What’s The 1 Question Your Marketing Copy Needs To Answer?

by Charlie Cook

It started with a review of their web site, and before I knew it, the company president was bringing in every piece of promotional material they used, from their yellow page and magazine ads to the booklet they give clients at a first meeting.

With the heads of business development, marketing and sales present, the president asked me to rank each piece in terms of its effectiveness. What a great exercise for any company to do. But how do you judge the effectiveness of your small business marketing materials?

If you’ve ever been around three or four year old children for any length of time, you’ve probably noticed that they ask questions all the time.

• Why is the sky is blue?
• Why do I need a bath?
• Why is it time for bed?

You may have responded with a short answer like, “Because I said so,” or you may have given a long answer that provided a logical analysis of the need for a balanced diet and the role peas play in it. Unfortunately neither of these responses is what a three year old child wants or understands.

Your prospects may not be three year olds, but when they read your marketing copy they begin by asking a series of why questions. They are asking themselves:

• Why should I read the rest of the page?
• Why is this important to me?
• Why should I trust this company?
• Why shouldn’t I buy from their competitors?
• Why should I contact them?
• Why should I take out my credit card or checkbook and make a purchase?

Does your marketing copy answer all these questions?

I asked the president I was meeting with to step back from his company’s marketing materials and look at them the way his prospects do. You can do the same to evaluate your marketing materials.

Bring the home page of your web site up on screen and roll your chair back about 7 feet until only the larger items are legible.

What catches your eye? What do you read, first, second and third?

Do the same test with your print ads; pin them up on a wall and step back ten to fifteen feet.

Where does your eye go first? What messages come across first, second and third?

Using this test, two items jumped off the homepage of the company I was meeting with; the company name and their tag line, “America’s Finest”.

Unless your prospects already know your company, just stating your name won’t prompt a prospect to read your
marketing materials.
And with over a million companies claiming to be “America’s Finest”, such common and general statements do little to establish your company’s credibility. They are the equivalent of telling the three-year-old, “Because I said so.”

When a three year-old keeps asking why, what they are really saying is, “I’m interested, tell me more”. The same applies to your prospects. They want your help, but first they want to know:

• Why should I work with you?
• Why should I trust you?
• Why should I contact you?

You may have thought you answered these questions but where is this information? Is it way down the page hidden in your copy or right up front where prospects can find it?

The company I was working with had the answers to all the “why” questions in their marketing materials. They had excellent reasons that their prospects should work with them, trust them and contact them, but all of these were buried in their marketing materials where no one saw them.

Don’t assume that people will take the time to search for the answers to their questions.

We’re all busy people; unless we’re given a reason to take the next step, you and I and your target market are unlikely to go looking for it. For example, a lot of ads and web sites include the phrase “Contact Us”. It’s your call to action.

But why should I contact you?

What’s one reason, or multiple reasons, I, your prospect, should send you an email or pick up the phone?

Take a look at your web site, your ads, and your marketing materials. Does the first line prompt your prospects to read the second line? Does the marketing copy give your prospects the uncontrollable urge to call you or whip out their credit card and buy from you?

Generate more leads and more business with your web site, your ads and your marketing materials by answering the question “why”. Tell prospects why they should read your marketing materials, why they should trust you and why they should buy from you. Answer the questions your prospects are posing and you’ll earn their confidence and their business.

(VALUE: $200)
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