Your B2B Blog – Knowing the WHY

Determine the Why – Clarifying Your Goals

As earlier shown, it’s clear that there are many benefits of including a blog in your B2B marketing arsenal.

Let’s assume for now that you’ve developed an overall marketing plan that includes regular articles for the purpose of keeping your website current, providing useful information, and being search engine friendly. You may have additional reasons as well. Before writing, it’s important to ask yourself why this specific blog is relevant and what purpose it serves. 

target with bullseye

Before you begin to write an article, you must answer the first question: Why?

What is the purpose of this article? 

Is it to inform?
  • A blog is a great way to announce a new product or service. Tell the story of how the new product came to be and how you vision it helping your prospects.
  • You can introduce a new member of the staff. Provide a photo and bio of the new addition and how they were added to your team to better serve your clients.
  • Let your customers know about upcoming events, such as trade shows, conferences, speakers, or workshops. Provide a link to the sign up page.
Is it to teach or demonstrate?
  • Your blog can act as a resource for customers to learn. They can watch videos of your equipment in action, or see a demonstration of techniques on how to best use your products or services.
  • Blogs are a great way to share your knowledge about your industry with articles about insider secrets and trends. From, “How to identify well made garments” to “What’s new in beekeeper technology” — you’ll stand out as an expert.
Is it to sell?
  • While generally a blog is not used as a sales letter, it can do the work of selling. This should only be done occasionally, not as a regular practice. You can lose your prospect’s trust if not done carefully.
  • When announcing a new product, offer a special one time discount.
  • If there’s a significant event, such as a move, along with the announcement you can offer a blow out sale.
  • Story sells. Telling your story and creating a desire, your customer will want to buy without you getting “sales-y” on them.
Is it for another purpose?
  • Your sales team can probably shed some light on the most frequently asked questions, and that’s a good place to start.
  • Blogging can give a voice to your company that would otherwise be unknown. You can be hip and trendy, funny and entertaining, nerdy and technical, smart and sassy, authoritative, or any persona that fits with your company culture and goals.

What is the desired outcome of this article?

  • Determine if the goal of this article is to motivate the reader to do something, or simply to answer questions they may have, providing some comfort to them.
  • If there is a desired action, determine what that action is, and make sure you ask for it. Never leave your audience guessing at what you want them to do next.
  • A call to action can be anything from — “Buy now” — “See more” — “Share your experience below” — with a visible button to click on. (If you encourage comments, be sure to designate someone to respond. More on that in a later post.)

Hopefully this has provided some inspiration to get things moving forward on developing a blog for your B2B website. As always, I’m here to help when you need me.  

 

Cindy White is a freelance copywriter specializing in helping businesses reach their target markets for increased sales and improved client relations through compelling, well-crafted copy. Initial consultations are always free of charge. 

What’s Become of the Company Blog?

Preparing Client-Attracting B2B Blog Posts

Savvy marketers know the importance of implementing a B2B blog as part of their marketing strategy, but not every company is equipped to make it happen.

If you’re finding the idea of starting or staying consistent with your company blog overwhelming, you’re not alone.

blog spelled out with blocks

Do any of these sound familiar? 

•Too time-consuming to organize a blog.

•No clue how to do it.

•Don’t know where to start.

•Not sure what to write about.

•Too hard to keep up with it.

•No one on staff that can write well.

•Don’t see what’s the big deal about a blog.

As I said, you’re not alone. Your inbox and to-do list are busting at the seams as it is — am I right?

Research shows that although a high percentage of businesses have a blog, countless blogs are sitting dormant from neglect.

Today we’re going to cover the most basic questions:

What is a blog and why do I need one?

Blogging, once simply a form of online journaling, has evolved to become an integral part of doing business in this online world. Business-to-Business companies are now adding blogs to their arsenal of marketing tools, and for good reason.

A blog is a powerful lead generation tool, as it increases followers and draws new prospects to your website through social media sharing and search engine searches. Blogs with a lot of activity make Google happy (This may or may not be the technical term).

Blogs also keep your website fresh with new content and are valuable for lead nurturing as well. Both prospective and existing customers will return to your website time and again to seek information and find answers.

A blog post is an article that gives your audience something of value. It can be used to showcase or demonstrate products, advertise events, answer frequently asked questions (FAQ), bring ideas to light, and more. Done well, it can set you apart as a thought leader in your industry.

Staying on Top

Savvy customers do their homework. They’re coming to your website before calling you or coming into your business. Your blog can showcase your expertise, and allow Google to send prospects to your website with their questions, instead of to your competitor’s.

One reason many companies fail to get their blog launched is a shortage of good writers. Whether you intend to write the articles yourself or hand the assignment off to a professional copywriter, you will first need to answer some important questions.

Asking the Right Questions

Why? – Before writing your article, you need to clarify the purpose and intended outcome.

Who? – Identify your target audience and their needs.

What? – Determine the topic and choose the content to be included.

How? – Create a system for writing that maintains a consistent style and voice.

Where and When? – Establish a plan for publishing your blog posts through the appropriate channels.

I’ll cover these questions is detail in upcoming blogs.

Getting Help

Very few business professionals have time to write their company blog while running a business. Hiring a freelance content writer is the most common, cost saving, and effective way to achieve your goals. If you have questions about outsourcing your B2B blog, contact me for more information.

Cindy White is a freelance copywriter specializing in helping businesses reach their target markets for increased sales and improved client relations through compelling, well-crafted copy. Initial consultations are always free of charge. 

The 3 Questions Your Website Content Must Answer

It’s not uncommon to spend a good amount of time and money developing a website that looks crisp and modern and functions well. And those things are super important.

When a prospect comes to your website, it’s what’s inside that counts. And the thing your website content must do is answer their need.

 

question mark

 

Your prospects may have many questions for you. But when they get to your website, it comes down to three fundamental questions:

  1. Can you help me?
  2. Can I trust you?
  3. Now What?

 

These are the questions you need to answer beyond a doubt, and the first two quickly. Because with just a click, that prospect could be gone for good. According to recent studies on attention span, you have about 8 seconds. (Which is one second less than a gold fish, by the way.)

The Home Page

Your home page answers the first question, “Can you help me?” It has to tell the reader, “Yes, this is where you belong, and I can definitely help you”. This page is NOT about you! Your visitor is searching for something that will solve their problem and/or make their life better in some way. They didn’t come to read your brag-sheet.

Make your home page about the prospect. State the problem they came to resolve, and show them you have the solution.

This is your first impression moment. Don’t blow it. It only takes one click to leave your website — forever.

The About Page

Your About page, or Biography, will tell your prospect who you are. This is where you talk about yourself.

But consider that the visitor is STILL looking out for themselves. You must make it clear why you are the right person/business/coach for them. Show how you are uniquely qualified to solve their problem.

Their primary concern is, “I’m going to be working closely with this person. Are we going to get along? Is their personality a good fit with mine? Can I trust them?”

Now, it’ll be up to them to decide if they like you or not. It’s your job to provide an honest view of yourself. (A little social proof  wouldn’t hurt either.)

It is crucial to be your true self here. Your prospects need to decide for themselves if they like and trust you. There’s no benefit in putting up a false front when you’re ultimately going to be working one-on-one with this person. If they discover you’re a fake they’ll feel betrayed. Trust is the key to your success.

Don’t be concerned with those that don’t like you for who you really are. You wouldn’t want to work with them anyway, would you? Of course not.

First or Third?

Whether you write your website content in first-person or third is up to you. I’ve found no clear data showing one is better than the other. Often it depends on the type of business.

Websites written in third-person give the impression of a bigger organization. It works well for companies with staff. Bios written in third-person carry a voice of authority. (And it can be a little easier to brag about yourself in third-person, too.)

My feelings are that the more personal the service you offer, the more likely someone will be looking for a personal connection, like talking to a friend. It’s perfectly fine to have both, such as first-person on the Home Page and third-person on the Bio or About Page. Experiment to see which seems a better fit.

That Last Question

Although the first two questions are mandatory in order to capture attention, there is one more that is crucial. Without this piece, you may still lose the prospect.

“What do I do now?”

inspecting website content

The Call To Action, or CTA, is vital in moving the prospect from curious-to-client. You must tell them what to do next.

Whether you want them to sign up for your mailing list, or simply to give you a call, you must tell them so clearly. Perhaps there’s another page of your website you want to move them to. Say so and provide the link. Confusion causes inaction.

Never assume someone visiting your website is familiar with what you do or how you do it. Provide what they need to know, in simple, concise language, and you will win their trust, and hopefully their business.

 

Cindy White is a freelance copywriter specializing in helping businesses reach their target markets for increased sales and improved client relations through compelling, well-crafted copy. Initial consultations are always free of charge. 

The 6 Secret “Wants” of a Small Business Owner

How to give your client what they want, not just what they need

Every year my young children would write out their Christmas lists with joyful anticipation. They listed all the things they could think of that they wanted.

You know what they didn’t include on their lists? Socks and underwear. They didn’t write down food, towels, sheets, school supplies, or toothbrush. Even though they needed those things, and I was going to buy them, they only listed what they wanted.

Now, what kind of parent would I be if I only gave them what they needed, and not what they wanted? There’s nothing like the joy of seeing your child’s face light up when they unwrap that toy they so badly wanted. Wouldn’t it be great if we could get that kind of reaction from our customers?

The truth is, anyone can give them what they need. Need implies the very basic requirement. Like a toothbrush.

But I’m going to assume that you’re building your business on providing more than the basics. If you strive for excellence, this list will interest you.

#1 – Fast Delivery                          

“I WANT IT, AND I WANT IT NOW”


Whether you sell parts, supplies, or a service, when your customer wants it, they want it now. Lead time isn’t a luxury afforded to the small business owner. I’m not implying that small business owners are disorganized, rather it’s a fast paced “need-it-now” world.

And let’s face it, sometimes things go wrong. Ok, all the time things go wrong. Employees break things, orders get screwed up, and things slip through the cracks. If you can deliver fast, you’ll be a hero.

Also, keep in mind that you are selling to someone trying to make their customer happy. It’s stressful to be the middleman, so they love it when their supplier comes through in a pinch.

Do your best to get your client what they need as fast as possible, but always communicate honestly and avoid over promising. They may be giving their customer promises based on your promises.

#2 – Patient Understanding            hands holding a hand

“BE NICE TO ME, I’VE HAD A HARD DAY”                                 

Let’s face it, life is hard. Most of us have to leave our problems at the door and do our job for 8 hours until we can go home. For the small business owner, however, it’s not that easy. Many put in extraordinarily long hours to get it all done.

The independent business owner wears many hats. They are solely responsible for every aspect of their operation, from staffing to inventory, to facilities, to accounting, to customer service, and more.

He or she doesn’t know your business like they know their own. Expecting them to understand your “lingo” is unfair, so good communication is key to avoiding frustration. (see blog: 7 Ways to Avoid Frustrating Your Prospects)

So if an order comes in with something questionable, take the time to follow up and clarify. If a rare payment is one day late, consider a grace period. If they have to call you six times a day for support, kindly give support.

Anytime you can give some extra care, you’ll go a long way toward nurturing a relationship. Which brings me to the next point.

woman talking on phone#3 – A Relationship

“I WANT A  FRIEND”

Joe needs to order some widgets. They’re nothing special, but he’s not sure which type are best for his purpose. Joe has the choice of three vendors he can order from. Who does he choose? Joe chooses the vendor that he can call up, get a real person, ask his question, and not feel stupid.

He chooses the person, not the company.

The small business owner wants to have a “go-to guy” that’s going to take care of him. Whether you send out sales reps, or have a dedicated order specialist, making the effort to build rapport and trust between two actual people creates a sense of loyalty.

Small business owners are loyal, and this means your business will stay top of mind and top of the list for buying decisions.

#4 – Valuepiggy bank

“I WANT THE BEST I CAN AFFORD”

Small businesses run on tight budgets so AFFORDABILITY is crucial. Many small business owners find they have to offer discounts to be competitive with the big guys, leaving profit margins even smaller.

They want a good value. They need to get a little more for their money where they can. Offering quantity discounts, easy terms, and/or incentives will be very appreciated.

The other side of value is QUALITY. While looking for a bargain price, they still need reliable products and services. Anything of poor quality risks damaging their reputation when something goes wrong. And trust me, they will throw the blame all over you before they lose face with their customer.

#5 – Clear Informationfemale with magnifying glass to eye

“MAKE THIS EASY FOR ME”

Remember, they’re busy people. They don’t have time to sort through a hard to read catalog or confusing website. They’re very likely to become quite agitated by hard-to-follow instructions. Make your processes as user-friendly as possible. This person is hoping for a straight shot down the path of least resistance.

As I mentioned before, stay away from using language specific to your industry if that’s not common to theirs. Don’t assume everyone knows your business. They’re busy knowing theirs.

Transparency in pricing is another hot button. Your prospect wants a ballpark idea whether doing business with you is even an option before wasting their time and yours.

Your prospect wants to know what to do, what will happen next, and what to expect at all times. Giving clear instruction is key to a powerful email campaign, especially when it comes to a call to action.

Life comes with enough surprises, thank you very much. Be clear and concise in your communications.

#6 – Help!hand reaching forward

“TEACH ME WHAT I NEED TO KNOW”

They may not ask for it. They may not know how to ask for it. But most small business owners want help. It’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed.

Anything you can give your client that can increase product knowledge and develop best practices is a gift that will bring that Christmas morning joy.

Consider the following ways you can help your clients:

  • PRODUCT FACT SHEETS provide information valuable in aiding them to better understand and explain features and benefits to their own customers.
  • TESTIMONIALS not only give them added confidence in your company and product or service, it builds their arsenal of talking points for promoting it themselves.
  • BEST PRACTICES SHEETS assure your client is using your product or service correctly and most effectively, protecting everyone’s reputation.
  • HOW-TO VIDEOS are a great tool, providing a “show me” option for those who learn better through that modality.
  • BLOGS are your perfect outlet for providing information of all kinds to your prospects and clients. Blogs can include:
    • video demonstrationsblog spelled out with blocks
    • new technology advancements
    • product descriptions
    • Industry changes
    • trade secrets
    • and much more

This is where you can introduce new products and services, new staff members, new ideas. You have a wealth of information, so share it! 

With this insight into the secret desires of the small business owner, you can put effort into those areas that are going to make you shine with your clients.

For ideas and help creating a blog that’ll give your clients more of what they want from you, download Your Guide to Preparing Client-Attracting Blog Posts using the form below.

If you have any questions or comments about meeting the wants of your small business client, share them in the reply box below. I’m here to help.

 

Cindy White is a freelance copywriter specializing in helping businesses reach their target markets for increased sales and improved client relations through compelling, well-crafted copy. Initial consultations are always free of charge. 

Courtship Style Prospecting: Winning the Heart

man bringing flowers to woman

Reaching and finding success with a prospect and converting them to a customer is not unlike a courtship. If you’ve ever entered the world of adult dating, you can relate to this comparison.

The upside here is that you don’t have to take things so personally, since rejection, although undesirable, isn’t going to damage your self worth and psyche. It’s just business. Nevertheless, the goal is to win the heart of your prospect and build a lasting relationship.

Here are tips to finding and winning the client of your dreams. I’ve used the “she” pronoun, assuming the old fashioned courtship model, but you’ll get the point.

Be where she’ll be 

Determine who your dream girl is. What is it you’re looking for? Who’s your perfect match? If she’s the sporty type, you have to show up at the gym, or hiking meet-ups. To attract an intellectual type, attend seminars and lectures. Maybe she’s a socialite, therefore attend parties and galas. If she’s just a fun ‘ol country girl, the country bar might be your destination. Learn who she is and what she loves and show up. It’s possible you may meet her online where you can narrow down those specific likes and personality traits and connect there.

Finding your ideal client requires “hanging out” in the right places. Identify who your prospect is. Who needs what you sell? Describe the person that defines your intended customer. Then you can find out where that person is spending their time and money.

What social media are they using? Which magazines are they reading? What websites are they searching? Go to them and learn about them.

 Learn her core values  

Once you’ve made the initial connection, you need to find out even more about her. What makes her cry, what makes her laugh? How does she like her coffee, or is she a tea drinker? What’s her favorite thing about her job, as well as her pain points? Learn about her dreams and passions.

Through the use of online resources such as Google analytics, Amazon reviews, social media pages, and chat rooms, you can learn what your prospect wants and the key words they use. Knowing these key words is invaluable when it comes to writing copy that connects and converts.

Begin the courtship

Make it all about her. Let her pick the movie, bring her flowers and her favorite candy. Little gifts with no strings attached show you care and make her feel safe and valued.

We all put up barriers when we feel like we’re being sold to. Any time you can offer something of value for free, this helps to break down those barriers. Being generous goes a long way toward showing you know and care about your client.

Consider what you can give prospects, such as an ebook, a guide, or a product sample, that would alleviate any fears they may have of moving forward.

Share who you are

She wants to know you better now and needs to feel safe with you. She wants to be sure your values match up with hers. She’s testing carefully now to be sure she’s not making a mistake. Her radar is on. If you’re being fake or hiding something, she’s going to find out and she’s ready to bail the moment she does.

Don’t be a jerk. Believe me, it won’t take her long to figure out she can do better.

Being transparent in business dealings is always the right thing to do. But when trying to win the trust (and money) of your prospect, never resort to clever words to disguise the truth or underplay any problem areas. One sniff that you’re hiding something and you’re likely to lose any hope of closing a deal.

Anything that affects the client, such as shipping schedules, future up-sells, and quantity limits for example, need to be addressed. Offering a money-back guarantee can alleviate a plethora of concerns.

You’ve gained her trust 

Now that she knows you won’t hurt her, she’s receptive to your affections. She wants to feel your touch and connect at a more intimate level. It’s time to start building a relationship together. She’s ready to take your hand and let you lead her to the next level.

Once you’ve won her heart, here is your reward.

  1. You’re a keeper. She’s anxious now to introduce you to her friends and family. You’ve given her plenty of reason to be proud of you and she wants to tell everyone she knows. You’re a part of her life now, and just thinking of you makes her smile.
  2. She’s making plans for the future. She’s looking forward to having you in her life for the long haul. Help her with that vision and show her what it will look like to build a future together. Make her promises you plan to keep.
  3. Don’t mess up. She’s put her trust in you so you better keep earning it. If you betray that trust, well… you know what they say, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” Simple mistakes may get you second chances, but if you screw up bad, like lying or cheating, not only will you lose her, she’ll be sure to tell everyone she knows about  it.

Happy customers are loyal customers

Finding the right customers for your product or services will allow you to stay targeted in your marketing efforts. Identify the wants and needs of your prospect, along with the language they use to find what they’re looking for. This allows you to create copy that gets right to the heart. And that’s right where you want to be. Be giving and trustworthy, and you can stay there.

Keeping your marketing, communications, and business practices customer-centric makes you a valued partner for life.

And they lived happily ever after.

P.S. If you’re actually single, and entering the dating world, you’re welcome. These tips can work for you, too.

 

Cindy White is a freelance copywriter specializing in helping businesses reach their target markets for increased sales and improved client relations through compelling, well-crafted copy. Initial consultations are always free of charge. 

2017 – It’s All In Your Head

Most of us will enter the new year with fresh hope. We hope things will be better, that we’ll earn more money, get more organized, lose that weight, have more fun.

One manager I worked for used to say, “Hope is not a plan”. Ok, to be honest, I hated that saying. It’s frustrating to be asked for a goal and then when you say, “I hope to accomplish ______ today” to be told that answer won’t do.

“Hope is not a plan”

But he was right, it’s not a plan. Hope is a feeling of expectation or desire. A plan requires a defined outcome and the action steps it takes to get there. That’s where I want to start my new year goal-setting.

Mindset

It starts in your head — that place where the voices emerge to tell you you’re not good enough, or the obstacles are too great, or whatever lie we might choose to believe. But this year, don’t listen to those voices.

Food For The Right Thoughts

Here are a few simple (or not so simple) steps to getting your head on-board for a terrific new year. 

  1. Review the last year and notice what worked and what didn’t. This is not an exercise in self-abuse, but a simple course correction. Make a few notes, but no beating yourself up.
  2. Get a picture of where you want to be at the end of 2017. This should include these four areas: Vocation and Income, Lifestyle, Health and Well-being, and Relationships.
  3. Reverse engineer each goal to determine the necessary action steps that will get you there. What do you need to accomplish each day/week/month to get there? You can find plenty of goal-setting resources online to help you organize that.
  4. Obtain a “let it go” attitude. You will never move forward if you’re holding onto past pain, clutter, guilt, unforgiveness, or outdated thinking. Out with the old, in with the new.
  5. Be the best version of yourself. Each of us are created with unique abilities. The world needs what only you have. Your strengths will take you the direction you were meant to go. Identify what they are and go there. Focusing on your weaknesses is like backing up over tire spikes. It’ll stop you in your tracks.
  6. Commit to being a willing learner. If there are areas you need to grow, do it. But remember, you don’t need “fixed”, you need equipped. When you decide you “know enough” is when you stop growing, and that’s when you stop living.
  7. Get the hell out of your comfort zone. Nothing good happens in your comfort zone. If you’re afraid, that means you’re probably on the right path. Acknowledge your fear, pat it on the head, and set it down in a comfy chair. Then get on with being brave. That’s the place where growth and success happen.

“Nothing good happens in your comfort zone”

Count It All Success

It’s great to make your lists and have your plans, but it comes to nothing without the action to make it a reality. I’m a big fan of baby steps. Forward motion of any degree is still moving forward. Success breeds success. Celebrating even the smallest accomplishments will fuel you into further success.

Even the occasional “failure” needs to be counted a success. After all, didn’t you learn something from it?

Find the motivational quote that resonates with you and post that on your mirror, make it your screen saver, and put it on your dashboard. Feed your mind the right fuel and 2017 will be a year you can one day look back on and know you did a fine job of it.

“When you decide you ‘know enough’ is when you stop growing, and that’s when you stop living.”

Cindy White is a freelance copywriter specializing in helping businesses reach their target markets for increased sales and improved client relations through compelling, well-crafted copy. Initial consultations are always free of charge. 

Tearing Down The Walls Of Sales Aversion

face painted on wall

 

Our Aversion 

Most of us suffer from sales aversion to the point we shut down at the mere hint of a sales pitch. Someone comes to the door and you “politely” shut it in their face. Whatever it is, you don’t want it, right?

We often inquire of our friends their favorite restaurant, or the name of a good mechanic. We’ll ask for the name of a doctor or an all-natural deodorant. But the moment someone openly shares these things unsolicited, the walls go up.

I know, I’m guilty of it, too. There’s just something inside us that rises up to guard us against being taken advantage of.  It’s a wall of protection even friendship struggles to break through.

Your friends love to hear about your adventures, failures, successes. They don’t mind seeing pictures of your cat or your dinner. They don’t even mind hearing your review of a restaurant or movie. But don’t — whatever you do — share a product you sell. 

Tell them you’ve seen great results with product XYZ and you might as well have leprosy.

Fool Me Once…

We have to go back to early childhood to find the root of this aversion. At some point in everyone’s life, there was a time when we were made to feel like a fool. You made a childish mistake, and someone laughed at you. Someone you trusted.

As a teen, you made a hasty purchase with your meager allowance, and soon had buyer’s remorse. You felt shame.

Maybe a time or two you’ve gotten into a business venture that turned out to be too good to be true, and you dragged some others in with you. You felt like a public failure.

In order to protect ourselves from this feeling of shame and embarrassment, we put up a barrier that says, “You can’t fool me.” And every time we let down this barrier and get fooled again (and we do), the next time the barrier is thicker.

It’s not as if we don’t like to buy things. Look around the malls and you can see we love to buy. We are a consumer society. Online shopping is an ever expanding marketplace. So truly, we do want to be sold to, we just don’t want to feel stupid.

How Proof Breaks Down The Wall

To sell your products, you’ve got to get past the thick wall of objection. One way to do that is to give assurance through proof.

There are three kinds of proof you can use to assure your prospect they won’t be foolish to buy from you. All of these help to build credibility.

Testimonies: When you share a testimony you give your prospect third-party proof that your product really does what you said it does. This is the success story, the satisfied customer, the referral from someone like them. The more of these you can provide, the more you chip away at that wall. Your prospect might not trust you yet, but they’ll trust the guy with nothing to gain. This kind of “social proof” goes a long way.

And if a picture paints a thousand words, a good before and after photo will speak ten-thousand.

Endorsements: Another third-party proof, these are the words of an expert. A doctor, a financial guru, a scientist — whoever is well qualified to speak of your product’s quality or value can make a good endorsement.

Solid validation can come in the form of charts, graphs, statistics and other visual elements of proof as well.

Large corporations often use celebrities to endorse their products. Although they aren’t experts, many people admire them and want to emulate them. But buyers aren’t dumb. They know full well these celebrities are generously paid for their endorsement.

Personal Profiles: This is commonly used with high-tech or medical products. Although your own testimony carries little weight when you’re the one that will profit, if your product is designed by a scientist or other expert, it can be worthwhile to show their credentials. Buyers want to know just what qualifies you to produce such a thing, and this proof of expertise will help to alleviate doubts.

Building Trust

Understanding your prospect’s obstacles to buying will help you in forming a strategic plan whereby you can gain his trust. With the right proofs, you take away the bricks from his wall and give assurance that he won’t feel like a fool for buying from you. You give him reasons to justify the purchase to himself and to others.

This, however, is just one tool for success that includes other trust building elements. You’ll need a compelling story, a powerful promise, meaningful features and benefits, an emotional connection, and a strong guarantee. But without removing this obstacle, you’re just likely to hit a dead-end.

 

Cindy White is a freelance copywriter specializing in helping businesses reach their target markets for increased sales and improved client relations through compelling, well-crafted copy. Initial consultations are always free of charge. 

7 Ways To Avoid Frustrating Your Prospect

alone-62253_1920

Are you accidentally frustrating your prospects with the wrong words?

Back when I worked in the banking world, I constantly had to paddle my way through a muddy river of acronyms and corporate lingo. It was like a mystery decipher game. Where was my decoder ring?

I always suspected that somebody got paid a lot of money to make up that nonsense. I bet they felt pretty smart. The problem was, it didn’t help make anyone more productive or successful. Kind of the opposite, actually.

Hey, guess what. Industry-speak doesn’t always work with your employees (evident by the eye rolling), and it never works on your customers. It’s not that they aren’t smart enough. On the contrary. It’s just that they’re busy knowing their own business. Don’t make them learn yours.

“Your written content is only useful if it communicates its desired message to the intended audience.”

Never assume that others understand your business language.

Those code words that are meant to shortcut communications within your industry are a foreign language to everyone else. There are two scenarios:

  1. You make them feel stupid and they choose not to do business with you.
  2. They pretend they know what you’re talking about and you end up with misunderstandings.

Your written content is only useful if it communicates its desired message to the intended audience. A message misunderstood is a waste of time and resources, and can create frustration. Frustration is the last thing you want to create! It neither motivates staff, nor sells your product.

When creating written content, always keep the following tips in mind:
  1. Spell it out. Avoid using acronyms or “lingo” until you’ve spelled out the full meaning at least once. And only use it if necessary.
  2. Talk to me like I’m 5. Or at least like I’m a fifth grader. Don’t talk down to people, but use words that are easy to read and understand. One measurement often used by copywriters is something called the Flesch-Kincaid (FK) Score. It’s a tool used to measure readability of a written piece, expressed as a grade level. Personally I seldom use it, because I naturally write at a fifth grade level. Remember, readability is an important key to understanding the message.
  3. Be a good friend. Keep a conversational tone and your prospect will see you as someone that understands them and has their best interest at heart. Be kind and helpful in order to build the trust that bridges your reader from prospect to customer.
  4. Use shorter sentences. Long, run on sentences, although they may contain much valuable information, can sometimes lose the attention of, or become a burden to, the busy, distracted reader, thereby losing hope of your message making its intended impact. In other words, Long sentences are burdensome. To make your point, keep it short.
  5. Write for the skimmers. The truth is, most people don’t actually read, they scan. The headline is the first, and most important element. Make it awesome. After that, subheads, followed by the summary at the bottom. If they see value in that much, they’ll hopefully go back and read the rest. Make it worth their time.
  6. Tell me what I need to know. Show your reader they’ve come to the right place. To overload your reader with unsolicited information can cause a mental road block (unless it’s engaging and entertaining, of course). Give the necessary information with a link to further investigate as desired.
  7. Tell me what to do. Your goal is to cause an action step. Click here, buy now, fill out this form, pick up the phone, etc. Just say so. Any time your reader is unsure, the default will be to do nothing.

Your message should tell your prospect that you can help fill a need, solve a problem, and/or bring relief from some pain and frustration they have. Nobody needs additional frustration in their lives, nor do they like to feel stupid. Just tell them what they need to know and what to do next.

Most importantly, your message must provide value to the reader, and to do that, you must speak their language, not yours. 

So if you need help with defining and crafting your messaging or with any marketing materials, PICK UP THE PHONE.  Seriously though, I’d love to talk to you about your needs, so call me. Or send me a message here.

 

Cindy White is a freelance copywriter specializing in helping businesses reach their target markets for increased sales and improved client relations through compelling, well-crafted copy. Initial consultations are always free of charge. 

Taking Independence Too Far?

Independence Vs. Bad Judgment 

My friend Steve considers himself a pretty handy guy. So when his car needed a brake job, he figured he’d just spend a Sunday and do it himself. Only problem was, he didn’t have the proper tools. Or even a jack stand.

Things didn’t go well, and he broke an important piece. Being a Sunday evening, there wasn’t a thing he could do about it. On Monday morning, Steve had to have the car towed to the shop, then rent a car for two days to get back and forth to work. He was very late to work that day.

It cost Steve $450 to save $180 on a break job. Not to mention lost work hours, a bloody knuckle, and a bruised ego.

Now don’t get me wrong, being a do-it-yourselfer is admirable. I give him credit for trying. I’ve tackled my fair share of clogged toilets and household projects. When a home improvement job goes a little south, it’s not the end of the world, but you can’t afford to take that risk when it comes to your business. Sometimes you just need to hire a pro.

Stick with what you do best

Many independent business owners are “independent” to a fault. We want to run our businesses from top to bottom, inside-out. But if your specialty is, say, screen printing, how pro are you at bookkeeping? Or plumbing…marketing…copywriting…web design, etc.? How can you do it all and still run your business well?

Often a small business owner will throw together a very basic website, complete with mistakes and typos. They have no marketing plan and no idea how to write effective copy. They set up a Facebook page, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media sites but they’re just too busy running their business to manage it all.

The top 4 reasons why an independent business owner might avoid hiring outside professional help (in my non-scientific opinion)
  • Underestimating the difficulty level. A job done well looks simple. If you watch a pro do his job he makes it look easy. What we don’t consider is how long it took him to get that good at it. He has the skill, the training, and the tools to do the job right.
  • Fear of the unknown. This may sound like a lame excuse, but when you honestly don’t know anyone to ask, it can be daunting to find help. There are many unknowns, such as what to look for in a professional, what it will be like having them in your space, and what’s a fair price to pay for their services.
  • It’s not in the budget. That’s a legit concern. Margins run tight in small business, and anything off the bottom line hurts. But like my friend Steve learned, the cost of doing it wrong is far higher than doing it right in the first place. You could end up paying a professional in the end, but not before causing some damage.
  • Stubbornness. A tenacious spirit can take you far in life. You are unstoppable and obstacles are merely speed bumps along the path to success. Wisdom is the helpmeet of tenacity. Wisdom guides you along the path and tells you how to navigate the challenging terrain. Listen to her.
Measuring The Cost

In Steve’s case, it’s easy to do the math and see the cost of his error in judgment. But it’s not always as easy to measure what you can’t see —the result of lost sales from not doing things the right way.

You may never know how many prospects left your website because it was hard to navigate, difficult to understand, or was littered with bad grammar and typos. Costly, because you don’t usually get a do-over when it comes to first impressions.

Perhaps your potential customers have never even heard of you, or have forgotten about you because you’re too quiet. You may be missing out on huge opportunities to capture the attention and affection of your client base through lead generation and social media.

Your audience may be waiting for the next newsletter filled with valuable content, but you’re too busy working the daily grind to create one.

There’s Help Out There

Don’t be afraid to reach out. Consulting with a solution-oriented professional will help you form a game plan, and determine an appropriate budget for your project. It doesn’t cost anything to have that conversation and clear up any questions and concerns. Chances are you will find the benefits outweigh the costs.

Being fiercely independent is how you got where you are. It’s not a bad thing at all. In fact, it’s awesome. But don’t let fear or pride keep you from delegating the things that aren’t your specialty so you can focus on the things that are.

I’d love to take a look at what you’ve got and see how we can improve your messaging. Contact me here or give me a call – 805-218-6838.

Cindy White is a freelance copywriter specializing in helping businesses reach their target markets for increased sales and improved client relations through compelling, well-crafted copy. Initial consultations are always free of charge.