Posts Tagged ‘prospects’

Barking cats and marketing string theory

June 27th, 2009 1 comment

This is red, the neighborhood cat.copywriter cat Last week he showed up on my porch with a huge infected gash across his face. The veterinarian drained the wound and sewed him up, and now I need to keep him inside while he heals.

He’s a fiercely independent outdoor cat, and I’m afraid he’s already bored with my silly words and amateur YouTube videos. So I gave him a toy on the end of the sting. He ignored the toy, but almost instantly fell in love with the string.

Your clients may do this from time to time, so it’s important to understand what your “string” really is.

One of the books that made my shortlist for best marketing books of 2008 was Waiting for Your Cat to Bark. There’s nothing really new or earth-shaking in the book, but they presented an important concept in a creative way: Your prospect is a cat, but you might be treating her like a dog.

In other words, if the way you’re selling and presenting doesn’t fit the needs and personality of your client, then buying is actually against their nature. It’s like expecting a cat to bark. Or selling them the toy when what they really want is the string it’s tied to.

Your job is to find the string in your business, and dangle it in front of the right cats. I had a weird experience with this last month.

Towards the end of May, I started making offers to a fresh list of prospects in a new industry. When I wrote about sales and marketing, very few of them seemed interested. But as soon as I describe copywriting in connection with social media, and suggested things like rewriting their case studies and press releases as blog posts, they were all ears.

I had assumed the social media aspect was a given, something that would automatically go with any writing I did for them. But really, this was the string that got the cat’s attention.

So how do you find the string? I stumbled on it by accident, but there are questions you should be asking yourself.

First, what are all the benefits of doing business with you? You should have an exhaustive list, and even get a little bit creative. Then look at that list and find the benefits you haven’t really stressed in your marketing. Test these out, and if your clients pounce, you know you’ve found your string.

Red is supposed to get his stitches out in a week. I’ll let you know if he starts barking.


The 1000% Growth Secret

November 11th, 2007 No comments

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You shake hands until your palm rubs off. Your eat glue for breakfast and mail postcards to qualified leads in 400 zip codes. The list of networking groups you belong to could fill the yellow pages of a small suburb.

But according to a Wharton School study, only 3% of the people you contact are going to whip out their checkbooks and credit cards and become your clients. However, a simple change in strategy can build up that 3% and increase it to 30% or more.

I’m going to tell you how to do this in the next paragraph, but don’t run off and try it out as soon as you read it. There’s a seemingly “obvious” way to make this secret work, but if you spring the trap you’ll trip over your shoelaces.

And then there’s a more effective way that you’ll miss if you don’t keep reading.

Here’s the secret: Once your prospects have gone through a getting-to-know-you phase, had their questions answered, learned more about your company, or reached the moment when they have the time/budget/immediate need, they’re ten times more likely to respond.

They somehow “raised their hand” to find out more about you. Now they’re on your list, and even though you might have to wait six months or a year, if you keep in touch with them it’s likely to pay off with either a sale or a referral.

The “obvious” way to make this happen is to keep on cranking out white papers, newsletters, direct mail, and the like to everyone who has ever expressed an interest in the products or services you offer. A lot of successful marketers recommend this, and it will bring results if you’re patient.

But here’s the twist: When you contact someone for the second, third, or ninth time, are you still treating them like it’s the first time? Or do you acknowledge the relationship you’ve started to build?

For most businesses, sending out the same generic mailing or email to everybody, month after month, isn’t going to cut it.

The way to make repeated contact is to develop a marketing pyramid. Send out different material to your prospects, depending on their level of importance.

For example, at the base of your pyramid, you’ll have your lead-generating content. This could include your elevator speech, cold-call script, and the general e-mail and tree-mail you send to cold suspects.

Your next tier would be generic “reminders.” Contact everyone who has responded to your lead-generating efforts whenever you have an announcement, such as a new product or a special offer. You want to keep in touch with this group. Treat them better than your cold leads.

This second level is where newsletters and direct mail come in handy.

Most businesses stop at the second tier. But if you want to cultivate relationships that will pay off over the long term, add a few more levels.

Your third level should be for highly-interested prospects. These are people who have approached you unsolicited. They’ve taken the initiative, so don’t let them go.

If they don’t close a deal with you right away, keep reminding them how you’re qualified to solve their problems. For example, you could break a long silence with a friendly letter and a useful article. Email them a link to a white paper the following week, and then follow up with a phone call. Keep up a steady flow of fresh information and you’ll stay on their radar.

The highest level is people who have put money in your pocket, either by doing business directly with you or sending you referrals. You want to woo them and keep them at this level.

Give them something extra that’s not available to the other levels. This is where special gifts, offers, and incentives have a role.

A decision-maker who knows your name is much more valuable to you than a stranger on a list that you compiled from a directory. And since we do business with people we know, you want to stay familiar.

These are simple concepts. Yet very few people apply them. Maybe all you need is someone to write something for you. Or a kick in the pants to actually get your content into the hands of all those prospects.

If you’re looking for ways to get more information out to more people more often, call me at 213-427-9288 and I’ll give you at least 2 ideas you can get started on immediately.

Or read the next issue, where we’ll look at 5 classic copywriting ingredients to turbo charge your company information and create high-performance marketing magnets.

To get ahead in business, you have to stand out from the competition. You have to do something different. You have to be bold.

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