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Lessons Learned in Marketing

After months of thinking about this series, I have finally decided I am going to do it. I am not a marketing genius, but I think my experiences could teach others. I feel like this is almost a forbidden topic, one that you aren't allowed to talk about unless you come from a marketing company and have attended school.

Many of you know me as the person behind Stock Show Boutique, but I have another business licensing art to retailers. I also have founded, made them profitable and then successfully sold several online businesses.

Last fall I hired a company in our industry to run a marketing campaign for me. It was several email blasts targeted around holiday gift giving. Their email list should have been an ideal customer for my business. I had high expectations.

Hard Numbers

Let me give you the facts here: I spent $600. I was told the combined lists would be more than 50,000 subscribers. The hard truth. I earned a measly 69 unique visitors and 123 total visits over a three-month period and $0 in revenue. You read that right. Not a dime was earned on a $600 investment.

I knew the blasts were performing so poorly I had canceled the very last one before it was even created. Numbers don't lie, and those numbers weren't enough to continue the pattern. It made me dig into it a little deeper. I noticed a trend with this particular companies email. Every email they sent ended up in my spam box. I challenge you to check your spam folder and see if you have email from livestock marketing companies in your spam box. Think about how someone is investing in their business and look where their hard earned dollar is going. It might even be you (I am not ashamed to say it was me).

I truthfully believe this companies email has been blacklisted and is automatically sent to spam folders on most email services (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc.). If you are spending hundreds or even thousands each year on this type of service that just isn't smart business.

The cold hard truth

Don't rely on other people. Take your business seriously and control your fate. We are involved in an industry that doesn't always take itself as seriously as it should. Think about it; people literally spend thousands of dollars a year buying animals. They invest hours upon hours studying genetics to improve their program to just shift their marketing to a company that is only interested in a paycheck.

You are in this industry because you love it. Maybe you love the people. Maybe you love the lifestyle. Perhaps it's your family heritage. No matter what it is this is a lifestyle you live, it isn't just your paycheck.

What can you do?

It is sale season for much of the livestock industry, and I see so many opportunities for growth. I know you are saying I simply don't have time for this but I am here to tell you it is not hard and it does not have to take substantial amounts of your time.

I want to help you grow your livestock business and take charge of your online presence. Empower yourself with a little knowledge, and you will go far. Over the next few weeks I will be covering these topics (I would be happy to take your suggestions for others, leave them in the comments):

  1. The number one mistake I see almost everyone making
  2. Find your customers
  3. Taking control of your marketing
  4. How can you add value to your customers life?
  5. Are you not getting results?
  6. Niche down and fine tune
  7. What to do when things just aren't working