This past weekend I was in Atlanta for the “Info Summit,” a marketing seminar for information marketers (people and companies who sell how-to advice products and services). The event was hosted by Dan Kennedy, who is a legend in the direct-response field.

I strongly recommend that you take time out from your business to go to quality events and seminars and conferences. It’s really helpful for getting perspective on your business because you interact with people who are further along than you are.  I always return home with dozens of actionable ideas and new energy to take my business to the next level. If you can’t afford to go to high-level seminars, you can go to relevant local events, which are typically low-cost or free.

Anyways, since I just spent a few days listening to Dan Kennedy, I figured I’d pass on some of his wisdom. Dan likes to say that the worst number in business is 1.  I wholeheartedly agree. As a marketer and an entrepreneur, you want to avoid the number 1 whenever possible.

So, in today’s article, I’m sharing three examples where the number 1 can really get you in trouble with your marketing.

Mistake #1: Only Having 1 Product

This is a big mistake.

If you only have 1 product, you are automatically putting a limit on your average customer value. If you’re not maximizing your average customer value, then you really can’t compete. Instead of buying more media and out-marketing your competitors from multiple directions, you’re forced to retreat to media where you can achieve a very low cost/sale.

Instead, you should offer multiple products to your customers and clients, so your average customer value is higher than your competitors’. That’s how you truly dominate a market — when you can afford to out-spend your competitors to acquire new customers.

If you only have 1 product right now, as a first step, you can still increase your customer value by offering other companies’ products and services for an affiliate commission.

And even if you have multiple products, you should try to avoid having 1 product represent a disproportionate volume of your sales.

Mistake #2: Having a 1-Step Sales Process

Too many marketers operate with overly simplified “Yes/No” marketing funnels. By that, I mean they send people to their website and expect people to buy right away — and there’s nothing after that “Yes/No” decision. If the customer buys, they have nothing more to offer. If the customer doesn’t buy, they don’t make any attempt to follow up and close the sale.

To paraphrase Dan Kennedy again, the most important word in marketing is next. What’s your next move? There’s never an end to a successful marketing campaign.

Instead of a 1-step sales process, you should have a multi-step process, and here are 3 critical ingredients:

1. Lead generation: Instead of asking people to buy immediately, how can you compel your prospect to raise his hand, so he’s interested in learning more?

2. Follow up: The vast majority of sales happen after multiple touches, and this is true both in a 1-on-1 sales environment as well as for online marketing. How can you add automated follow-up mechanisms to educate, nurture and motivate your prospect to become your customer?  The easiest way to implement follow up is with automated email marketing ‘drip’ campaigns.

3. Back end: What can you offer your customer, after his initial purchase? Here’s where up-sells, cross-sells, down-sells, and continuity comes into play. Again, if you only have 1 product, you can at least improve your back-end monetization with affiliate offers.

Mistake #3: Being Reliant on 1 Form of Media

More and more marketers are guilty of this mistake. Obviously, if you’re reliant on 1 form of media, you put yourself in a very vulnerable position.

Here are some examples I’ve seen and heard from speaking to various business owners over the past couple months.

If you’re reliant on SEO rankings in Google and the algorithm changes, you can lose all your traffic overnight. If you’re dependent on Google AdWords for 80% of your revenue, and you get “Google slapped,” you’ll have to scramble for new traffic sources — it may even put you out of business. And if you’re reliant on JV/affiliate partners for all of your traffic, you don’t really have any control over your growth.

My Confession

Now, until very recently, we’ve been guilty of this 3rd mistake – big time. I’m an online marketer. I’ve been marketing 100% online since I 2005 when I first started dabbling in SEO. It wasn’t until 2011 that I started even testing offline marketing.

Actually, just this past week, we sent out our first direct mail test to sell an online product. We sent out letters in the mail driving people to a website where they could purchase our product. Unthinkable!

Well, here’s the thing…

So far this campaign is more profitable than previous online advertising campaigns for this particular product. And we’re anticipating that we’ll be investing way more in direct mail for this particular product versus online media.

In this case, direct mail provides 3 key benefits:

1. In this particular market, it’s far cheaper to get a letter in the mail than to pay for clicks with Google Adwords. Direct mail is roughly 15% of the cost of a single AdWords click.

2. We can target our ideal prospects, which is not always the case with online marketing (particularly search engine marketing). As a result, the leads are higher quality.

3. The reponse rates are solid. One likely reason for this is because more companies are shifting their marketing budgets online, which means there’s less clutter in the offline mailbox.

I’m excited to test different types of online/offline marketing integration, and I’ll keep you posted on what I learn as I continue experimenting with direct mail and other forms of offline media.

Here’s What to Do Now

We’re already into November, so we’re getting close to the end of the year. 2012 will be here before you know it. Now’s a good time to conduct a mini audit of your business and your marketing.

Are you currently relying on 1 of anything in your marketing and in your business?

For example:

  • Is 1 product responsible for a disproportionate volume of your sales?
  • Do you have a 1-step instead of a multi-step sales/marketing process?
  • Are you dependent on 1 source of media for all of your traffic?
  • Do you have 1 big customer or client that’s a disproportionate amount of your revenue?
  • Are you over-reliant on 1 key employee?

Be honest with yourself and start diversifying right away. You’ll be glad you did.


I’d love to get your feedback, especially regarding online vs offline marketing and any integrations that have worked well for you, or ideas you’re considering testing.