marketing mistakes

Here’s my marketing campaign that flopped

On the internet we’ve been conditioned to put our best foot forward at all times.

Everything is great. Everything worked.

But that’s not life.

If you are an individual entrepreneur or you own a small to medium sized business you take chances and experiment all the time. It’s in your DNA. Sometimes things work out and sometimes they don’t. But even when they don’t, you learn something. So it’s never a complete waste to try.

Recently I was researching a few alternative ways to market my company locally. Over the last 7 years, I have spent a fortune on online advertising and trade shows. For the most part things have worked out rather well and my online marketing has brought me clients from as far away as Russia.

Entrepreneurs experiment all the time. Sometimes things work and sometimes they don’t. Click To Tweet

Online marketing has been good to me.

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For example the first time I tried Twitter ads I signed 2 new clients – one of which had me on retainer for the last 4 years! But I’ve never replicated that success. Instead I’ve grown my business through some word of mouth and a lot of hustle.

But online advertising isn’t exactly a sure thing. So I decided to look into a postcard campaign.

It just happened that as I was considering this an email from Vistaprint advertising a site-wide 50% sale popped up in my inbox.

That was the final push. I created a postcard and landing page advertising something simple – a reasonably priced website with some hand holding for small businesses.

I ordered up 1000 postcards and then went online to research how to get them to my target audience. Quickly found Canada Post’s Neighbourhood Mail Program where I could use post office data to select businesses within specific routes around my area.

Seemed simple enough.

So went through the process and selected 900 businesses who would get my postcard. At this point the costs were $100 for the postcards and $100 for the mailing.

All I needed to do was drop them off and track how many people responded to my CTA driving the to

The postcards were all delivered between Sept. 27 and 29.

Out of those 900 postcards, not one person went to the landing page. I’m no mathematician but that would roughly calculate to a 0% ROI.

So why am I telling you this story of my not-so-costly marketing flop?

Mostly because it’s important that businesses not be afraid to try new things. In this case it didn’t work. But when I tried Twitter ads it paid off nicely.

And when I consider how much I’ve spent on LinkedIn and Facebook ads, $200 isn’t that much. Will I try a postcard campaign again? Probably. I’ll change my creative and target a different area. If that doesn’t work, I’ll keep looking for different ways to get my business noticed by potential clients.

It’s the only way to grow and it’s a part of being an entrepreneur.

Aidan Crawford

Aidan Crawford is president of Short Circuit Media. His main job is helping consultants, trainers and professional speakers get their marketing in order by creating and implementing strategies to help them reach their target audiences.


Let’s have a quick chat about your marketing goals and see how I can help.
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