Editor's note: Upon her indictment on federal money laundering charges and her arrest February 8, 2022, Inc. dismissed Heather Morgan as a contributing columnist. As is our practice, we do not unpublish editorial content, and rather have added this note for full transparency.
I've helped hundreds of businesses run successful email campaigns that drove more than $370 million dollars in sales. I also created scalable sales and marketing programs from scratch that helped me bootstrap a multimillion-dollar business in my early twenties.
Whether you're creating Facebook ad campaigns, running content marketing, or utilizing email or SMS to reach your audience, there are a few critical principles you need to know to be successful.
These four simple steps can help you ensure your sales and marketing efforts are successful instead of a waste of time and resources.
Define your audience
Who are you targeting? Are there specific roles or titles you're going after? Do these people come from a certain industry or companies of a specific size? Maybe you have decision-makers at 100 targeted accounts you want to engage. Or perhaps it's a specific age group you're trying to reach.
Whatever you're marketing or selling, you need to clearly define who your audience is as much as possible. Without that, you're bound to fail.
Target them with a specific message
Generic messaging is never effective. I've seen many marketers be indecisive about which value proposition they should focus on. Instead of being laser-focused about one core benefit or use case, they try to do five different things. However, this leaves your audience distracted and confused about what to focus on.
Other times, inept marketers will just opt for a generic message that vaguely describes everything. But this just leaves people bored and uninterested since it doesn't apply to any specific pain point or desired outcome.
Instead, make your message as specific and simplified as possible. Focus on one core benefit or pain point, and try to think about a common use case for your prospective customers.
Test and measure to see what works
Effective sales and marketing are always data-driven. I personally recommend always testing multiple variants whenever running any campaign. It's important to measure the right variables, though.
With outbound email campaigns, for example, you can look at email deliverability (how many emails bounced versus were successfully delivered) and open rates. But the most important metrics are positive response rates, as well as qualified appointments set. I also like to analyze the entire sales funnel to see which emails drove the biggest deals or fastest closes.
Keep iterating to stay effective
The hustle never ends. Marketers and salespeople who get complacent fall behind fast. Even if you had a really successful ad campaign or email template one day doesn't mean it will keep working for you in two months.
Markets change. Your customers' needs change. How your competition is targeting your prospective audience will also change and evolve. Eventually, everything gets stale and ineffective.
You must constantly be testing and analyzing data in order to stay on top and keep ahead of trends. If you don't, your efforts and your business can quickly become obsolete.