As a small business owner, you may have the perfect solution for a problem plaguing many people. But if your marketing copy can’t attract and keep your prospects’ attention, any promotional piece you use is essentially worthless.
Here are three ways to ensure that your prospects stay interested and engaged in your marketing materials.
1. Stop talking about yourself
Look at most small business marketing copy, and you’ll notice a dangerous trend—the message is all about the company or the people who work there. Frequent uses of the words “we,” “our” or the company name are an immediate giveaway.
The problem with this type of self-serving message is it offers little benefit to prospects. You’ll never persuade potential customers to loosen the choke-hold on their wallets if all you do is talk about yourself. After all, your prospects are only concerned about their own needs and desires.
A strong starting point for incorporating prospects into your marketing message is writing copy that reads more like a conversation and less like a corporate essay. Use “you,” “your” and “you’re” as much as possible.
Keep this study in mind the next time you create copy.
Several years ago, in an effort to determine what transforms unresponsive shoppers into enthusiastic buyers, researchers in the psychology department at Yale University studied consumers’ reactions to certain words in advertisements. The results were compiled to create the 12 most persuasive words.
So what was the top word? You. (In case you’re interested, here are the others: money, save, new, results, health, easy, safety, love, discovery, proven and guarantee.) Furthermore, “you” was listed as the most persuasive word in every study performed by the researchers.
2. Address your prospects’ problems
If you don’t know your prospects’ problems, you’ll have a tough time writing anything that grabs their attention. So before you sit in front of your keyword or put pen to paper, you need a vivid picture of what keeps your target audience awake at night.
When working with a new client, I use a questionnaire to help determine the copy’s direction. The overall theme almost always comes after answering the following questions:
- What are the prospect's biggest concerns, emotions and needs?
- What information or help can I provide to deal with these concerns, emotions and needs?
Once you have this knowledge, you can create copy that speaks directly to your prospects. What you write then becomes more relevant because your marketing message targets thoughts already in your prospects’ minds.
One of my favorite ways to match my prospects’ thought processes is to survey them. If you’re actively building a prospect list using your website and other marketing mediums (which you should), ask your subscribers about their most pressing issues related to your product or service. When you have a targeted list, you’ll identify common frustrations that you can then address in your marketing efforts.
3. Deliver exceptional value
You have the ability to provide unlimited value to your prospects by giving them educational information that helps address their problems related to your product or service. So generously share your knowledge—in both your marketing materials and face-to-face conversations.
Each time you deliver insight, you further establish yourself as an authority in your industry. And wouldn’t you agree people prefer working with experts they know, like and trust?
Recently, I listened to Mike Michalowicz, author of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, describe how in just three years he jumped from a relative unknown in the business community to an in-demand business consultant who writes columns for The Wall Street Journal, appears on major television networks and delivers keynote speeches on entrepreneurship.
His path to notoriety (and selling 15,000 books) involved delivering entrepreneurial insight to business owners in the form of articles, videos and speaking.
Of course, some people hesitate to give away their knowledge. They believe sharing what you know leads prospects to solve problems themselves. Don’t fall into this trap.
Sharing information is a lot like cooking from a recipe: no two people ever end up with identical outcomes. Your insight comes from working with your unique product or service every day.
Obviously, your prospects don’t have the same experience. So even if you deliver exact instructions on how they can solve their problem, there’s little chance your prospects will do it correctly or have the desire to even try.
OPEN Cardmember Tom Trush is a direct-response copywriter for Write Way Solutions and author of "The Reluctant Writer’s Guide to Creating Powerful Marketing Materials: 61 Easy Ideas to Attract Prospects and Get More Customers."