Right now you’re currently investing money and time into marketing your business (from websites to trade shows, from sponsorships to direct mail, from networking events to blogging/content marketing, etc.). The only question is, “Is it effective?” And the follow-up to that would be, “Could it be even more effective?”
Now, you might be different, but the vast majority of business owners and entrepreneurs that I’ve run into very rarely evaluate the effectiveness of their marketing efforts. They put up a website but never ask, “How effective is it?” They spend money to sponsor a both at a trade show but never quantify whether they got an optimal result from that trade show. Or they’ll go to a ton of networking meetings but never ask, “Did we get enough qualified leads from those meetings?”
It’s almost like, “Phew! At least I/we did something.”
But what if there was a simple way for you to ratchet up the effectiveness of every marketing effort that you and your company engaged in? What if there were just a handful of ideas that if executed consistently could lead to a radical improvement in the effectiveness of your marketing efforts? Would you be interested in that?
If so, then you’ll want to continue reading as I share with you four activities that if you engage in them on a regular basis will dramatically improve your marketing efforts.
I. Get Greater Clarity on Your Who
“People” don’t buy, individuals buy. Companies don’t buy, individuals within those companies buy. Markets don’t buy, individuals within those markets buy. It’s all about the individual “who” who buys.
Moreover, those “who’s” don’t buy because you’re making an offer or because your widget is better than others. No, they buy for their reasons—which again brings us back to the individual who.
And finally, those “who’s” don’t buy because you can wax elegant about how great your widget is. No, they only buy from those they sense “get” them.
So, how can you do that? By getting greater clarity on who your “who” is. For example, what are their
- Fears and Frustrations
- Needs and Wants
- Obstacles and Problems
- Desires and Goals
- Hates and Dislikes
- Hobbies and Interests
- Language Patterns
- Educational Levels, etc.
Could you answer all of those quickly?
The marketer who is best able to connect with the information above, the one who “gets” the individual that they’re marketing to, is the one who gets the deal most of the time (not necessarily the one with the best or cheapest or fastest or newest widget/service).
In light of that, looking at your marketing efforts, are you marketing to your market as a general collection of people (e.g. All Dentists) or are you marketing to the individual (e.g. the specific dentist using the key word … YOU)?
And, if you are marketing to the individual, are you marketing efforts using language that says you get them? For example, using our dental example, “As a dentist in a small office in a rural community chances are when you read the latest edition of JADA you frequently think, ‘Well that might work in DC or LA, but that won’t work here in my community …” you have them.
And the more specific you are at using language that the people whom you’re marketing to use, the more your marketing efforts take off because the person you’re marketing to feels “This company gets me.”
So, once again, how are you and your business doing at connecting to the individual in your market because you understand them better than anyone else? The better you are at this, the better every marketing effort will be. It’s the difference between marketing your accounting firm (as an example) to everyone who needs their taxes done or marketing to a busy physician in a multi-physician practice who needs their taxes done who’s afraid they’re being taken advantage of by their other partners but doesn’t have the time to investigate. The later will always be more powerful than the former.
II. Focus on Their Urgent Wants
Let’s be honest, you and I have plenty of wants and even more needs—but we don’t act on them all. The only things we buy are those things we believe we urgently need right now. If that’s true of us (and it is), then what does that say about the people whom we’re marketing to? Exactly.
So, if you want to radically increase the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, what should you do? I’d recommend that you start by creating a list of wants and needs for your target market (which you should have started in point one above). Take some more time and create a more extensive list. Then take that list and sort it based on urgency. For example, let’s say you’re marketing website services to small businesses in your local community. You might list
- Want a website
- Want to generate more leads
- Want to generate more sales
- Want a cool looking website
- Want to beat their competitors
- Want to be seen as the obvious choice in their market space
- Want a responsive theme so it looks good on mobile devices
- Want to build more credibility
- Want a better converting website
- Want to start running A/B tests, etc.
Now, depending on your market, which of those would you say are the top three? My guess is that one of them that was NOT in your top three was, “Want a cool looking website.” Why? Because businesses don’t urgently need cool looking websites. However, that’s not an unusual marketing message from a website developer is it? Why? Because to the website designer that’s what matters. However, as much as a buyer might like a cool looking website, that’s not an urgent want.
On the other hand, a far more likely urgent want would be one for a business owner who has a website that doesn’t generate enough leads and the result of that poor result is that their sales are flat—which means the business owner isn’t sure how they’re going to make payroll this month. Or another more urgent want might be one for a business owner who feels their core product or service is stuck as a commodity purchase and wants to differentiate their product/service so they can become the obvious choice in their market.
In other words, the more you focus on urgent wants vs. just regular wants or needs, the more effective your marketing efforts will be.
So, how are you doing at focusing your message on what your audience urgently wants? Take a look at your current marketing collateral and see if your gut is correct?
III. Hook Them Immediately
Have you ever gone to a news site that you reference daily (like FoxNews or YahooNews or the HuffingtonPost, etc.) and noticed throughout the day that the same news article has different headings attached to it? For example
- Taylor Swift Disses Kanye
- It’s an All-Out War for Taylor
- You’ll Never Believe This About Taylor
- Taylor Swift’s Latest Tweet
- Taylor Swift Kills It
- Could This Be the End of Taylor Swift
Have you ever wondered what’s going on? Same article. Different headlines. Well, what’s happening is that online news companies want as many eyeballs as possible to read their articles. In order to do that they’ll test a number of headlines (often 5-10, sometimes more) and let people like you and me decide whichever headline has the greatest pull. After several hours, they cut their losers and then, over the next 24 hours, reduce down until they have one winner which they keep.
But the two key ideas worth taking from that illustration are that 1. The hook matters. If someone isn’t hooked immediately, then they’re not going to read the article. Likewise, if you don’t hook someone immediately with your headline (and your first paragraph), your product/service is irrelevant. They won’t read any more.
And 2. you need to keep testing in order to discover what hooks people. Assuming that we know what’s best is a fools game. The people we’re trying to market to are the only ones who really know what they respond to the best.
So, take a look at your headlines in all your marketing collateral (along with the first paragraph or bullet points). Do they hook immediately or not? Then check with some people in your target market (note: always give people at least three choices to pick from). And then, when you’re ready, start creating some A/B tests to see what people actually do (vs. say they’re going to do).
Remember, if you don’t hook someone immediately (headline and first paragraph) everything else is moot. You can’t hook ten minutes in (they’re gone). You can only continue to re-hook them after you’ve caught their attention right off the bat.
IV. Make Them Believe Your Solution Is the Best Option For Them
So far, my recommendations have been on the front end—what to do to capture people’s attention (know them better than anyone else, focus on their urgent wants and hook them immediately). And each of those is critically important in our attention-deficit world where it’s hard to stand out from all the noise.
However, as critical as those three are, they won’t actually produce the results you want if you don’t work on improving this fourth idea—convincing your prospect that your solution (product or service) is the best option for them.
While we like to think that whatever we offer is the best option, most of our buyers/prospects are skeptical of us. They know that there are lots of different ways to solve their problem or fulfill their dream so the only way to get the sale is to convince them that your option is the best option for them (and secondarily, best for your market place).
For example, let’s say you’re selling a CRM for a sales organization. Every one of your potential buyers knows that there are quite a few options in this space. So, how is it that what you’re offering is better than
- PipelineDeals, etc.
What is it that sets you apart?
For example, PipeDrive uses a visual pipeline (kind of like post it notes®) that you can drop and drag through the sales pipeline that you design—that’s very different than the way most CRMs work. So if you’re selling to visually-driven business owners or sales executives, PipeDrive could be the best option for them. It’s also very easy to design and work with. However, it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that a SalesForce has.
In other words, if you were pitching for PipeDrive, you wouldn’t pitch to a Fortune 500 company. You’d pitch to that small business owner who knows they need a CRM to manage their pipeline beyond a spreadsheet (or a notebook or their memory 🙂 who likes a visual representation (could be a Mac user over a PC user 🙂 and doesn’t want to have to pay a consultant to come in and set up a complex sales pipeline. For this kind of person, PipeDrive is a perfect solution.
If you’d like to see an example of how I do this, check out this page >>
So, when you look at what you’re offering, for whom is it a perfect solution? And then how can you communicate that what you’re offering is perfect for them over every other option in your market space?
Well, there you have it. Four keys to immediately improving every marketing effort your business makes. None of these are costly. None of them are things you can’t implement today. And none of them require you to spend a lot of money.
All they require is some brain time and some follow through.
- Get greater clarity on your who
- Focus on their urgent wants
- Hook them immediately
- Make them believe that your solution is the best option for them
If you regularly follow these four ideas, you’ll immediately see the effectiveness of your marketing efforts skyrocket.
To your accelerated success!
P.S. If you have some additional ideas on how to immediately improve marketing effectiveness, make sure you add your comments to the comments section below (or click here >> if you’re reading this by email or RSS)