I recently spent a strategy day with a client strategizing and mapping out key systems to increase her visibility and credibility in the marketing place.
She was looking to relaunch her business and she had rightly sought the services of various “experts offering good marketing advice” to help her re-launch her website and market her business better. They offered her some good marketing advice – create brochures for your business.
It was heart breaking to see that a lot of what she was spending time and money on would almost certainly end up in the bin although they seem like a good idea.
Good marketing advice?
Its common sense marketing advice that you should create beautiful brochures, cards and flyers to tell people about your business. So most small businesses spend alot of time and money creating brochures and other marketing materials that simply didn’t pass my “bin test”.
The bin test is based on my personal response to a lot of the marketing materials that I’m constantly being bombarded with – unfortunately most of them don’t make it pass my bin. My bin test is my framework for reviewing whether any of the brochures, flyers or sale letters I receive every day through my post box and at various events grab my attention and make me emotional about buying the said product or service. These are the ones that will get results and ultimately make it into my swipe file.
A swipe file is an advertising practice where copywriters keep a collection of adverts and sales letters that have been tested and proven to work. A lot of small business owners who benefit from this practice.
The harsh truth is that a lot of the materials that are given away at conferences and events sadly end up in the bin despite their owners best effort.
Why does it end up in the bin?
Basically it ends up in the bin because it’s of no use to me, or the other people they are being thrown at.
Simple but true!
When I receive information from other businesses I quickly scan them to assess whether:
1 – It offers me any valuable tip or information so I can keep it for detailed review later
2 – There is any offer or discount that requires me to hold on to it and hand it in to redeem a discount
3- It is something that I want to retain for future reference because the advice is just so valuable that I would want to refer to it again and again
4 – It gives me an idea for my own business, something I could add to my swipe file for inspiration.
If I don’t get a yes to any of these questions then straight to the bin it goes to be recycled. I’m aiming for an uncluttered way of life (check out this post on Zen Habits), so no hanging on to useless paper.
Flyers and other brochures work but only if they pass the bin test and you know what you are doing. Otherwise its just a waste of time.
Good marketing advice but a waste of time if not done right.
Although it took some convincing, my client saw the light. She is now going to “beef up” her marketing materials so that she has something of value for her prospects rather than just another brochure.
So before you spend any more money on brochures, letters and flyers just ask yourself these four questions to see if it passes “The bin test” and save yourself some time, money and energy.
Do you know of other seemingly harmless marketing advice that is losing entrepreneurs money? Why not share it below!
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