How to avoid the biggest errors made when blog writing

More than 10 million blog posts are published every day! When do you next plan to add to the mountain of content out there?  As we spend a lot of time either writing content, getting content written, or checking the writing of others, we thought we would pick the brains of a number of experts we know. The aim: to help you avoid the biggest errors made in blog writing.

Our panel come from various parts of the writing world:

  • Professional content writers
  • Journalists
  • Authors
  • Public relations specialists

Between them, they’ve written millions of words, putting them in the right order to make people want to read more. Let’s now look at what they have to say…

1. Don’t forget who your audience isimage of Dr Claire Trevien

Dr Claire Trevien, a content specialist, says a common error she sees is people forgetting who their audience is. All too often she sees content that is focused on making the company look good or on details that aren’t really of interest to anyone external to the company.

You have to remember “what’s in it for them?” and make the content useful, or entertaining, or inspiring. Otherwise, why would anyone bother reading it?

2. Write what your audience wants to readimage of Chantal Cooke, PR specialist

Along a similar thread, Chantal Cooke,  from Panpathic PR, says from a PR perspective the biggest mistake she sees (again and again) is businesses focusing on what they want to say, not what journalists (or their audience) want to hear.  Yes, of course, the point of PR and creating content is to get your message out to a wider audience, but it needs to be framed and delivered in a way that people want to engage with it. Otherwise, at best, you’re wasting your time and at worst you’re irritating people and damaging your reputation. So before crating any content make sure it passes the ‘so what?’ test. In other words, if your audience will read it, shrug, and go ‘so what?’ – you’ve failed the test.

Whenever you are creating content, for any reason, about any message, ask yourself ‘what’s in it for the reader/listener/viewer? Why would they care?’ If you can answer that question, you’re well on your way to creating great content.

3. Remember the search engines too

Whilst we agree completely with both Chantal and Claire, it would be remiss of us to not mention the search engines at this point. You are producing content because you want to be found by your target audience and get them engaging with you. To do that, you have to be ranked in the search engines, so you do have to follow their guidelines too. by writing for your audience, you will meet many of their guidelines, but remember your meta descriptions, sentence length and keywords. If you have a WordPress website, Yoast is a great plugin that will really help.

Think of Google, et al, as a secondary audience, but one you do have to at least nod towards.

4. Remove the formalityimage of Nicole Johnston

Nicole Johnston is a ghost writer and writing coach. She thinks that people think that to come across ‘professional’ they need to write in formal language and use technical phrases for credibility. Nicole says the best approach with content is to write as you speak.  There are two advantages to this:

  • it builds connection and trust.  People feel as though they get to know us through our content and are therefore more likely to buy from us.
  • No-one wants to read formal or technical language.  Simple, ‘down to earth’ language will not only communicate our point better but will make us seem more accessible.

Nicole suggests that we almost need to ‘unlearn’ the academic and ‘correct’ way of writing to communicate effectively with real people.  Einstein said ‘If you can’t explain it simply, then you don’t understand it well enough.’ Nicole agrees with him.

Author and journalist, Emma Bamford,  agrees with this and says people try too hard. A lot of the time, when non-professional or less experienced writers write content, they get so worried about sounding good that they go a bit over the top and/or formal.

Emma recommends following George Orwell’s advice. In his 1946 essay “Politics in the English Language”, wrote: “Never use a long word when a short one will do.” Clarity is key; ditch the thesaurus and write in a similar way to how you would speak (but with better grammar).

Emma gave us three more errors she sees regularly:

5. Stop overusing adjectives and adverbsimage of Emma Bamford

When people write marketing copy, they often think that if they pile on the superlative adjectives, it’ll make their product seem amazing and people will be clicking the ‘Buy’ button like there’s no tomorrow. In truth, it can easily become too much, and have a ring of falsity.

Emma recommends that you:

  • Cut the adjectives and adverbs (the describing words),
  • Let the actual facts and features of the product or service do the selling.
  • Avoid overdone, meaningless descriptors such as ‘sumptuous’ like the plague. You might have used that word in copy/content, but have you ever said it out loud in conversation? I’m betting not…

Gary Adams, a financial journalist, also highlighted the use of additional, and unnecessary words. He gave a few examples:

  • Nobody has ever risen ‘down’ so why rise ‘up’?
  • You could just swap something rather than swap it ‘out’.
  • ‘Interestingly’, if you prefix a point with that word, it probably describes the exact opposite.
  • Do you expand ‘inwards’?

6. Cut out the jargonimage of Gary Adams

You spend your whole day using the jargon of your industry. You know it, you love it and your team knows exactly what you are talking about. That doesn’t mean your target audience does, however. Using too much jargon is highly likely to confuse your audience, so cut it out.  Your target audience wants to know how you can help them, not how many big words you know. For more on this topic, you should read one of last year’s blogs.

Gary supports this point and adds that the social media world has created a new type of jargon. Witness the change from investment ‘baskets’ to investment ‘buckets’ and from ‘embracing’ something to ‘leaning in’ for an example of how quickly pointless change is taken up on a global scale and how something descriptive quickly becomes a slogan, something used thoughtlessly. Endless repetition of ever-more refined phrases will steal your identity. It also dates your work.

7. Using the active voice is best

“I’m telling you – avoid the passive voice.”

“You’re being told by me to avoid the passive voice.”

Which sounds better to you? Both sentences mean the same thing, but the first version is in the active voice, and the second is in the passive. Passive adds distance between writer and reader. If you find it tricky working out if you’re writing in the passive voice, look out for tell-tale words like “being” and “by”. Check that the subject (the doer) in the sentence comes before the verb (the doing word), rather than after it.

8. Use the right wordimage of Maia Morris, journalist and sub-editor

The English language doesn’t always make this easy, with many words being very similar, but Maia Morris, a journalist and sub-editor, lists this as one of her biggest bugbears. You will be able to think of many different examples, but this is the one Maia gave:

  • To complement is to complete something, supplement it, enhance it, or bring it to perfection. For example, your accessories may complement your dress.
  • To compliment is to give praise. For example, if I were to say that you have a very nice turtle, this would be a compliment to both you and your turtle.

The mixing up of to, too and two, as well as your and you’re are frequently seen too.

9. Missing the possessive apostrophe

Maia also gave us this one. Saying it is one of Maia’s bugbears will keep her happy. If you said it was one of Maias bugbears, you would expect to face her wrath!

10. Over-use of punctuation

Maia also really hates it when she sees people over-using exclamation marks!!!!!!

11. Don’t go on too long

Shorter is almost always better, when it comes to content length. Get in, say what you want to say (clearly, cleanly and in active voice), and get out.

Brian McGee has a journalist background, is a qualified teacher and over 20 years’ experience in creating content. He gave us three tips to look out for

12. Never Deleteimage of Brian McGee

Brian says just keep writing, however much the words don’t seem right for now. You can go back and improve it in the next draft: delete, polish and craft then. Not before…

13. Remember the three sections

Brian says there is always a beginning, middle, end. It’s better still if your conclusion links back to the start of your writing, even if it’s a discreet nod. That doesn’t mean you need to draft in a linear way. You have more ideas about the conclusion after that bracing walk? Ignore the introduction and get (happily, here’s hoping) drafting.

14. Think flow

Brian’s final tip is that if the transition from one idea to another jars, record that in the draft. Seeing the shortcomings of the current version is progress too.

What have we missed?

If there are any key blogging errors we’ve missed in this list (we’re sure there are), add them as a comment below. In the same manner, if you disagree, tell us why…

To conclude

If you can avoid the biggest errors made in blog writing, it can make the difference between you wasting your time and you attracting your next big client. Writing styles and best practice changes over time, so these points may well be redundant in a few year’s time, as Gary points out above. When you’re next planning a content piece for your business, why not try some of these points. See how much of a difference it makes to the flow of the article. More importantly, look at your performance metrics in a few weeks’ time and see if there is a difference.

We hope the tips provided here will help you to improve your content generation and improve the performance of your content marketing. However, if you find that you simply don’t have time to produce the quality content you want, or you want someone to review what you have written, get in touch. Call us on 020 8634 5911 or email us on SMEgrowth@smeneeds.co.uk

What To Do When A Prospect Doesn’t Buy

What to do when a prospect doesn't buy

So, you found the perfect prospect through LinkedIn. You made first contact, an amazing introduction. Over a few weeks you built your relationship and waited until the time was right. Then  you hit them with the pitch… and they don’t buy it.

First off, it’s not the end of the world! It might be painful to fail in your pitch to a prospect you’ve spent weeks or even months buttering up, but you can’t win them all. At least not the first time around.

What’s important in this situation is not to sulk, and make sure your next step is in the right direction. They said no to your offer, but that doesn’t mean the door is closed. There’s several steps you can take to keep your foot in and catch that prospect the next time around.

At the point of purchase…

At the point of conversion there’s three things that can happen:

  1. They don’t buy at all
  2. They buy from a competitor
  3. They buy from you (hooray!)

Before we look at what you need to do, let’s look at why they may have made this decision…

1. If they don’t buy at all

Don’t be too hard on yourself (or your sales team). There’s reasons why prospects don’t buy.

  • Cost: Maybe your prospect just doesn’t have room in their budget right now. This doesn’t mean there was anything wrong with your pitch, or that they won’t buy from you at a later date.
  • Priority: Perhaps there’s other more pressing purchases for your prospect to make before they buy your product.
  • Market forces: Recessions, price of goods and other external factors (global pandemics, for example) are beyond the control of yourself and your client and can make it impossible to buy.

2. They buy from a competitor

Ouch. It’s not nice to learn you’ve lost a prospect to a competitor. First, ask yourself why they went with the competitor. This is usually for three main reasons:

  • Price: If your competitor has a cheaper product, it’s possible that they’ve made a promise they can’t deliver on. It’s an old adage that “if you buy cheap you buy twice”, but if your competition fails to deliver, you want your name to be at the top of the prospect’s inbox.
  • Relationship: Maybe your prospect has a pre-existing relationship with a competitor. This kind of inside advantage can be difficult to overcome. But a good relationship with a rival salesperson doesn’t mean that your competitor has a superior product. Relationships may open doors, but if they don’t deliver, you want to make sure yours is the door they come knocking on.
  • Perceived risk: Perhaps your prospect bought from a competitor because there was a lower perceived risk with purchasing from them. Consumers are less likely to risk buying more expensive products, or from less established companies. Perceived risk can be reduced over time as your brand becomes and more established and reviews and recommendations begin to spread. Keep your prospects sweet and, in the meantime, see what you can do to reduce perceived risk.

3. They buy from you

I know this blog is called “what to do when a prospect doesn’t buy”, but it’s important to note that even if a prospect coverts, it’s still not the end of the story. In fact, it could be just the beginning. Some of the benefits of maintaining communication with your customer are

  • that customers who have already used your product will be more likely to purchase other products from you since they know you as a credible supplier.
  • They may choose you over your competitors for other products. The cost and logistical benefits of having fewer, bigger, suppliers means you always have the chance of increasing your sales to the same client.
  • Promoting your brand through regular communication will help you keep up with competitors. Remind your customer why they opted for you over your competitors to begin with!

So what do you do now?

The answer is simple. Keep in touch.

  1. Make sure they are on your mailing list. Regular email campaigns, sharing case studies, articles and whitepapers ensure your prospects are kept aware of what you are up to. There’s a chance they will unsubscribe, but only if your communication is too frequent and not relevant.
  2. Connect with them on social media. When you’re connected, you will stay in the back of their mind, in readiness for the future.
  3. Go to the same events. Particularly if they are local to you, “bumping into them” once in a while maintains awareness and gives you the chance to keep talking about how you’ve helped other clients.
  4. Call them. Nobody says you’re not allowed to call them every few months. Just because they didn’t buy before doesn’t mean they won’t in the future, and the personal touch could sway things your way.

Closing

It’s never nice to lose a prospect after you’ve spent resources promoting your business and time building a relationship. But it’s not a waste. There’s no reason for your relationship with the prospect to change: the economic climate is always moving and you want to put yourself in the best position when your prospect is looking to buy again.

Get back on the horse, keep communicating the value of your product and wait for the time and effort you’ve invested to pay off down the line.

If you need some assistance in ensuring you stay in touch with old prospects, give us a call on 020 8634 5911 or email us at smegrowth@smeneeds.co.uk

6 reasons you should invest in marketing now

picture of tree and sapling to illustrate article about reasons why you should invest in marketing nowNobody is buying, why should I invest in marketing?

With the latest restrictions imposed by the government, this is a question that many will be asking. With these restrictions potentially in place for six months, why should I not just wait until they are lifted before starting my marketing again? Why should you invest in marketing now? Here are six reasons why you should invest in marketing now…

People forget

How many emails do you get a day, even discounting those you delete immediately? How many WhatsApps and texts? Add on phone calls and all the marketing messages you see on the odd occasion you leave the house these days. There is only so much room in our minds before older, perceived less important, messages get pushed to the back of our minds and then (if you have watched Disney’s Inside Out) to long term storage.

You have to keep your brand and how you help your target audience in the front of their minds. To do that you have to have a consistent marketing programme.

Brand reinforcement

You aren’t the only company out there that does what you do. SME Needs is not the only company helping small businesses improve their marketing. We all have to keep reminding people about the value we deliver, so they remember the brand and they remember how we can help them. You have to remind your target audience and I have to remind you!

Climbing the priority ladder

You have any number of priorities to deal with. In these difficult times, you will be juggling these priorities. You will be trying to work out what really are the priorities and then making sure you don’t drop them. Your Ideal Clients will be doing exactly the same thing. They will, as you do, get any number of messages telling them why other things should be high on their priority list. If budgets are tight, as they are for many at this time, it is only those right at the top that are acted upon. The rest will have to wait.

Getting your share of their wallet

Unless what you sell is deemed a real luxury, what you sell should eventually reach the top of the priority ladder. As the third of our reasons why you should invest in marketing how, we think this is a pretty important one! When things ease again (as they will eventually), you want your target audience to be opening the company wallet and giving you some of what is available. Of course your competition want that share; what happens if they have been marketing and you haven’t?

Staying ahead of the competition

At this point, you’re hoping your competitors are thinking the same as you – why should we invest in marketing now. What happens if they are following the Kellogg’s example of the 1920’s and 30’s? You can read more detail here, but put succinctly, Kellogg’s continued marketing in the Great Depression, whilst their main competitor, Post (??!) cut back. Kellogg’s captured the market and you’re probably never heard of Post!

If your competition are still actively marketing, can you risk not maintaining your marketing activity?

Can you pivot?

Just because you have always delivered a certain solution to a certain target audience, that doesn’t mean there isn’t an opportunity to change? If you can identify an opportunity to solve a real problem that people are facing during this pandemic, you need to tell them. Of course, this does mean that you change your marketing, but you are still getting your brand out there. You will still be remembered, even if it is in a different sector. If this is the case, you have permission to divert SOME of your marketing activity and budget. If you divert all of it, you risk losing your other markets when the economy returns.

People Forget

It’s been a couple of minutes since you read the 2nd paragraph of this blog. Your phone had bleeped a few times and your inbox is a little fuller. Lots of distractions and other messages have arrived in that time. If you can get distracted in two minutes, imagine what will happen in, up to, six months!

So here are 7, well 6, reasons you should invest in marketing during the pandemic . Any questions?

If we have, let’s talk. Click here or call us on 020 8634 5911

How to improve your email marketing performance by at least 50%

Email is still one of the best performing marketing channels. With 281 billion emails sent every day, including over one billion per day by Mailchimp, it may seem that your Inbox is flooded and individual emails will be missed. But with a few simple changes to how you run your campaigns, you can easily increase your email marketing’s performance. Let’s talk you through how to improve your email marketing performance by at least 50% in just two minutes.

1. Send your email campaign as normal

Whatever your email campaign is about, send your campaign in your normal way.

2. Replicate your emailreplicate your email campaign

Whatever email marketing platform you use, you will be able to do this. Some may not be as easy as Mailchimp makes it, but the steps shown here are all achievable in every platform.

  • Go to your Campaigns list
  • Find the email campaign you have just sent.
  • Click Replicate. The idea is that you will be sending exactly the same email.

If your email marketing tool doesn’t give you a one-click option to do this, you should be able to either copy the HTML code or copy the contents and simply paste into a new campaign.  The replicated campaign will be titled the same as the previous one, plus (Copy 1). Keep this title, as it allows you to identify them in the future and measure your own performance.

3. Edit your audience

edit your audience for your email campaign

The last thing you want to do is upset the people on your mailing list, so you don’t want to send your email campaign to either:

  • The people who have already opened it
  • The people that isn’t relevant to

To do this…

1.       Campaign Activity – who were sent – [name of campaign]

2.       Campaign Activity – who did not open – [name of campaign]

It is very important you select ALL at this stage.  If you don’t, you will send the 2nd email to lots of people you didn’t mean to.

 

If you choose ANY rather than ALL, the following will happen…

1.       It will go to everyone who you sent the original campaign to

2.       It will go to everyone in your list who didn’t open the campaign, whether they were sent it, or not.

 

4. Edit the Subject Lineedit the subject line to improve email marketing performance

If your previous subject line didn’t get people to open it, they are unlikely to open it next time, if you use the same subject line.  Change the subject line. Perhaps ask a question, challenge them, or refer to another way this replicated email campaign can help the reader.

 

5. Schedule within 48 hours

Dependent on how time sensitive your email is, you may want to do this just 12 hours later, but it should be soon after the first campaign.

 

Once you have sent the replicated campaign, you will be able to see whether you an additional 50% opened it, or even more.

 

Historical Results

To support this article, we analysed data from email campaigns run by some of our clients over the last few years.  The data looked at 628 email campaigns over the last 5 years.

Average Open Rate on first email: 23.8%

Average Open rate on Replicated email: 16.0%

This equates to a 51.25% increase in the number of people who read the email

The replicated campaigns added a further 35% to the number of people who clicked through.

Of course, we cannot guarantee this will be the case for everyone, as it will vary from company to company. Rates across the client data analysed ranged from 24 – 69% increase in open rates, and clickthrough rates ranged from 34% – 64%.

 

If you want to improve your email marketing performance, get in touch or give us a call on 020 8634 5911

 

5 expert ways you can benefit from your brand advocates

brand advocacy strength

Brand advocacy is the ultimate goal for small businesses that helps strengthen your competitive advantages.

Marketing has generated the lead. Sales has closed the deal and Operations has delivered a great service/product. You have a very happy client; a brand advocate. What can you do from this point to maximise the benefit your small business gets from this?  Here are 5 ways you can use the brand advocacy to your advantage… 

This is the final blog post in ‘activate fierce brand loyalty’ series.  

 “What about you and me?” 

This is what a client would ask when they consider active advocacy towards your brand. 

The answers to the questions below that relates to why a client would think of choosing you can be found in the previous blog posts: 

Through a combination of brand awareness, understanding of performance levels, strength of imagery, forming positive judgements and experiencing positive feelings, a potential B2B client feels inclined to work with you.  

They are in-sync with you and your brand.  

Your client feels a deep psychological bond with your brand and everything it represents. 

To maximise this intensely positive relationship, there are five key areas that can increase your advantages.

Ask for a testimonial 

A happy client will say great things about you and your business, but sometimes you need to nudge them just a little. 

When you talk to them, for example as a project is finished, ask for a testimonial. They can either say something during the conversation, or email something to you. Use that testimonial across your online and print marketing collateral.  

If you add the testimonial to LinkedIn or Twitter, make sure you mention them in the text (@insert name) so they get notified and either Like or comment – a further endorsement. 

If they could do their testimonial as a video, that would be even better! 

Their words, and feelings, can be tremendously powerful. 

Ask for a referral 

Who do they know who could also use your services/products? When doing this, try not to use the word anyone – it makes things surprisingly difficult. 

  • Perhaps they are connected to someone you’ve been trying to get hold off. Could they do an introduction? 
  • Be specific if you cannot identify a person. Who do they know in this role in this industry sector? Of course, this will have followed on from you researching their clients and their network. 
  • Ask for three. That way you may get one. 

Prospects who have been referred by a brand advocate become clients at a far greater rate than any other lead source. 

Invite them to Events 

Nobody likes someone that talks too much about themselves! That is just what you have to do as a

 small business when marketing yourself.  Sincerity is something highly valued when building business relationships. 

However, it is much more powerful to have a client who has built a strong relationship to represent your brand. Conversations ensue in the hustle and bustle of a lively event your hosting. 

In and amongst you speaking for and representing yourself, you would want advocates in the crowd to support your claims. Their intensely positive experience with you carries a weight you cannot replicate yourself. The marketing happens organically and likely to be received better. 

Develop a case study 

A well-built case-study goes a long way for a small business. It helps communicate a story that relates directly to an advocate’s experience with your brand.  

This is a fantastic tool to utilise an existing advocate to generate further leads. Prospects will search for answers as they require services for their business. It is second nature to Google and research. Especially when a large sum of money is in the equation relative to the size of the business. 

A case study narrative helps a prospect discern: 

  • The advocate’s original challenge 
  • How your business presented a solution 
  • How the solution was implemented practically  
  • The results, a prospect always wants to know what the end results are 

Go to networking events they go to 

Make the most out of that intensely positive relationship by frequenting network events they attend.  

The relationship will sell itself. Remember, however, this is a networking event so don’t monopolise their time. 

Both parties mutually benefit. Through prompting and suggesting one another if a conversation occurs where anything that connects to your brand or service is mentioned. 

There is an underlying trust and loyalty fostered over time between you and your advocate and your presence reminds them of the pleasant experience they have had with you. 

Looking to strengthen your brand advocacy? 

Do you need advice on how to strengthen your brand advocacy through your marketing efforts? SME Needs is ready with expert advice, planning and implementation of your specialised marketing plan. 

How can small businesses encourage a strong response from a client?

“What about you?” 

What about you makes you the best choice for your potential client to work with instead of others? 

This blog post will help you to recognise and communicate what your brand means to your client. 

Positive brand feelings

This is the third post of the ‘activate fierce brand loyalty’ series. 

So far we have covered, “who are you?” and “what are you?”in the previous two blog posts. 

After answering those two questions, your ideal client will start to form feelings and judgements towards you. This is due to having a base of broad awareness. Following this, the brand building blocks of performance and imagery are then taken into consideration. 

The ability to create intensely positive feelings 

A brand is more than its product or service. 

A brand evokes feelings. 

As small business owners, you must consider how your brand makes your customers feel about you and them.  

There are the four responses your business faces:  

  • intensely negative  
  • mildly negative  
  • mildly positive   
  • intensely positive. 

How best to handle a negative comment

The reality for most UK businesses is that you rarely experience mildly negative or mildly positive feelings in the form of reviews or social media interactions.  

However, you know when someone has a negative experience; it is quintessentially British to make sure everyone knows about it!  

For example, someone may dislike the opinion piece you shared in your weekly e-newsletter.  

They email you angrily about how you are a total and utter disgrace!   

It is important to politely respond. Apologise for how they feel and do your best to resolve it. If the negative feedback is unwarranted and unreasonable, do not be afraid to unsubscribe them from your list. It is best to focus your time, efforts and content towards those that value it. 

Turning the peri-peri meter from mild to spicy 

Potential clients who have an intensely positive feeling towards you are likely to follow you on social media. They may be subscribed to your e-mailing list. Most importantly, it will lead towards an intensely positive feeling in which they are more likely to buy from you. It is vital to be able to communicate your knowledge and expertise consistently. There are various ways to do so: 

  • Tips and guides 
  • Case Studies 
  • Testimonials 

To make the most of these methods to showcase your knowledge, it is best to share content to specific segments of your audience. If you are aware that your potential client is in the tech industry, share a tech-related testimonial with them.  

A practical tip is to share specific e-mail content to a specified segment of your audience that it is applicable to. Following this, send a follow up email. To be able to turn a potential client’s mildly positive feeling to intensely positive, it is necessary for them to engage with the content. A follow up email increases the likelihood of opens and click-throughs, which then leads them towards the landing page with a call-to-action.

The more relevant the shared content is, the more likely they are to react to it. 

Through these feelings, positive judgements will be formed of your business and what it represents. It will enhance your image of credibility and superiority that makes you a business worth working with and paying for. 

Make Them Believe!

Image of the Monkees who sang I'm a Believer

It doesn’t matter whether the decision maker is the CEO/owner, a director or manager, they all have one over-arching need from you. Few will readily admit it, but it is the priority for any purchase…

To make them look good.

Most people have a boss. Whatever they do is aimed at making them look good to that boss. That is what ensures they keep their job and, maybe, even get promoted in the future. People want to be seen as good at their job. They want to feel valued and to be proud of the work they do. Much of that pride and value comes from comments made by their stakeholders – their peers, their bosses, and their reports.

Even if the decision maker is the top boss, he/she wants you to make them look good. Their investors/shareholders expect performance. Their staff expect the boss to make the best decisions. Bosses who make poor decisions either don’t last long in the job or their company doesn’t last long.

The role of marketing is to make the decision maker believe that buying from you will make them look good to the people they report to.

Your marketing is, of course, just one part of the equation:

  1. Marketing makes them believe
  2. Sales get them to sign on the dotted line
  3. Operations delivers on the promises made by Marketing & Sales

5 ways to make the buyer look good

There are, broadly speaking, five ways your business can make the buyer look good:

1. Save them money

Delivering a product or service more cheaply than their current provider is a great way to make the decision maker look good. But only if you are delivering on at least one more of these.

Saving money must always come another of these ways to make them look good. The old adage “buy cheap, buy twice” should never be mentioned when a client is talking about you.

2. Improve Performance

Whether you are marketing, and selling, a product or a service, performance improvement is another excellent way to make a buyer look good.

  • Ensuring their IT simply works
  • Increasing the traffic to, and the leads from, their website
  • Servicing the company car fleet, so they never break down
  • Training staff to increase their skills and improve their individual, or team, performance

are just a few examples.

3. Make them look good

Rather than the perception improvement, by this we mean you make them, or where they work, look good.

  • Providing great looking staff uniforms to improve customer perception
  • Supplying and installing new furniture to improve the look, and comfort, of their office.

for example.

4. Repair what is broken

Going back to the adage “buy cheap, buy twice” is often used; just make sure, if you are in this equation, you are the second purchase! Repairing something vital to their business, ideally quickly, will definitely make them look good.

5. Make them safe

Whether it is physical security issue (access control systems etc.) or cyber security (anti-malware applications), we all live in a world where security concerns are increasing. Making the business secure, particularly in this time of remote working, is a very good thing.

So how does your marketing do this?

Three Ways to Make your Target Audience Believe

1. Demonstrate you understand the issues they face

As referred to in a recent blog, all your marketing content should be about them – not about you. Make sure your website, e-brochures, whitepapers etc. all address issues they have that you can resolve for them.

Today’s decision makers don’t have time to work out whether what you sell will help them, so you need to make it abundantly clear from the moment they engage with your marketing.

2. Prove you can deliver a solution

Talk about what success looks like. The difference between what they are experiencing now and what they could be getting shows that you have experience of helping others with very similar issues. This is a key part of getting a prospect to engage with your marketing and enter your sales pipeline.

3. Back it up with evidence

Saying you can do something is one thing. Proving you can be integral in helping your prospect to become a client. Case studies and testimonials, as well as reviews on sites such as Google Local and Feefo, are highly effective. Ensure you have enough evidence to use both to get them into your sales pipeline and then to help them over the line.

If you have a new business, there is nothing wrong with a little creative license. I’m not advocating making up the evidence, but you can use your previous experience to great effect. Most people set up a new business doing what they have vast amounts of experience doing. Use that experience to demonstrate, and prove, you can deliver – at least until you can build a new set of evidence under your new brand name.

 

When your marketing makes people believe you can help them, and make them look good, they will engage and enter your sales pipeline. It’s then up to the rest of the business to deliver.

 

Need a hand? Give us a call: 020 8102 8241

Just in case you’re wondering about the choice of image, click here.

Mailchimp’s New Customer Journeys

screenshot image for Mailchimp Customer Journeys

At Last!

Customer Journeys, from Mailchimp goes live from today and will be available to all Mailchimp customers by the 7th August. It is something that we’ve been waiting for, for a very long time. Here is why.

Single Routing

Mailchimp’s products have a huge number of positives and that’s why we’re a Mailchimp Certified Partner. The Automation function meant that we could set up email campaigns, for our clients and ourselves, to go to people based on specific criteria, whether this was information in certain contact fields or Tags. But after that first email went out, Automations only gave you limited options:

  • Send the next email if they clicked
  • Send the next email X period afterwards

If you wanted to have multiple options, you had to set up multiple automations, based on the actions your contacts took from the previous email.

Single Starting Points

A single starting point also limited your options, or complicated matters as you built multiple Automations. Multiple automations increased your chances of doing something not quite right, which could upset your contacts.

As you can see from the image, that is now changing…

image showing Mailchimp Customer Journeys

Simplified Marketing

With the opportunity to use multiple triggers and multiple branches, it definitely means that email marketing will become a little simpler. I definitely see it as a time saver and it will save our clients some money, as we are not building large numbers of automations.

First Impressions

Even as a Mailchimp Partner, we haven’t got this functionality on our accounts yet; it goes live today. We will be spending quite some time looking in more detail at how Customer Journeys works and the benefits it can bring for us and for our clients. As soon as we have had a “play”, we will report back on our first impressions.

 

Talk to Them

image to support article about how to talk to your target audience

How to talk to your target audience and effectively engage

If one of your target audience was sitting in front of you, or was on the end of the phone, you would talk to them on a one to one basis. If you are presenting to an audience, you will talk to them as if you were talking to them individually. So why don’t you do it in your marketing collateral? Let’s address the issue of how to talk to your target audience through your marketing.

Talk in the Second Person

To maximise the possibility that your marketing content, both online and offline grabs the reader, use the same language as you would if you were talking to them. By using the second person (you), rather than the third person (he, she, it, they), you are having a conversation. You are helping the reader to engage with you.

Which of these is more powerful?

“Our clients typically see a 45% increase the number of leads they get each year”.

OR

“You could get a 45% increase in the number of leads you get each year”.

Gathering around rarely happens

Long gone are the days when there were only a few PCs in your office and people would gather around to view them. Same with printed marketing material. People within your target audience rarely gather around a brochure, flyer or proposal. Even if they do, “you” is the second person plural as well, so you are still talking directly to them, both as a group and as individuals.

Compare it to dating

Look at your marketing as a first date. You wouldn’t talk about “your partners” if you wanted a second date. If you want your marketing to lead to a meeting and a sale, you need to talk to them in the right way.

More Engaging

Using the second person is more engaging and more active. It gets them thinking about themselves and how they can benefit from working with you. When talking to decision makers, that is exactly what you want to happen, so why does your marketing material mostly use the 3rd person, or even worse, the 1st?

They’re important – not you

We looked at this in more detail in a blog earlier in the month, but let’s touch on it again. If your marketing, whether online or offline, talks in the 1st person, whether singular or plural, you’re saying you are the most important part of the relationship. As you want them to become a new client, this is clearly not the case.

Quick Test

Pull up the home page of your website. Which of these words do you come across first: We or You? If you find “we” first, may I humbly recommend you look to re-word that page? It is, after all, the first page 60-70% of all your website visitors will see.

If your marketing isn’t as effective as you want it to be, this may well be a key part of the problem. Of course, if you would like some help in converting from “we” to “you”, give us a call on 020 8634 5911 and let’s have a chat about how we can help.