Join my conversation

I wish I had £1 for every time someone has told me that ‘marketing doesn’t work’, ‘fliers don’t work’, ‘advertising doesn’t work’, my profits would show a significant increase! What we’re talking about here falls into the category of ‘marketing communications’. The key word is ‘communication’. When marketing doesn’t work it is often because the content doesn’t communicate.

Features don’t sell.

A typical flier lists features but does not join a conversation.

A typical flier lists features but does not join a conversation.

Take a look at the fliers that come through your door, many of them will just list the features of a product or service, usually as bullet points. So a cleaner might list, vacuuming, dusting, ironing; a printer will list leaflets, business cards, letterheads; or a cafe could list breakfast, coffee, sandwiches. These might work if they land on the mat of a person who is looking for that precise service at that particular time but that rarely happens. Fliers like these don’t get the conversation in my head going.

Speak to me.

If you want your marketing to get a response from your prospect it needs to engage them in a kind of conversation, initially one they have with themselves. You need to spell out what your prospect has to gain from using your services. So the cleaner, rather than listing all the features of his service, might encourage me by talking about ‘come home to a sparkling clean house and enjoy your time off’; the printer might say, ‘give your prospects a business card that conveys the quality service that you provide’ and the cafe might describe, ‘fresh, healthy sandwiches to set you up for a productive afternoon’. Whilst none of these is perfect they will at least make me think how having a cleaner might enhance my life, or whether or not my business cards are making the right impression or how hungry I am!

Ask yourself why.

Before you start developing your marketing communication ask yourself why your prospect might want your product or service. So I might want a cleaner so I can have time for my family or my hobbies; I might want the ironing done because I’d rather be in the garden; I might want some fliers to convert prospects into customers; I might want breakfast to give me the energy to tackle my to do list or I might want to enjoy a coffee with a friend.

Make a list of as many reasons why your prospect might want each of your products or services as you can think of. Somewhere in that list will be the message that will resonate with your target. Once you know the message then you just have to find the words to communicate it. Easy! Well maybe not but that’s the topic for another post…

Glenda Shawley helps owners of small businesses understand what matters to their customers and then communicate this in a way that turns suspects into prospects, prospects into customers and customers into fans.

‘I know nothing!’

OK, so it’s not strictly true that I know nothing but there is a lot I don’t know. I am not an expert in your business or in what you sell. I don’t understand the acronyms and abbreviations that are your everyday language. I don’t necessarily know what your name stands for. I’m probably not familiar with how the processes you use will help me. So when you are marketing to me don’t assume that I will understand what you are talking about.

Explain

I keep hearing an advertisement for computers with AMD. What is AMD? Now if my son sees this he’ll probably be exasperated by his mother’s ignorance but I’m not very interested in technology other than how it can help me to do what I want to do. I ‘googled’ AMD and found it is the name of a company, Advanced Micro Devices, and that it is a competitor of Intel. I think that AMD is the technology you want if graphics and gaming are high on your priorities but I don’t know. If the advertisement had said, ‘AMD for the sharpest images and best gaming experience’ then I would understand.

You might have a franchise for a well known international brand but just because someone has heard of your brand doesn’t mean that they understand what the brand stands for. You need to explain. Perhaps your cosmetics are organic, chemical free and never tested on animals. Perhaps your children’s nursery is based on the philosophy that children learn through exploring. Don’t assume that I know this just because I’ve heard your brand name.

Explain but don’t patronise.

Marketing flier

This flier makes an attempt at explaining what the prospect need to know.

Your prospect needs to understand what’s in it for them and why they should choose you rather than your competitor. You need to be very clear about the answers before you start producing your marketing copy. Here are just a few of the questions you need to answer before you start writing:

  • Who is my target?
  • Why do they need my product or service?
  • How are they affected by the problem I want to solve?
  • Why is my solution more suitable than that of a competitor?

When you understand the answers you should be able to write some matter of fact statements in your marketing to help your target understand without insulting their intelligence. Remember don’t just list the features but promote the benefits to your target market. But that’s a whole new topic so come back later this week for some more tips on getting your marketing right.

Glenda Shawley helps owners of small businesses understand what matters to their customers and then communicate this in a way that turns suspects into prospects, prospects into customers and customers into fans.