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Use Emotional Hooks To Make Your Prospects Take Action

For your marketing to be successful, you need to use emotional hooks to make your prospects take action. As I say week after week it’s all about:

  1. The market – who you’re talking to
  2. The message – what you’re saying to them
  3. The medium – the channels you use to communicate with them

Within the message you have to be aware not just of what you say but how you say it. For your message to have impact, you have to press the right buttons in your readers’ minds.

Now  as we know, people only ever buy for one reason and that is to solve a problem. If they have a problem we have to pull on their four emotional hooks:

The pain

The commitment

The cure

The reason to believe

This is probably the most sensible order to address the issues and you will need to address each one if you’re going to make the sale.

The Pain

The pain is simply the effect of the problem your reader is facing. What is their problem and what effect is it having on the reader.

Once you’ve identified the pain, you want to rub it and aggravate it until it’s raw and throbbing.

Say you sell thermal clothing, the pain your customers suffer is the constant discomfort of cold feet, of never feeling warm, spending too much on heating bills and potential health issues. This is the pain you would need to remind them of.

The Commitment

The commitment is the promise you make to solving the problem and removing the pain. So if the pain is that the readers are being made miserable by being continuously cold and even suffering from chilblains, the commitment is what you’re going to do to solve the problem and maybe even how you plan to do it.

In effect what you’re saying is “if you’re sick of being cold, this is my promise to fix it for you”.

The Cure

The cure is simply what they get when they take action to get you to meet your commitment.

If you want me to keep you warm, then you need to call this number or go to this website where you will see my range of toasty warm thermal clothing

Your offer must be clear and unambiguous. You should tell them what to do, why they need to do it, what’ll happen after they’ve done it and the consequences of not doing it.

The Reason To Believe

The reason to believe is the element which gives the reader the confidence to go ahead and do what you’re telling them to.

The good news is that people want to believe. All they need is the reason to trust you to solve their problems.

The two best ways to give them this trust are testimonials and guarantees.

If you see a customer who suffers from the same problem as you, saying that your product solved their problem then this is so much more convincing than if you say it yourself. Try and get video testimonials  – they’re the ultimate.

Guarantees simply take the risk away from making the purchase. If I know that I can get my money back if the product doesn’t live up to my expectations, then it’s really easy to make the decision to buy.

So there you have it.

When you build these four emotional hooks into your marketing copy you’ll see your response rate soar.

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Your Marketing Messages Need to Attract And Repel

The ultimate objective of your marketing is to attract only those people you want to do business with. By that I mean you don’t want to attract the pain in the arse clients one comes across only too often.

You know the sort I mean.

  • The sort who have no money
  • The sort who want to do everything just the way they’ve always done it
  • The sort who always cancel your meetings
  • The sort who don’t pay your bills
  • The sort who don’t treat you with respect

I could go on but you know the sort of clients I mean.

How do you attract clients?

The first thing to do is to understand your ideal customer in minute detail. The more you understand your prospect, the more you can get inside their head and the more you can offer solutions to the issues they have.

For this purpose I always recommend that you create an avatar of your prospect – are they male or female, how old are they, what do they do, where do they live, how much do they earn, do they have kids, married or single, what are their hobbies etc etc.

Once you really understand them, you should be able to identify what you can provide for them, what problems you can solve and what benefits you can deliver. If your marketing messages address these points then you should attract the people you want.

So how do we repel the clients we don’t want?

Whatever you do, you don’t want to start alienating people. You may not want them as customers, but you don’t want them bad mouthing you.

So in your marketing communication you identify the characteristics you don’t want ie like the ones above and you simply list them. Having said that you don’t say “If you haven’t got any money, I’m not interested in you”.

You should phrase it something like this:

Our marketing services produce the best results for companies who:

  • Have at least £5000 to spend over the next 12 months
  • Have an established business turning over at least £250,000
  • Are  serious about growing your business and not just thinking about it
  • Are open to new ideas and marketing strategies
  • Understand the benefits of working with an external marketing consultant

As you read these bullet points it’s almost impossible not to answer the questions as you go, to either qualify or disqualify yourself.

Assuming you’ve done your profiling right, the attraction part of the communication should have drawn the reader in so he’s saying “Yes I want some of this”. The second part will either qualify him or disqualify him.

If he’s qualified he’s now an ideal prospect for you and if he’s disqualified then you’ve saved yourself a load of heart ache, wasted time and aggravation.

Next time you’re writing a marketing piece, make sure you include both attraction and repulsion elements.

 

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Are You Part Of The 1%

Are you familiar with the figures 1, 4 , 15, 60, 20?

These numbers represent the success of business owners.

1% are doing fantastically well.

4% are running great businesses

15% are on the road to success

60% are doing OK – they’re getting by

20% are really struggling

So what are the traits that differentiate the really successful business owners from all the rest?

  1. They are brave enough to risk being wrong.  In fact, unless you are prepared to get it wrong, you’re not doing it right.  The only people who never fail are the people who lack the courage to try.
  2. They are willing to listen. The best way to ensure that your products, services and marketing messages are on target, is to listen to your market place.
  3. They are patient.  Overnight success is very rare.  It takes time to get from where you are to where you want to be.
  4. They value their time and maximise it.  Time is your most valuable asset, yet many people waste it. Successful people jealously guard their time and use it carefully.
  5. They prioritise the important stuff. They focus on the things that will make a difference. The nice to do only get done when the need to do have been done.
  6. They know their numbers. In the final analysis business comes down to figures and they understand if you’re not on top of the numbers, you’re flying blind.
  7. They have a vision for their business which they share with all their stakeholders. They know where the business is going and how it’s going to get there.
  8. They have a plan for the business that they update regularly to ensure that they stay on track.
  9. They understand the importance of giving. As Zig Ziglar said “If you help enough people get what they want, you can have anything you want.”
  10. They show up consistently.  If you want to remain relevant to your clients, customers or community, you need to show up regularly.
  11. They commit to lifelong learning.  Society and everything around us is changing faster than ever before. Standing still is not an option. Take the classes, read the books and stay up to date.
  12. They know when to outsource. They know when to bring specialists in to help because their time is better spent doing higher value work or when they don’t have the specialist expertise.

Marketing is one such area that you can’t afford to get wrong.

If marketing isn’t your thing give me a call and I’ll show you the impact that giving the right messages to the right people in the right way will have on your business. Without marketing producing a regular stream of new leads for you, you are condemning yourself to not achieving the results and rewards you hope for.

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What Keeps Them Awake At Night?

Marketing is all about relevance.
Your messages need to be absolutely relevant to your target audience so that their response is
“this guy’s talking to me. He understands my issues”.
As a marketer this is what you need – to really understand the deep fears and motivations of your prospects, the fears that keep them awake at night and which you have the solution to.

Now to do this you need to have a very clear picture of who your target audience is. This is where creating an avatar of your prospects is important. By this I mean you need to create a very detailed picture of your ideal prospect.
Is this person male or female? How old are they? How much money do they earn? Do they have kids? What sort of house do they live in? What job do they do etc etc. Only once you have this detailed picture can you get inside their heads to know what motivates them and what their deep fears are.
Now, the point here is that the real fear may be different to the more obvious one that immediately springs to mind.

Let’s look at an example.
A business person’s first level fear is that if they don’t get more customers the business will suffer and they may have to lay off employees.
That’s a real fear but the more horrific fear is that he will be letting down (by laying off) people he considers almost like family – a very deep, very powerful fear that cuts beneath the surface issue.
If we can get to the psychological root of the issue, we can position our solution as addressing that fear.

Tapping into that fear is powerful.

So how do we get to the deeper fears that your prospects have?

Start with a fear or a problem your prospect has.

Then ask yourself ”If they don’t solve this problem, what will happen?” or “If this fear comes true, what will happen?”
We now need to dig down one more level.
To do that you need to put yourself in the shoes of the prospect – which is why it’s so important to create the avatar and to have the deep understanding of who your prospects are.
What you come up with now is the deep fear. The real thing they’re scared about.
And it’s almost always an emotion.

So how do we communicate this?

The fact is that we need to handle it very carefully. What you don’t want to do is wade in with something like “I know you’re afraid of letting down the ones you love.”

No, in our communication we want to communicate three points.
1) I understand. One way to do this by telling a story about someone who is very similar to them who has this fear.
2) It’s OK. You’re not alone. Lots of people have this fear.
3) Here’s a solution that’s worked for them, and I think you’ll find it helpful.
Done in this way, the recipients can say to themselves “that’s precisely what I’m thinking/feeling.”

This enables us to enter that conversation that’s already going on in their heads and positions us as the perfect solution to their problems.

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Attractive and Repellent At The Same Time

Your marketing message needs to be attractive and repellent at the same time.

Yes you heard right.

But surely you want to attract as many people as possible?

That’s true you do but at the same time there are some people you’re better off without and your marketing message should tell those people that you’re really not the right supplier for them.

If this is sounding a bit left field for you, let’s start somewhere easy.

Your marketing messages should be written specifically to attract your ideal customer 

I’m sure you know who your ideal customer is. The more detail you have about your him or her, the better. Something I always do with my clients is to create an avatar for their deal customer.

Are they male or female, how old are they, where do they live, how much do they earn, what do they do, what publications do they read, do they have children, what do they do in their spare time etc etc.  I even give them a name.

Only when you’ve created this detailed picture can you identify what their issues are and therefore what you can do to solve their issues and therefore become their supplier of choice

But what about the second part?

Have you identified the customers you really don’t want?

Who are the customers who you want to avoid? Those that complain endlessly? Those that continually try to beat you up on price? Those you wish you didn’t have, but continue to keep  because you don’t have anyone to replace them?

The interesting thing about your marketing message is that it can be used to BOTH, attract the type of customers you want, AND, repel those who don’t want.

This isn’t hard. Let me give you an example.

For most of us, we need to communicate with our prospects before they actually become customers. Your marketing materials therefore have to contain compelling reasons why the prospect should talk to you.

Now whether that’s your website, email marketing, sales letters, brochures or whatever, the text will be full of the benefits that you deliver and how you can solve their problems. The more you can provide real tangible benefits during the conversation, the greater the likelihood is that they’ll actually become a customer.

Repelling those you don’t want.

Which brings us to the second part of the equation.

Now I’m not suggesting you should be rude in any way. Everyone should be treated with equal respect but you can detail the characteristics of those you don’t want to have contact with..

You might do it as follows: “I’m happy to offer this service, I think it will be very helpful and valuable to you, BUT the reality is that unfortunately I can’t talk to everyone. So in order to take me up on this offer you need to…”

…and that’s where you start to list the criteria that will eliminate those you don’t want to do business with.

I’ll show you what I mean.

In my world, I can’t really help people who have an idea for a business, but haven’t actually started trading. At this stage they’re looking for free advice. Nothing inherently wrong with that, we’ve all been there, but they’re not really the people I want to invest my time in. So, I put in language saying, “You need to be up and running already. You don’t have to be huge, but you do need to have some momentum.”

That’s an easy one. It’s a rather obvious group I don’t want to attract more of and I’m sure you’ve got a similar one.

But to make this really work, you want to dig down and think about what frustrates you about certain types of customers, so you avoid getting more of them.

For me, I get a lot of people who are very sceptical about marketing. They’ve never really done any marketing. Their business comes from word of mouth and referrals.

These people tend to need a lot of convincing that marketing will work for them.  They’re also very likely to bail out if the marketing doesn’t immediately generate spectacular results, reassuring themselves that, as they already knew, marketing doesn’t work.

Whereas, people who have already done some marketing and now want to do more are ideal for me. They understand what marketing can do and they’re committed to working with me to get the best possible results.

So, how do I repel the group I don’t want, and attract the one I do? It’s not hard. Following on from the wording above I will say “Ideally you are doing some marketing already, but recognise that you need some help”

This will therefore resonate with people who know that marketing is the way to build their business and are going to get on board with the activities I put in place.

One of the great things about good marketing is that it just doesn’t get you new business-if you do it right, it gets you precisely the type of business you want

 

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The Power Of Premium Products

When the subject of premium products comes up most people think they only relate to exclusive product sectors and top end businesses but that’s not the case.

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Premium products can be found in all  types of businesses.

Now in some instances they may be dressed up with exclusive sounding titles such as “Platinum service”,” Gold Standard” “Premier Club” etc but the fact is that premium products can be found in the most everyday sorts of businesses but they can have a remarkable impact on sales and more importantly on margin. The great thing is they often entail no extra effort.

So what is a premium product?

Quite simply it is your standard product which you’ve added value to in some way. It may be that the packaging and presentation of the product has been upgraded, you may have upgraded the functionality in some way or perhaps it has more high quality ingredients in it.

A good example of premium products is currently being demonstrated by the supermarkets. They all have premium ranges these days. Sainsbury’s call it “Taste The Difference”, Tesco call their range “Finest” while Asda call their’s “Extra Special”.

Or take a typical restaurant. Everybody has a specials menu and the items on the specials menu are always more expensive. The ingredients may be a bit more fancy but the price will be a lot more fancy.

Now I can’t claim to know the figures but while the cost price will be a little bit more, the margin will be significantly higher than on the standard dishes.

Now considering that we’ve been going through tough economic times for the last few years, you might think that there is no place for premium products.

But you’d be wrong.

The fact is that something like 20% of consumers will regularly pay more for what they perceive to be a superior product. All you have to do is work out how you can add value to and upgrade your standard product so that you can offer it as a premium product.

A little while back I was working with a removals company.

Now you might think that there’s no scope for a premium product in the removals business but there is. We created the “Reassurance Plus” product by using more robust packing cases, by having a more comprehensive insurance plan and by enhancing the unpacking service in the new house. The price of “Reassurance Plus” is around 26% more than the standard product and the margin nearly  40% more. And yes somewhere in the region of 20% of customers take it up.

My wife is a chiropractor. Chiropractors have recently twigged that they can charge more for appointments at certain times of the day. Early morning, lunch time and in the evening are outside of the standard opening hours but are more convenient for people who work during the day. While the service is exactly the same, a premium price can be charged for these times of day.

The other thing about premium products is that it’s not a hard sell. You simply make the customer aware that you have a premium product and the difference between it and the standard product and then leave them to choose.

Another useful technique is to create three levels of service –  gold, silver and bronze versions of your product. The thing here is to make sure that your existing product is the bronze level. Human nature being what it is the majority of people when faced with a choice between three options will go for the middle or silver option. So if your existing product is the bronze level you will get a massive uplift as the majority opt for the silver version and a few will actually go the whole way and buy the gold version.

So look closely at your own business and decide how you can add value to your product or service and offer gold and silver versions.

Every time someone buys anything other than the basic version, you’re making more money. You may well be very surprised at the difference it makes to your turnover and more importantly your profit.

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What Do Your Customers Really Want?

Do you know what your customers want?

I mean what they really want.

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When we buy anything, the motivation is always “what’s in it for me”. What will this product do for me?

There are a number of almost primeval buying motivations which drive most of our purchases:

    • Will it make me more money?
    • Will it save me time?
    • Will it make me more beautiful?
    • Will it make me more attractive to the opposite sex?
    • Will it make me feel better?
    • Will it make me healthier?
    • Will it make my life better?

People don’t care about you or your business, they only care about what you can do for them. To be successful you have to appeal to your customers’ self interest.

We don’t buy what we need

When it comes to making buying decisions, in most instances we don’t buy what we need, we buy what we want.

There are so many product categories that prove this – no one needs designer brands, sports cars, ipads etc. There are always cheaper, more functional alternatives but we want these items so we justify to ourselves why we should have them.

What this means is that so many purchases are made not for logical reasons but for emotional ones and you need to recognise this in your marketing. You need to appeal to people’s emotions as opposed to their logic. You always need to explain to your target audience what they will get from your product – how it will make them look, how it will make them feel, what other people will think of them when they see them with it.

Once we’ve set our sights on something we want, we then go about collecting the justification for the more extravagant package.

Last summer I needed to buy a new car. I’m not really interested in cars so it wasn’t anything fancy but the extras made it more desirable and more sexy. Did I need the extras – no not really but I did want them.

So how did I justify it to myself. The blue tooth functionality gave me the ammunition I needed. With blue tooth I could talk legally on the phone while driving. To be honest I do actually need that (having been done for talking on the phone earlier last year) but it made the decision easy for me.

So when you’re creating your sales materials remember people buy what they want and then justify it as a need.

Don’t fill your collateral, especially your website with boring information, especially not boring information about you and your company.

Instead focus on making them want what you sell because if they want it they will find the justification.

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Win New Customers From Your Small Business Marketing

How to generate new customers is the issue most small businesses focus on in their small business marketing. The fact that when I start working with a new client, I focus on how to maximise the value of existing customers isn’t the point here. Most clients prioritise new customers.

I’m going to give you therefore 7 very simple tips which while being pretty obvious, will make the process of acquiring new customers significantly easier.

small business marketing delivers new customers

1. Identify your niche audiences

The key to marketing is relevance. Marketing will only be successful if it is totally relevant to the people consuming it.

It’s therefore vital that you identify a number of niche audiences as closely as possible so that your marketing talks to them directly.

2. Use a variety of marketing channels

Different people like to receive information in different ways and from different sources. Many businesses use one or two ways of communicating and leave it at that. The problem with this is that if your audience don’t use these channels much or if these channels stop working for some reason then you’re in trouble.

Smart marketers use multiple channels (10 or more) with each channel supporting and backing up the other ones.

With traditional and digital media together there are now more channels available to us(many of which are now free) than ever before.

3. Use a CRM (customer relationship management) system

You need to be able to keep track of all your prospects and to keep a record of all contacts and actions. The most basic way is just to use Excel but this is very basic and has no clever functionality.

There are plenty of CRM systems such as Act or Goldmine which are very sophisticated and will help ensure that maximise your customer and prospect contacts

4. Provide helpful educational information

The more you give out to the market, the more you will get back.

By providing interesting and informative information to the market, you position yourself as an expert and start building relationships with your prospects.

5. Have more conversations with more people

The more people you talk to, both face to face and on line, the more business you’re going to do.

Login to your chosen online networking / social media platforms every day and ask questions, answer questions and provide input and feedback.

6. React quickly to sales enquiries and always follow-up

Speed of response is always impressive. If you do a good job at the very first contact, the prospect will have a positive impression of you from the start.

It always amazes me how many people fail to follow up an enquiry or lead. A while back I phoned four carpenters when I wanted a bookcase made. Only one actually called me back. You also need perseverance. You’re not going to get through to the relevant person on the first call. It may need 5 calls or maybe more. Stick in there.

7. Measure your results.

If you don’t know what’s working and what’s not you won’t know where to invest your money for maximum return.

You have to know where your money is generating a profit and where you’re simply losing money.

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When Are Your Prospects Ready To Buy?

Sales people are very fond of the line “A no doesn’t necessarily mean no – it  may mean not now”.

This is very true.

Be there when your customers are ready to buy

As a marketer you don’t know what stage in the buying process your prospect is at. If they don’t respond to your approach, it may mean they won’t be interested ever or it may mean that they’re not interested right now.

The point is everyone is at different places in the buying cycle.

Understanding that buyers are continually at different stages reinforces the need you have to build relationships with your list of prospects because the better the relationship you have with your database the more likely they are to do business with you when they are ready to buy.

Here are five things you can do to continually introduce people to your business, establish a relationship with them and be ready when they are ready to buy.

Always have something to invite people to

This can be a webinar, a tele-seminar, a live event etc. Pick a topic or idea that relates to your product or service and get started. This helps you connect with many potential clients all at one time.

Build a community

Communities are powerful because they give people a sense of belonging to something. From a business standpoint, communities build credibility by establishing that other people like you and trust you.  Holding an event , creating a forum or getting them to “like” your Facebook page allows people to connect and engage with you.

Keep your name in front of your prospects by providing valuable content.

Once a lead is in your system, your objective is to create content that will keep your products, services and brand in front of them.  The key here is to give away something that your prospects perceive as having value–something that will benefit them or solve their problems.

Have multiple points of entry

Create multiple ways to introduce people to your products and services. One point of entry might be through your website.  You can also use free reports, books, events, referral strategies, speaking engagements, articles written for publications in your niche or industry as points of entry.

Use a variety of media channels

Once you have figured out different points of entry, send content in a variety of formats so that you are sure to hit your customers’ communication preference.

Different people like to be communicated with in different ways. Make sure you communicate in ways that will appeal to as many people as possible.

Remember to get more clients and make more sales, you need to have a lead generation system in place that will continually supply you with potential buyers in different stages of the buying process. Create a system that starts the conversation and makes a connection, and when it’s time for them to buy, you will be the only logical choice.

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Email – A Key Element Of Your Small Business Marketing

If as a small business, you’re not using email, you’re ignoring one of the cheapest and most effective marketing channels.

One of the cheapest and most effective marketing channels

Here are three ways you can use email to increase your profits

1. Set up auto responder campaigns to improve response.

Email can dramatically improve your conversion rates.

Set up an auto responder campaign that automatically sends emails to welcome new subscribers, follows up on important events or campaigns or as part of a sequential campaign, that sends prospects a tailored email dependent on how they have already responded to your marketing activity.

For example, let’s say you send a postcard to your customers driving them to a landing page advertising an upcoming event. A portion of your customers won’t sign up on that first visit to your landing page. That means you need a way to drive them back to that landing page.

Setting up an auto responder campaign that has a sequence of messages that address different objections your prospect might have and then drives them back to your event landing page in the right frame of mind can significantly increase your response to that event.

In fact, using this type of follow-up email sequence has been shown to double, triple and even quadruple your initial response.

2. Use email to get valuable information.

These days everybody is crunching numbers to ensure they are being effective and efficient with their marketing spend.

Some of the most valuable statistics are the response numbers that roll in after an email campaign is sent out.

Reviewing your numbers will help you spot effective offers, stand out content or subscribers who’d respond well to follow up.

Use this information to see what messages are working and incorporate them into your other marketing.

3. Use email to build brand loyalty.

In today’s tough economy, it’s more important than ever to keep your customers happy and engaged.  Consistent emails with interesting and relevant content give you an easy, friendly way to remind your subscribers why they love you.

Plus you can use your email to highlight your company’s strengths, reward your most loyal customers, convert leads into customers and turn your one-time buyers into repeat customers.

But remember, every email you send has got to add value to your database. You must be giving them useful information or a special offer or a tip to help their business. If you start taking your list for granted and start sending them stuff that has no value to them or that isn’t consistent with your brand, you can start to damage your reputation and potentially lose your customers, even loyal ones, forever.