Hello my lovely.
I want to preface this post by saying, this is not sexy stuff. It’s a bit of cabbage to go alongside your steak. It’s the kind of information that’s really important to know and good to reference and come back to.
So with that out the way, let’s dive into some cabbage (or bookmark it to chomp on later) so you can grow up big and strong…
For any small business, marketing makes the critical difference between the phone ringing, and a drought of customers and enquiries. So it’s no surprise that after the recessionary hesitations, small business marketing spend in the US is set to increase to $36bn in 2012.
However, an increased investment in marketing doesn’t guarantee an increase in sales. You need to make sure the message in your promotional materials gets the attention of your target market and works hard to convert them into customers. Simple mistakes in your marketing content of your blog, sales page or online brochure can ruin your results and waste time and money in the process.
If you’re one of the many small business owners wanting to improve the results of your marketing, here are 5 common mistakes you’ll want to avoid:
Skimming Over The Problem
Too often, promotional content jumps straight into revealing how wonderful a product or service is without giving proper acknowledgment to the problem that it solves. This is common because it’s easy to assume that your customers already appreciate and understand this and will naturally see the benefits of your service.
It is much more effective if you take the time to describe this pain or problem. For example talking briefly about the frustrations of hair loss before revealing your natural hair-growth product.
This way you bring fresh to their minds the emotional impact of the situation and when you introduce your solution, the contrasting examples will make your offer more compelling.
Too Much On The Company
Whilst it’s important to establish your business as a credible organisation, listing your years in business and a detailed story of your product development isn’t always necessary or indeed effective in marketing your product. Your customers need only the relevant information they need to make a purchasing decision or to contact you for further information.
When you are listing details about your company, see how you can turn the focus into a customer benefit. For example your 20 years of experience might mean that you have established supplier relationships and can negotiate better discounts for your customers. This would be a particularly attractive detail to a prospective customer.
Wrong Selling Points
Having a different idea about the main selling point of your product to your audience is a big mistake in your marketing message. If you don’t communicate the virtues of your product in a way that makes your customer listen, it doesn’t matter how fantastic your service is, your customer will never be interested enough to try it out.
To avoid this, always start with your customer in mind. Think about their current frustrations and how your product solves those.
It also pays to remember that you are not your customer.
For example, if you offer creative writing classes you might believe that your students “should” want to learn how to hone and practice their writing craft for their own personal pleasure. So in your brochure you focus on the writing discipline they will learn and how to enjoy their own work even when others criticise it. If, however your students just want to write a novel, your offer would be more compelling by explaining how they will have a finished draft of their “great American novel” in just 5 days.
Your students will still be learning discipline and how to appreciate their own writing, but you’re selling them the dream of what they “really” want.
Not Enough Details
If you’ve been living and breathing your product for months or even years it’s easy to forget the little details that fresh customers need to know in order to make a decision for the next action. It’s easy to forget to include how payment is made, whether consultations are in phone or in person and what your working hours are, but these are details that, when omitted can put customer off buying.
To make sure you include enough details about your product or service, remember what it is you want your customer to do next and ask yourself how much detail they need to take that action. If you are writing a sales page online, you need to give enough details so that your customer feels confident and secure enough to press the buy button. If you want your customer to call your office so that a sales person can continue the conversation, you can include just enough information to whet their appetite and make them interested in finding out more.
No Clear Call To Action
After explaining the benefits of your service and getting people interested one of the biggest mistakes you can makes is not having a clear call to action, or having too many calls to action. At the end of your promotional materials your customer needs to be clear about what the next step is. Each piece of marketing is like a paper trail that leads your customer on to the next thing. It might be signing up to your newsletter, calling you or even buying, but your customer needs to know what it is.
Make sure you let people know explicitly what you want them to do. Don’t simply say “call today” tell them which number to call. Make your instructions, simple, clear and don’t confuse people by having too many calls to action. Ideally you should be encouraging them to take 1 next step rather than several.