Categories
Copywriting Marketing

How Do I Get More Business?

As a copywriter for almost forty years, I’ve worked with giant mega-marketers, regional behemoths, and small, entrepreneurial companies.  The latter are my favorites because the help I provide is much more personal and critical to their success. The funny thing is, no matter the size of the company, they all want to get more business.

Here are nine essentials.  There are, of course, others like Differentiation, Marketing Messages, and Website writing and structure that warrant their own articles, chapters, or even books.

That said…if your goal is to get more business, this is a great place to start. 

It seems everyone has their own definition for marketing. Long ones, short ones, flowery ones, pithy ones.  Dictionary.com defines marketing as: “The commercial processes involved in promoting and selling and distributing a product or service”. The definition I get most often from my clients is: “marketing brings in customers and sales”. These are narrow views.

I prefer a far more encompassing definition.  It comes from years of experience marketing companies I owned and advising others.  My definition is this:

“Marketing is everything you do that touches or impacts your customers or prospects.”

Everything? Yes, everything. Think about it for a second. If you send out an incorrect invoice, will that not affect your customer’s image of your company?  If your phone answering system is so poorly configured that a prospect is put through hoops for two to three minutes without getting to the right person, will that impact his desire to do business with you? Conversely, if you handle a return promptly, courteously, and without any hint of annoyance, will that customer not be willing to buy from you again because she knows, if she must return it, the experience is actually pleasant?

The answers are Yes! Yes! and Hell, Yes!

Most customers think if you’re in business, you must be an expert, or authority, on that business.  This may not be the case 100% of the time but think about it.  If you have a question about your car, to whom do you speak – your hair stylist?  No.  You ask an auto mechanic – the expert.

As an authority in your field, you are expected to answer questions.  Well, that’s just what Content is – answering common questions before they’re asked.

Lie this article answers the question, “How do I get more business?”

Write a short (500 – 1500+ word) article on some aspect of your business or industry.  Post it on your blog, or Facebook, Linked-In, etc. 

Compose a layman’s guide to your industry.  What do consumers need to know?  What questions should they ask?  How can they find the best mechanic for them?  Which things should raise red flags (scams, incompetence, etc)?

Believe it or not, this is all Content is.  Helping people make smart, informed decisions in your industry.  Remember, a copywriter (and that’s you) educates, informs, and influences.

Offer your content free in exchange for their email address.  Why?  Because you need to build an “A” Email Opt-In List.

Marketing and Community Outreach have been radically changed by the advent of the internet and social media – but it’s still basically a numbers game if you want to get moe business.

Say you’re planning a special Independence Day Sale.  You’ll want to contact as many prospects and customers as you can.  You could advertise in the newspaper or on radio or TV (at a cost) – or you could contact your top customers and prospects via email (virtually free).  Let’s say you calculate you can handle 80 requests at the sale price to consider it a roaring success.  How many names are on your list?  100? 1,000? 10,000?

For a 100-name list you’d need to attract 80% of your list to the sale.  Not hardly likely.  With a 1,000-name list, you need 8%.  But if you’ve done a diligent job of list building and have 10,000 emails, you only need to attract 0.8% of them to get that roaring success.  Pro copywriters think an email “buy rate” of 1% is average, 2% is great, and 3% is an official “Glory Be”!

So, start building, or adding, to that “A” list as often as you can – and good Content will help you do just that.

“Oh, come on! I don’t ignore anyone. I want to get more business.”  Read on – you may be surprised.

We all have two types of prospects, “Now Buyers”, and “Future Buyers”.  Now Buyers have made the mental decision to buy, and now they need to decide the ultimate question, from whom.  “Future Buyers” are folks who haven’t made their mental commitment to buy yet.  They are gathering information to help make that decision.  Most businesses know enough to make an offer to Now prospects.  Something that motivates them to buy and gives a sense of urgency to “buy now”.  Here’s what we typically see:

  • Discount Coupons
  • We pay the Sales Tax
  • Zero % Financing
  • Free Shipping
  • Save $300 this weekend only
  • Free Gift with Purchase

…and many more.  All tailored for the Now Buyer.

If your website, brochure, or advertisements don’t include an offer for “Future Buyers” to help them gather the information needed make their decisions, you are definitely ignoring up to 94% of your total prospects. (see the Decision Spectrum, below)

Decision Spectrum Chart

Do you ever listen to station WII-FM, the “Radio Of Your Mind”?

Well, I certainly hear “What’s IIFor Me”.  All the time.  It simply means when a customer or prospect is looking at your website, landing page, email, or post, they’re looking for benefits.  Things that will make their life better, longer, more fun, pain free, happier, more fulfilling, etc.  You have the chance to give them all that.  Unfortunately, most small businesses are caught flat-footed, with mouth agape, and no clue at all.  Let me put this succinctly…

If you want to get moe business…STOP talking about yourself. Start talking about what the customer wants and needs.  It’s not about you.

How would you react if, when buying a shirt from a store, you ask, “What if the shirt isn’t as “no-iron” as you say?” and you get the answer, “Well, I guess you’ll just have to iron it now, won’t you?”

If you’re anything like me, you would not buy that shirt, or probably anything else from that store.  Admittedly, this is an exaggeration, but not uncommon.  Businesses – or even non-profits – that don’t ease the customer’s Fear of Buying/Fear of Commitment, get fewer customers.  Here are a few ways to quell the agita and get more business by easing the prospect into buying with no fear or remorse.

  • Have a strong guarantee/warranty
  • If you need to return something, we’ll pay the shipping
  • Free shipping both ways
  • No restocking fee
  • If you find it cheaper, we’ll pay you double the difference

Wax those skis and make buying a smooth, easy, downhill decision.

“People buy from people they like and trust – both in person and online.”

Do you come across as likeable and even trustworthy?  Check out your picture and your copy.  Smile.  Let them see your face.  Look right into the camera.  Don’t use pictures of you standing in the middle of a cornfield in Iowa where no one can see your face and think you’re the Scarecrow from The WIZ.  Get up close and personal with your customers.

And reflect this attitude in your writing: be open, friendly, and caring; it goes a long way to getting moe business.

If you are the “face” of your company, non-profit, or small business, grab onto this with both hands ::::> and “Personalize” your business.

Case Study – Larry’s Restaurant and Pizzeria

“Larry”, a fifty-ish, pudgy, slightly less than average-looking man, owned and operated a large Italian restaurant in a New York City suburb on a busy thoroughfare on the way to the beaches.

Larry didn’t do much advertising, yet people came…see, he was the only place in the area.  Then a McDonald’s (the first one in N.Y) opened across the street and his business plummeted.  He tried but failed to get back to where he was previously.  Then he hired the ad agency I worked for.   Here’s what we did:

  • Made a series of late-night TV ads (much less costly) featuring Larry, in his restaurant’s kitchen and bar area. He had a slightly sad, “hound-dog” expression on his face and spoke not a word.
  • The voice-over copy was: “Everybody Loves Larry’s Pizza – but Nobody Loves Larry. Next time you stop in, go over to Larry or his wife Connie, and say “We love ya Larry” and he’ll smile and treat you to a wonderful appetizer or dessert with your meal.
  • The reaction was incredible. Larry became a “celebrity” of sorts in his restaurant.  His business more than doubled and rose to 20% higher than it was before McDonald’s.

Look, if Larry can do it – and I can do it, certainly you can do it.

This French word comes to us from Louisiana.  It means an extra, or unexpected, gift or benefit.

Recently, I ordered a “Thank You” gift basket for a client of mine.  It was delivered with my greeting card, and all was good.  Two days later, I received a small package in the mail with two of the company’s nut bars.  An enclosed note thanked me for my purchase and hoped I’d enjoy their specialty treat.  This floored me, as no mention of it was ever made. 

The outcome?  I’ve ordered from them again and will do so in the future. They got – and continue to get – more business from me.

Well, that’s all nine. 

I’m fond of saying “marketing is a people skill, adapted to business”.  Each item on this list bears that out. 

  • Understand what it is you’re doing, how to write copy, and stand out from the crowd. 
  • Help people make good decisions.
  • Communicate regularly with your friends.
  • Don’t ignore your prospects and future friends.
  • Focus on your friends’ needs.
  • Strip away the fear.
  • Be likeable and honest.
  • Be proud of what you do.
  • And give someone a little surprise now and then.

I think it’s a good recipe to get more business, don’t you?

A Little Lagniappe For You

As you study and implement these 9 Crucial Small Business Practices, please accept my “companion infographic”, 15 Mistakes Small Business Makes.  Download it here, Free.

Excerpted from my book, How To Write Copy: Your Million Dollar Advantage.

#     #     #

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *