Avoid bad assumptions in your online marketing

by Dave on December 14, 2011

Not just questioning your assumptions, but asking the right questions, is one of the keys to success in any marketing campaign.

A bad assumption can ruin the best online marketing plan

Asking the wrong questionsI regularly give online marketing webinars. My bad assumption started when someone gave me an innocent suggestion about when I should hold them. They suggested that lunchtime would be ideal. Most really bad assumptions start off making sense – at least initially. Lunchtime made sense, and as I created my campaigns, I really never thought about the timing again.

But I had a problem – attendance wasn’t so great. I thought it might be my landing page, so I worked on it. Then I thought it might be my email promotions, so I worked on them. Finally I thought it might be the titles of the events, so I worked on updating them.

Sometimes you just have to ask

I was getting tiny improvements, but still didn’t get the bump I was looking for. Then I turned to that old stand-by – I asked. And the results were to say the least, enlightening.

I found out I made more than one bad assumption

Not only had I missed on the time of day, but I also (on my very own) picked the wrong day of the week for my audience. But that wasn’t all. I assumed shorter would be better, but the audience wanted something that was not too short and not too long. I made the changes, and guess what? Attendance went up, and continues to do so.

How to avoid bad assumptions

We all make mistakes, but if you are having problems with getting traction in your marketing, it might be your assumptions. There a few things you can do to avoid falling into bad assumptions.

  1. Obvious Alternatives – Review your assumptions, or at least what you think they are. Are there alternatives to your approach? If so, have you carefully considered them?
  2. Know the knowable – If you have a choice – like the day to hold an event– can you get more information on potential conflicts to help you make your decision?
  3. Ask your audience – When all else fails and you don’t know what your audience wants, it’s OK to ask. Just make sure to only ask the important questions, and don’t ask too often.
  4. Test Alternatives – When you can’t find it or ask it, sometimes the only way to get it right is to test your assumptions. Try your campaign with various alternatives and see which one produces the best results. It’s not the most efficient method, but it does give a solid answer.
  5. Ask for someone to check your work – Ask someone who understands marketing to check your work. If you don’t have a relationship with a marketing professional or a marketing agency, maybe you should consider a marketing coach.

The better you are at checking your assumptions, the more likely you are to avoid bad ones.

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