manager or any other administrative function. This usually happens when the owner, who is nevertheless the best salesperson in the business, is trying to fulfill the first principle, i.e. short reaction times. In other cases, this derives from a basic lack of understanding of the importance of sales or from a mistaken perception of responses to sales opportunities, i.e. to leads, as a wholly mechanical act.

This creates situations in which the person speaking to customers is not the person who knows the right responses to their questions and doubts. Most importantly, this person doesn’t know the right response to their sales resistance, especially to the classic kinds, e.g. high prices or more attractive offers by competitors.

A real life example:

We saw a pattern emerging in the business of one of our clients. When the client was available to handle sales, everything went off without a hitch. But when his office manager handled sales, his closings fell drastically, effectively forcing the owner to drop all other activities and plunge into sales at a moment’s notice.

Although business owners are usually their own best salespeople, they do not have to handle sales their entire life. Even so, it does mean they are responsible for hiring and training someone with the appropriate skills for the job.


  1. Proactivity

Each situation in life gives us two options: reacting, i.e. waiting for something to happen then reacting to it, or initiating, i.e. making things happen and thus dictating how they will unfold. In sales, this is the exact situation. If we do not initiate, we react. We wait for the customer to get back to us, to write to us, to respond to our price quote, but in real life things just don’t work that way. Even after finishing a seemingly successful sales conversation with potential customers, perhaps even after giving them a price quote, if we will initiate – that is, if we continue on initiating ongoing communications by calling, emailing or messaging the customer – instead of reacting, the success of the sale will not fall squarely on our shoulders. Sometimes, all a customer needs to close a deal is a brief phone call to remind them who you are and that there’s an offer on the table.


  1. Persistence

People who leave their contact details using a website or landing page don’t actually know when we’ll get back to them, and so they won’t always be free to talk whenever we chose to do so. Now, that’s fine and natural, but this is where our seriousness in handling sales is measured. Did you call back a customer and found out he or she can’t talk? Ask them for a convenient time to call, preferably later that day, and make sure to do so at the scheduled time. Did you call back and found out they’re still unavailable? Reschedule. As long as customers do not firmly refuse to communicate further or clearly hint they’re no longer interested in us, there’s no reason not to keep trying!

Success in sales demands persistence. This complements the previous section, since by persisting in creating opportunities to communicate with the customer we initiate rather than react, wholly controlling the sales process rather than allowing the customer to dictate its progress.


Pro-tip: Two Excellent Ways to Retain Leads until Replying

  1. When customers use a form to leave their contact details or purchase a product online, they usually arrive at a generic Thank You page that displays a simple message. Instead, use this page as an opportunity to explain all that’s about to happen: how long it will take you reply, additional information about the product, or any other thing that will make the customer stay emotionally involved with the process.
  2. Send an email or SMS immediately after receiving a lead, using it to repeat the offer and your message and reemphasize the next step in the process. Alternatively, use it to give the customer additional information, other ways of communicating with you, or valuable resources such as a relevant article or an important guide.

This form of marketing communication, which takes place even after winning leads, is an intrinsic part of the sales process. It eases customers by letting them know they’ve reached out to a good business, one that cares about its customers and wishes to help them.


  1. Be truthful in advertising and deliver on your promises

This might sound trivial, but truth is stranger than fiction. There can be a mismatch between the promises given by a business’ advertising and the promises given by its sales staff. This is especially common whenever the owner is not the one who handles sales while sales staff is not involved in its advertising.

The following all are examples of mismatches that throw a wrench into your sales:

  • Ads that show one price and sales conversations that give another
  • Hidden costs, or terms that aren’t mentioned alongside the offer
  • Unrealistic delivery times
  • Discounts or gifts that are promised by your advertising but aren’t given by the sales staff
  • Courses and seminars that are held at times or locations that differ from those advertised
  • Unrealistic promises of warranties or refunds

Marketing and sales need to form a single continuous line. The person who handles sales – and it makes no difference whether that person is the business owner or a sales representative – has to continue communicating with the customer without straying from this line.


Do you promise a gift with every purchase? Give it!

Do you promise a certain price? Sell at it!

Do you guarantee 7-day delivery? Make good on it.


You get the point. Unwaveringly delivering on your advertising promises is a firm foundation for success in sales. If you fail to do so, remember that accidents happen to everybody. Keep your customers updated and in the know, compensating them if necessary. There’s no shame in telling your customer that you made a mistake.


A real life example:

Due to a mismatch between sales and marketing, one of our clients, who regularly holds large monthly conferences with hundreds of participants, oversold tickets to one of his events by 15%.  The venue couldn’t hold all his conferences-goers, and his representatives were forced to send many back. Imagine the frustration of paying for a ticket, making time in your schedule and looking for parking only to be told you can’t come in. That’s a massive screw-up. The client’s marketing director made sure to personally compensate each and every person who was sent home that day. They immediately received a ticket for the following event, as well as additional tickets free of charge, add-on products such as digital information products that are normally sold rather given away, and numerous other bonuses.

In fact, service is an inseparable part of the sales process, especially in cases of mismatch or customer dissatisfaction. But that is another subject altogether, and it requires an article on its own.


The Final, Most Important Piece of the Puzzle

Whole books and articles have been written about sales, so, really, what we’ve talked about today only scratches the surface. The subjects we chose to emphasize are the basis for converting sales opportunities that reach the business into sales. It’s important to realize that sales are an inseparable part of the advertising process, and if you fail to prepare for them adequately – if you cannot give the appropriate sales responses to incoming sales opportunities – then why are you even investing time and effort into advertising?

Sales are the final piece of the marketing puzzle. If it’s out of place, then the picture is incomplete and the entire thing is worthless.

Good luck!


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