So, let’s talk about what to actually ‘say’ or ‘write’ in your advertising or marketing communications.
There are five major components to good advertising copy, and the order in which you use these components is essential to success. They are:
- Command Attention
- Showcase Benefits of Products/Services
- Prove the Benefits
- Persuade People to Embrace the Benefits
- Call to Action
Advertising is sales in print. So, what you need to think about are the unique benefits your products/services offer and showcase them as persuasively as possible. You need to emphasize results, not features.
Let’s take a minute to focus on each of these components:
- Command Attention: This is usually achieved with a strong headline. You need an attention-getter that compels people to want to know more about your product or service. The very best headlines usually give a vivid portrayal of the benefits or show how a problem can be avoided if the customer uses your products/services. So, the headline is the advertisement for the advertisement!
- Showcase the Benefits: You have to showcase the benefits of your products and services and, more importantly, show how they will solve or prevent a problem. They need to know what’s in it for them. You should Include useful, factual and easily understandable information to show precisely what the benefits are, how they are going to help the customer or solve their problem.
- Offer Proof: This is where you backup with proof what the advertisement is offering. You should establish that you have a step-by-step method to deliver. Consider sharing information that establishes credibility and demonstrates the positive results that previous customers have enjoyed.
- Persuade: You need to add as many compelling reasons as you can think of for your potential customers to purchase your products/services. Examples might be if use a hard sell approach and create scarcity (e.g. Today only or ‘only 25 available’). This will enact your potential customers to feel like they have to act now. However do not ‘make up’ the scarcity. Don’t say that something is available ‘today only’, when in fact you have been offering it at that price for the last 3 months and intend to continue offering it at the same price going forward – that’s just plain dishonest. Same thing for the ‘limited stock available’. If you are making a digital pdf report available, don’t say you only have 50 left, because that’s just taking people for fools because there is no limit to the number of pdfs you have. It’s okay of course saying that you will only take on 50 customers, and only those will be given the pdf. Which leads into the last component.
- Call to Action: You need to compel your potential customers to take action and DO something. They need to go to your website, subscribe to your newsletter or podcasts, buy your products, contact you about services…anything. Offer a freebie like: a booklet, a product sample, bonuses, a product demo, a consultation, a limited time price…and so on. There are many ways to get potential customers excited about ordering and help them feel like they are getting an amazing deal.
Really good advertisements include all of these different components and are not complete without any of them. You can sit down and think through any one of these components, then figure out how to best place them together for the most effectiveness.
“When are you going to collect the benefits of at least a 5% improvement in your business performance?” (Secret: Much more quickly than you think)
Last week we covered a simple method for quick starting your marketing. So let’s say you have now started, and you’re trying to get your business going, what would a 5% increase in your most important conversion metric mean to your business? And what would you pay to achieve that improvement?
In last week’s article I mentioned something super important relating to product launch success, and that is actually surveying your potential customers and adapting/developing your product or service according to their feedback. This is usually the job of Usability testing or UX “User Experience”. This is a topic of great interest to Eco Business academy clients and also a personal obsession of mine. I mentioned that one of the leaders in this field is Peter Hughes of ascest.com. Ascest run some amazing free webinars and bootcamps specifically designed to get business owners up to speed on this important process, and so I decided to bring Peter for a quick interview to give us all some tips on improving conversions by simply listening to our customers.
Eco Business Academy: Welcome to the ECO Business Academy Blog, and than you so much for giving us some of your valuable time to help our followers understand some of the basics of conversion success.
Peter Hughes: You’re very welcome, I’m honoured to be invited to talk to you all.
Jason: You have worked with some absolutely gigantic companies, so you have seen the profound effect of good usability testing and surveying the customer universe to see what they want. Is it difficult to increase conversions? What do we need to know?
Peter: Well, let’s start with a basic objective and I’ll walk you through how to ‘think’ about this process.
Do a very quick and rough calculation of the value of a 5% improvement to your sales, or average increase in customer order size, improved operational efficiency, etc. to your business.
I bet you’d be very interested in achieving that improvement, and to do so as quickly as possible.
Jason: Well sure, but most people find this very difficult to realise.
Peter: That’s true, but there is an ‘art’ or ‘technique’ to making this less difficult. The truth is that you can achieve that 5% benefit more easily than you might think and you’ll be kicking yourself for not doing it sooner once you learn the technique I’ll tell you about now.
The secret is to conduct UX/usability tests. And they are pretty simple – at their core during these tests you observe someone using your product. Only real customers count – not your colleagues, someone you know, or a relative.
If you haven’t done this already, then you are missing out on an important technique to fine tune your product/service and discover new profitable opportunities. You will instantly be able to see where exactly your customer pain-points are and where you can deliver value. It’s the closest thing to being able to read your customers’ minds…
Jason: Some people might be thinking, “This sounds great but I don’t have the budget and even if I did, how do I know if there will be a positive ‘ROI’ after embarking on such an exercise? Do I really need to do these tests?”
Peter: There are Massive ROI benefits: UX/usability tests are a powerful tool that can be performed for next to no cost and take very little time to set up and run. Cost should never be an excuse for not running tests. If it is, you’re not doing it correctly.
There is a common myth: We’re already running a survey and use analytics so there doesn’t seem to be any need to run additional tests…
That’s excellent. Keep running your surveys and collecting analytics about your business. You’ll be able to see where unexpected dips occur or where parts of your business are not achieving the goals you’ve set. However, numbers cannot tell you what customers (and potential customers) think of your offerings. A well-executed UX/usability test will be able to tell you (and it’s important that you investigate in the following order):
- How well do customers understand what your business offers (your USP)?
- How engaging do customers find your product? (Does it do what they need it to do?)
- How satisfied are they with the overall experience? (Do they find your product user-friendly and satisfying and so on)
The reason for investigating in this order is that it makes no difference how user friendly your product is if your customers don’t understand or value what you offer.
Jason: That sounds fair. What other benefits are there to doing these tests?
Well here are three benefits for you. The first one is the sheer amount of money you save your business from wasting on a product that would be doomed to fail. So, let’s say your particular product or service is online, well clearly software needs to be built – and that requires programming time, which is expensive. If you do thorough usability tests you’ll discover issues with new product concepts before you write one line of code. This will save you enormous amounts of time and save you from wasting effort and resources building things your customers don’t value or want. We recently built and entire Apple Watch usability testing kit…..without either needing an actual Apple Watch or writing the app software. The kit enabled us to do a ‘mock-up’ of the app environment using nothing but a plastic model of an Apple Watch. The cost was negligible, yet the test revealed some startlingly if not embarrassingly simple design flaws in the flow of the user’s experience.
The second thing is that you build closer bond with your market as you’ll be able to promote that the benefits you offer have been developed in close collaboration with your customers.
Jason: And what’s the third thing?
Peter: The third thing is that you get to enhance inter-departmental cooperation. UX/usability tests provide an opportunity for all departments in your business to see first-hand how customers respond to your product.
Jason: It seems so simple, yet I’m guessing that not many people actually do this?
Peter: Yes that’s right. It’s amazing really. You just need to read the hundreds of stories of how so-called ‘entrepreneurs’ started their companies. They are sitting at the bar or in their office, frustrated with a widget they have been using because it doesn’t work properly. So they say “I know, I’ll build a better widget, seeing as these guys clearly didn’t test their product properly”….then they proceed to build their own version, call it Widget 2.0. And what do they also do? Just like the manufacturers of Widget 1.0, they don’t do any testing either!
Do the testing, make the changes, and see your conversions rise dramatically.
Jason: In order to not get trapped in a complete state of overwhelm what do you suggest our audience do to at least get started and make immediate changes to their conversions?
Peter: Well our website is www.ascest.com, and we really recommend to look out for our public webinars that we hold from time to time. We are also about to launch a very handy resource centre with a lot of free video tutorials, templates and e-guides as well as a number of resources which are in the premium section, at very affordable prices.
If you would like to learn how to make UX/usability testing part of your company’s product development process, or have any questions about UX/usability testing, contact Peter Hughes at [email protected] or call (646) 942 2929.
So last week’s blog article was all about not wasting resources on trying to get new customers if you already have an existing customer base which you can reactivate. But what if you are a brand new business without any previous customers?
Well today I’d like to tell you about the three most important start-up marketing tools you need to get and keep brand-new customers.
- In person: It’s essential you meet with customers/clients in person whenever possible. This shows you respect them and take the time to work with your clients to give personal attention to each of them.
- The Follow-up letter/email: Always take a moment to send a follow up letter about what you talked about, new agreements or partnerships made and to thank them for taking the time to meet with you. Likewise, you should always send thank you letters or small gifts to partners you find success with. This is really important not only for your customer, but when you are having a lot of meetings you yourself have a useful aide-memoire to remind you of your interaction with them and helps you with further future follow-ups.
- Phone call: Use a telephone call to follow up with them to talk again about the matters you talked about in your meeting and offer any assistance you can to help their business run smoothly and more successfully.
However, none of these will work if you don’t have a quality product/service to back you up!
Here are the key steps for putting together your start-up marketing tools:
- Research potential customers, buyers, competitors and their preferred methods of distribution. Take a look at where your competitors are advertising and advertise in the same place. Russell Brunson has a great training program that helps with this one specific strategy, which I strongly recommend you look at. The only way to get access to Instant Traffic Hacks is by getting a copy of his free book, “DotcomSecrets”, which you can get by clicking here.
- Talk to your potential customers. Take a hard look at your product from a customer’s perspective and see what your product needs for it to be successful. This discipline is actually called Usability testing or UX (User experience). For some of the best resources and training in the business, we recommend you speak with Peter Hughes, CEO of Ascest to help you with this. You can contact him here. Peter also runs courses periodically to help you get up to speed with doing usability tests, and again get in touch with him to find out about upcoming dates.
- Follow up with your 3-step process from above.
- Develop systems for contact follow through, quality control standards and customer service. There are some amazing CRM systems out there. You might be aware that we regularly host marketing training webinars for Contactually, who we partnered up with a couple of years ago. Their system enables you to have highly customised and personal interactions with people on your list, without you needing a computer science degree from MIT to be able to implement. They offer free trials here, but to get the most out of it, I would recommend the “Professional” level account as you get some crucial automation features that the free and basic accounts don’t give you.
- Develop post-sale follow up system to keep lines of communication open is customers and build on your current relationship which increases future purchases. Same again – use a good CRM system like Contactually mentioned above to help you keep on top of your relationships.
You might be familiar with this famous quote from management consultant Peter Drucker: “Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs”
Here’s another one I love from an icon:
“If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.” Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motor Company
This lesson has offered you the tools to put together a start-up marketing plan that can be used over and over again to help your customer base and business grow in a manageable way. The tools offered in our FREE test drive offer these very same things. But first I’d recommend you watch our free marketing pre-training video “Everything you ever learned about generating leads and marketing your business is Wrong!” by going here. FYI the video tutorial is 100% meat and potatoes, there is absolutely no selling of our services or products in that video. Just 73 minutes of pure marketing training.
Have a great week!
[Disclosure: Some (not all) of the services, companies and resource links mentioned in this and other blog articles are occasionally affiliate links. We wholeheartedly recommend the services mentioned, regardless of the fact that should you use that link it's possible that we will generate a small referral commission. You should do your own research and verify that others feel the same way we do about the services, but in compliance with US law, we just wanted to make it clear that we might indeed be paid for if you use the links. We see the commission as a small thank you for running an informative and free blog uniting you with a great service that could if used properly, change your business results.]
If you are marketing completely indiscriminately, with not regard to your target market, their hotbuttons or their demographic, then you are wasting your time and your money!
So, in today’s post, you’re going to learn how to find and define a target market of potential customers so you aren’t wasting those precious resources on blitz marketing or what is also known as “Spray and Pray” marketing.
So, the two questions you have to ask yourself are:
- What do people REALLY want to buy from me?
and perhaps even more importantly:
- What related products are they already buying?
Once you work this out you will then know who is more likely or predisposed to buy your products/services. Then, you find other businesses with the same customer base who you can customer share with. You can come up with an incentive and other great arrangements to encourage both of your customer bases to shop at both of your stores. Anyone who has attended any of my webinars knows that I go on and on about these strategic alliances and joint venture partnerships.
The basic concept is this:
1) You want to find existing businesses who have the customer profile that you are looking for you to market your own product or service to.
2) Strike up a relationship with those business owners to work out an incentive (preferably exclusive, by the way) for customers to purchase from both businesses.
As a result, you instantly have an audience to market to and at the same time your new strategic partner has generated added value to their own current base by offering your product or service.
But how do you work out what offer to make, to ensure that you always get a positive ROI from this exercise? Well, there is a great formula from Jay Abraham that you can follow with great success.
LV = (P x F) x N – MC
- LV is the life time value of a customer
- P is the average profit margin from each sale
- F is the number of times a customer buys each year
- N is the number of years customers stay with you
- MC is the marketing cost per customer (total costs/number of customers)
So, once you know how much you need to spend to attract a new customer, you will know how much of an incentive you can offer to a business to help attract new customers.
So, here’s your step-by-step process:
- Find companies who already have the customer base you are looking for.
- Negotiate a specific incentive for them to share that customer base with you.
- Focus your marketing resources to this group of prequalified and predisposed customers.
If you need help working through this process, feel free to get in touch and you can also check out our FREE test drive for the most comprehensive system of marketing tools and resources.
You’re probably thinking – Educate them about what?
Well, consider this, many businesses solely focus on attracting brand new customers, but you NEED to spend a good amount of your time retaining current and previous customers.
Here are a couple of crucial elements to use in order to keep your current customers:
- Stay in contact: Do this by whatever mediums you are able to. By phone, email,e-newsletter, in person, periscope, facebook messenger, eyejot, voxer, skype-even by pigeon if you have too!
- Post-Purchase Assurance: This means you need to follow up with customers.Your customers need to feel like they are being supported for their purchase and with the item they purchased. How many times have you bought a product, then felt completely abandoned? Something as simple as a Thank You note with your contact or customer service information can go along way in retaining a great customer.
- Deals & Guarantees & Exclusive special offers: Always offer your current customers the best deals and guarantees you can. Show them you appreciate their business or even come up with a membership club specifically designed to reward loyal customers. You can also do this with a preferred pricing option.
- Integrity: Wow, this is a big one and I’m constantly shocked at what some business owners feel that they can get away with! Using good business practices and simply upholding integrity, dignity and honesty not only goes a long way with customers, but in my mind is obligatory. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of swindling and cr*p out there and the safer and more confident you make your customers feel, the more they will trust you and that makes for an amazingly supportive and loyal customer.
There are three cornerstone ideas to a successful business:
- Quality product/service
- Offering useful products/services that solve a problem for or enhance the life of a customer
- Offer subjects your customers find interesting and engaging
Use this approach of educating your customers and offering them real, useful information and insight and you will be rewarded with loyalty and success as well as notoriety! You only need to look at all the social media platforms that you no doubt must be using at least one of, to see that interesting and educational posts do frequently get shared and in some cases go viral.
Stop using all your time on new prospects while your current customers fall by the wayside!
As Jay Abraham says, “Your best prospects are your existing customers. If you’ve been putting all your marketing efforts into acquiring new customers, stop and divert some of your resources into reselling, upselling, cross-selling to those same customers. In every way possible – through package inserts, regular mailings, special offers – stay in touch with those customers and get them used to buying from you.”