Julie Guest Direct Response Copywriter, Marketing Strategist, Best Selling Author

Don’t Bother With This Kind Of Marketing

There’s a famous advertising quote that goes something like this “half the money I spend on my advertising is wasted.  The problem is I don’t know which half!” But that’s only part of the problem.  With all the marketing hokem out there, its harder than ever to discern what kind of marketing you should be doing and where to invest your money for the biggest marketing bang.

It’s time for some plain talk marketing.

’m not going to presume I know your business and tell you exactly what you should do.  I can’t.  There’s no such thing as a one size fits all marketing plan.  Every business is unique and requires a very specific marketing prescription to tap into new markets and connect with new customers.

But I can tell you what kinds of marketing you should not be doing.  These are universal, applicable to each and every business because they’re either hopelessly outdated, or were never effective in the first place.

Here’s a quick Marketing black list to avoid at all costs:

1.)     Avoid broadcast marketing messages that are “pushed” out to everyone and anyone.  Generic marketing is well and truly dead.  Welcome to the age of specialized marketing – using tightly targeted messages to reach specific audiences.

2.)     Avoid any marketing that isn’t trackable and measurable.  You need to know to the penny what the effectiveness of your advertising is.  If you don’t know, then you’re going to need to sharpen your psychic powers, because how else will you know if it’s actually working?

3.)     Avoid plain old brand ads.  The world is cluttered enough.  Truly, no one cares about how cool your logo looks, or what your tagline says.  Every ad has to answer the old question for your customer “what’s in it for me?”.

4.)     Avoid any kind of marketing that even remotely looks like what your competitors are doing.  If you can remove your brand from an ad or your website and insert your competitor’s, and no one could tell the difference – that’s a giant fail.  How are your customers supposed to choose you above everyone else if you look the same?  Make it easy for them by making your marketing different.  Truly distinctive.

How To End Prospecting Once And For All

“Stop selling, start helping” – Zig Ziglar When asked whether you’d prefer to get a root canal or get on the phone and cold call prospects for new business – I suspect you’d be like the majority of folks and choose the root canal. Frankly, I would too. Prospecting for business is hard, grubby work. It’s out dated, and if you are still spending your precious time actively prospecting for business, then it only means one thing – your marketing is simply not doing its job.

Here are 53 easy ways to strengthen your marketing and put an end to painful prospecting once and for all:

1.) Implement a marketing strategy that focuses on positioning instead of prospecting. By that I mean positioning yourself in your marketplace to ensure good, qualified prospects can find out about you and seek your expert assistance to solve their problems. This can best be done by writing white papers, articles, blog articles, or best of all - a book (that can be ghost written for you). 2.) Don’t let any leads go to waste. It was billionaire entrepreneur and ex-super model Kathy Ireland who once told me that “no” doesn’t mean no – it just means not now. Implement a follow- up direct mail campaign, auto responder sequence and get them added to your drip marketing campaign. Your prospects might not remember who you are in a week, let alone in a couple of months’ time when they’re ready to buy! Some of the biggest results I’ve achieved for my private clients have been by way of designing a multi-media follow- up marketing system for their businesses. You might not need new leads – perhaps all you need is a better way of converting the ones you have!

3.) Be of more service. As Zig Ziglar says, start helping and stop selling. Its truly rare to find someone who cares about you and your success. Become that person for your clients and your competition will be left in the dust!

A Brilliant Laundromat Marketing Strategy You Need To Swipe For Your Business

There are only about 2 or 3 laundries in New York City that specialize in laundering and hand ironing expensive bed linens, from companies like Charlotte Thomas Bespoke, Frette, Pratesi, etc.

Their prices (as you’d imagine) are a lot higher than your average dry cleaner’s – starting at $50 and up per sheet.Of course, if you can afford to spend $300 - $3000 for a single sheet in the first place these prices won’t scare you.

Here’s what one of these high end laundries does to separate themselves from the competition and give their customers an actual ‘experience’ rather than just a service.

Instead of returning the linens in cling wrapped, clear plastic (which is the norm), one savvy company wraps them in thick, colorful tissue paper tied with a wide, multi-striped grosgrain ribbon around them, and a polka dot gift tag with the owner’s name handwritten on it – just like a present.

Not only does this look amazing, but the psychological message it delivers is that this is a gift – triggering the happy response we all get from being handed an unexpected present.

What can you take away from this to do in your business?Think about a service or product you offer and come up with 3 ways you can pleasantly shock and surprise your customer – the more unexpected the better.

You’ll be amazed at how just the smallest things can make a big difference!

A Dave Matthews Band Marketing Lesson

Last week I finally went to my first Dave Matthew’s Band (DMB) concert. I’ve been a big fan of this group for the longest time – in fact, the first time I heard them was about 18 years ago when I was traveling through South Africa and their 2 big hits “Satellite” and “Crash” were getting some serious air time over there.

Its pretty shocking that its taken me 18 years to get my rear in gear and hear them live. Especially since I love going to hear live music.

It was worth the wait. The concert was excellent, but of even greater value to me was the big marketing lesson I saw unfold before me.

To date, The Dave Matthews Band is only the second band in U.S. history to have 5 consecutive #1 songs (Metallica holds the lead position). They sell out the world’s biggest arenas on a regular basis and according to one source grossed more revenue between 2002-2009 than any other band in America.

Not too shabby for a group of musicians who started out in a sweat, smoke and grime filled pub in Charlotte, VA.

But from the very beginning, Dave and his guys set about building their band, their brand and their business their own way.

Instead of trying to chase down a recording contract in the hopes of building a fan base – they built a fan base first. Pretty genius. They toured college campuses and gave away copies of their music for free. Word quickly spread and an extremely loyal fan base sprung from grassroots.

Today DMB fans are some of the most passionate, quirky and fiercely loyal fans on the planet. They regularly crash servers flooding to buy pre-release tickets and campout 24, 48, and 72 hours outside venues the band plays at.

I got to see some of this first hand at the concert.

A couple rows in front of me there was a guy wearing a make shift psychedelic headband and a home made t-shirt that proudly said DMB – My 100th Concert!

I saw a LOT of DMB tattoos on arms, legs and backs (including an extremely impressive almost full body tattoo with a picture of each band member and all their album artwork). And the line up outside the concert merchandise store had at least 100 people waiting to drop $200, $300 even $1000 on limited edition band merchandise.

Developing this kind of rabid and fiercely loyal customer base is the holy grail of marketing for ANY company.

DMB fans will devour anything and everything the band puts out.

Their revenue is only limited by their capacity to produce. They have a guaranteed market for a product even before its created.

How many companies can say the same?

So how have Dave and his guys managed to get to this supreme position?

By ardently following a few criticalmarketing rules which can be replicated by anyone.

1.) They refused to hide behind their brand and kept their personalities at the forefront of their marketing and communication with their fans. This is known as Personality Infused Marketing™ - one of the most powerful ways to build both a memorable brand and a base of raving fans in record time (covered in more detail in my Client Stampede Ultimate Marketing Toolkit).

2.) They haven’t reduced their marketing. After enjoying 15 years of sold out arenas and chart topping success, many people in their shoes would be tempted to pull back on their marketing, the number of concerts performed, the number of public appearances given because they’d “made it”. Not DMB. Despite being one of the most successful bands of all time they have never taken the foot off their “marketing gas”. If anything, they’ve actually increased it.

3.) They constantly innovate – they’re experimenting with different “looks”, different sounds, different marketing methods to reach their fans. DMB was one of the first bands to start using social media. They were also one of the first bands to introduce a customer “loyalty program” and today are one of the few bands smart enough to use direct mail to reach their most ardent fans.

Building a customer base of raving fans is the holy grail for your business – and is much easier to achieve that you might think. But it does require you going against the grain and doing those things that your competitors aren’t prepared to do!

5 Simple Ways To Build An EXTRAORDINARY Business

When I was a kid I was terrified of chickens. Don’t ask me why. It seems completely ridiculous and it made me the butt of many family jokes (especially from my two brothers). Fast forward a few decades and fortunately I’ve managed to curb my chicken phobia, but they do have a funny way of cropping up in my life. I was recently hunting for some great imagery to explain the concept of what it meant to be extraordinary...and here’s a picture I found of …an extraordinary chicken!

And then I got to thinking about the similarity between chickens and how most people run their business.

If you’ve ever watched chickens run around in a yard – they pretty much stick together in clusters. They scratch the ground looking for worms in the same spots. They lay their eggs in the same places. And they all pretty much look the same. It's hard to tell them apart.

But if you saw a chicken who looked like that extraordinary chicken – you’d likely want to take pictures of it, tell all your friends, post it on Facebook, show it to your kids. In fact, you and your family might keep talking about that extraordinary chicken for years, simply because it was so memorable and so different.

And that’s how you want to make your business.

By doing what everyone else is doing, copying the way your competitors are all marketing, offering the same things they’re offering – you’re just another plain old chicken in the barn yard. It's harder than ever to get people to notice you (which is why you might be finding marketing so frustrating).

I strongly believe that if you’re going to run a business – you may as well make it an extraordinary one. One that people can’t help telling everyone else about and creates an army of raving fans.

Its not nearly as hard as it sounds, mostly because people have been let down so often we all have pretty low expectations.

So in brief, here’s why you’d want to make your business an extraordinary one: 1) It’s easy. People’s expectations are so low it doesn’t take much to make your business really stand out from the crowd.

2) It’s the ultimate competitive advantage. Chances are better than average your competitors are either dropping the ball or delivering ordinary service. If you really take care of your clients, they will never ever look anywhere else and will send you tons of referrals

3) You can charge higher prices. Its very crowded at the bottom of the market, but few businesses know how they can raise their price. Making your business an extraordinary one is an easy way.

So how do you make your business extraordinary? Just follow these 5 easy steps:

1) Keep your promises. So simple, but few do it. Do what you say you’re going to do.

2) Build a brand that looks nothing like your competitors. Something that’s so memorable, as soon as people see it they know it's from your business. For example every month I write a marketing newsletter for my private clients that arrives by snail mail. As soon as they open their mailbox they know its from me – it’s the only piece of mail they receive in a plastic bag and it has a very distinctive rustic modern look to it.

3) Abandon boring marketing (puh-lease). If an honest reading of your marketing materials or your website makes your eyeballs dry up, then just imagine how your prospects must feel. Remember you can’t bore your prospects into doing business with you – you can only interest them. Your marketing needs to be written so compellingly that it keeps them glued to their seat and then lights their pants on fire to call you. Your marketing needs to be extraordinary – look different, feel different, read different.

4) Take great care of the customers you already have. So many businesses are laser focused on getting new sales, when in reality they have an untapped goldmine in their own customer list. I see this time and time again when I consult with new private clients. Remember it’s 5 times easier to sell to an existing customer than it is to try and convert a new one. But its not just about selling. Its about really caring about your customers and their success. It’s the doctor that calls his patient after hours to see how they’re feeling. It’s the vet who remembers Fido’s 10th birthday and sends an oversized Milk Bone. It’s the financial advisor who sends his elderly widowed clients a bunch of flowers on Valentine’s day.

5) Marketing is everything! There’s no point having an extraordinary business if no one knows about it! Educate your clients about what makes your business extraordinary. Send out press releases. Start a monthly newsletter. Run a themed offer of the month to all your prospects and valued clients. Profile outstanding staff going the extra mile. Send new customer welcome kits and let people know what a great decision they’ve made in choosing you.

Do these 5 simple things to make your business extraordinary and you’ll never have to scratch for worms or be mistaken for a plain barnyard chicken ever again!

Little Hinges Open Big Doors

Once upon a time (in 1960) there were two brothers who desperately wanted to go to college.  Their parents were broke, so the boys figured that the only way they were going to be able to swing it – was by working a couple of jobs. The boys wound up working for a struggling pizza company, which despite its prized location close to a college campus, still couldn’t turn a profit.  The boys offered to buy out the stressed out owner – the deal secured by a $75 down payment and the remaining $500 they scrimped and scrounged as a loan from family and friends.  Eight months later the more studious of the two brothers decided he wanted to spend more time hitting the books and less time flipping pizza dough.

Client Stampede Volkswagon
Client Stampede Volkswagon

Meantime the other brother loved the pizza business and wanted little to do with his studies – so they traded: full ownership of the pizza business to brother Tom in return for his cherry red Volkswagen beetle.  Like most business owners, Tom was working crazy hours – struggling as the previous business owner was, to run the business profitably.  There was a lot of competition on campus for food, and more pizza stores than you could shake a stick at. Times were tough.

Wracking his brain to come up with a marketing message that would draw people in was no easy task.

He certainly didn’t have the best tasting pizza.  It was good, but not exactly what you’d classify as a taste bud symphony.

He couldn’t claim that his sauce recipe was Mama’s own secret – direct from their tiny village in Sicily and fiercely guarded by his family for 5 generations.

After many sleepless nights he finally had it.  Excited beyond words he rushed to work the next day to test it out.

The results were astounding.  Response rates to his ads quadrupled almost immediately.  Media requests started pouring in.  Their phone system blew up and more help had to be hired immediately in all positions.

Here is his marketing message that changed everything and resulted in the world’s largest pizza chain – 10,000 franchised stores in more than 70 countries.  The company of course is Dominos Pizza:

Fresh hot pizza delivered in 30 minutes or it’s free.

That’s it.  How could a marketing message so simple be such a game changer in an overcrowded market?

For that exact reason.  It’s overcrowded.  As very few businesses have a really great, extremely clear marketing message – the ones that do really stand out.

Why is having the right marketing message so important for your business?

Well, because everything, and I mean everything – hinges off of it:

- Whether someone decides to stay or leave your website in that first 3 seconds - The way the media perceives your business - The way you perceive your business and the value you bring to your customers - The process your prospects go through in their mind to decide whether they want to pull out their checkbooks or not.

Whenever I accept a new private client, one of the first projects I work on is nailing down their marketing message – identifying a gap in their market and then crafting the right wording that will help drive a truck right through it.  Once this exercise is complete it’s not unusual for campaign response rates to double or even triple, for site traffic to spike, or to attract media attention (instead of having to chase it).

Little hinges open big doors.

The uncomfortable truth is that unless you have the right marketing message – any marketing you’re doing is going to yield a small fraction of the results that it would otherwise do.

Take a look at this photo I took at the bottom of my yard.   Does your marketing message make your business the red poppy in your industry, or are you really just another green leaf?

Client Stampede Garden
Client Stampede Garden

Are You Really An Entrepreneur Or Just A Business Owner?

“The Best Way To Predict The Future Is To Create It” – Peter Drucker When I started my first business way back when I was 17 I had no idea what an entrepreneur was. In fact I doubt I’d even heard of the term. When I graduated from college with a marketing and business degree I still had no idea what one was. All I knew is that from the time I was about 8 years old I had a burning desire to own my own business.

As I later discovered owning a business and being an entrepreneur are two very different things.

Here’s the best explanation I’ve found: business owners create jobs for themselves. Entrepreneurs create systems to replace themselves and are continually looking to expand and leverage their business in a multitude of different ways.

Let me better explain the difference by taking a step into the world of Fine Art.

Back in the 17th Century an artist called Peter Paul Rubens became widely known as Europe’s most famous painter. He developed a distinct and highly influential style depicting “robust” women with perfect complexions and apple red cheeks. And he used the power of story to add drama to his paintings by carefully arranging his figures with telling gestures and expressions.

Most artists – back then and today – stop there. They develop “a thing” that they become known for, they become very good at it – they might do some private commissions, a few gallery exhibitions, and in today’s world have sweatshirts or notecards with their images on it. They might have assistants or staff to help them run their business. But that’s where it stops. They’re business owners.

Not Rubens. He was all entrepreneur. He took very active steps to stay in demand – marketing himself to the European Elite – royalty, church leaders, nobles and rich merchants, all the while building demand for his services. Then to meet that demand he established a large studio with apprentices. He also had engravers copy his more important works to spread his reputation even further. Rubens was certainly a man before his time because he clearly realized that he was really in the marketing business. But as an entrepreneur he didn’t stop there. He started to involve himself in architecture and designing tapestries. For some clients he created suites of paintings, notable portraits and altar pieces. European Rulers then started seeking his advice for their art collections and sometimes even used him in political negotiations!

In my private copywriting and consulting business I work with entrepreneurs – not business owners. Businesses are expanded not just vertically, but horizontally and often times into separate but related industries. When working with new clients it’s not uncommon for them to emerge from our initial consulting session, blinking in the bright light and giddy with the realization that the business they’re really in is not the one they thought, and that the new opportunities before them are enormous beyond belief.

Being a true entrepreneur all begins with having the right mind set. As Donald Trump once said “As long as you’re going to be thinking, you may as well be thinking big!”

Why Watching NBC’s “The Voice” is a Great Lesson in Marketing

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve likely heard of NBC’s surprise hit show “The Voice.” Starting back in the fall of 2011, The Voice is like American Idol – except it's not. It’s a talent contest but based on actual talent rather than looks or age. Also, it’s an extraordinary music mentoring and coaching program. Each of the 4 coaches from 4 different music genres (mega superstars in their own right) pick their team, then take their contestants under their wing to grow and develop them at lightning speed, hoping America will vote them as the winner. Each week the two lowest ranking contestants get sent packing. The winner gets a $100,000 recording deal with Universal Records and life-long bragging rights. So, how exactly does a contestant win The Voice (and their winning Coach beat out the other three?) It all comes down to marketing.

Here are the five key marketing lessons:

1) If you’re competing, yes you need talent, but you’d better have a darn good story to help America really fall in love with you. The same goes for your business. Having your origin story is one of the critical selling points that can help you sit apart from the competition.

2) You need to be able to quickly identify what kind of singer you are and who your audience is. Are you a cute little country singer with great pitch and a dose of attitude? That’s also likely going to be your fan base so make sure you stay true to them in the songs you choose. That’s just like you selecting your target market and making sure there’s a good match with the services and products you offer.

3) When you get onstage, live on national television – you’d better look, sound and act every part of the mega super star you’re wanting to become. It doesn’t matter if you were cleaning out horse stalls the week before you arrived. “You’d better walk your talk.”

4) The Voice contestants leverage multiple forms of media to get support. Yes they’re on live national television but votes get collected via phone, texts, iTunes downloads and the Internet. And contestants and their coaches are tweeting and posting all week long. Similarly in your business its very smart NOT to rely on 1 or 2 forms of media to get your message out. Your marketing should be happening all the time (not sporadically like a series of random one hit wonders).

5) Never underestimate the power of a great mentor. Blake Shelton, the 6' ft 3" soft spoken country superstar has coached two of his team members to win the Voice so far – obliterating Christina Aguilera and putting Ceelo Green to shame. He makes the competition all about his team, not all about himself. The same with your customers. Your business needs to be all about them, them, them, not you, you, you. Sometimes that’s easier said than done.

So, if you haven’t watched The Voice yet, tune in live on Monday and Tuesday evenings on NBC – and you can justify your seat on the sofa because watching it can help YOU get more customers!

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The Voice is an American reality television singing competition broadcast on NBC. Based on the original The Voice of Holland, the concept of the series is to find new singing talent (solo or duets) contested by aspiring singers, aged 15 or over,[1] drawn from public auditions. The winner is determined by viewers by voting through telephone, Internet, SMS text, and iTunes Store purchases of contestants' performances; they receive US$100,000 and a record deal with Universal Music Group. There have been three winners of the show to date: Javier Colon, Jermaine Paul,[2][3] and Cassadee Pope.

The Voice began airing on April 26, 2011 as a spring TV season program. The show proved to be a hit for NBC and was subsequently expanded into the fall cycle when the third season premiered on September 10, 2012. The series employs a panel of four judges who critique the contestants' performances. Each judge also serves as a coach, guiding their teams of selected contestants through the remainder of the season. They also compete to ensure that their act wins the competition, thus making them the winning coach. The original judging panel consisted of Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine, and Blake Shelton. The lineup for the fourth season included Levine, Shelton, Shakira, and Usher. The former panel will serve for the fifth season, while the latter lineup will be featured for the sixth season.[4] The series is hosted by Carson Daly, with Christina Milian serving as a social media correspondent.

How My Ocean Voyage Adventure Can Make You A Better Marketer

A few years ago, I had the opportunity of a lifetime – the chance to sail across the Atlantic Ocean with my Uncle, Cousin and a friend on a brand new 45 ft catamaran boat. I was beyond excited. The only way I managed to wrangle a position crewing was that I had volunteered to cook for them (I knew nothing about sailing!) This was a boyhood dream for my Uncle who I had always looked up to while growing up – he was a hugely successful entrepreneur who had built one of South Africa’s most successful car dealerships from scratch (with no college education and barely a penny to his name). My Uncle had this boat built especially for him and now, along with my cousin (his son) and his best friend, the 4 of us were going to get to “test its chops” on a 33 day blue water adventure that started in Capetown, South Africa and would end in St. Lucia in the Caribbean.

There are lots and lots of stories I could tell you about this voyage: the scores of flying fish I’d find on the deck every morning, having dolphins swim alongside my cabin and call to me to come play, the great whale that we had a near miss with, or the very eerie island we had to make an emergency stop at filled with inbred people that had clubbed hands and feet.

But the story I really want to tell you today is the one about the green flash.

It was a ritual on our boat that every day at about 6 p.m. we’d all gather on the deck for “Sundowners” (cocktails with snacks I’d rustled up in the kitchen). The four of us would sit quietly on the deck, skin burned from sun and salt spray – happy and content to watch the sun go down.

Now, I had never heard about this before, but apparently there’s an incredible thing that happens the split second that the sun sinks below the horizon: a “green flash” is emitted from the sun’s rays and in the reflection of the water for a milli-second.

My crew mates talked incessantly about the incredible beauty of this green flash – and every night that we gathered for our sundowners they saw it – and I never did.

For 27 sunsets (excluding the ones we missed due to storms) I kept my eyes laser focused on that orange orb, refusing to blink just in case I missed it.

“Did you see it? Did you see it this time?” they’d turn and say expectantly to me.

“Um, no.”

With every night I felt like a bigger and bigger idiot. How was it possible they could see something that I did not?

Well to be honest I’m not sure they did. If you Google “Green Flash Ocean” you’ll see that people seem to be equally divided between whether it’s myth or fact. And this reminds me very much of the way most people preach about marketing.

Conventional wisdom teaches that what really counts is having a strong brand presence and that this is the road to success – the entire advertising agency industry is built upon this one primary assumption. And for good reason.

Brand advertising is just like the green flash. Everyone tells you that it’s the holy grail to getting more customers. But after investing tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on building your brand you’ve still got no idea if its really working or not. Could that bump in traffic be caused from it? Maybe. But maybe its because your biggest competitor happened to also drop the ball and people are voicing their dissatisfaction with their feet. Or because the economy’s picking up. Or, or, or…

The bottom line is this. Building a strong brand IS important for your business. But it should be the by-product of your advertising – not the goal of it. If you’re hoping to catapult your business to fame using just brand advertising, you’re in for a very long wait my friend. Having a cool looking logo and a clever tagline isn’t what’s going to create a client stampede in your business.

But the kind of advertising that can is emotionally charged marketing, otherwise known as direct response marketing. Its designed to make your prospects take immediate and decisive action – to light a fire under their rears and get them to call you, to work themselves into such a lather that they have to speak to you right this very second. Direct response marketing is measurable to the penny (which as a direct response advertising copywriter means I put myself on the line every time I create a campaign). And it helps create a strong brand for your business as a wonderful side benefit.

Think of it as getting double the marketing bang for your buck.

Does the green flash really exist? I have no idea.

Are your brand ads working? I have no idea (and you don’t know either). As this is your money we’re investing – don’t you think it makes more sense to use a proven way of marketing that can create a client stampede in your business, is measurable to the penny and happens to build your brand at the same time?

3 Easy Ways To Become The Tall Poppy In An Over Crowded Marketplace

Have you noticed that eating out isn’t what it used to be? The wait staff barely knows what’s on the menu, service is lousy, and the food rarely measures up to the hype? I don’t mean to pick on the restaurant industry but it’s a great example of a business epidemic that’s wreaking havoc and running rampant across every single industry. When I buy something now, I almost expect to be disappointed. The hiking shoes that were meant to have a 5 year sole on them, cracked and in the trash after two. The plumber who says he’ll be there between 9 and 11 - shows up at 3 p.m. with no explanation.

The bottom line – service has gone out the window in a hand basket and becoming a new customer doesn’t mean anything any more. At least not the majority of businesses who are too short sighted to see that the objective of getting a new customer is NOT to make a sale – it’s to build a relationship.

All of this is excellent news for you and your business. It means it's never been easier to make your business look amazing and attract the hordes of unhappy customers away from your competition.

Here are 3 easy ways to become the tall poppy in your marketplace

1) Keep your promises. Sound ridiculously simple, because it is. Do what you say you’re going to do. And then do more. In my consulting and copywriting business I have a client retention rate that’s more than double the industry average. Why? Because we offer exceptional service to our clients. One time that meant hopping in the car and driving 300 miles to hand deliver a box of printed marketing collateral to a client event because the printer had messed up the delivery. Another time it meant working on a last minute campaign for 3 solid days to help a client take advantage of an opportunity of a lifetime. Whatever you do in your business, do it so well that people can’t help telling others about you.

2) Make a big deal of people becoming a new customer. It takes courage and faith for someone to do business with you – especially in this day and age. Don’t take them for granted. Send them a Welcome to the Family package. Help confirm their decision that they have made an excellent choice in selecting you (and prevent buyers remorse at the same time). Not too long ago I created a new client welcome kit for a cosmetic surgeon as part of an overall strategy to increase not just the retention rate but to hike up the average spend per patient. Average annual spend leaped from $2370 to $7560.

3) Never be boring with your marketing Every marketing piece your company puts out either brings clients and prospects one step closer to do business with you – or it makes them take a step back. If your marketing is dull, lifeless, boring and looks just the same as everyone else you’re confusing your prospects. How are they supposed to tell that your business is the one they should pick? Be bold. Push the envelope and stop hiding behind a personality-less corporate brand. People love being entertained and they love receiving the unexpected. A funny animated video with a poignant sales message. A sales letter delivered in a mini trash can. A surprise “thank you gift” for purchasing.

Try any or all of these strategies in your business and you will be AMAZED at the results you get. I guarantee it.

Pricing Strategy Inspiration: How a Little Retail Store Can Charge High Prices and Thrive Against the Big Guys

Recently I was at a business breakfast meeting and heard a very interesting “insider’s perspective” on pricing that I thought I’d share with you. The speaker at the breakfast was a successful entrepreneur who’s owned a small landmark store in Ann Arbor for over 20 years.

The store itself sells gardening/ home wares and has developed a kind of multi-generational cult-following over the years. Most notable, however has been its ability to thrive and grow despite being surrounded by all the big box stores offering very similar things at far lower prices.

I first stumbled across the store not long after moving here. I was late for a hair appointment and hurriedly squeezed my SUV into the last remaining parking spot. As I got out of my car the store’s huge windows and meticulously designed outdoor displays caught my eye.

It was winter – a time when most garden nurseries close or wind back on their operations.

Not this store.

Huge handmade wreaths. Ornately decorated Christmas trees. An old wooden sled hanging off the rafters (the kind you could just imagine your grandpa taking your grandma for a hair raising ride in when they were kids).

When I stepped inside it felt almost like stepping into the 1950s.

Hand crafted Christmas ornaments hung alongside radio flyer bikes with red tassels dangling from the handlebars. The latest kitchen gadgetry was expertly positioned against brightly colored hand painted dishware. Over on the right, a coat rack displayed an array of trapper fur hats and hand knitted scarves. The smell of freshly brewed espresso wafted through the aisles. Their tabby cat prowled the aisles like he owned the joint, allowing a lucky few to pet him (if he felt like it).

And the place was buzzing with customers.

Back at the breakfast meeting, the owner took to the podium.

“We’re not trying to compete with the big box stores, because we realized we can’t. What we’ve done instead is establish a sense of community with our store – parents bring their children, grandparents bring their grandkids. It’s become a kind of ‘locals hang out’ and that’s a strategy that has served us very well over the years.”

He is, of course, being humble.

What he didn’t tell us is that his staff knows practically every customer by name (and if you’re a first-timer expect to be asked at least 3 times). He’s also taken great pains to train his team on every product they carry.

In other words, their marketing message is never “we’re the cheapest so come buy from us.” If it were, this store would have been out of business years ago.

Instead it’s all about the “experience” of shopping there.

They make it easy to buy – not hard. They don’t overwhelm you with choices.

And their marketing “looks and feels different” from any other garden store – setting the tone for the experience right from the get-go.

The ability to charge high prices – perhaps the highest prices in your market, is the holy grail of marketing.

When consulting with a new client, I often find that raising prices and repositioning a business are the biggest opportunities for them to make more money.

I’m quite certain it is in yours too.

Flying KFC & How To Get More Clients

KFC
KFC

Where I grew up in New Zealand, there’s a pretty large population of Samoans.  In fact, I think there are more Samoans living in New Zealand than on the actual island of Samoa itself.  In case you’re not familiar with its whereabouts, Samoa is a gorgeous Pacific Island nestled almost halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand.  Think pristine white beaches, glistening azure waters and people so friendly their smiles could light up the whole island. But here’s the thing.  Samoan people are, as far as national averages go, known to be very much on the large side.  In fact, Samoans share the highest heart disease and diabetes rates in the world.  They love their food.  As an example, let me tell you about Samoans and KFC.  They especially love their KFC.  The only problem is… there’s no KFC in Samoa (at least there wasn’t the last time I checked).  So it’s very common, almost mandatory in fact, for a native Samoan to board their flight from New Zealand to head back home armed with the biggest bucket of chicken Colonel Sanders sells and to have pots of mashed potatoes and coleslaw tucked into their coat pockets.  In fact, if you’re planning your winter escape from New Zealand to Samoa, then also plan on the smell of fried chicken wafting through the cabin for the solid 3.5 of your journey.

For the last 15 or so years the airlines flying to Samoa have turned a bit of a blind eye to all this KFC trafficking.  It has helped filled their planes, their customers are (mostly) happy and everyone wins.  Until now that is.  With tightening airline margins and fierce competition, practically every airline today is duking it out for survival.

When I worked for an airline that flew in the area, we used to get a steady stream of complaints in the legal department, but it wasn’t about the smell of KFC saturating the air on the Samoan flights, as one might think.  It was instead from passengers mashed into a corner, forced to sit next to someone who was so big their fat rolls took up their own seat and two others.  That’s not fun for anyone – the poor person who has to fit their frame into those seats, or their neighbor who can’t even squeeze by to use the rest room.

Well, Samoan Airlines has decided they’re going to fix the problem once and for all.  They are not outlawing KFC on board, but they are charging passengers based on their weight.  That’s right.  If you’re carrying a few extra pounds, or a few hundred extra, you pay more.  A LOT more.  If you miss a few dinners and go on a water diet you just might be able to swing a flight to paradise for mere pennies on the dollar.

As you can imagine, people are in a complete uproar over this.

“It’s discriminatory, it’s racist and it’s a breach of civil liberties,” says one side.  On the other side of the fence, those who run the business and are trying to keep a struggling airline alive say it’s the ultimate “user pays model” and the only way to ensure a “level playing field.”

Apr MD for ezine
Apr MD for ezine

Hmmm.  What do you think?  I think it’s a bold move that makes great sense from a pure business perspective, but makes terrible sense from a customer service perspective.  The majority of Samoan Airline customers are… Samoans.  I suspect they will vote with their feet and take their dollars (and their KFC) elsewhere.  In which case, the top brass might want to take a read of my article from last month’s edition of my paper and ink private client newsletter, Marketing Dynamite:21 Utterly Ingenious Ways To Get More Clients.”  I got so many positive comments about it I thought I would share it again.

21 Utterly Ingenious Ways to Get More Leads

Rightey ho, here goes: 21 of my best ideas to get you more customers:

  1. Tag clients on Facebook and give them appreciation.  Then reach out to their local friends who “like” or comment and invite them to a free special event you’re holding, a webinar, class, fundraiser, open house or other special event.
    1. Run “entry level” workshops on your chosen area of expertise.  Advertise these extensively on the radio, in your local papers, and on Facebook.
    2. Write a book.  Seriously.  Or at least pay for placement in a book by a prominent business author who knows how to market the book, will make it an Amazon best seller, and give you unlimited rights to use it in your marketing (like we do). Nothing will establish your credibility faster in your marketplace.
    3. Completely redesign your customer experience and turn it on its head.  Set out to create the most extraordinary customer experience that will spread like wildfire.  Throw out all the sacred cows. A great example of this is the dentist who sends a limo to pick up his clients and treats them to a hand and foot massage while they wait for their “treatment,” or the plastic surgeon who themes his office like a sexy French boudoir.  Then set about on a PR blitz and get word to spread.
    4. Make a list of everyone you’ve ever done business with but haven’t worked with in the last 12 months.  Send them a “We want you back” lost customer direct mail campaign.  Make it multi-step for best results.
    5. Create a real “snail mail, paper and ink newsletter” for your clients.  Kind of like this one.  Make it fun and interesting and jam pack it full of useful content that demonstrates your expertise.  If it’s even remotely good, your newsletter will stand head and shoulders above anything else in the mailbox and your clients will look forward to receiving it.  Dollar for dollar, pound for pound it’s still an über-powerful lead generation and client retention tool.
    6. Get some SEO CPR done on your website (Geek speak for saying “Get expert work done on your website so it ranks for the top key words your target market is searching for on Google.”).
    7. Set up lead conversion webinars and market these webinars to your email list.
    8. Craft and distribute Search Engine Optimized (i.e.: Google friendly) press releases that tie your business in with human interest stories or news.
    9. Over deliver on results, service, recognition and appreciation.
    10. Host really fun, themed, client appreciation events and invite past clients, prospects and other business owners to attend.  Make it an annual or bi-annual event.  Have fun, network and get referrals.
    11. Make giving referrals a condition of doing business with you.
    12. Craft phone and email scripts that convert for use when you get phone and email inquiries.  These scripts become systems your business operates on as well as saving you time and increasing sales.  Phone and email scripts also help project a more consistent image – a great tool for building trust.
    13. Deliver killer content to your house list on a regular and very consistent basis – articles, market updates, case studies etc., so that your list will get to know, like and TRUST you.
    14. Buy traffic from Google (using AdWords) and point people to your landing page or website (hint: before you go spend thousands on your AdWords campaign, make sure you’ve done enough testing to ensure the pages convert well).
    15. Create 4-6 minute “how-to” videos and post them on YouTube with a list of your keywords and a link to your landing page in the description.
    16. Network with other local business owners or those who might not be your geographic market but who also service your target prospects.  Create a strategic alliance and promote each other’s businesses.  I’ve written extensively about this over the years and call it “piggy back marketing.”  It’s one of the best and fastest ways to generate high quality leads for your business.
    17. Buy ad space in a magazine read prolifically by your target market.  Run an “advertorial” (which is an ad that looks, smells and reads exactly like an article, except that it’s your dream article written about your company).  Order plenty of additional copies and send them to your high value prospects as part of a multi-media ad campaign.
    18. Buy ads on Facebook that will send people to a fan page with an awesome offer (free book, class, video series, white paper), in exchange for their email address.
    19. Create a sales and promotion video about your business and write to your best clients asking if you can feature them in it (of course they will say “yes” and you’ll be able to get glowing testimonials from them).  Then, hand them a done-for-them campaign they can use to make the video go viral by sending to their own clients, friends, and centers of influence.  The viral campaign to their peeps makes them look terrific.
    20. Send a direct mail campaign to targeted homes or businesses that fit your ideal client profile.  Make it a multi-step campaign (to improve your response rate). Make a low barrier, irresistible offer with a deadline to respond.

Are you using all of these strategies to generate leads for your business?  If not, which ones do you think you should be getting onto, pronto…?

What To Do When Customers Go “Missing In Action”

If you had to guess, what would you think the top four reasons are for customers not returning to a business? (Hint: price isn’t one of them). Are you ready to be astounded? Here’s the countdown:

Reason Four: Bad service. Either you didn’t take care of them, they had a bad customer experience with one of your staff, or you dropped the ball in some major way.

Reason Three: Your product was bad. Your marketing might have been excellent but their experience with your product just didn’t measure up and they were left with a bad taste in their mouths (sadly this is all too common).

Reason Two: They left you for someone else. Either you didn’t market your services regularly enough to them so that when they were ready to buy, there you were, or you were out of touch with what their needs are. Someone else saw the gap and swooped in.

And, (drum roll please) – the number one reason why your customers go missing in action is #1 They FORGOT About YOU! That’s right, the #1 reason people don’t return to your business is because they forgot who you are and what you do. This is a pure and simple marketing problem that can be fixed with a prescription of regular marketing.

Are you shocked that price doesn’t even feature in the top four reasons? Most of us automatically think that if customers don’t return, it must have been because we were too expensive, when actually it’s just because we weren’t regular enough with our marketing by reminding them we’re here.

This is an easy fix! Here’s how:

First, decide at what point in your business you would consider a customer “lost.” For example a hairdresser would consider a customer lost if they didn’t hear from them in 2 months; a restaurant, likely 6 weeks. Figure this out and then set up a lost customer sequence to trigger as soon as a customer doesn’t return when you expect them to.

The most effective “win back” marketing campaign is going to be a highly personalized direct mail campaign. It’s been many years since I ordered my last jar of Proactiv acne cream but to this day I still receive lost customer marketing from Rodan & Fields.

A very distant second is to try and win your customers back via email campaign. It’s a distant second because email is so easy to ignore, but any marketing is better than none!

Now here’s the real secret to winning them back: unless you specifically invite your lost customers to return to you, most won’t because they’re too embarrassed! You need to warmly invite them back. Remember that a customer who’s already done business with you is at least 5 times more likely to buy from you than a cold prospect.

So take a little breather from chasing those new leads and show a little love to your existing clients. Woo the lost sheep back by making them feel special. If they don’t respond to the first campaign, schedule another next month with a different offer!

Rinse, lather, repeat!

Are You Using Emotionally Charged Marketing to Get More Clients? A Case Study About Chinese Women and Their Body Hair Issues

The other day I was reading through one of the business magazines I subscribe to. It was an early Sunday morning and, with a cup of coffee in hand, I was just casually thumbing through the pages. At the bottom of the page my eye caught a little article about Chinese women and their “body hair issues.” Intrigued, I read on. Turns out Chinese women don’t have body hair issues; at least they didn’t until the company behind Veet hair removal cream decided to launch their product in China in 2005. Unfortunately for the company, sales were sluggish. The product was considered too pricey and the product size too big. The biggest problem though? Most Chinese women have very little body hair and those who do didn’t worry about it.

So the company changed its marketing strategy. It started rolling out ads equating hair-free skin with beauty, health, confidence and “shining glory.” In the process the company has made every Chinese woman more conscious of every stray follicle.

By “educating” its customers and encouraging “fuzz phobia,” Veet is now the fastest growing brand in China for its parent company Reckitt Benckiser. Hair remover sales in Asia are rising 20% annually, almost double the rate of women’s razor blades.

This marketing strategy of getting women to focus on their perceived flaws is not a new one. Actually it’s about as old as the hills, but here’s the reason it’s so effective (not just on women – but on everyone).

We all base our buying decisions on how an ad, promotion or product makes us feel. Not on what it will do for us.

As human beings we are all hard wired to want the same things. We can’t help it – it’s in our DNA. We want things like better health, more money, great popularity, improved appearance, praise from others, more comfort, more leisure time, a happy life. If your marketing can whip people into a lather by appealing to one of these deep desires – you’ve got gold.

It makes no logical sense for Chinese women (who are possibly the least follicly challenged among us), to become the fastest growing users of hair removal cream. Chinese women are not buying based on whether this makes logical sense. They’re buying because of their desire for an improved appearance and happy life. They want to feel beautiful by buying the product.

This isn’t just a woman thing either.

Men buy the same way. Think about your neighbor down the street who goes out and buys himself a new Chevy Silverado truck, fully loaded. He tells himself that it’s because the truck has extremely good towing capacity and a long truck bed and it will be a safe ride for the family. But his real decision to buy is an emotional one – he loves the way this big new truck makes him feel. Tough. Strong. Powerful. He likes getting the approval of his friends and neighbors who nod admiringly as he drives past. He loves the excitement on his kids’ faces as they climb into the cab and ogle at all the shiny new buttons and heated leather seats.

The take-away for your business is this: To really create powerful marketing, you need to supercharge your sales copy with emotion – not logic. At the end of the day, as human beings, we all want the same things: To feel good about ourselves and to be happy.

So if people aren’t getting excited about buying your product or service, it’s likely not because of anything other than that you’re marketing to them the wrong way. Emotionally charged marketing is the fastest way to “manifest” desire. That’s the real trigger that gets people to buy.

As Mark Twain said, “There’s two reasons a man buys anything. The reason he’ll give you… and the real reason.”

The 5 Biggest Copywriting Mistakes (And How To Fix ‘Em’)

“I have always believed that writing advertisements is the second most profitable form of writing. The first, of course, is ransom notes.”-Philip Dusenberry

There are a lot of definitions about what copywriting is and isn’t. Salesmanship in print. Writing to sell. Salesmanship multiplied. Or my personal favorite, persuasion writing.

Advertising would well and truly be extinct if each of us could talk to our prospects face-to-face. But as we can’t, our advertisements have to do the job and get the word out for us.

That’s why good copywriting is the oxygen of your business. Get it right, and the sky‘s the limit. But get it wrong, and your business is banished to the ranks of the mediocre, the forgotten, and the ignored.

Here are the 5 biggest copywriting mistakes, and how to fix them:

1. “Nobody reads ads. People read what interests them. Sometimes it’s an ad.” Howard Gossage

One of the worst things you can do is write copy that’s boring to read. If an honest reading of your website or new client brochure makes your eyeballs dry up, or triggers an urgent need to go to the bathroom – then just image how your poor prospect must feel. Remember, you can only interest a person into buying your product, you can’t bore them.

2. Build the relationship first, ask for the sale second. As a direct response copywriter, I see many examples of bad marketing that rush the entire sales process. In this new economy, all buying power has returned to the consumer. And they know it. You can’t just expect to trundle out a cart full of your wares and have people flocking to buy them. That may have been how it worked in the boom days of the early 2000s, but certainly not today. Today, marketing is all about building relationships first. Your copy has to carefully do the same, not rush straight to the close.

3. Don’t ever try and make your copy apply to everyone. You have to niche your message along with your market. One of the biggest mistakes I see is using ad copy that is worded so generically, it doesn’t apply to anyone in particular at all. This is very bad. At first blush you might think the more people you can fit into your marketing message, the better. Wrong. Quite the opposite. The more you tightly target your marketing message to resonate with a niche, the higher the response rate. This goes back to the first point. People will only read what interests them. If you’re a retired dentist with $2 million in investable assets, 3 grandchildren and a condo in Florida, you’re far more likely to read ad copy that specifically “talks to you.”

4. Make your advertising valuable. Few people understand this extremely important point, which is why most advertising falls on deaf ears. Nothing screams out “I want to sell you sell you something” more than an advertisement that looks and sounds like an advert. That’s why writing copy that sounds like an editorial piece, using white papers, or creating a helpful animated video will typically attract a much higher level of viewership.

5. Incorporate unquestionable copy into your proof. Most copy is seriously devoid of all proof but full of empty, hollow sounding promises like “we’re the leading experts” or “your trusted provider”, etc. We’re so used to reading these claims they wash over us like tiny ocean ripples swirling around our ankles. Unnoticed. One of the strongest elements of proof is, of course, proof in your product itself. A bold guarantee to back up your promises. Legions of testimonials to say what you can’t say yourself. A product demonstration even. Proof is usually the most often overlooked aspect of any copy. If you can find a way to add it in a compelling way, it can transform even the most meager of ads into the mighty.

3 Power Productivity Tips To Achieve More In Less Time

“My life is one long obstacle course with me being the chief obstacle.”- Jack Parr

Practically every entrepreneur I know and work with gets presented with a lot of opportunity. Their bank account is not yet where they want it to be due to lack of opportunity.

It’s due to lack of time.

In business there are good strategies poorly executed, poor strategies well executed, but rarely is there a new revolutionary strategy. The same goes with managing your time. These strategies may well be familiar to you already. It’s just your execution of them that probably needs a little work.

Tip #1 Stop Answering Your Phone When It Rings.

How can you focus on the really important things in your business when every day you get bombarded with a tidal wave of distractions? Answering your phone anytime it rings is one of the biggest killers of productivity. It’s a sure fire way to derail the plans you had for the day as you now spend it fighting fires or helping others with tasks they’re likely more than capable of handling on their own.

Please, turn your phone off. Get your calls answered by your assistant. Train your clients to make appointments to talk to you so that you can ensure you’re always well prepared for their call (and not answering questions off the cuff). I have a client VIP list – anyone who calls my office on that list gets a call back usually the same day or a priority appointment set. Anyone not on that list gets a call back from my assistant to help them, or, if they qualify, an appointment to speak with me is set which may be in 2 or even 3 weeks time. Return your calls in a clump or schedule set times like I do. You’ll be amazed at how much you get done and how much more prepared and productive you’ll be to the people you do speak to.

Tip #2 Leverage Your “In-Between” Time

Stuck in traffic? CD’s and podcasts are arguably the greatest educational invention since the yellow highlighter. They let you easily and cheaply turn your car into a classroom or a seminar, listening to one of America’s experts discussing your subject of choice. Just about every notable self-improvement or marketing and business expert, author or speaker has a variety of material available in audio form. Information on practically every topic is now readily available for download – from fitness and learning a foreign language, to improving your memory and how to grow your business. You name it and likely an audio version is available for you to listen to during otherwise “wasted” time – when you’re stuck in airports, sitting in doctor waiting rooms, or taking road trips.

Tip #3 Delegate Or Outsource Everything That Isn’t The Highest And Best Use Of Your Time.

You know the things in your business that you’re best at. It’s likely the very thing you get paid the most by your clients to do.

In my case it’s designing growth strategies for clients, creating advertising campaigns and working with my team to create end to end marketing systems. Any task that doesn’t fall into this list I do my best to delegate, or even better outsource. My administrative tasks get done by my assistant. I have two people who do all my proof reading of my campaigns, books and articles (like this one). Through a lot of trial and error I have the most phenomenal graphic and web designers on my team.

I happen to love both graphic and web design but it’s not what I’m best at. Sure I could spend the hundreds and thousands of hours to learn how to do what they do – but why bother? I’ve found three of the most talented graphic and web designers on the planet. They take my strategy and copywriting and produce visual designs that are even better than I could have imagined.

It’s the same with my private clients. Most of them hire me to help with the marketing and growth of their business not because they couldn’t learn how to do it themselves (sure they could with the right materials and time commitment). It’s because they have better things to spend their time on – things they love to do and are outstanding at doing – like spending one on one time with clients, conducting seminars, speaking, motivating staff, securing funding, bringing on new strategic partners, etc.;

The bottom line is this: Protect your time for the precious commodity it is. Leverage your time by spending as much as you can doing only those things that you’re truly the best at doing. Let the rest go. Delegate it or outsource it to the best people you can find.

Piggybacking On Other Businesses: How To Make Co-Marketing Work For You

Client-Stampede-piggyback1
Client-Stampede-piggyback1

Here’s a great marketing strategy and a step-by-step guide on how to leverage OPC (Other People’s Customers) in your business. First of all, why co-market? Co-marketing is just a fancy schmancy term for working together with another business and doing some joint marketing.

There are many easy ways you can do this.

The first way is to structure a co-marketing arrangement in what I call the “double double relationship”. You create a marketing campaign that the other business sends out to their mailing list. And they do the same.

This is really just leveraging each other’s mailing list. For example, imagine you’re a financial advisor and you have a great buddy who’s an estate planning attorney. It’s very, very likely that some of his clients could use your services, and that some of your clients could do with an estate planning overhaul. Everyone wins.

Another way is the endorsed mailing – which is where you create a marketing campaign that the company you’re co-marketing with sends out, under their name (not yours). They basically say what a swell company you are and give them some reasons why they might want to do business with you. This kind of co-marketing arrangement is particularly powerful. You’re unknown to these people, yet suddenly your credibility leaps skyward because you’re getting an endorsement from someone they know and like.

One quick word of caution about the endorsed mailing – whatever you do, never ever endorse a company to your own list that you don’t know to be honest and great at what they do -- 1000%. If you have even a shred of doubt about their ability to take care of your customers – don’t do it. It will damage your own credibility and trust relationship with your clients, and will negatively impact your business and reputation.

The third way to do co-marketing is simply to approach a company and ask if you can “rent their list”. Why would you want to do such a thing? Well, if they have your ideal clients as their customers already – leveraging the list they’ve already spent tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on is like leap frogging to the top of the class. Of course, you could invest the thousands of dollars and many years to develop your own list, OR you could push the easy button, shave years off your learning curve and simply “buy” new ideal clients.

Why Emotional Based Marketing Works

In my private consulting & copywriting practice, I come across a lot of people who sometimes confuse sales with marketing. They’re not the only ones. You see so-called experts get it wrong all the time: Marketing/Sales Workshop: "Sizzling Marketing Ideas to Close More Sales."

What these people are confusing is this:

Marketing is the art of getting warm, interested, live bodies sitting across the desk from you (or on the phone, or visiting your website), that you have never met before.

Sales is getting those same breathing individuals to buy from you!

I have been doing a lot of marketing research on the financial services industry recently.

So far, without exception, every one of those "marketing self help" books provides some great tips on how to better close a sale. The only glaring problem is they provide very little guidance on how to get people in front of you to close in the first place!

Why is this? For the simple reason that the industry leaders have no clue about how to market, so they focus all their energies on sales training help.

Let’s face it. Selling is a heck of a lot easier than marketing.

I'm willing to bet in your business, if I could plunk an interested warm body in front of you, that you’d do a pretty good job of getting them to try your services.

You and I both know you can sell. That’s not your problem.

Your problem is getting the people to sell to!

I’m going to let you in on a little marketing secret. The reason why most people find marketing hard, is because they use logic and “intellectual” reasons to get people to respond to them.

Instead of emotions and empathy.

Remember the people you’re marketing to have no idea who you are. They don’t know how you can help them and how immensely valuable your service is to them.

All they see is someone coming at them with another thing to sell.

But here’s the thing. If you don’t use emotion to get them interested, then they’ll never find out how invaluable you are, because you’ll never get the chance to enter into their lives.

Nobody buys anything based on logic. They make 100% of their decisions based on emotions, and then rationalize their decision afterwards!

That’s because at the end of the day, all that we humans are, is a giant sack of emotions. We’re an emotional species. We can’t separate our emotions from our thought processes. We all have very strong feelings about the decisions we make.

So why does just about every business do the exact opposite?

Because of all that marketing mis-information out there.

So how do you transform your marketing from appealing to their intellect, to their emotions?

By following these four critical rules for emotional based marketing:

  1. Getting to know your prospect’s mind, inside and out. Get in touch with what they’re thinking and feeling (which is not your product or service, I guarantee!).
  2. Talk about them in your marketing, not yourself and your company (this one is tricky because it really goes against the grain of conventional "marketing wisdom").
  3. You must first talk to them about their lives, desire, fears and wants. There will be time later to talk about what you offer. First, you have to get in the gate by making them curious and interested. The only way to do that is by taking the time to build curiosity, empathy and compassion.
  4. Not making the mistake of telling people what you think they need, instead of what they truly WANT!

Still not convinced about the power of emotional based marketing? Next time you go to make a decent sized purchase start being aware of your own thought processes.

Observe how it’s an emotional driver that makes you want to buy, but then notice how your logic kicks in afterwards, to justify the buying decision!

5 Easy Marketing Strategies To Beat The Slow Season

Every business has peaks and troughs of demand, but what few entrepreneurs realize is that the troughs are entirely optional. If your business lurches from feast to famine, or every year business drops off around the holidays, take heed of these 5 easy marketing strategies to swing into action.

  1. Run a big referral campaign for a set period of time to encourage clients to bring in new friends. I did this for a private gynecologist client during the summer months when business typically slowed to almost a drizzle because most of his clients were moms busy taking care of kids on summer break. We made the campaign fun and threw in some really good incentives to come in and refer a friend, with the end result being his normal slow period became one of his busiest.
  2. Go back to all your unconverted prospects and offer them a special incentive to become a client. Entice them with an irresistible offer by way of a direct-mail campaign (very few businesses bother to do this yet it’s a big source of low hanging fruit).
  3. Create an email campaign to all your existing clients with a special offer on an existing service, or introducing a new service for them to try out (aka an upsell).
  4. If your business is seasonal, then don’t be afraid to create early bird specials with amazing offers to stimulate demand, bring in cash and get your customers excited for the upcoming season.
  5. Hold a client appreciation event, focus group, or educational workshop to re-engage your clients, add value and provide an opportunity to educate them about some of the different ways you can help them.