On the “most difficult tasks on the planet” scale, I place marketing toward the top.
It’s not as difficult as brain surgery or growing grass in Phoenix in July. But successful marketing is certainly more difficult than memorizing entire Shakespeare sonnets or contemplating the origin of the solar system.
Marketing—specifically maximizing conversion—can be extremely difficult. Here’s the number-one marketing problem: Before you even begin to promote anything, you’re facing a public that generally hates you.
A January 16 article in London’s Daily Telegraph recently listed “The Top 10 Scams to Watch Out for in 2014.” Advertising plays a prominent role in this article…and the scams.
Scams include fake tickets to sporting events, investing in a material that’s supposed to revolutionize everything, “routine” phone fraud, slimming services, gyms using bait-and-switch tactics, fake mail, pension liberation fraud, training courses with no training, plus dodgy auction sites.
Plus there’s a new scam called “Vishing,” where a fake courier arrives at your home to collect your credit card and give you a new one.
Victims receive a fake phone call from a fake bank representative who tells you someone has faked being you and stolen your credit card information. Really.
As a marketer, you have to market to a public that DOES NOT trust you and may, in fact, hate you.
So… in this article let me introduce 5 major problems you face… and the solutions direct marketers use.
MARKETING PROBLEM #1
Everyone thinks your industry is choc-full of scallywags.
This depends on the industry. If you’re a doctor, you don’t have this problem. I’m certain you understand the general perception of your niche.
SOLUTION. You will benefit from ample social proof. So harvest plenty of testimonials. Include logos of organizations to which you belong—on your website and in your printed materials.
Australian marketing firm Marketing Results places logos of prominent newspapers above the fold.
You’re probably a member of more organizations that you realize. So get the logos out there.
MARKETING PROBLEM #2
Everyone thinks you’re overpriced.
It’s not a problem for Wal-Mart, but this can be a problem in certain industries—especially when the perceived value is low.
SOLUTION. If you’re facing this issue, it’s especially important to:
- Show proof of the value you deliver
- Be extremely specific with your numbers
- Explain why it’s worth the “investment”
Skiing is generally an expensive pastime. You have to spend several hundreds on skis, clothing, lift tickets, etc. Because it’s seen as a movie-star enclave, skiers generally believe that Aspen is crazy expensive and, yes, lift tickets are more expensive there than other resorts in Colorado.
So the resort has a decision to make: downplay the “expensive” perception or prove the value.
Aspen Ski Company takes both approaches. It sends coupons and discounts to repeat visitors and gives people a chance to find discounts through its website.
Then it explains why it’s worth the extra money to visit by including a live cam that regularly shows wide open runs. Message: come here and you won’t face crowds.
This shot, from one of the web cams, shows the top of Aspen Mountain. It’s mid-season but not exactly heaving with skiers.
A place like Aspen/Snowmass could probably hire two full-time writers to produce content showing its value.
MARKETING PROBLEM #3
People don’t trust your product.
Until the 1850s, nobody in their right mind would ride in an elevator. You may be facing similar “trust” issues.
SOLUTION. At the World’s Fair in 1854, held in New York, elevator designer Elisha Otis built a four-story elevator platform.
Every hour he rode the elevator to the top then told his assistant to cut the rope that was holding up the platform. The assistant cut the rope but the platform only dropped a few inches, proving the safety of the “new” elevator technology.
Thousands saw the demonstration, which was widely reported in newspapers and magazines.
Here’s an illustration of the “proof” Otis organized.
If you’re worried that customers don’t trust your product or service, organize a demonstration and share it on your website, social media, and printed materials.
MARKETING PROBLEM #4
People perceive your niche as somewhat anonymous.
It’s a common problem among many industries—with the possible exception of acting.
SOLUTION. While I’m not a huge fan of celebrity endorsements, I’m all in favor of giving your marketing globs of personality.
If you’re a sole operator, it’s important to provide ample information about yourself, along with at least one photo. If you’re a company, then it’s important to include clear biographies of the principals.
Legendary Marketing is a company built around the personality of its founder, Andrew Wood. Here’s their company bio page. You meet everyone at the agency.
MARKETING PROBLEM #5
The media has just hammered your industry.
Let’s say you’re in the supplements industry and one of the major news organizations runs a story. The story tells the audience that all dietary supplements are pure garbage.
If you’re in the supplements business, you’ve got a problem.
SOLUTION. You can write a blog refuting all the claims in the story. Or better still is a solid website built around overcoming key objections.
If you want an example of a “perfect” testimonial page, take a look at this one from Kühl Care.
This page links to 6 well-produced videos with live testimonials.
It’s all about trust.
You can start to organize your content and copy around the typical objections you discover. But make sure you understand a vital—and daunting—fact: potential clients and customers DO NOT trust marketers.
So a copywriter’s job is to help you build that trust. Make trust-building a central focus of your marketing, and you’ll have conquered a large part of the marketing game.
What about you? What are the problems you face as a digital marketer? And what are you doing to solve those problems?
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