Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Category: Copywriting (page 3 of 24)

Who are you selling to? The answer may surprise you!

Are you selling to yourself? That may seem like a silly question, yet it’s one of the most important questions in marketing.

Why? Because business owners tend to market their products as if they were selling to themselves — when they should be marketing to their prospective clients or customers.

Now, if you are a lawyer and your prospective clients are lawyers, that works fine. However, if you sell to people whose needs and wants are different to your own, you need to change your marketing so it’s focused on them.

For example:

  • Read the marketing of most accountants and you will find lots of statistics and graphs. This is what accountants love, but not their prospective clients. The prospective client wants to know what the accountant can do for them and their business. They want to know why they should hire this accountant and not an equally qualified competitor. They want the story behind the stats.
  • Read the marketing of most web designers and it’s filled with jargon and buzzwords. They talk about things like; HTML5, Java, CSS, standards compliance and responsive design. These are things designers love to talk about, but not their prospective clients. Their prospective clients want a professional looking site. They want a site that is an asset to their business.

Anyone using that approach is leaving money on the table. Don’t let it happen to you.

Match your message to their wants and needs

Take a look at your marketing messages, from your prospective client’s vantage point. If possible, ask a prospective client to read your marketing and tell you what it says to them. Determine if you’re marketing based on what they need to hear or on what you think is important. Also, check to see if you are using their language or yours. Sometimes we get so used to industry words, that we forget they are meaningless and confusing to everyone else.

The better you communicate how valuable your services are, the easier you will attract more, great clients or customers.

Recommended Reading: Here’s another good reason not to use buzzwords in your marketing.

Marketing Foundations: 3 Tips to massively increase your sales

marketing foundations, marketing tips

Did you know there’s a common marketing mistake, which loses small businesses a fortune? Well, there is and it could be hurting your business… without you even knowing it!

Here it is, along with the solution.

Marketing Foundations

It’s all about getting your marketing foundations in place. The problems happen, when you ask a prospective client or customer to make a purchasing decision too soon… before you have the foundations in place. That’s because these foundations are essential to successful marketing.

In brief, there are 3 things you need to do, before you are in a position to make high volume sales or attract great, new clients:

  1. Demonstrate your professionalism.
  2. Clearly explain your proposition, (what your product or service is and what the benefits are).
  3. Earn their trust.

Let me expand on these 3 points for you, with some ideas on what you need to do, to massively improve your sales results.

Here they are — 3 tips to help you increase your sales. Massively.

Marketing Foundation tip 1: Demonstrate your professionalism

I see this mistake, every hour of every day. This, by itself, can destroy a business. If you’re skim reading this post, read the following paragraph!

You can’t expect people to buy from you or hire you, until they have checked your credentials and are satisfied you are a professional. However, that’s exactly what small business owners, coaches and consultants do all the time. They contact potential clients with links to their cheap looking websites. They use homemade logos and DIY business cards. They use freebie, Gmail / Yahoo email instead of branded email addresses, etc.

People are extremely visual. We think in pictures. It’s impossible to look professional, when you operate behind amateur looking marketing. We can’t expect people to believe we are professional, when it seems we can’t afford the peanuts required to get a professionally designed logo and website.

Similarly, we give an equally bad impression if prospective clients think that looking professional, isn’t important to us. That details are not important. That we’re fine about being associated with cheap looking work.

So, before you even think about marketing your products or service, make sure the impression you create is professional.

Marketing Foundation tip 2: Clearly explain your proposition

One of the oldest and most valuable sayings in professional marketing is this:

“A confused mind always says NO.”

By default, if someone asks us to make a decision, especially one involving money, before we have all the information we need, we say NO. We either say no to whatever they ask or we say no to making the decision itself. This makes perfect sense. We’ve been told since childhood to look before we leap.

Very, very few people will take a leap into the unknown and buy from you or hire you, when they are still unclear about what exactly your proposition is. So, before you ask a prospective client or customer to make a decision, make sure you have given them the information they need. This marketing foundation is built by ensuring you have clearly explained your proposition and asked for questions, to get and give, total clarity.

Marketing Foundation tip 3: Earn their trust

People will not buy from us, hire us or recommend us, unless they trust us. In fact, trust is perhaps the most important element of our marketing foundations.

There are a couple of important things regarding trust, which we all need to be mindful of:

  1. Trust needs to be earned.
  2. Trust takes time to earn.

We live in a time where we can send a marketing email to 10000 people with a button press and have them arrive minutes later. We can send people a link to a special offer via a social network, which is almost instantly in front of our contacts. (Unless you use Facebook.) We can write a blog post, press the publish button and have it available to the world, immediately.

However, we can’t click a button and earn people’s trust. Here’s the thing: Unless we have already earned the trust of the people who receive those messages, they are extremely ineffective.

Earning trust takes time. We need to build it. Asking someone to hire us or buy from us, before we’ve earned their trust, simply doesn’t work. This is especially the case for those who sell services or higher priced products.

So, take every opportunity to earn the trust of your marketplace. There are many ways to do this. For instance, I work hard to earn the trust of my marketplace, by showing up regularly with useful blog posts. Anyone can check me out, simply by clicking the link on the sidebar of Jim’s Marketing Blog, where I link to every post I have written since 2008. This body of work shows I can be relied upon to turn up. It shows my ability to stick with a project. It also demonstrates my expertise. All of these help me to earn your trust… over time.

You can do the same with a simple (free) WordPress blog, newsletter, podcast, public speaking… whichever suits you best. Here are some other ideas for earning trust.

Build your marketing on solid foundations

In a nutshell, great marketing, which sells and gets noticed is built on solid Marketing Foundations. Asking for the sale or trying to encourage a prospective client to hire you, without these marketing foundations in place, will dramatically lower your conversion rates. If you think you’re saving money or time by ignoring them, you are making a potentially fatal marketing mistake.

How to build a massively valuable client list

If only your prospective clients knew how great your service was, they’d hire you. Right?

Well, I’m going to show you how to totally overcome that marketing challenge!

How your competitors ruin your marketing promises

Almost every small business owner claims to offer an amazing service. Especially the really terrible providers!

So, as you are one of the few who genuinely produces work, which is meaningfully different, your marketplace needs to know. They need to know that you are the real deal. That it’s not just words or empty promises.

How?

It works like this:

  • Put your work out there, where people can see it. Use either a blog or newsletter to showcase what makes you meaningfully different from your competitors.
  • Show us, without holding back, exactly how your work is meaningfully different. In other words, don’t just make claims about how great your services are — show us. Remember, your average competitors all claim to be great.
  • Make your blog posts, articles or newsletters visible and make them easy to share. If you are doing great work, people will want to tell their friends. Make this as easy as possible, with a small number of reliable sharing options.

Why bother doing all this? Because as I am about to explain, it is extremely effective.

Something about me you never knew!

For the past year, I have successfully provided a service, which I have never (even once) marketed to anyone.

What is it?

I write articles and marketing material. My fee is £1000 for an article or marketing piece (around $1600 USD at today’s exchange rate). There is currently an 8 week waiting list for the service. All that, without marketing the service even once.

Instead, people have come to me.

Why? Because they read my articles and blog posts, see the value and want their magazine, website, blog or whatever, to be just as valuable.

Others needed to see sales results from their marketing. They figured out that if they hire me to write the main conversion page of their website, it could be the difference between them motivating potential clients to hire them — or being ignored.

Why would any savvy business owner risk losing out on a fortune, by using ineffective, amateur copywriting? Exactly!

Show them who you are and what you do

The marketing promises and claims you make are largely ignored by your prospective clients. They have seen them too many times before.

If you want to earn the trust of your prospective clients, (which is essential if you want them to hire you), you need to demonstrate what makes you better than your competition.

No one hires me wondering if I can deliver. They already know me and my work.

Now show YOUR prospective clients what YOU are capable of.

You won’t believe how useful this copywriting tip is!

MacBook Air, 0.68 inch thin

Here’s a great copywriting tip, to help you improve the effectiveness of all your marketing messages.

Words and feelings

Professional copywriters understand the importance of selecting the correct words. We know that the words we use have the power to change how people feel and thus, the actions they take.

A great example of this, comes from the marketing of Apple’s MacBook Air.

MacBook Air: Just 0.68 inch thin

When Apple describe the thickness of their MacBook Air notebooks, they say it’s just 0.68 inch thin. They do this for a reason. They want you to focus on how thin it is, not how thick it is. So, they plant the word thin in your mind, when you think of their product.

Why would they do that?

If thinness is a priority for you when you buy your next notebook, you will now have a mental connection between that priority and Apple’s MacBook Air product. In other words, Apple’s marketing will have created a direct link in your mind, between what you want and what they sell.

I suggest you do the same

Deliberately select the words your prospective client needs to see, so they connect what they need with what you offer. Ideally, this should always be handled by a professional copywriter. It can be the difference between regularly attracting great, new clients… or crickets.

If you are committed to DIY marketing, test and measure the use of different words. See if you can find certain words, which you can weave into your marketing copy, to increase the number of targeted inquiries you attract.

Are you making a noise or making a difference?

It’s easy to add to all the noise out there.

  • Pester people with special offers via social networks.
  • Invite people to your desperate sales video webinar.
  • Retweet that guru who has already been retweeted thousands of times.
  • Write predictable, “me too” blog posts.
  • Agree with whatever the popular opinion of the day is.

The thing is, no one is demanding more noise.

Training people to ignore you

You can’t benefit from the noise deficit, because there isn’t one. So, all the noise makers do is train people to ignore them. Sure, they may have followers, but no one is listening to them. They may have our email address, but their emails don’t get opened or acted on. If they stopped making their noise, we wouldn’t miss them at all.

The difference deficit

Where there is a deficit, is with people who are making a difference. These are the rare people we eagerly subscribe to. These are the people we look forward to hearing from. They add something of value to us and our business. They make a difference. A positive, meaningful difference.

Most importantly, these are the people we miss when they are not there.

And that’s also the best way to determine if your marketing is making a noise or making a difference. It’s a tough question to ask and answer, but would people miss your marketing if it stopped?

Tip: If you need to push your marketing because people are not spreading it, they probably wouldn’t miss it. If people spread the word for you, (send your newsletter to their friends, reshare your work, etc) … you’re making a difference.

Bloggers: Are you 1 question away from 10,000 daily readers?

In this post, I’m going to share what is easily the single best piece of blogging advice I know.

Here it is – Drum roll please…

If you would like more great people to read your blog, start off by asking yourself the following question:

If I already had 10,000 prospective clients reading my blog each day, how much time and money would I be prepared to invest in developing it and delivering great content?

When I ask people that question, they often say things like:

  • Wow… with 10,000 readers each day, I’d invest as much time as I possibly could in the blog and make it a priority.
  • I’d invest in a professional design for the blog. With all those readers, I wouldn’t want to look cheap.
  • I’d publish posts most days and really work hard to make the content as useful as possible.
  • I’d invest in some good quality hosting, so the blog always loaded fast and was reliable.

Cause and effect

After listening to their answers, I sometimes take a look at their blogs and usually find that they have not invested much time, money or energy into them. They want a highly valuable blog, but they won’t make the commitment required, until after their blog is a success.

That approach is a little like a restaurant owner saying she refuses to serve great food, until after her restaurant if full every night!

My mentor used to say that it would be crazy to walk up to an empty fireplace and expect heat. We know we need to do the work of building the fire and lighting it, before we can enjoy the warmth.

We don’t need to be geniuses to build a successful blog, but we do need to be wise enough to understand that our results will be guided by our actions.

A leap of faith

The people that already have thousands of daily readers, did the work and made the investments before their blog was a success.

That takes a huge leap of faith, but unless you show faith in your blog, you can’t expect others to.

PS: If you’re thinking of starting a business blog, I believe you will find this useful: 7 Benefits of business blogging.

3 Tips to help you get massively better sales results

Here are 3 tips, to help you get massively better results from your advertising, email marketing, mail shots and blog marketing messages.

Let’s go!

1. Get your message right

Message

No matter how great your product or service is, unless it’s marketed with compelling copy (wording), you will struggle to achieve the sales results you want. People need to read your message and then feel inspired to take action; to buy from you, call you, email you, visit your store, etc.

Pedestrian copy lacks the impact required to motivate readers to do anything. Either learn how to write great marketing messages or hire someone, who already knows how to. Don’t let your business be one of those, which loses a fortune in sales needlessly, because of ineffective copy.

2. Get your audience right

So much marketing fails, purely because it doesn’t get in front of the right people. Once you know who your prospective clients or customers are, you need to think about the best way to target them, so they see your message.

For instance, Jim’s Marketing Blog is a highly targeted publication, which is read by owners of small and medium sized businesses. If you wanted to reach business owners with your marketing message, this blog would be a great place to do it.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Build a list of readers. Don’t buy the list! If you use email marketing, are you certain that your ‘list’ is highly targeted? Also, if you purchased the list, there’s a good chance that the people on it have had their email address sold to thousands of other businesses and were getting deluged with relentless spam. These people often either set up a strong junk mail filter, allowing only white-list emails through – or they will have abandoned the email address completely. As a result, you may think your email marketing messages are reaching 10,000 people, when they are only being read by a small fraction of that number.

If possible, and it’s always possible, build your own email marketing list. This is a key area I focus on with my clients and I suggest you learn how to build a great list, too.

3. Get your timing right

Great comedy and great marketing have one thing in common… timing! So, here’s a great question to ask yourself, when planning your marketing: ‘How relevant is my message, at the point where people connect with it?’ For example, it’s harder to sell certain products on the 3rd week of a month, than at the very end of a month, because of people’s monthly pay cycles.

Know your market and learn when they prefer to buy. Then focus on getting your marketing message in front of them, at the best possible time.

7 Simple tips to make your marketing more powerful

Marketing tips, marketing advice

Communication is one of the most overlooked and underrated skills in business. It’s often seen as a soft skill… something that’s useful, but not essential.

I disagree.

The business owner who is unable to communicate her vision, is likely to struggle just as much as the business owner who has no vision. That’s why as business owners, we need to continuously improve our communication skills.

Some tips for better marketing communication

When seeking to share an idea, whether spoken or written, you may find the following tips useful:

  1. Research your audience.
  2. Think of the core points you want to make. List them in order.
  3. Stay on track, by following the list.
  4. Use as few words as required. Brevity is priceless. Too many words can dilute the power or impact of your message.
  5. Avoid buzz words. Use plain speaking whenever possible.
  6. Understand that volume is seldom the problem. A bad message amplified, is still a bad message!
  7. When people respond, listen, really listen, to their feedback. Look for common misunderstandings and adjust your message to avoid them recurring.

In short: When we have something worth saying, it pays to know how to say it (or write it), as effectively as possible.

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