Category Archives for Marketing 101

Why marketing to prospects who need you is a bad strategy

It sounds logical: if you’ve got a product or service that meets a need, then your next step is to find people or companies that need it really, really badly, because they’re the ones who are most likely to buy it. Right?

Um, no. Not if some recent research into consumer behavior has anything to say about it. In fact, the people who need you the worst may be the least likely to buy your product or service.

Why? It has to do with cat pee, cigarette smoke, and a weird quirk of human nature.

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Why your marketing plan needs an editorial calendar

When you think about marketing your business, you probably think in terms of numbers – how many prospects you’ll contact, how much revenue each campaign should generate, how many people you have in your referral network.

But smart marketers look beyond the numbers to the content – and the timing – of their marketing communications. They use an editorial calendar. Continue reading

Why your marketing materials make people go “Huh?”

A friend of mine who does a bit of on-the-side light editing for friends posed this question to me over coffee this morning:

Why do so many people’s marketing materials make me cringe?

She was quite honestly baffled.  Perfectly intelligent people, most of whom managed to get through college with at least a “C” average, would write up descriptions of their products and/or services in a way that made her look at them and go, “Huh?”

She hasn’t really studied writing per se, but she knows enough intuitively to understand that a grammatically-correct sentence isn’t necessarily a well-written one.

“All I do,” she said, puzzled, “is change the passive voice to the active voice and cut out all the extra words, and they react as if I’ve performed some sort of miracle.”

“And then,” she continued,” they come back the next time with the exact same mistakes. Why?”

The answer: They’re using The Official Style.

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Build credibility with your own domain

“Yeah, I know, he’s got a address, but we won’t hold that against him.”

It was just a humorous comment from a graphic designer friend of mine. But it really got me thinking: What impression do your prospects get from something as innocuous as a “freebie” email address?

Not a very favorable one, it turns out.

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Are you holding your sign upside-down?

One Saturday morning, I was on my way to grab an oversized latte with a friend. I pulled up to the light just outside my neighborhood and saw some local high school students hawking boxed donuts to raise money. But even though I wasn’t interested in donuts (I was craving an espresso brownie instead), one of the students caught my eye – for all the wrong reasons.

She was holding her sign upside down.

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Open Letter to a New Website Owner

I came across your marketing materials a few days ago and was impressed enough to visit your website to get more information.

Wow. And I don’t necessarily mean that in a good way.

Don’t get me wrong. You’ve obviously put a lot into your startup – a lot of time, energy, thought, maybe even money. You’ve taken a big step into the often scary world of marketing your business on the Internet, and you are to be congratulated for your pluck and forward thinking. The absolute last thing I want to do is discourage you.

But while your website is very attractive aesthetically (the logo is particularly cool), I’m afraid it’s not doing you many favors from a marketing standpoint.

How can I say that? Well, consider these points:

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The perfect testimonial

“Joe Blow is a great guy and a pleasure to do business with” may be a terrific compliment, but it’s a poor testimonial.

Good testimonials from your satisfied customers are a gift. They’re an invaluable sales tool … IF they’re worded right.

So, how do you get the perfect testimonial? Here’s how I structure testimonials I gather for clients from their customers to ensure they’re getting maximum impact:

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