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Copywriting Marketing Marketing Mistakes

Is Your Marketing Strategy Foolproof Or Foolhardy?

Do you have a Foolproof Marketing Strategy or a Foolhardy one?  To get a foolproof marketing strategy, you might want to examine your expectations.

A bit of wisdom from the Oracle of Omaha.

I could say I’ve been preaching this foolproof marketing philosophy for over 30 years (true).  Unfortunately, that won’t wash considering Mr Buffett is:

  • Quite a bit older than me
  • More than quite a bit richer than me
  • And a billion times more well-known than me

My only saving grace here is that W.B. is a financier and money genius, whilst I am a published copywriting and Foolproof Marketing Expert (…I know…big deal).

Foolproof Marketing

But here’s what really IS a big deal.

There are millions of copywriters, small business entrepreneurs, and Non-Profit Organization (NPO) leaders who fervently believe the opposite of Mr Buffett.  They believe:

  • To market a small business or NPO you need to create that one-in-a-million campaign, like the GEICO Gecko®.
  • In changing messages just because it’s no longer “fresh” (as if a great message could ever go stale).
  • They need the Home Run, because singles, bunts, and hustle won’t score loads of runs in time.

I am so sorry I must disappoint them.

A Story About A Madman

Rosser Reeves was the head of a Top 5 International Ad Agency headquartered on Madison Avenue.

Mr Reeves was the copywriting genius behind the famous taglines of M&Ms, Wonder Bread, Rolaids, and more.  Reeves also created the Unique Selling Proposition (USP), the industry’s differentiation standard.  He was a man of steely conviction – and at one time, my boss’s, boss’s, boss’s, boss’s boss.

Rosser Reeves was one of the Madmen who were the inspiration of the hit TV show and the giants of copywriting in whose honor Write Like A Madman University is named.

A Strategy Disagreement Among Titans

A discussion between Mr Reeves and another agency head revolved around the importance of “great”, “fresh”, “creative” campaigns.

The unnamed agency head believed strongly in cutting-edge creativity.  Reeves, in a simple, universal message that could stand the test of time.  During the discussion, Reeves proposed a $1 million bet (this was in the 1960’s when a million was actually a lot of money).  The bet was this:

  • They would pick competing products.
  • His friend (the other agency head) could have the most brilliant campaigns he could devise.
  • Reeves would settle for a less creative, less splashy, mediocre campaign.
  • His friend had to change his brilliant campaign every 6 months.
  • Reeves would not change his message at all.
  • At the end of 20 years, the winner would be determined and anointed a Foolproof Marketing Strategy

Mr. Reeves’ friend did not accept this bet.

Create Your Foolproof Marketing Message For The Ages

The truth of the matter is, all you – as a small businessperson – needs to have foolproof marketing is a simple, correctly crafted, marketing message.

I define a marketing message (or value proposition) as A fairly ShortSimpleUnique statement of the Benefits the Buyer Gets from your product or service, that Only You can deliver.  Now let’s break that down.

  • Short – I’ve seen good marketing messages (propositions) consisting of 15 – 20 words. However, most fall into the six to twelve word category.
  • Simple – Clear and concise using easy words that everyone understands, but is significant to your reader.
  • Unique – The proposition must be one that the competition can not or does not offer.
  • Benefits For Buyers– Things that will make your customers’ lives better.
    • Be wiser
    • Be loved
    • Be envied
    • Be unique
    • Help people
    • Be healthier
    • Be wealthier
    • Get enjoyment
    • Make life easier
    • Be looked up to
    • Be more attractive
    • Make more money
    • Protect your family
    • Learn something new
    • Experience new places or things
    • Get better at something you like

Take a deep and serious look at your business and if you are unable to find something unique to talk about – then innovate until you can.

OK, I Created My Unique Foolproof Marketing Message…Now What?

Now, given the self-awareness you generated in taking a good, hard look at your marketing, you create two attractive offers.

One offer is intended for people who are currently in the market for what you have.  I call these Now Buyers. The second offer is focused on those people who are in the process of gathering information so they can make an informed decision when the time comes.  Let me relate a personal story.

  • I drive a 1998 Mercedes Benz. Ever since it was new, I took it to a Mercedes specialist about 10 miles from my home.  I was very satisfied.  But twenty years later, I moved over 65 miles away.  I needed a mechanic in my new neighborhood who could take care of routine maintenance on my car (oil changes, brakes, struts, etc) as I was only going to go back to my specialist for something major. 
  • I looked around and visited a few shops, asked some questions and got the typical, “Here’s a coupon for $20 off your next oil change”. Wasn’t floating my boat.  Then one mechanic said, “When you need us, we’ll be here.  In the meantime, take this report on the best service strategy for older cars.” 
  • Two months later, I went back to that shop to get my oil changed. Why?  Because they gave me INFORMATION that I needed so I can keep my car as long as possible.  They had an offer all ready for Future Buyers like me.

Add your Now Offer and your Future Offer to your newly minted powerful, unique marketing message/value proposition, and you have the foundation for Foolproof Marketing. 

Here’s What Makes It A Foolproof Marketing Message

Test you new marking package (your message and your offers).  If it works – STOP!  Don’t muck with it.

If it ever stops working, repeat the steps above.

Short and Simple.

The Moral Of The Story

Like the Hare in the race with the plodding Tortoise, some marketing campaigns take off meteorically and refresh frequently (foolhardy, IMO); these are generally no match for campaigns with solid, short, memorable, universally understood messages, repeated, and repeated, over time.

If you should be fortunate enough to have a message like this, and the urge should come over you to “freshen” your message in case it should go stale, my advice to you is to lie down until that urge passes.  Don’t do it.  Think…

  • “Finger Lickin’ Good” was written in 1952 (Ogilvy)
  • “Melts In Your Mouth, Not In Your Hands” in 1954 (Reeves)
  • “How Do You Spell Relief? R-O-L-A-I-D-S” – 1974 (Reeves)
  • “A Diamond Is Forever” – 1948 (Ayer)
  • “Wheaties – Breakfast Of Champions” – 1935 (Blackett-Sample)

ALL are still in use today.

The Other Side Of The Coin

One of the best (worst?) examples of a foolproof marketing message that was changed before its time is Burger King’s “Have It Your Way” – 1973 (BBDO International).  To discover the “Rest of the Story”, grab a read of my recent article “Burger Wars”.

If, like me, you are into fascinating reads about the copywriting/ marketing/ advertising side of business, I highly recommend a book by the man behind “Have It Your Way”, Chris Schoenleb.  His book, “Battling Marketing Myths” can add to your understanding of behind the scenes decision making and occasional intrigue in and out of the board rooms.

Dig Deeper

If you’re interested in learning about more about foolproof marketing strategies and loads of other great stuff, I invite you to visit How To Write Copy at Write Like A Madman University   To gain more insight, go here and sit in on the first Video Session of “Write Like A Madman & Make Money Like Crazy”. As the saying goes, “Nothing to lose; everything to gain.

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Categories
Copywriting Marketing Marketing Mistakes

How To Market Your Small Business

How To Market Your Small Business, Problems Solutions and Options

By Alan L Tarr, Master Copywriter

You own a small business – or you’re about to open one – congratulations on both counts.

“But”…you say, “it’s hard to grow”.  Welcome to the club.  Over 7-out-of-10 small businesses are experiencing just what you are, in some degree.  Small businesses and non-profits are struggling to generate more leads, more conversions, and turn a decent profit.  So WHY the struggle?  Is it the economy?  The lingering effects of the pandemic?  Who can we blame for the difficulties in marketing your small business?

I blame me.

Was It Really My Fault?

Well…partially – as a speaker and coach, I…

  • Gave 18-30 presentations, seminars, and workshops a year since 2010…and during the pandemic – none.
  • Worked with or spoke to, and coached over 3,000 small business owners in that pre-pandemic time.
  • Looked at over 1,000 websites and did evaluations of over 240 of them. With the objective data I collected, my internal survey showed over 83% of those websites as “seriously flawed” – with 77% rated as “dangerously inefficient”.
  • In other words, people who visited these sites left quickly and, since they were searching the internet, probably would up at a competitor’s website.

Fortunately for my clients, I developed ways to solve these problems.

Then Came The Pandemic

When in-person seminars and workshops ground to a halt, I was no longer able to help you.  And you are my favorite people – writers, entrepreneurs, and non-profit leaders.  I loved seeing the progress you made in marketing your small business by acquiring a sound basis in the fundamentals of copywriting, marketing and website science.

To tell you the truth, I found I’m not real keen on “webinars”.  I can’t see or hear the attendees and I loved the audience reactions, questions, interplay of a live presentation.  For all, I think it’s a much better experience.  Here’s my workaround.

  • Updated all my presentations – plus new material – into 15 online multi-media Courses, Tutorials, and Toolboxes in Write Like A Madman University.
  • Made over 180 of my original works available free (or in a very few cases, for the outrageous price of $1) through Facebook, Linked-In, and Instagram.
  • Made myself available to answer general questions by email…and for personal, one-on-one, Zoom coaching.
  • Set up a LinkTree page with every important link to my pages, blogs, etc.

This is my solution to the pandemic – and to out-of-state clients.

Now Let’s Get Back To Solving Your Problem

If you have a little patience, I’m going to show you how to market your small business.

  • State the common problems
  • Break down your solution options and
  • Clarify things so you can pick the path that best suits you.

Simply stated, small businesses are challenged with generating enough revenue to cover costs and create reasonable profits – most fall woefully short.

How To Market Your Small Business – Common Problems

Here’s what the research showed.

  • Little or no real, been-there, done-that marketing and writing skills in the owners or key people.
  • Can’t afford the $5,000 – $50,000+ price tags of talented consultants, agencies, or new hires.
  • Limited understanding of how to
    • Create unique and winning marketing messages and campaigns
    • Communicate those messages to prospects through websites, emails, social media, advertising, and content.

Please… don’t be insulted; these are the facts for over 7-out-of-10 small businesses – but there are solutions.

How To Market Your Small Business – Solutions

Here is what most businesses need to create, rethink, or rework to grow – listed in order of priority.

  • Create marketing messages and materials using those messages.
  • Conceive, write, and build – or redesign current site into a world-class, small business website and landing pages.
  • Create content for website, email and advertising campaigns.
  • Map out, implement, and write content for an automated email marketing system.
  • Optimize social-media presence, increase connections, friends and likes, and post frequently.
  • Decide on, create, and implement your advertising mix (i.e. digital, email, direct response, print, radio/TV, signage, point-of-purchase, etc.)

Now, the only question left is who, how, and at what cost, you can accomplish these six critical steps.

How To Market Your Small Business – Options

Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of small business marketing success by laying our alternative ways to deal with and solve the problem.

  • Outside Experts can do much, if not all, of these things. They have networks of specialists on call – copywriters, graphics, social media and digital ads, and email system certified experts.  Price is based on how many of these items you need help with, and whom you choose to do it.
  • Hire Individual Contractors – Somewhat less expensive than hiring a consultant or agency, but the trade-offs are:
    • You do much of the searching for the right person or firm. This takes time and a decent amount of knowledge about the work to be done which many business owners do not possess.  Plus (speaking from experience) if you’re handling a designer, a copywriter, and a graphics person…and something goes wrong, each of these contractors have a tenancy to blame the others.
  • Do It Yourself – The frugal way to go, but most often costs more in lost opportunities, ramp up time, and time away from running your business. Most entrepreneurs are experts in their respective businesses – but NOT necessarily in marketing.  Either get help or get some good training.
  • Read A Good Book – I just happen to have my latest book available on my website, at no cost.
  • Comprehensive Training – There are numerous copywriting, marketing, and social media courses available at different sites over the internet. HubSpot, Kate Toon, Udemy, Copyblogger, andWrite Like A Madman University are four prominent ones.  Look for ones that can supply you with all the courses you need…if all you need is copywriting, fine. Look for courses you can take at your own speed…ones that publish sessions every week or two can bog you down for months.
    • If you need or want marketing, website science, and more, your choices will be a bit more limited. Prices can range from under $100 per course to several thousands. 
    • Free courses are also available. Keep in mind though, the free and inexpensive courses are useful to a point, but tend to be less detailed and somewhat incomplete. 
    • Comprehensive Training providers that can offer an unlimited subscription membership to multiple courses, tutorials, toolboxes, case studies and even some live, personal coaching – gives you the best of three worlds.

Make sure you check out all the alternatives; your business deserves nothing less.

TRANSPARENCY Statement 

I am the creator and sole content writer of “How To Write Copy” at Write Like A Madman University (WLAM U).  I designed it specifically for copywriters, entrepreneurs, and non-profits.   WLAM U’s difference stems from its four courses, three tutorials, and seven loaded toolboxes that are 90% focused on how to generate more business by simply changing the words and images you use and the order in which you present them.  My passion is to make WLAM U unique among its peers.  My preference for Comprehensive Training did not, I think, color this report in any way.  But that’s your call to make.]

Your Reward

I hope this article has given you ideas, insight, and incentives to go out and market your small business like a pro. To help in that regard, here’s a couple of those free items of which I spoke earlier.

Learn and Prosper

Listen, I know how many emails you get every week telling you they have the magic bullet that will solve all your business problems – because I get them, too.

I’ve been at this game long enough to know there ain’t no magic bullet.  I’ve written copy and devised marketing strategies for huge international ad agencies as an employed copywriter and a freelancer. My words have helped generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues.  I’ve also spent the last 20 years working with over 3,100 small business persons as a speaker, consultant, author, and coach.  Plus, I owned and marketed four successful businesses of my own along the way…including Write Like A Madman University.

I sell courses, yes.  Also, to the best of my knowledge, I also give out more free items than any individual marketing copywriter on the web (over 280 Guides, Articles, Check Lists, Videos and Audios).  All original, written and/or edited by me.

Dig Deeper

If you’re interested in learning more, I invite you to visit  How To Write Copy at Write Like A Madman University If ever you had the idea of taking Copywriting and Marketing Courses online to boost your “How To Market A Small Business” skills…BUT…it seemed like a big risk…please, let me help.

On my website, you can get a 7-Day, All Access Trial Membership to the “How To Write Copy” system for just $1. No auto upgrades. If you love it, you can then enroll. 

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