Companies spend a lot of money on marketing efforts that barely seem to return the desired results. It's not because the marketing ideas are bad. Marketing often fails because the specific intent is missing.

Marketing is primarily a way to efficiently compel people to do something. But if you don't know specifically what you want to compel people to do, your efforts will be wasted. Here are the four types of actions you want a prospect to take. Decide which one works for your situation and design the marketing to fit. Don't forget to make it compelling.

1. Transact

This is the most obvious form of action that a prospect should take when experiencing your marketing. You want them to transact business with you. Perhaps you want them to buy something or sign up for your offering. The bigger the sale, the later in the sales process transactions will likely occur. Think carefully about how much momentum you'll need to compel someone to complete the transaction.

2. Engage

You may not be able to get a prospect to buy right away, so you need them to interact with you somehow. This engagement will give prospects the chance to see who you are and learn more about your offering without pressure. Examples of this action may be reading content on your website, taking an assessment, reading a newsletter. It creates attachment on the way to the sale. Find ways to get a prospect to connect in a non-threatening way. Help them join your community.

3. Refer

Some companies need to create credibility and attention before they can consummate sales. They do this by getting people to talk about their product or service. That funny video or dramatic commercial may not get a prospect to buy, but if they are talking about what they saw to their friends, the company will see results down the line. Get your prospects' attention in a way that makes them want to go tell all their friends and associates.

4. Remember

Much of big brand related marketing is designed to simply get prospects to recognize that brand when they see it on a shelf. Commodity products need to stay in the customers' brain until they are ready to take the next step. Make sure your marketing is exciting and relevant enough to be memorable for long periods of time.

Published on: Nov 25, 2014