Every day we are exposed to thousands of brands and marketing messages. Texts, emails, social media, television, radio, billboards, cars and buses all tell us what we need to be, do, have and buy. As a result, our customers have never been more savvy, or more immune to marketing messages as they are today.
For those of us who play in overcrowded market places or are busy creating new ones, the need to be different and memorable in our marketing has never been more important. Here are three copywriting tricks to help.
Never underestimate the power of a good metaphor. Metaphors compare two items that are seemingly unrelated, yet are similar in a way. Think Coco Pops’ ‘Just like a chocolate milkshake only crunchy’, or Butter Menthol’s ‘Like a comforting hug from Mum’.
Metaphors give you the opportunity to simplify complicated concepts or introduce new ideas and products in a simple, relatable way, allowing your potential customers and investors to understand the value in what you do.
Metaphors can also help you evoke emotion, quite quickly in fact. Get the right comparison and you can often transport your customers back to a time or situation that creates the right emotional response for them to see the need to buy your product or service.
I know rhyming has a bad rap in some circles (forgive the pun), but there is still benefit in using it. Not only does it make messages easier to remember, but research has also suggested that rhyming phrases are perceived to be more accurate and truthful.
I’m certainly not saying you need to go and make lyrical magic with every piece of marketing material you put out, but don’t be afraid to get a little creative. Give rhyming a go on one of your calls to actions and test your results.
3. Play the role
As you develop your brand personality, it is important to identify the role you want to play with your customers. Your role or relationship to them can dramatically change the tone of voice and content you use in everything from a social media update to an ad campaign.
Do you want to be the older authoritative figure they listen to and admire? The quirky aunt they love? The best friend they can’t live without? The older brother or sister who is looking out for them?
Find the role your customer needs that best matches your mission and why. Not only will it make you more relatable and your tone and purpose clearer, but it can also help you build rapid rapport and loyalty simply by reminding them of someone who is important to them.
With customers bombarded with so many brands and advertisements each day, it is your job to make your marketing messages more persuasive and relevant to break through the noise.
But where do you start? Here are six tips to help you make your marketing messages more persuasive.
1. Know what your customers are buying
When your customers choose to buy from you, they are buying more than a product or service. They are buying the solution to their problem, the answer to their question, the feeling they’ve been missing or the convenience they’ve been wanting.
When you uncover what your customers really want, you capture not only the attention of your customer but their heart as well.
2. Speak with authority
Every purchase requires your customer to trust you. The higher the purchase price, the more trust your customer needs to have in you.
To build trust, you need to speak with authority. Present yourself as the expert, share your knowledge, draw on your experiences, and tell stories about the value you have provided. Own your skills and expertise. Be confident in your abilities and bold in your belief that you can deliver. Confidence makes you more persuasive.
3. Leverage social proof
People follow people. People also want to be part of something – a movement, cause, group or community. Social proof helps you to build this.
When you share the experiences others have had with your products and services, you ease the concerns and minimise the risks for your customers. But more importantly, you create commonality among your customers, and that can be built into a sense of community.
4. Treat customers as ‘the one’
Do the unexpected. Go above and beyond. Be committed to doing the most you can do in your business. The more you can make your customers feel like they are the only one you are concerned about and the only one you are speaking to, the more powerful your message becomes.
5. Keep it simple
Our customers crave convenience, yet many of us have a tendency to overcomplicate our sales process. We give too many choices and price points, include too many steps and clicks and request too many details.
Keep it simple. Don’t ask for every contact detail up front, make your website easy to navigate, ensure the next step is clear, and your calls to action are compelling and easy to follow.
6. Create urgency
We are a competitive bunch. If we think we are going to miss out on something, we act faster. So once you have established your value, create urgency through special edition products or services, time limited opportunities or bonuses open to limited people.
How can you be more persuasive in your marketing?
Having the confidence to establish yourself as an expert doesn’t always come easy, particularly for the more humble among us. But to build your profile, and make the difference that most entrepreneurs want to in business, you need to.
To give you a little more confidence that what you have to say is of value, here are four truths to accept when positioning yourself as an expert.
#1 – It’s a matter of opinion
Becoming an expert isn’t just about what you do or how you do it – it’s about what you know, and what you think. Put forward your opinions, derive conclusions based on your experiences and share your passion.
Your opinion and experiences will help you bring a different perspective to the information you share.
#2 – What you know is NOT common sense
This is one of the biggest hurdles you need to overcome in your own mind. We each have skills, strengths and specialties. While something may be easy, or seem like common sense to you, it doesn’t mean it will be the same for others.
Chances are you have studied, researched, serviced customers, learnt lessons, overcome challenges, had wins, sought council and grown in experience to know what you know now. For this reason, most people will never have the distinct skills, knowledge and perspective you do.
#3 – You don’t need to know everything
You don’t need to know as much as others in your industry – you only need to know how to package it better. There will always be someone who knows more than you, but that doesn’t mean what you have to say is of any less value!
You might be able to package up your knowledge in a way that is more relatable, easier to understand, or more profitable to a customer. Your explanation might just be what they need to take action, get the breakthrough they need or achieve the result they want.
#4 – Everything has NOT been said
There is a lot of information out there – and a lot of experts, but that doesn’t mean everything that needs to be said, has been said yet. Times, needs and challenges change and consumers will always want the latest tips, hacks and facts.
As we are discovering “why?” is one of the most powerful questions we can ask. Not only in terms of problem solving, but also for motivating and influencing our customers and prospects.
When we can convince our prospects as to why they should buy from us, and take them on an emotional journey to get there, we are in a far greater position to make the sale.
But what emotions should you appeal to and where do you start? In my experience here are the top three selling emotions and how to use them.
To move quickly, people need to experience discontentment with their current situation. As much as we want to move towards pleasure, we are far more motivated to move away from pain. Just think about it if we were all motivated by pleasure, we’d all have what we want, or be well on the way to getting what we want.
The purpose of using discontentment is to create a need or desire in the mind of your prospect. Discomfort can come from many different emotions including frustration, envy, resentment, regret, guilt and even fear to name a few. You might find yourself appealing to current emotions or the possibility of them experiencing them in the future by taking prospects to the ‘worst case scenario’ (think life insurance for instance).
When you can demonstrate their pain and frustration or potential or pain and frustration, you start to make your prospect discontent. If you can make them uncomfortable and then show them a way to be more comfortable than they have ever been, you have increased your chances of making the sale.
A word of warning: When you are appealing to emotions, particularly strong, negative emotions tread carefully and sensitively. You need to make sure the feeling is about one specific area that you can move your prospect out of quickly to not leave those feelings associated with your brand.
Hope is a powerful emotion. It can motivate us to act completely out of our comfort zone and do some crazy things for the potential of a reward.
Once your prospect is discontent, give them hope that there is a way out. If discontent is your ‘worst case scenario’ then hope is your ‘what if…’ scenario.
A word of warning: Hope is where expectations are made. While you do need to build up your ‘what if…’ scenario, don’t build it up to a point where they could experience disappointment if they buy from you.
Now your prospect has hope it’s time to build excitement. Excitement motivates us to move forward, and it also ensures that whatever we are excited about stays at the forefront of our mind.
To get your prospect excited though, they also need to see the value, incentive (“what’s in it for me?”) and urgency. You need to demonstrate to your prospect that they need and most importantly want to act now.
A word of warning: When someone is really excited they want to act immediately – and you want them to act immediately because the feeling can be fleeting. To cater for this make it easy for them to act by being clear on the next step. The fastest way to squash excitement is to make the process too hard or long.
Are you appealing to the right emotions in your marketing?
There can be something quite intimidating about a blank page. The pressure to fill it with words can be overwhelming. Even the most experienced writers can, at some point, feel as though their ideas have dried up, and they don’t know where to start. But it can be overcome.
Whether you need to write a presentation or proposal, a book or a blog, an advertisement or an anecdote, a newsletter or news release, here are five ways to help you overcome blank page paralysis.
1. Work backwards
When you are stuck, it can help to look at the end goal. What do you want to happen as a result of this? What is the next action step? What do you want customers, readers, journalists, staff members or other stakeholders to take away from it or do as a result of it?
Once you know the end goal, it is easier to determine what you need to write to achieve it, giving you a place to start.
2. Be inspired by the work of others
Need to give a presentation? Watch some TED Talks and other great speeches in history. Have a blog to write? Read other blogs and publishing websites. Need to develop an advertisement? Look over the most successful advertisements developed over the years.
Sometimes we need a touch of inspiration to get us on our way. To see an example of how it is done right or to see it achieving results for us to know it is possible and make a start.
Inspiration should not be confused with plagiarism though. You don’t want to copy what you have read, listened to or watched. Instead, look at the subtle details that appealed to you like their tone of voice, presentation of facts, how they formulated their argument, captured attention or used imagery.
3. Reconnect with your creativity
Sometimes sitting behind a computer can stifle our creativity. We can get too caught in the humdrum of routine and are too easily distracted by the noises of new emails and social media updates coming through.
Think back over the times when you have been the most creative. Chances are it wasn’t in front of your computer screen; it was with a pen and paper, over a whiteboard, away from your desk or talking with others. Also, take into consideration the time of day it was. Identify any patterns and do what you can to recreate these moments of creativity.
4. Write your way
You don’t need to write from start to finish. If you are more inspired to start at the end or halfway through then follow your inspiration. Pressure will only fuel procrastination and overwhelm.
Make notes under different sections or headings and come back to them when you feel you have more clarity. There is no right or wrong way to fill a page. You need to find the process that most suits you.
5. Delegate it
If you are experiencing severe writers block and can’t find a way around it personally, then delegate it. Give yourself something to work with by asking a staff member, ghostwriter or copywriter to do the first draft for you.
It might just take someone else’s interpretation of your business, product, service or topic to help you gain more clarity around your positioning and what you do and don’t want to say.
There is no questioning the benefit of content marketing. But while attracting and converting customers with valuable, relevant and consistent content can yield a significant return on investment, not everyone gets it right.
To ensure you do, here are four of the biggest content marketing mistakes businesses frequently make so you can make sure you avoid them.
Mistake #1 – Thinking like a marketer not a publisher
When it comes to content marketing you need to think like a publisher not a marketer. A marketer’s focus is on selling, where a publisher’s focus is on producing interesting content that engages readers and keeps them coming back.
Your content should build your credibility and expertise and showcase your value in such a way that readers see the benefit in working with you without you having to push for the sale. Sales naturally come when you add value.
Mistake #2 – Being inauthentic
When customers and potential customers sense inauthenticity they lose faith and you lose followers. To build credibility in your content marketing you need to be authentic.
To ensure you are being true to yourself and your brand you need to know what you stand for, why you do what you do, who you are targeting, what they want and why you are using social media. When you know this you can then establish your tone of voice, personality and the content that aligns with both you and your target market.
Mistake #3 – Unoriginal content
There is nothing worse than reading blog posts, books and resources that are a regurgitation or blatant copy of someone else’s content.
While it is only natural that some content will be similar when you have a similar viewpoint or process to someone else, you can always find a way to make it your own. It could be through using a personal anecdote, a case study of a client, your professional experience or approaching the topic from a different angle.
Mistake #4 – Publishing for the sake of publishing
We’re all told about the importance of regular content. In fact it’s drummed into us so much that often regularity gets prioritised over quality.
The result? We publish content we know isn’t our best, prescribing to the theory that something is better than nothing. But it’s not.
You can lose credibility and followers if your content isn’t valuable to your readers. Missing a blog because you can’t think of anything to write is far better than publishing something that is irrelevant or of a lower standard.
Want to give your business a competitive edge this year and ensure your products, services, innovations and messages are on market?
One of the best ways to get in front of the pack, attract new leads and build loyalty with existing customers is to identify needs and trends before or as they are coming.
But how do you predict these changes when there is no crystal ball in business? Here are five sources to watch and utilise.
1. Industry News
One of the first steps in identifying trends is to know your industry intimately.
Subscribe to industry association newsletters, journals and magazines, set Google alerts for keywords you want to watch, sign up for reports and statistics, do industry surveys (this will give you insight into what information they want to gather) and watch what others are doing in your industry.
Also read books and blogs (don’t neglect the comment area), attend seminars, visit trade shows and research new techniques, methods and offerings.
2. Identify key influencers
Do you have any key influencers in your industry? They could be a pioneer from within, or an outside influencer, someone who is not directly in your industry but often leads the way in purchase decisions like a celebrity, blogger, reviewer, commentator or sometimes even family member of your potential customer.
If your customers are looking to them to tell them what and where they should buy, you should be looking at uncovering how you can influence the influencer.
3. Get in the mind of your customer
Your customers will always be your greatest source of information and their opinion is the one that counts the most given they are the ones paying you!
With this in mind do up a survey to ask your customers about what they need and want from your products, services and industry. What frustrations aren’t being met? What ideas do they have for new innovations and offerings? Has their product or service requirements changed as a result of business growth or lifestyle changes? Extract as much information as you can to ensure you are meeting the markets demands.
4. Social media
Anywhere a lot of your potential customers gather and talk can offer great information on new trends, needs and opportunities. This is why social media is so great, it can give you a lot of feedback and sometimes brutally honest insight into what your customers want, or find interesting.
Be sure to follow relevant pages and groups, ask questions, do polls, share different information to see what sticks and monitor what goes viral in your industry.
5. Web Resources
Now to you, how do you identify trends in your industry?
When it comes to crafting winning marketing messages you can often find inspiration in the most unexpected places.
To help you strike marketing gold, here are four places to start looking to uncover marketing messages and product or service developments.
Frequently asked questions give you an insight into what is important to your customers, the potential limitations of your products and services, the features or elements customers don’t understand and what may be missing from your marketing messages.
If you keep getting the same question numerous times and there is a positive answer, try to identify if there is a key selling point you can draw out of it. If not is there an innovation you could make that will fill the need and give you a competitive edge?
Nothing causes us to stand up and listen like a “no”. Though in order to learn from each “no” the important question to ask is “why?”
Was it because they couldn’t see the value? Was it the price? Did it lack a key benefit, feature or inclusion? Was it the sales message or process? Was it just this particular customer (one “no”) or are changes needed to suit the needs of your larger customer base (more than one “no”)?
Examine the scenario yourself and solicit feedback, it could be as simple as needing to change your message to demonstrate your value from a customer’s perspective.
Objections are often seen as the first step towards rejection but it’s not the case. A customer who is objecting is still engaged. They are still interacting, listening and evaluating. Objections aren’t a “no” they’re a “not yet” or “I need more information”.
Just like frequently asked questions, objections uncover the priorities of your target market and, when you listen closely, can give you the information you need to customise your sales pitch so they see the value for them personally.
They can also show you what case studies and testimonials you need and what information you should include in your marketing material and sales process to overcome objections before they’re even verbalised. By doing so you’ll show your customers you ‘get’ them.
While this is a more obvious place to find marketing gold, if you’re like most businesses it’s unlikely you are using them to your full advantage.
While they can help you ‘prove’ your value through your marketing material and overcome common objections of customers (provided you get the right testimonials), they can also tell you what to prioritise in your marketing message.
Your customers may love a particular product, service, feature or result more than those you are currently pushing and chances are what your future customers love about you, will be the same thing your future customers will want from you.
You can also uncover the true frustrations of your customers through your testimonials. Often you will solve a problem your customer didn’t know they had. Testimonials are a great way to capture the relief and give you the gift of hindsight for your next customers.
Have you found marketing gold in any unusual places?
Can you believe the end of the year is right around the corner? To help you gear up for a bigger, better year with your business, here are five words to put into action to help boost your marketing in the year ahead.
Now is the time to review. What worked, what didn’t and what can be made better? Will you be aiming for a different market this coming year? What do they need and want? What problems, worries and frustrations do they have? If you aren’t changing target markets, are your messages working or do you need to change your approach?
We are doing business in an increasingly global, faceless environment, don’t underestimate the need to personalise your marketing. People want and need to feel as though you are talking just to them, but to do this you need to be more aware of your audience and more targeted in your marketing approach.
It might be a case of doing three specific marketing or advertising campaigns to key target markets as opposed to one general one. While it can sound like more effort, you will get far better results being specific.
Make your marketing easier in the New Year by theming your content and campaigns. Grab a large wall planner and write down all key dates, events and tradeshows within your business and industry. Then write in all related causes, awareness days, weeks or months, and public holidays.
If you are planning public relations and advertising campaigns in the New Year, request the media kits of the publications you want to target and write down the editorial themes they will be covering.
Very soon you will start to see possible themes emerge within your calendar. Then once you’ve decided you can theme your social media, marketing material and promotions around these making it easier to find content and identify the best marketing activities.
There is no marketing strategy more powerful than genuinely caring for your customers. Go the extra mile, help where you can and take the time to answer questions. Build relationships with your customers don’t just bank transactions.
Customers don’t just want to purchase a product or service from a business anymore they want a genuine, transparent experience from a business that knows who they are and what they stand for.
For this reason, you need to be authentic and transparent in your marketing and in the way you do business. If you make a claim, back it up. If you make a mistake, own it and fix it. Be real, at the end of the day most people are buying the people behind the business, not a product or service.
How will you be shaking up your marketing in the New Year?