The business strategy that is better than gold (literally)

Usually, I am not very fond of things that are described with a three-letter acronym. Those would be things like IRS, CIA, and DOA. There is, however, one noticeable exception. Spending a little time understanding this can have a substantial impact on the viability of your business and on your personal income.

The acronym is ROI (or, Return On Investment).

Relax. I promise this isn’t a write-up about accounting. And yes, it will all come back to marketing. But humor me for a moment and let’s look at just a couple of numbers.

Suppose that a year ago you decided to invest $10,000. What investment would have given you the best return for your money?

I’m not even going to suggest the stock market. According to today’s figures in the Wall Street Journal, your $10,000 would now be worth about $5,487.

In troubled economic times people often choose gold. So how would that have done for you? Well, according to, your $10,000 investment a year ago would be worth $9,248 today. Sadly, that’s better than stocks, but you’ve still lost money.

Is there somewhere you can invest and not only protect your investment, but make money? Yes. Ironically, that place is your very own business.

Specifically, I’m referring to an area of your business that most people don’t even consider an “investment.”

One of the greatest business (and therefore financial) leverage points you have is in refining the selling message of your marketing materials.

Direct response advertisers track the effectiveness of their advertising pieces the way a hawk tracks mice in a field. They know that improving a selling message can easily double, triple, even quadruple the number of people who buy a product or service.

I personally know of one instance where changing the headline in an ad improved the response rate by 19x. No. That’s not 19 percent. That’s a 19 times improvement.

It’s the difference between one person responding and 19 people coming in the door with their checkbooks in their hand.

Suppose you upgraded the message in your company’s ads, your mailings, or even your website. Could you see the same 19x result? Probably not (although it is possible!) But would you be happy with an improvement of a far more modest 50% increase in sales? Even a truly pessimistic 15% improvement could significantly improve your bottom line.

Let me give you a real-life example from a discussion I had with a client earlier today. He’s in the professional services business and a new client for him roughly equates to $10,000 in fees.

His existing website has some serious problems. Some sections are incomplete. And there’s nothing in his current selling message that makes him any different from his competitors.

We agreed that his website probably unsells people more than it convinces them to call.

We reviewed a couple of strategies that will easily make the website much more effective and increase the number of people seeking his help.

So, here is the Return On Investment part:

By investing $10,000 in revamping his selling message, if he gets only one new customer in the next twelve months, he will have recovered his entire investment.

If this new and enhanced site generates only one new customer every three months, he will have generated additional sales of $40,000.

Being only slightly more optimistic, if the new and enhanced site generates one new customer every month, he will generate additional sales of $120,000. Plus, the site should continue to generate new customers month after month beyond the first year.

As an investment it sure beats gold, doesn’t it?

There’s an old saying that “the best investment you can make is to invest in yourself.” As a business owner, it makes sense to invest in enhancing the selling message in your marketing materials.

Remember, it costs the same amount of money to run an ineffective ad as it does to run an ad that gets people interested in your product or service. The difference is in the results that are generated.

So, how do you get the expertise to improve the effectiveness of your selling message?

There are a lot of advertising people, many of whom claim to have all the answers. How do you separate the posers from the professionals?

Remember, advertising is supposed to sell something. If the advertising expert can’t show you bottom-line results they have created for others, excuse yourself for a moment and slip out the back door.

Other poser tip-offs are frequent use of the terms, “breakthrough,” “edgy,” or “next generation” instead of “response rates,” and “return on investment.”

In many ways, an ideal advertising partner is a part empath, part communicator, and part calculator.

They need to be able to understand your product or service in its entirety.

They need to be able to crawl inside your customer’s skin and know what worries or inspires them.

They need to be able to distill the right selling message so it communicates in seconds and motivates people to respond.

They need to understand how to help you invest your marketing dollars so you get a solid return on investment.

If you’re looking for an ideal advertising partner, you should call Sentium Strategic Communications at (800) 595-1288.

Why? Because we’re highly skilled at creating the right selling message to produce exceptional results.

So look to how you can invest in your own business’ success by enhancing the selling message in your marketing materials.

Right now, that’s even better than investing in gold.

To your business success,


Looking for help getting the right message to produce exceptional results for your business? The first step is to make a simple phone call. Call Sentium to set-up a no-obligation telephone consultation. It will cost you zero, zip, zilch, nada, but could give you answers that can dramatically boost your sales results. Call us at (800) 595-1288.

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Richard Wilson is the Founder/Chief Marketing Strategist for Sentium Strategic Communications which helps companies craft the right message for extraordinary results. Over the past 31 years, his clients have ranged from start-ups to major technology companies.
© 2009 All Rights Reserved. All people who are looking to dramatically boost their business should read this e-zine. Don’t even think about reproducing this document or its contents without written permission from Richard Wilson. But feel free to forward this or e-mail it to all of your friends. For reprint permission, please call 800-595-1288.