Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Category: Advertising (page 1 of 14)

How to avoid an expensive copywriting mistake

writing

After reading Tuesday’s post, Amanda emailed me with a great question.

Here’s an excerpt:

[…] “I often see you recommending the use of professional copy writers.  This can cost a few hundred dollars and maybe more. I guess my question is when is it worth investing in a pro rather than write your own stuff?”

3 Situations where you should hire a copywriting expert

The best answer to that question I know, came from something I heard at a marketing meeting a few years ago. It makes the point extremely well. Here are 3 situations where it pays to get expert copywriting.

  1. If you are going to invest $20,000 on an advertisement, it’s worth investing a few hundred on expert copywriting.
  2. If you’re going to invest $2,000 on a new website, it’s worth investing a few hundred on expert copywriting.
  3. If you’re investing $50 on an adwords campaign, it’s also worth investing a few hundred on expert copywriting. If the ad copy works, it will repay you… every time you run the ad.

In a nutshell, the time to invest in expert copywriting, is whenever you want your written marketing to work.

Marketing Tip: Sell them ideas!

sell ideas

The most successful business owners have discovered that you do not sell a product or service: You sell the idea. Today’s post explains why they do it and why YOU should consider doing the same!

Steve Jobs famously said that the iPhone was not a product, it was a lifestyle. Apple marketing went on to sell the idea of owning an iPhone and living the iPhone lifestyle. It was a product that became more than a phone: It became a statement, about those who owned it.

Sell ideas and capture imagination

Over and over, we see that the most successful people in business focus on selling the idea, rather than the product or service.

For example:

  • The most successful alcohol brands do not sell you booze. They sell the idea of the fun lifestyle, which they have attached to booze.
  • The most successful restaurants do not sell food. They sell the idea of enjoying a wonderful, memorable, culinary experience.
  • The most successful coffee shops do not sell hot beverages. They sell the idea of being part of the cool, coffee shop tribe.

Switching from selling products / services, to selling ideas

What is the idea behind the products or services you provide? If you save people money, save people time or make people more productive etc., that’s what you need to market to them.

For example, if you sell accountancy services, don’t just list the services you provide and tell them how much you care, then quote a fee. No! Instead, sell the idea of how it feels to know your financial situation is being looked after by experts, who will ensure you never waste a penny. Sell them peace of mind, not features.

In short: Spend some time thinking about the benefits of what you provide. Then, consider marketing the idea behind those benefits – rather than marketing the core product or service itself.

How to create marketing that people will believe

trust

One of the most important questions in business, is this:

“Why should a prospective client [or customer] trust me?”

Here’s why that question is so important.

Trust and belief

Unless people believe what you say, none of your marketing is worth a dime. Trust is what builds belief. Trust is essential before someone will hire you. Trust is also what makes people feel comfortable recommending you. Trust is the foundation of your marketing. Period.

Take a look at your marketing and consider the following:

  • Are you building trust with supporting information [like this] … or just making a series of marketing promises?
  • Are you telling people how good you are… or showing them proof from past projects, media mentions, awards and case studies?

The bottom line here is clear. Without trust there is no belief and without belief, your marketing promises mean nothing.

How to get people to respond to your marketing, in just 2 steps!

Are you tired of prospective clients or customers, who don’t get back to you when they say they will? If you are, then the following short post is just for you.

The biggest lie in business

When that person said they didn’t have the time to meet you, return your call or consider your offer… they were lying.

They had the time! They had time to do all the urgent or important things. They also had time to do the things that interested them or captured their attention. What they lacked wasn’t time.

What they really lacked was the motivation to do whatever you requested. It wasn’t important enough to them. It wasn’t a priority. So, it didn’t get done.

2 Steps to get people to take action

To get your prospective clients and customers to take action, you need to do the following:

  1. Make your offer as attractive as possible. Look at what you’re asking people to do and make it more captivating. More interesting. More motivating. More curious.
  2. Give them a deadline. Deadlines focus the mind. This is why so many kids do their assignment the night before it’s due.

Nothing inspires people to take action more than a highly compelling offer with a deadline. Get those 2 steps right and you’ll find the marketplace will always have time for you.

The huge marketing problem that no one talks about

silence

I was in a coffee shop earlier, when a guy with a very obvious hairpiece came in. He had natural, thick brown hair around his ears, with a jet black wig on top. Of course, no one mentioned it to him. People just pointed and smirked when he wasn’t looking. Whether this chap needed the hairpiece for vanity or medical reasons, it’s entirely possible he has no idea that his wig is so poorly matched to his natural hair.

The same happens regularly in business. Allow me to explain.

Think about it

  • We go to a website to check out a potential service provider, find the site looks amateurish and decide not to consider them. We don’t then call them to let them know their site created such a bad impression.
  • We start reading a poorly written ad or marketing message and quickly discard it, because it’s crap. We don’t write to the company and tell them their content is terrible.

So, how do we determine if what we’re doing is working for us? Simple. We ignore the silence and instead, look at the results generated.

For example:

  • Your website or blog should be a 24 hour business generating machine. If it isn’t, it needs to be improved.
  • Your marketing messages should generate targeted sales or leads from your ideal profile of customer. If this isn’t happening, it needs to be improved.

Start counting

Don’t wait for someone to tell you your marketing is crap. Start counting!  Count the number of daily sales or sales leads your marketing generates. Measure your progress over the past 12 months. Look at your bank balance.

If you’re not satisfied, fix what’s broken. Don’t just accept bad results. Get some expert help and turn it around. Those who ignore the lesson here, leave money on the table every day. Worst of all, it’s 100% avoidable if you decide to do something about it.

Tip – If you found this interesting, you really should read: 4 Ways to attract more customers from your website.

2 Powerful tips from marketing that stinks!

stinks

I’d like to share an example of shockingly bad  marketing with you today. In fact, you could say this marketing stinks! However, there are 2 great lessons to learn, which you can apply directly into your business.

Smelly marketing

I’ve used the same brand of deodorant for years. Recently, my brand wasn’t in stock, so I looked for another brand and noticed for the first time that they all claim to offer 48 hour protection.

Think about that for a moment.

Clearly, there are very few people who only shower or wash every 2 days; whose armpits remain unwashed for 48 hours. And if you’ve ever stood close to someone with such bad hygiene habits, you’ll know these people don’t buy deodorant! Sadly.

But that’s OK. The ridiculous 48 hour claim on the packaging has nothing to do with deodorant. It has everything to do with uncreative marketing.

Here’s how it happened

The marketing people behind one of the brands decided to use a bigger number on their product (48 instead of 24), to make it look more powerful.

The others followed suit. The number remains, even though it’s now totally meaningless. No one needs 48 hour protection and having that number no longer generates additional sales, because they all use it.

As a marketing tactic, it stinks. It fails on every level.

There are 2 useful lessons here

Firstly, if you want to make your product or service stand out from the competition, make it meaningfully different. Provide something that adds genuine value. Something your marketplace will get additional utility from.

Secondly, if you want to really stand out, get creative. Because the first deodorant brand with the ridiculous 48 hour claim simply moved the dial on the number, every competitor could follow suit almost instantly. Any competitive advantage would have quickly been lost. So choose something that is harder for others to copy and you will maintain your competitive advantage for far longer.

Avoid gimmicks

To consistently stand out from the crowd in a meaningful way, you need to continuously look for opportunities to make your product or service worth talking about. This requires creative thinking.

Yes, it’s easier to come up with a gimmick. Gimmicks require almost no creativity and anyone can copy them, which is why they’re of so little value.

Remember — the less creative your marketing is, the easier it is to copy and the less remarkable it will be.

What everybody ought to know about The Small Print

Have you noticed something about the small print we find in marketing and on packaging?

The small print is small for a reason

They don’t really want us to read it! It almost always tells us that the advertising message isn’t as good as it sounds or that the product we’re buying doesn’t look as good as it does on the packaging, etc.

Here’s a thought…

How would you feel, if you read the small print in the marketing or on the packaging of a product, and found that it actually confirmed that the product was as good as they said, in the LARGE print?

How would your prospective clients or customers feel, if YOUR small print did the same — if it showed that you were telling the truth, with nothing to hide in the small print.

Think about that for a moment! There’s some real magic there.

Something to ponder

Could using the small print in a positive way, help you massively improve the impact of your marketing? [Hint — Yes. Yes it could.]

The secret to marketing that spreads AND sells!

junk mail

I have a very effective marketing idea to share with you today. You’re going to love this!

I’m going to show you how to create marketing, which people will value and that’s powerful enough to inspire them to hire you or buy from you. It’s based on the work I do with my clients and includes a brief case study, which you can learn from.

So, let’s get started.

Receiving or paying attention?

It starts with understanding that there’s a huge difference between someone receiving your message and someone paying attention to it.

For example, TV viewers are sent targeted marketing messages (commercials) during TV shows. What do most of us do? We fast forward through them or if watching the show in real-time, we go and make a coffee. Just because they send their messages, doesn’t mean we are paying attention.

For your marketing to work, you need to get a great message in front of the right people. In order to get this correct, here’s the key question we need to ask ourselves:

If I stopped my email marketing campaign or I stopped publishing my blog posts, newsletter etc, would people really MISS them?

As a quick look at the marketing you receive every day confirms, for most people the honest answer to that question is NO! We get bombarded with dull, uninspiring sales messages all day and see them as an intrusion, rather than something of value.

Of course, for that tiny minority of small businesses who DO produce marketing, which people genuinely value and would miss if it were to stop, the sky is the limit.

I’m going to share the process required to make this work for your business later in this post.

First, we need to understand why there’s so much dull and ineffective marketing out there.

Dull is cheap. Dull is fast. Dull is simple!

It’s cheap, fast and simple to create dull marketing and get it in front of a lot of people. As a result, there’s no barrier to entry today.

Things were very different a decade ago. Back then, if a small business owner wanted to send a mail shot to 50,000 people, she’d have to spend some serious money.

  • She’d have to cover the cost of the mailing list.
  • Then she would need to pay for all that paper and the printing.
  • Next she would need to pay a company to get the letters folded and inserted into the 50,000 envelopes.
  • Then there’s the huge postage costs for those 50,000 pieces of mail.

All in all, it would cost many thousands. She would need to think long and hard about the value of what she put into those envelopes. Get it wrong and she would pay a hefty price!

Today, everything has changed

That same business owner today can hit 50,000 people using cheap email software and her laptop. It costs just a little of her time. If it fails, maybe tomorrow’s one will work. It’s never been cheaper or easier to push dull, uninspired, poorly thought out, uncreative marketing out the door.

So, that’s exactly what a lot of people are doing. This is why there’s so much junk in your email inbox and on your social networking accounts.

Here’s what you need to do to get it right!

There is an alternative approach I want to share with you, so people welcome your marketing, share it and hire you or buy from you. It requires that you take the exact opposite approach, to 99% of the marketing you see out there. 

It’s about shifting the focus of your marketing, so that it’s primarily of benefit to the people who receive it and secondarily of benefit to you. It’s about producing content (audio, video, blog posts, newsletters, mail shots, flyers, social networking updates etc), which provide independent value to those who receive it. This means they get genuinely valuable or useful information from it, independent of them needing to spend a penny with you.

An example of how this works, based on one of my clients

Imagine you are a dog owner and after a trip to the vet, you subscribe to their dog owner’s newsletter. It gives you tips and ideas, to help you keep your dog healthy, fit and happy. At the bottom of each email are their contact details, so you can call them when you need a vet. You find this free information so useful, that you send it to 10 of your dog-owning friends.

They subscribe and then do the same… then these new subscribers share it too, and on and on it goes. The amazingly valuable, highly-targeted readership grows and grows.

Soon, that vet (a former client of mine) was talking to thousands of local dog owners and positioned themselves in their marketplace, as THE place to take your dog for all its veterinary needs. Their newsletter was eagerly anticipated by it’s readers… yes, people wanted to hear from them and valued what they had to share.

Compare that vet’s approach to the typical marketing messages we see.

  • That vet doesn’t need to run expensive radio ads.
  • They have no need to buy mailing lists.
  • They don’t need to waste valuable hours at networking events.
  • They certainly don’t need to pester people on social networks or ask strangers for recommendations on Linkedin.
  • They don’t need to invest in anything, other than the creativity required to produce a genuinely valuable newsletter, with useful content.

That example shows how a business can grow a massively valuable marketing asset, by sharing real value — rather than pushing unwanted messages. If you invest in creating this kind of value driven marketing, it will improve your business beyond recognition.

In short: Stop pushing predictable marketing at people. Focus on attracting clients instead! This means sharing value, something your marketplace will embrace and share. Soon, you too can have a valuable, growing community of people, who position you in their mind as the obvious choice, when they need the type of service your business provides.

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