Today we’ll start a new series talking all about Word of Mouth and how it can make or break your business in an extremely short amount of time. In this first lesson, we’ll get a feel for what exactly word of mouth is.
Word of Mouth is easily the most powerful form of marketing and is absolutely free. People talk about ads they see, experiences they have, and the products they purchase. If you treat people right and spread the word about your new products/services positively, you’ll attract the right customers and clients who will sustain your business for a long time.
Now, as positive as word of mouth can be for your business, the other side of the coin is how negative it can be as well. Bad news seems invariable to travel faster than good news, and if you have a less than high-quality product or weak customer service system, then your customers will tell everyone they know not to buy your products and services.
The age of technology has proved to be a fantastic benefit in the world of word of mouth. With blogs, podcasts, online marketing, forums, social networking, and all the other online mediums available, it is easier for consumers to share their experiences. And, remember this is all free advertising for you.
Let’s take a minute to discuss the importance of shortening the customer decision cycle to help customers/clients choose more quickly and easily. There are three great ways to increase sales by shortening the decision cycle. They are:
- Increase the overall dollar amount customers spend on each purchase.
- Increase your number of customers.
- Increase frequency of purchases.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at decision speed. Offer simplicity, ease, and a fun purchasing atmosphere and you’ll help your customers make their decisions quicker and more confidently. When this happens your customers will buy more frequently, spend more money than usual, refer friends, and decide to purchase more quickly. This can raise your market share by over 100 times.
The time it takes your customer to decide and purchase far outweighs any other component of marketing. When you focus on customer decision speed, it forces you to take a hard look at your company and brand image, positioning, value, customer service, guarantees, and product quality.
The next area I want to talk about quickly is how to minimize the friction, or stress, involved with decision making. No matter how easily people find decision-making, we all experience a certain amount of anxiety when making a purchase, especially from a new source or for a large amount of money. When you help minimize this emotional response, you will soothe your customers’ anxiety, and they will make their decision quicker and more confidently.
There are a few secrets to accelerate the customer’s decision making progress:
Your benefits, features, claims, and promises must be obvious, clear, and concise.
The information you offer must be complete, easy to understand, credible, and balanced.
Use comparisons that show a marked difference.
Your guarantees must be rock solid and more than the customer expects.
Make trial periods easy.
You must have simple evaluations of your products or services.
Testimonials need to be relevant and positive.
Your support, delivery, and other operational systems must be perfect.
Your website can be as good as you make it. You can offer more than information. You can offer an experience that guides your customers gently through the decision-making process to make it easy for them to buy. Take it a step beyond by offering toll-free support numbers, software downloads to help with the process or other classy and informative ways to reassure your customers that you are there with them every step of the way and have nothing to hide.
This wraps up the first post in our series on word of mouth. If you need help identifying your target market and the issues they are experiencing during their purchase that makes their decision time long, try our GUIDED TOUR and work with one of our coaches to come up with the best way to smooth out your purchasing experience.
Next time we’ll move forward with word of mouth and talk about the power of word of mouth and what precisely this powerful tool is, and what it can be used for.
Today we’ll take a look at how the kings of industry wine, dine, and otherwise cajole prospects.
Most successful professionals use a series of information-based ads that build emotion and a call to action. These are much more effective than standard company branding advertisements. The same principles that go into putting together a high impact (and, often, high priced) ad campaign can be adapted to fit your needs with similar results.
Here are some ways to put together and execute a professional, effective ad campaign:
- Put together a short report that’ll you’ll automatically send to prospects when they contact you. This should include a short description of your business and what you specialize in. Don’t forget to include case studies, samples, or other proof of your success.
- Develop value-oriented yellow page ads.
- Consider newsletters as a way of educating and informing customers about your industry and services offered.
- Offer a free seminar, webinar, or other lecture to build awareness of your business, but make sure you make the information pertinent to your target market and find speakers who are respected and known in the industry.
- Buy an existing business, introduce better marketing, and grow this new business faster than a “from scratch” business.
- Always test different versions of your ads to find the most effective ones.
- Use direct mail marketing to grow your business.
- Put together a database of previous customers and send them new information.
- Offer incentives such as frequent purchasing benefits, loyalty programs, referral programs, or others.
- Approach large firms who may need your services and negotiate a deal to be their exclusive expert in your field.
- Offer a 24-hour information line with a regularly updated recorded message. Make this available to all past and future customers/clients.
- Donate time or materials to local charities to show support in your area.
- Offer public clinics for the general public to come along and discuss what they need that’s free and approachable.
- Organize seminars your customers/clients can pay to attend by putting together a high-perception value package.
- Approach local newspapers by offering to write a weekly column about your area of expertise. Don’t ask for money, just a byline and bio.
- Develop a weekend or other destination seminar for customers/clients, not only does this give you an action-packed weekend with the most important people, it gives them a tax-deductible business adventure.
- Take a good seminar and turn it into written form as a home study, member site program, audio, or video program.
- Approach large companies and offer to give seminars to their employees, investors, or management.
- Be proactive with your marketing plan.
- Barter for your marketing. Offer products or services in lieu of payment.
- Be willing to bring in new clients, even if at an initial loss because it will likely pay off later.
- Regulate your marketing budget to maximize the potential income from them to hit the next year and try to push back advertising costs for the next year to offset your expenses.
- Make offers to target markets or target market businesses to pay them for referrals or shared databases.
- Offer loaner products to replace equipment that’s be repaired or refurbished.
- Give away something free to everyone who brings in a print version of your advertisement. This is a great way to see which ads are giving you the most bang for your buck.
- Continually consider what new products/services you can offer to current customers/clients.
- Develop a mail order division of your company.
- Offer a proposition to your competitors to trade customers/clients you were both unsuccessful in selling to.
- Use different marketing tactics as an excuse to attract new customers/clients with new offers and goodies.
- Offer a “you-choose-the-price” program. This is especially good for products you just can’t seem to sell.
So, there are 30 great ways to market to other professionals and businesses. Some other great ways to get your name out there for little or no cost are:
- Get involved in your community-volunteer, donate to local events, etc.
- Join your local Chamber of Commerce and attend networking and other activities throughout the year.
- Join local, state, or regional professional associates for further networking opportunities.
- Become a board member of a local organization.
Advertising should never be your only method of marketing, there is a myriad of ways to get your name out there in a way that feels personal to potential customers/clients.
“Effective advertising…must be used to get your name out to the public. If your name is not familiar to people, they will not come to you.” Jay Abraham
If you’re not sure where you start with your marketing plan or how to reach out to your local community, competitors, customers/clients and others who could influence your business in a highly positive way try our GUIDED TOUR to experience the tools and resources we have to boost your business to the next level and beyond.
There are three key areas of public relations you can use to boost your advertising results ten-fold over your paid advertising.
The key to public relations lie in:
- Public relation or publicity
With a solid plan in place that encompasses all these areas, you’ll have a great approach to use public relations in the best way possible.
Public relations include all that is the media. Don’t limit yourself. The attention of newspapers, television, radio, magazines, bloggers, ezines, and more are all equally powerful. Online marketing is just as, if not more, important as conventional media.
Here are the steps to get noticed by the media:
- Put together a press release for your company. The press release should be relevant to your target market and address consumer interest, not just announce your business.
- Compact your press release to include one hook and one angle. Choose the most attention-getting to make sure the media person you are sending it to is interested in reading it.
- Put your press release in professional formatting. With press releases, you need a dateline, the most important information at the top, facts, figures and wrap it up with contact details including who and how. Print the press release on your letterhead.
- Send your press release to all television and radio stations, local and metro newspapers, national newspapers, industry magazines, and any other form of media that reaches your target market. Don’t forget to include relevant blogs, ezines, press release submission sites, and industry professionals.
More importantly than a perfect press release is to make sure you have addressed the needs of your target market in the products/services you offer and made that clear in the press release. If you are provided people a solution to a problem, a way to avoid a problem and an opportunity to enhance their life the media and public will be interested.
If you have a connection (or the ability to get a connection) with a celebrity, this can practically guarantee you’ll get attention. Make sure you are offered newsworthy information and then follow up with media outlets to make sure they are publicizing that information.
“One of the most powerful techniques every business should use is free publicity. As the name implies, there is no cost, just the time and effort required to attract attention to your business.” Jay Abraham
Our GUIDED TOUR can show you how to put together press releases that work! Check out how the pros do it and craft the perfect press releases for your business.
Today you’ll learn how to use direct mail marketing and, yes, telemarketing to your full advantage. I know, the word “telemarketing” might as well be four letters, but there is a way to help customers feel like they are getting personal attention and keep them from blocking your number!
With the success direct mail marketing has had and the availability of computers, these can be used as a powerful marketing tool for your success. Telemarketing is best for high priced, high margin products/services.
Here are the key steps to putting together a highly effective direct mail marketing program:
- List all benefits customers will get from the purchase of your products and services.
- Pick the single most powerful benefit out of that list.
- Build an attention-getting headline around that benefit. Remember to use emotion-fulfill the desire to be young, wealthy, desired, popular, or successful.
- Develop a sales letter using the headline you created to grab attention, provide information, and motivate customers to act.
- Put together supplementary items, such as a brochure, order form, reply envelope, or note that encourages them to read the letter.
- Rent or purchase a mailing list.
- Compare the cost of mailing vs. cost per order.
- Continue to test and refine your direct mail marketing plan.
You can see how direct mail marketing can help you find a local or even country-wide target market to send letters or postcards to and draw in new clientele and customers. Fine-tuning your marketing campaign will bring better results and therefore lower the overall cost of the campaign.
To be successful in telemarketing you need to:
- Put together a plan, so you know exactly what you want to accomplish during the call.
- Develop a list of topics to discuss and the questions you want to present around these topics.
- Input verbiage checking to see if you are calling at a good time.
- Include enough questions to keep the conversation interesting, but not too many to sound like you are interrogating.
- Start with broad questions and narrow your focus as the conversation continues.
- Offer feedback to show them you are paying attention and appreciate their time.
- Don’t insult their intelligence or manipulate them.
- Listen first, talk second.
- Be relaxed and conversational.
Telemarketing doesn’t have to be the trauma it’s made out to be. You can put together an honest, personal, and effective telemarketing campaign that is endearing, informative and gets the job done. Think of how you would want to be treated on a marketing call. Ask your friends and family what they hate most about the telemarketing calls they get and work hard to craft your plan in a better way.
“When selling by telephone, you have approximately thirty seconds to convince the customer to listen to you. You need an opening statement that captures their attention, conveys who you are, what you want and why the prospect should listen.” Jay Abraham
It’s easy to see how direct mail marketing and telemarketing can positively affect your business by bringing in new customers and increasing the level of awareness about your products, services, and company branding. Our GUIDED TOUR offers the resources and tools you need to work through these processes and put together the best marketing plan you can.
There are 5 major components to good advertising copy: (The order of these is essential to success)
- 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, you need to think about the unique benefits your products/services offer and showcase that in a persuasive way. You need to emphasize results, not features.
Let’s take a minute to talk about each of these components:
- Command Attention: This is usually accomplished with the headline. You need an attention-getter that makes people want to know more about your products/services. The best headlines give a vivid portrayal of the benefits or show how a problem can be avoided with your products/services. The headline is the advertisement for the advertisement.
- Showcase 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. Include useful, factual, and clear information to show precisely what the benefits are and how they are going to help the customer.
- Offer Proof: This is where you prove what the advertisement is offering. You need to establish you have a method to deliver. Consider information that establishes credibility and past performance.
- Persuade: You need to add compelling reasons for your potential customers to purchase your products/services. Use a hard sell approach and create scarcity. This will enact your potential customers to feel like they have to act now. Which leads to the last component.
- Call to Action: You need to compel your potential customers to DO something. They need to check out your site, sign up for your newsletter, purchase your products, contact you about services…something. Offer a freebie-a booklet, sample, product, bonus, demo, consult, limited time price…the list goes on. There are lots of ways to get potential customers excited about ordering and help them feel like they are getting an amazing deal.
Good advertisements include all of these 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. We can help you with this too. Try our GUIDED TOUR to learn how to put together great advertisements from some of the best in the business.