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Why Hardly Anyone Is Buying

Author: Peter Geisheker   |   August 31st, 2009

When you use the same approach everyone else does, your marketing takes on a “me too” look and your prospects have no idea why they should bother doing business with you versus the competition or just not doing anything at all.

Want a better response from your marketing? Want your prospects to actually contact you and buy from you?

“Me too” marketing is marketing/advertising that looks, sounds, and reads nearly identical to your competition’s marketing. And it can kill your prospects’ interest and your business.

Here’s what most small business owners do. They know they need an ad, a marketing message or a website. So what do they do, they copy what their competition is saying nearly word for word.

This is “me too” marketing because your marketing says exactly the same things as your competition, such as, “great service, low prices, friendly and convenient” and a laundry list of other generic benefits your competitors is listing in their marketing.  Basically, the only thing that is different in the marketing message/advertisements is the name of the company – everything else is nearly identical.

If you want to see “me too”  marketing in action, pickup your local Yellow Pages phone book and go to the “contractors” section (or any section for that matter). Contractors are some of the worst offenders of me too marketing. Let me guess what you will see as benefits:  Free estimates, licensed, insured and bonded, family owned and operated, in business for over 20 years, etc. The ads all say the same boring things. Only the company names are different.

Now put yourself in the shoes of your customer.  If all the companies in your buying category are saying the same thing, how do I choose which one to work with? You may just start randomly calling starting with the first company and work your way through.  Or, a unique ad and message catches your eye because it stands out and is different. Maybe it uses different colors in the ad, or it uses a big strong benefit-rich headline, or best of all, it focuses on THE CUSTOMER instead of on your business. The key is you want your marketing to look and sound very different than your competition.

Okay great. So how do I make my marketing message different and better? Here’s how:

Make a list of what selling points your competition is using and try NOT to list those same benefits. Focus on telling the customer how your company is different and better and why doing business with your company offers a greater benefit for the customer than working with your competitors. Prove to me why I as a customer should choose you. Make a list of the top 3 major reasons why you should do business with us instead of our competition.

Focus on what your customers care about most-how working with you will benefit them and prove it to them. Include customer testimonials in your marketing. Offer money-back guarantees. Offer free information such as call us today (or go to our website) and we’ll mail you a free report on the 10 most important things to consider when hiring a contractor (choosing an insurance agent, choosing a dentist, choosing an accident attorney, choosing a moving company, choosing a roofer, choosing a well drilling company..you get the idea).

Most important of all, give your marketing/advertising a fun personality. For some unknown reason people seem to think business sales messages have to be cold, stuffy and boring. Guess what? PEOPLE HATE COLD, STUFFY AND BORING!

Give your marketing personality. Have fun. Think of your business as a cartoon character and think of what type of personality that cartoon character would have. Make customers laugh. Write your marketing message as if you were talking to your best friend. Use real everyday language and slang just as you use when talking to friends.  Marketing is not the place to be an English professor. Have fun! Stand out. Be outrageous! In fact, the more outrageous the better. Make your customers say, “I need to do business with them-they look fun.”
Peter

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3 Responses to “Why Hardly Anyone Is Buying”

  1. Deborah Richmond Says:

    The suggestion to write as though you are talking to your best friend is a good one. It’s hard for most people to drop the formality if they are not practiced copywriters. But thinking of how you would write to your best friend is a good visualization when writing ad copy. Writing more formally will only put a barrier between you and your audience.

  2. Preston Lee Says:

    “Make a list of what selling points your competition is using and try NOT to list those same benefits. Focus on telling the customer how your company is different and better and why doing business with your company offers a greater benefit for the customer than working with your competitors.”

    Couldn’t agree with you more, as my company identified this as a big issue earlier this year for one of our products. OpenRain’s small business marketing platform (http://openrainapp.com) regularly gets compared to blogs and CMS systems, even though it doesn’t really fit neatly into any of those categories. It’s helped to focus more on the unique and different aspects of the product rather than the similarities to others to create that differentiating factor in peoples minds.

  3. walter daniels Says:

    This seems so obvious that I wonder why no one else notices. Big Companies can spend money to emphasize small differences, but small ones can’t afford to do that. You have to establish an identity. For example, Frank Kern was the “surfer dude.” Never mind that he has a sharp mind. 🙂 He did it to stand out in the crowd. Once he did, his ideas were first-rate.

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