If you started a new business this year but sales are slow, try these marketing approaches that help establish a connection with your potential customers.
1.Start by acknowledging the plight of the reader
It’s tempting to begin your content by telling the world how great you are. Instead, first talk about the pain felt by the reader. Then, and only then, will they be open to your solutions. People need to know you understand them first. “We know you’re busy” is first, followed by “This product saves time”.
2.Educate, don’t sell
We are inundated with sales pitches – about 5,000 a day (Yankelovich Consumer Research). If your copy is designed to educate, you will build credibility and trust. Think “educate” not “sell”.
3.Do both less and more
It has been said that “less is more” but not so with marketing. The summary is a teaser, and if the reader is interested, they’ll move over to the in-depth section. Avoid thinking you need to do one or the other. You must do both – providing a summary and detailed section – to reach all of your audience.
4.Benefits and features
We’re told to sell benefits. While you do need to do that, you also need to list and explain features. Detailing features is equally important because readers want to know what they’re getting for their money. I like to have two content sections: benefits (why you will be better off with this product / service) and features (all the cool things that give you a range of options and functionality).
5.Mention your hidden assets
In a recent meeting with a CEO, I discovered that she was not emphasizing all of her company’s assets. The company has over 40 years experience and in that time, has developed excellent systems, checks and balances – all of which are largely unknown to potential clients. You are more than the product or service you offer. Talk about your systems, your experience, your lessons learned.
6. Case Studies and Testimonials
These add credibility but if done incorrectly, will hurt you. I still see web sites with testimonials in which no name is given. “Great service – customer.” If you cannot put a real person’s name to a testimonial, don’t bother. Anonymous endorsements show you have something to hide.
7. Avoid slickly produced videos
You must have good quality video, but make it simple. Avoid excessive graphics and overly slick productions that send the message “we charge you a lot so we can afford to make a video like this.”
8. Explain all terms
Even people in your industry may not be familiar with all of the terms. Spell out all acronyms but also add a brief explanation in parenthesis so it’s clear in the readers’ mind what you’re talking about.
9. Make a call for action, but…
It may seem obvious that you need to ask people to contact you. Many web sites don’t! However, the old-style demand to “call today!” is ineffective because people, who are extremely busy these days, are insulted by anyone who asks them to do something that disturbs their schedule. Use a softer approach, such as “We’re here whenever you need us” or, I like to say, “Contact us at your convenience.” Respect people’s time.
10. Write a blog
I had a few meetings recently with other entrepreneurs and CEOs. None are writing blogs. A blog, written by the owner (and not a paid staff member) will go far in establishing a connection with customers who see corporations as faceless and without a soul. Yes, you’re busy. But your blog doesn’t need to be lengthy. A few words from the boss once a week that is not corporate-speak, but rather, “real” observations, will do more than any expensive billboard or TV ad.
Cory Galbraith is CEO of Galbraith Communications