One of the biggest mistakes that I see business owners make with their marketing is what I call the “No clue what I want from this” spray and pray marketing strategy. It’s where you really have no clear idea of what you want a particular marketing action to achieve…but you hope that if you throw enough marketing out there, some of it might stick.

It’s also failing to understand that all of your marketing efforts should be designed to bring your prospects one step closer to becoming a paying client.

This is an alarmingly common misunderstanding, usually because you’ve never been shown a better way. So let’s take a closer look.

Focus on the one core outcome

Now sure, you probably think that you do know what you want your marketing to achieve – I’m guessing it’s something along the lines of more clients and a healthier bottom line in your business. While that might be OK for your grand business vision, it’s certainly much too vague for your specific marketing campaigns.

Instead, you need to focus on defining the one core outcome that you want from each marketing activity within your business.Think of all of the different ways you do your marketing for a moment:

  • Blogging
  • Networking
  • Business cards and leaflets
  • Speaking
  • Social media
  • Teleseminars…to name just a few

Each time you do one of these, you must know what your Most Wanted Action is from your audience. If not, how can you judge whether or not it’s successful? Also remember that each marketing action should be “priming the pump” to lead to the sale. Ask yourself: Does this marketing strategy pave the way so that the end logical step for the prospect is to buy what I’m offering?

Each marketing piece should always be step-by-step building the value and anticipation, and whetting the appetite of your prospect! In the competitive modern marketplace, this build-up process is key, in a way that gives huge value to your prospect at each step.

Lots of choices can equal no action

Having an unclear most-wanted action then becomes compounded by another closely related mistake: Trying to ask your audience (the reader, listener, or viewer) to do lots of different things in each of your marketing actions. Why is that a mistake?

Because a confused, overwhelmed mind with too many choices to make will do…absolutely nothing!

So, what type of actions or responses might you want your target audience to make?

It could be any of these, or more…

  • Opt in for a report
  • Pick up the phone and call you
  • Comment on your blog
  • Submit a question
  • Take part in a survey
  • Enter a drawing or competition
  • Give you their business card
  • Listen live to a teleclass
  • Read to the very end of a sales page
  • Book a free strategy call
  • Forward something to a friend or colleague
  • Refer you to someone

Can you see just how many different responses, actions, and levels of engagement you might want to elicit in your target audience? Each and every one of these has its own place in an integrated marketing system.

But, you don’t want to be asking your prospect to do them all at once – no way!

Create a marketing plan with multiple opportunities

You want to design each part of your marketing plan to steadily drip these different parts out to your prospects to invite involvement, to show your interest in their problem, and to build up the know/like/trust factor – one step at a time.

And you want to make it super easy for your prospects to know what you want. The simple way to do that (which so many business owners are afraid to do) is to ask them or tell them! This doesn’t need to be scary. You can be polite and respectful, and guide your prospect to give you the response you most want.

The thing is, all of your marketing should have a purpose, or quite frankly, you’re wasting your time – and more importantly, you’re wasting your audience’s time, which is a cardinal sin!

Depending on where you are in the process of building the know/like/trust relationship with your prospect, the most-wanted action might be slightly different. However, the steps you are inviting your prospect to move through must always be designed to lead toward having that all important “selling conversation,” otherwise there’s really no point, and you may as well pack up and go home!

So, if you don’t know the one core purpose for each of your marketing strategies, your business will suffer, your message will be muddier than the Ganges, and your audience won’t have a clue what you stand for or what you want them to do.

So, they’ll do nothing…and go and find someone else who does show them clearly what the next step is instead.

Your take-action assignment

  1. Review the different pieces of your marketing and make sure you’ve been crystal clear while designing them, so that your Most Wanted Action is obvious. If in doubt, give it to a friend or colleague to look at and ask them, “Can you tell clearly from this what I want you to do next?” Get them to tell you and if it’s not clear, redesign it so that it is!
  2. Check out how many different action options you are giving people in each piece of your marketing. If it’s too many, decide which one you really want them to take (making sure it’s the most enticing one for your ideal prospect of course) and get rid of the others.
  3. Double check that each marketing strategy is designed to draw your prospect magnetically toward the point of buying.

So, now you can see the power of clearly asking your prospects to do just one thing in each marketing piece. Remember, any Most Wanted Action should be a direct step toward producing revenue. With a clear call to action, you should start to see better results from your marketing.

Do you have some call-to-action techniques that have worked particularly well for you? Please share them in the comments below so we all can learn from them!