Archive for August, 2009

In an ideal marketing campaign, everything you do brings your prospects one step closer to buying. This can include using a free report to pre-sell your prospect. Here are a few suggestions on how to craft your report in a way that will pre-sell your prospects so that, by the time they reach the sales letter, they are already sold.

  1. Use a nice, juicy title. People are attracted to titles; so try to come up with something different and interesting €”something that doesn't scream "free report." Make it compelling; you want people to give you their contact details in exchange for this report, so give a title that compels them to do so.
  2. Make sure it's fit-for-purpose. Every single contact you have with a prospect €”be it through your website, by telephone, in person, by email or letter €”must have a definite purpose regarding progressing your sale. And so should your free report. So think about it in that context; how does it progress your sale?
  3. It needs to have an objective. A free report is not a bunch of tips and tricks thrown into a document; it is a marketing piece that should create a state of receptivity in your prospect by helping them along in the sales process. At the end, your prospect should be more ready to buy than they were before.
  4. Focus on marketing, not sales. Peter Drucker told us that the purpose for marketing is to make sales obsolete. So, our mindset should be towards building a strong marketing campaign, not creating another sales pitch. Your free report should reflect that.
  5. Pay attention to positioning. How and where does your free report fit into your marketing campaign? At what point should it be offered? The positioning of your report is imperative to overall success. Placed correctly, it serves as a perfectly-timed prelude to your product or service.
  6. Give it value. A free report should have value beyond selling. So, include information worth reading. Make it relevant to your prospects; give them something valuable they can take away from the report itself.
  7. Keep it balanced. A well-crafted free report finds the balance between providing useful stand-alone content and the right amount of enticement to make your readers want to know more. It speaks directly and indirectly about past results, without sounding too obvious. It hints at the "more to come" without becoming an overly-aggressive sales pitch.
  8. Provide answers. Every reader will ask two things; "Who are you and why should I listen to you?" and "Why are you offering this and what will I get from it?" So make sure you answer those questions up front.

The free report can be an essential part of a strong marketing campaign; taking your prospects one step further in the progression to sales. By crafting your free report with a mind to marketing, rather than sales, by the time you're readers are finished, the selling has already been done.

When you think about advertising and marketing campaigns for your business, you are likely focusing on all the positive aspects of your offer. You probably focus on giving potential customers all the positive reasons they should use your services.

Instinctively, that's what most of us think we should be doing when we're talking about marketing.

And, yes, prospective clients can make a connection with you and your business through positive stories of personal achievement and financial success. Sharing the stories of attaining your own goals, and how you can help others do the same, helps to create logical and emotional bonds with your audience.

But, the realization of your goals is only half of your story. When you share the entire quest, the ups and downs, the hardships you've encountered, the pitfalls you've stumbled upon along the way -  this is how you can truly relate to your audience. And don't hesitate to share the potential damage your customers could face by not paying attention to what you have to offer,

On the other hand, it takes guts to talk about what went wrong and the things that didn't work in your own business. And, you may not be comfortable pointing out the negatives of someone not using your business. But actually, these are both good marketing techniques  that can work very well.

You don't need to only promote the positive case studies and positive stories. You could also tell the negative stories. Like the stories of people that you were too late to help. Or you can tell the stories of people who didn't take your advice, and how things turned out for them.

I did this with a marketing campaign that I had completely messed up. I used it as a means to make a solid connection with my audience by sharing my own negative experience. I shared how it was the one time in my life that I got a zero response. But, by using it as an example to show people what I did wrong so they could hopefully learn from my mistake, I created a strong bond with my audience.

You don't necessarily have to threaten potential customers with doom and failure if they don't follow your advice or use your services. But if you do have a relevant negative story – one that highlights the advantage that your business and your experience could have been to someone if they had only used it - don't be afraid to incorporate this in your marketing.

Last year, Perry Marshall (who writes Google AdWords) was conducting a small intensive workshop that I attended in Chicago. One of the people in our group was a fellow who was trying to get his website working. He had gone to every seminar, studied every e-book, and downloaded every course you could imagine, trying to learn how to write compelling sales copy for a certain e-book he was offering.

As we worked, we got to a point where we were all critiquing each other's copy, and everyone looked at what this e-book fellow had written. It was almost like he was doing copywriting by numbers. It was as if he had followed the process so that, on the surface, you couldn't see anything wrong with his copy. But it soon became obvious that the one thing he was really missing was emotion. He hadn't emotionally connected with his reader.

Feel Their Pain
One thing you will notice that sets great copywriting apart from mediocre copy is its emotional appeal. In fact, in my opinion, the ability to connect emotionally with your audience is the most important aspect of all.

Unfortunately, there is not really an ABC's of emotional connection. It's all about how you think and feel about your relationship with the person that you're writing for.

People are buying things or taking action not simply because it's a "good idea." It's because they are either moving away from pain or they are moving towards pleasure. So one thing that you need to be willing to do is talk about their pain, whatever that may be.

This applies even if you are writing copy for a business situation. You still want to talk about their problems. Your copy might read something like this: "So you're coming into work, and you're on the firing line. You're so busy. You can't ever seem to get on top of things. It feels like you're firefighting all the time."

Most people in businesses have experienced a situation like that at some point. It's painful. You want to relate to their pain. You want to connect with their feelings.

Find Common Ground
It is also important to meet your reader as an equal. The most powerful copy is when the writer relates to you at your level. You never want to be seen as talking down to readers, patronizing them or condescending to them. Neither do you want to appear like Oliver Twist, holding up your little begging bowl and saying, "Please, kind sir, won't you buy from me?" or "Please, busy executive, will you take a look at this?" You need to be emotionally connecting and meeting your reader as an equal.

One of the best ways to accomplish this is to have a visual in your mind when you are writing. Picture someone that you're talking to, just like you would be having a conversation together. Write down what you would be saying.

Another way of doing this, especially if you don't enjoy writing, is to get yourself a little voice recorder and role-play a conversation with an imaginary prospect. Afterwards, you can get that conversation transcribed.

If you do that, you will end up with some really great material. It will come across as very natural, compelling and lively when it's written down. That's because it will be written as we speak, with feelings that will connect emotionally with your readers.

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